If you own a snowmobile and you live in or near Minnesota, you owe it to yourself to get out and ride that snowmobile. Snowmobile conditions in a large portion of the North Star State are in prime condition, and with daylight savings time kicking in over the weekend, there are more hours of sunlight to enjoy a great day on the trails. We had a spectacular ride late last week.
On Thursday we unloaded near Bigfork, Minnesota, jumped on the Taconite Trail and rode north toward the town of Cook. After fueling up there we hopped on the Arrowhead Trail and took it up to the U.S./Canadian border town of International Falls. Over the course of this 180-mile adventure, we could have counted the number of sleds we met on the trail on two hands. Many people were missing out on a great day of riding on great trails that were in excellent condition.
Maintained by the State of Minnesota, the Arrowhead Trail offers fabulous scenery through an especially hilly area of Minnesota that is complemented with tall hardwood and softwood trees, and right now — deep snow pack. We didn’t roll over one bare corner.
Friday we headed west toward the town of Baudette, Minnesota, by way of the Rainy River that separates the United States and Canada. We saw a pair of deer running across the river toward Canada — perhaps for some maple syrup or to catch a hockey game? From Baudette we headed south toward Upper Red Lake, a massive body of water that is a popular ice fishing destination. If it’s cold and there’s snow and ice, we don’t fish, so we pressed on and snowmobiled through the towns of Waskish, Big Falls, Effie and eventually back to our starting point near Bigfork.
A section of that 275-mile route was a remote, gently winding trail that hadn’t been groomed since the area received about 10 inches of snow last week. The trail was smooth, but the packed trail was covered by loose snow that had only a few tracks run through it. We drifted wide through a curve and got sucked into the unpacked snow along the edge of the trail — ending up stuck in waist-deep snow. It took two grown men a few minutes to dig, push, pull and throttle the sled out of its stubborn, powdery trench.
Temperatures are forecast to hold in the low to mid 30s F in the area through the weekend, so that should preserve the snow cover. If you’re itching for one more ride, go for it. You won’t be disappointed. The snow is widespread, so trail traffic will likely be spread out and that will also help preserve the trails.
Fortunately, Minnesota isn’t the only place with snow. The observed snow depth according to Intellicast.com shows parts of the Dakotas, most of Wisconsin, the U.P. of Michigan, the northern tip of the lower Michigan and most of Maine have at least 16 inches of snow on the ground. So if there isn’t much snow in your back yard, chances are there’s rideable snow within a few hours of your home.