Editor’s Note: With snow now in the forecast for some parts of the Upper Midwest, it’s time to revisit a blog we wrote almost a decade ago about early snow. Enjoy.
Oh, how it’s fun to get excited about an early season snow! When those first snowflakes come down in October (or, if you’re lucky enough, some snow may have even fallen back in September), the average snowmobile owner almost shrieks with glee. We can certainly feel it in our office – the riders in our publishing company are drawn to the windows of the office building like moths to a light when the snowflakes start dancing outside. Oh, what an exciting time.
Well, we’re here to tell you the obvious: Early season snows don’t mean a damn thing in most parts of the Snowbelt. We know, that’s pretty much snowmobiler blasphemy, but you know it’s true. Let’s discuss the reasons why.
1) You Know It’s Going To Melt – That first snowfall sure is fun to get excited about, and it can turn the ground neon green when it melts. But that’s the point – it almost always melts within 24 hours. It sure is pretty while it’s there, but it’s not like you’re actually going to use that early season snow for what it’s best intended for – riding over with a snowmobile!
2) The Ground Needs To Freeze First – In most snowmobiling destinations, especially in the Midwest and the Northeast, starting with a frozen ground is vital to having a good, long snowmobile season. Some mountain areas can get away with a great early season dump that starts the season, but most of us need to start with a frozen ground, because it helps keep the snow around.
3) Water Needs To Freeze Too – Because trails often cross lakes and swamps in much of the country, that same cold weather that freezes the ground is needed to freeze water as well. Yes, we always love snow, Ma’ Nature needs to throw us some cold weather too so we don’t have rough swamps and marginally safe lakes all winter!
4) The Trails Aren’t Open Anyway – Sure, you can go for a ride on October snow, if you want to anger land owners, tear up the trail base, risk getting arrested and quite potentially harm the future of those trails. We all dream of going for an early-season burn, but it’s not very smart.
5) Putting Up With The Complainers – During the winter, when the “haters” of snow and snowmobiling can be overheard on the TV news, in the coffee shop or around your house when the in-laws are over, it’s easy to tune them out by going to the garage, firing up your sled and filling the air with the sweet harmony of a well-running small engine. This time of year? Well, unfortunately, it’s hard to get away from their whining, not to mention their Facebook posts. New Hampshire claims to be the “Live Free Or Die” state; living where we do, we’ve offered the term “Enjoy Winter Or Move South” to many such snow haters.
Don’t get us wrong: We get jacked up pretty much every time we see snow – we are so pro-snow that it hurts sometimes. Like most snowmobile owners, we truly are like little kids when we see the early snowfalls. But if we think logically (which isn’t very often, by the way) we know they are overrated. It’s not going to stop us from celebrating, however.
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.