All of the trails in Northeast Minnesota have been groomed this week and, with the cold weather, are solid as a rock. We suggest using ice scratchers if you have them. We rode the other night and even though the sleds were as smooth as glass they were as hard as glass as well. Northeast Minnesota has see a record number of sleds over the past two weeks and several of the southern trails (around Duluth) have developed bare spots, better conditions can be found from Two Harbors north as they have benefitted from some lake effect snow. Last week there were so many sleds that a trail that started off perfect at 8 AM was trashed by noon. With the cold temperatures we expect less traffic this weekend and, even with heavy traffic, the base is now so hard that it should wear very well. Ideally we would like some more snow but that snow keeps going south where they don’t want it. Send us some of that snow up this way, eh!
The Arrowhead region of Minnesota boasts the highest seasonal snow totals in the state with the higher elevations around Lake Superior receiving over 100 inches of snow annually. Add to that that Northeast Minnesota is usually the first area in the Midwest to receive rideable snow and also one of the last to have it melt and it is understandable why that area of the state is deluged with snowmobilers from surrounding areas both early and late in the season. Like our neighbors in northeast Wisconsin and the U.P., we see tremendous traffic and with only about 1,000 miles of trails with good snow cover, grooming can become a losing battle for the clubs and the DNR when the rest of the Midwest is suffering from lack of snow. So how do you make the most of your trek to Northeast Minnesota? It all starts with taking advantage of the grooming schedule. The centerpiece of the Northeast Minnesota trail system is the CJ Ramstad North Shore State Trail. This 150 mile gem will be the trail that leads to all of the other trails in the system. All of the trails will be groomed
at some point by the local clubs during the week so if you hit the trail Saturday morning you will find your Grant In Aid trails to be in the best shape of the weekend. We suggest taking advantage of the Grant In Aid trails on Saturday as they will be in the best condition and will also have less traffic. So many people that visit the area often ignore these trails for the more famous North Shore Trail but if you do this you are missing out on some of the most fantastic trail riding you will ever experience, not to mention epic scenery and photo opportunities. By Sunday most of the Grant In Aid trails will have been heavily ridden and portions of them may or may not be groomed Saturday night as some clubs have such large systems it is impossible to reach every mile of their trails in one evening. The North Shore Trail, however, is groomed from end to end every Friday and Saturday night with local clubs each being assigned a section of trail, this also pulls those particular groomers off the Grant In Aid trails for the night making it even harder for them to groom their entire system unless they possess multiple groomers and have multiple available operators. This makes the North Shore Trail your best bet for Sunday. Also, the farther north you get the farther into the wilderness you are, making food and fuel stops essential. If someone can carry extra gas and oil on their sled it is good idea as fuel stops are few and far between- so take advantage of them when you see them. It is also a good idea to bring a winter survival kit with you as a breakdown in this part of the state could mean an unexpected evening outdoors. If you follow these simple steps you will have good trails all weekend long as well as an abundance of good times and excellent memories!
Last weekend the trails were beautiful, for about a day, and, after taking a record amount of traffic they were beat to death. Many trails were groomed again Saturday night but by the end of the day were once again trashed. All of the State and GIA trails have been groomed again and many are slated to be groomed Friday and Saturday night. The Status looks like this: around Duluth there is about 14 inches of snow on the ground with roughly 5 to 6 inches of trail base. Once you reach Two Harbors we are looking at 20 inches of snow with a 6 to 7 inch base and from Finland north to Grand Marais we are at about 30 inches with a 7 to 8 inch base. The farther you get away from Lake Superior, the less snow there is, that is the bad news, the trails are getting heavy traffic from southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and the Dakotas. All are welcome but be safe and be aware that the groomers are out trying to keep up so keep an eye out for them. Enjoy the weekend, we’ll see you on the trail!!!
Happy New Year Everyone! The CJ Ramstad North Shore State Trail is being groomed in its entirety… and should be groomed again Friday and Saturday weather permitting. All of the GIA trails in Northeast Minnesota that could be groomed have been and are in excellent shape. There are still few areas where clubs are fighting with swamps and overhanging brush from the heavy snows but for the most part Northeast Minnesota is open for business! Some of you are wondering how the warm up will affect the trails. We have 16 inches of snow on the ground in Duluth, 24 inches from Two Harbors North and even though it will get above freezing it will only be for a few hours a day and we do not anticipate any heavy damage to the trails. Enjoy and be safe!!!
It’s here!!! SNOW!!! So far 13 inches and counting with more in the higher elevations around Lake Superior. The North Shore trail is scheduled to be groomed Friday and Saturday night. The GIA trails are being packed by the clubs and some are being groomed, most clubs are hoping to have their trails ready to go for New Year’s Day.
Can it get any worse? Not really. 40 degree temps melted what little snow we had left and dumped a bunch of melt water into the swamps, lakes and streams and thinned out the ice, it looked as though we were doomed. Luckily it got rally cold again to freeze things back up in the woods but the lake ice has suddenly become a little sketchy in places. We need snow, and quite frankly we are getting sick of this same old story year after year.
We wish we had better news for you but things are looking pretty bleak. There has not been any new snow and the temps are pushing 40, melting what little snow we have. Word from the UP is that trails there are deteriorating rapidly with temps in the mid forties so there aren’t a lot of options unless you head down to North Carolina or Virginia where they recently got 18 inches of snow that they don’t want. If you are like us we know you are going crazy seeing that on TV as we sit here snowless. The news isn’t all bad though, the cold weather we had has allowed the clubs to get out and do some very effective trail clearing and maintenance and word from around the state is that the trails are in the best shape they have been in for years, all we need is snow. So in an effort to get us some snow we have pulled out all the stops- we asked for Christmas snow from Santa at the Mall and we even asked the girl who played Mary at the local church Christmas program to put in a good word for us with the man upstairs! So let’s all do those snow dances and bust out the snowman picture your kid made in second grade and put it on the fridge to try to get some good snow Karma going for us!