Northwest trails made 'awesome' by hard-working groomers
Extra snow in the Thunder Bay region makes extra work for snowmobile trail volunteers
Snowmobile clubs from Thunder Bay to the Manitoba border are busy re-grooming hundreds of kilometres of trails after an increase in snowfall over the last few weeks.
The lead groomer for Thunder Bay Adventure Trails said that when it comes to describing trail conditions, if there was a better word than pristine, he’d use it.
Thunder Bay's weather over the past month has created ideal conditions for sledding, Adrian Tessier said, virtually erasing the poor sledding conditions at the start of the season.
"There's been years when we've started grooming in December," he said.
"This year we never started putting a machine on the trail until about Jan. 20 — which is a week later then we did last year. With the very little snow the first few times out, the trails were rough."
'Better than last year'
The president of the Northwestern Ontario Snowmobile Trails Association, which has eight clubs within its fold, said sledders are now out in full force.
"Everybody's out riding on everything now, it's better than last year," Gail Sayers said.
"Last year we had a lot more snow first, and then the ice didn't get thick, and then we had a lot of slush."
But a lot of snow means a lot of work for volunteers, she noted. In some areas, groomer operators can spend over 12 hours in a row working on a trail.
"It's all volunteers that do this in our district, so it's a lot of work to get it all packed down and ready to go for our riders."
But it's welcome work.
"I've ridden from Sioux Lookout to Ignace last weekend and the trails were awesome," Sayers continued.
"This weekend I rode from Sioux Lookout to Dryden and the trails were well-groomed and nice and flat."