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Trail Conditions Straight from the guys who groom them!

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Old 03-05-2019, 11:13 AM   #1
Snow VP
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Default Trail Conditions 3-05-19

March is here. Wow. A late start to teh season, and it already kinda feels like a long season, and we still have a month to go.

We went out and took a very scientific measurement, and we officially have a crap-ton of snow. I would say that there is no point on our trail system that has less than a 25in base, and there are spots that are approaching 48in in the woods. This all sounds good, but if you have been following my reports over the last month you will find that not all snow is good snow, and just about everything we have gotten this season is not good for trail-making and grooming. The guys are putting in crazy amounts of time in the groomer to get things fixed up, however the grooms are not holding for more than 24 hours. This is a combination of snow consistency and the quite large traffic increase that we have seen this season.

I want to specifically callout groomer Ken, who I understand has been pulling double shifts out of Brevort running to Trout Lake. Thanks for stepping up and making the tracks turn out there!
I would also to like to callout groomer coordinator Wayne. I have had a family emergency and dumped all of the day-to-day stuff on him. To top that off he spent at least part of every day last week in the groomer running all over the system trying to get ahead of the mouglfest that we have had recently.
And a quick shoutout to guest groomer Nick, who shed his rookie strips on Friday night while finding out that yes, even a big grooming tractor can get stuck... twice. You are sooooooo LUCKY that Wayne didn't take pictures, as we always distribute the evidence for... ahem.... training purposes.

The snow depth and consistency is necessitating a grooming speed just over half of what we are used to, and it is making for some brutal long trips for the guys. Thanks to everyone who is making time to keep our stuff in ridable condition.

OK, onto the actual report >>>>>
Conditions have not really changed in the last few weeks. We add some new snow, mix it in with the last stuff, you ride it, make bumps everywhere, we groom it, rinse and repeat. I would say that the majority of the system is in decent shape. We are fighting what seems like a losing battle on both the RR Grade from Iggy to Trout Lake, and the Truck Trail from Brevort North. The traffic and snow conditions is eating the grooming alive and no matter how much we groom it, they are getting tore up. We will continue to run them as much as we can. Be advised, that since the runs are 50-100% longer, we are starting them earlier in the evenings, with some day runs during the week. Expect the groomer to go out 5ish on the weekends instead of 8ish so the driver can get in before 7am.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU GET OUT OF THE WAY OF THE GROOMER.
They CAN NOT move over for you, they will fall off the packed surface and get stuck (right Nick?) You sled is easier to dig out then our 14 ton groomer. Find a place, get out of the way - no exceptions.

Wildlife warning:
I have been told that the is a bunch of deer yarded up on the RR Grade, half mile South of M-123, so about 2 miles South of Moran. Careful as every time the groomer goes there there are dozens of deer on the trail. This happens in deep snow years, they look to the groomed trails for easier travel, and apparently they are just chilling out in that area this year instead of the swamp.

Weather:
The forecast over the next week to 10 days is good and bad. This week we have no new snow to deal with, and cold temps in the -5 to +15 range. That will allow things to get fixed up and MAYBE packed down and frozen a little. Good news is there will be very pleasant riding this weekend - temps will be in the low 30s. Bad news is those temps are gonna turn the trails really soft again so get ready for chewed up trails - virtually guaranteed. Snow depth is just fine, you will see good riding through the end of March easily.

Mackinac Island:
Treeline is up, it starts are the Mackinac Grill, sleds are crossing. Check local conditions before crossing, no ice is safe. PLEASE be considerate of local businesses. I saw a truck and trailer block 4 parking spaces for most of last Saturday and I know the sleds just unloaded and went to the island. NOT COOL. Park in designated parking areas, and if you have a question, ask someone.

And time for the money shot, I have some trail candy from the last week. Sorry been too busy to post so it is a few days outdated, but frankly conditions are exactly the same this week as last.
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Last edited by Snow VP : 04-07-2019 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 03-05-2019, 11:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

As always, thanks Neil, and special thanks to the groomer drivers for the extra hours and hard work.
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Old 03-05-2019, 08:58 PM   #3
ToddMeister
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Exclamation Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Neil is right, the grooms were taking longer than usual...

And even the Bay City Roller had a few spin outs with Big Green!!!
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Old 03-05-2019, 09:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Makes me want to sign up for the groomer school!
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:47 AM   #5
Nikk487
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Thanks for taking the time to write all of this out Neil, very informative! We were up last weekend and I thought you guys did a great job considering the traffic and condition!

