While recent snow in parts of Minnesota has thrilled many snowmobile enthusiasts to take their first ride of the season, most of the state’s trails are not yet groomed and ready to ride, according to the Department of Natural Resources. of Minnesota.
Cyclists can expect to find uneven conditions and should check local trail reports before venturing out. Minnesota Snowmobile Trails officially open on December 1 of each year. Regardless of the calendar date, however, several conditions must be met before the slopes can be groomed:
The ground must be frozen. Where trails cross wet areas, 15 inches of ice is needed to support the weight of the groomers.
Adequate snow cover, approximately 12 inches, should be on the ground to allow for trail packing and grooming.
Trails must be cleared of fallen trees, signs must be put up and barriers must be opened. Snowmobile club volunteers and MNR staff are currently working on these tasks.
“It’s a big job for local volunteers and MNR staff to get the trail system up and running every year, especially with varying weather conditions,” said Paul Purman, consultant for State Trails and the snowmobile program. “Unusual thunderstorms for the season last week have eroded the snowpack in many areas of the state, delaying the preparation of our trails. Our 23,000 mile system really needs two things now: more snow on the ground and more volunteers to come together to help volunteer clubs prepare and maintain the trails. We hope for a banner year for snowmobiling and recognize that local clubs are the backbone of this success.
While snowmobilers wait for grooming to begin, now is the time to ensure registrations are up to date, confirm snowmobiles are in good working order, review safety training, and verify cards. local trails for route changes or new trails.
New snowmobile registrations can be purchased in person from any Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles or at the MNR License Center in St. Paul. Registration renewals and out-of-state trail stickers can be purchased in person or online at mndnr.gov/licenses.
Local trail conditions are often posted online by local tourism associations, chambers of commerce and volunteer snowmobile clubs. Contacts for trails funded by the MNR and managed locally can be found on the MNR website. State park and trail conditions are posted on the MNR website.
Local snowmobile clubs welcome volunteers to help with annual trail preparation, such as removing brush and fallen trees, providing snowmobile safety lessons, and providing firewood to shelters at the edge of the mountains. trails. To find the closest club, visit the United Snowmobile Association of Minnesota website.