My only question is, do you guys groom trail 2 from the junction of 473 up into Rexton or is that TASA? That specific trail had moguls that seemed a week old and wasn't touched in the 3 days we were there.

Thanks!
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

We groom 101 miles of trail with 2 groomers.
I am not sure exactly which one you are referring to, so I will attach this map as the question comes up occasionally.
If you are referring to the Caffey trail, I know that the driver said it was very rough on the last pass, and they are planning on double running that trail to get it back into shape tonight.

TASA grooms from Rexton to Epoufette, and from Rexton most of the way to Trout Lake. The Caffey trail is the one that cuts SE out of Rexton to what is known as the truck trail. That one is ours South of the RR tracks.
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

SUNDAY WARNING
Another storm is tracking into Michigan for late this weekend. We will be on the warm side of it, and we may get another inch of rain on Sunday.

Stay tuned for more info as I figure it out.
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Old 03-06-2019, 10:13 AM   #8
Nikk487
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Hi Neil,

Correct I am talking about the Caffey trail that runs SE out of Rexton.
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikk487 View Post
Hi Neil,

Correct I am talking about the Caffey trail that runs SE out of Rexton.
"Worst it has ever been" is what I was told. Ken is double running that trail and into Trout Lake tonight to try to get it back into shape.
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

I'll second that LOL. Usually one of my favorites but she was BEAT!
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

We really need to get the DNR to transfer the Trout Lake-Rexton & Rexton-Eppoufette trails to the Straits Club (and another machine to cover it). Looking at the map it makes so much more sense for Straits to have these trails than TASA. TASA also doesnít do a very good job on the Trout Lake-Rexton trail in particular (likely as a result of already having several long runs).
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:45 AM   #12
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Quote:
Originally Posted by LetItSnow View Post
We really need to get the DNR to transfer the Trout Lake-Rexton & Rexton-Eppoufette trails to the Straits Club (and another machine to cover it). Looking at the map it makes so much more sense for Straits to have these trails than TASA. TASA also doesnít do a very good job on the Trout Lake-Rexton trail in particular (likely as a result of already having several long runs).
Give me 4-5 competent drivers from Trout Lake and I will do everything I can to get you a machine and oversee the program.
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Old 03-07-2019, 03:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Neil, based on our conversation a couple weeks ago, Iíve got 3 good guys (including myself) interested and willing to run a groomer out of TL. Hoping to line up 1-2 more guys in the next couple of weeks. While we are all experienced and knowledgeable snowmobilers none of us have ever run a groomer, so we would need to be trained.

By the way, I havenít heard from Wayne yet.

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Old 03-08-2019, 07:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Been posted for a week and finally got around to reading this. Yes, Neil is correct. Groomers do not move over at all. Thank you Wayne for not taking pictures when you really shoulda paddled my butt with a 2x4 because I knew better than to yield to sleds. thanks for giving me the chance to help you guys out and support the sport. Thanks also for all your hard work.
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Old 03-10-2019, 05:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

There is a large tree completely blocking the trail on 471 just east of Brevort lake rd. Maybe 300í from the road. We could not move it and there is no way around it.
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:48 PM   #16
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Cash View Post
There is a large tree completely blocking the trail on 471 just east of Brevort lake rd. Maybe 300í from the road. We could not move it and there is no way around it.
Thanks for the report Johnny. Wasnít doing much this evening so I rode down with the chainsaw to get it out of the way. Dang was that a thick and healthy tree! Got it 95+% cleaned up before I ran out of gas for the saw. Could probably use one more cut on each side, but the trail is wide open and there is more than enough room for the groomer.

Big shout out to Matt and Christy from Bay City who stopped to help on the way to Iggy after having ridden from Iggy to Christmas yesterday and back today! Thanks for your help guys.
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Old 03-11-2019, 11:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 3-05-19

I did hear about the tree. We couldn't locate anyone available with a sled, so groomer Chris took a chainsaw to take care of it on last nights run.

David, that is super way cool that you took it upon yourself to run down and saw that thing up - totally awesome! Chris said give you a big thank you as his run was running long with all the drifting out there from Sundays storm. Groomers can pull trees out of the way, but it always takes time and effort that is better spent smoothing out trails.

I can't tell you how much we appreciate people just stopping and helping out when something like this happens.
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