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Trail Conditions Straight from the guys who groom them!

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Old 12-02-2019, 09:51 PM   #1
Snow VP
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Default Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

What kind of bizzaro world is this? Snow at the beginning of the season? Big 24+ Hour storm hits the UP, and it wasn't the snowbelts, but all of the lower half of the UP that got hammered? Is down - up, and left - right? Beats me, but it has been a very strange year for weather so far, so why should now be any different?

OK, so here goes, if you didn't hear, the top part of the UP got a pre-Thanksgiving storm, anywhere between 8 and 24in+ of snow in the snowbelts. Flip that. The lower part of the UP got a 30+hr wind event, and then hammered with snow. The lowest totals were on the very East end, and go up as you go West. On Sunday, Iggy got around 10 in, Moran/Tout Lake 16in, Epoufette 20, Naubinway 24, and Gould City 28in.

There are sleds out riding, and I had the first sled by my office in Iggy at 10am this morning. Wayne was in Epoufette and said he can hear them out in the woods there too.

How are the trails? Everything is snow covered well. What I can say is that most of our trails were graded around and just after labor day. The early November snow caught us off guard, and we DID NOT get our post-deer season grading in. That left some frozen washboards out there in a few places, mostly the sand roads, but they should to be too-too bad by the time the base is frozen down.

The RR Grade, and everything on the East end will be A-OK, and in good shape. However the West end is going to be rough for several weeks yet, as the very very VERY wet year has those trails wet, and even flooded in many places. The Caffey has water flowing down the trail in the swamp sections just 2 weeks ago, and the Prout Road between Brevort and Epoufette has many water holes 12-30in deep, and a section with flowing water as of 1 week ago. We are going to need some cold weather before we try to freeze those sections in (now I know how Paridise feels - only our groomers weigh 4x theirs!)

I know there are some trees down out there, we had a major sustained wind storm for 30+ hours, and had 52mph gusts in the straights. We will be getting a few guys out there over the coming days, but it is going to take time. IF you want to go for a rip, and have a saw we certainly appreciate a patrol to open this up for sleds, and cut so the groomer and just push the logs off the trail. Remember the windshield breakers hanging 8ft high too please!

The big questions everyone is asking is: When is the groomer going out. Not 100% sure as of yet. The weather forecast has warmer temps and little snow for the next week, so things are being discussed and prepped right now. It will depend on driver availability and a few other factors. The few drivers that we have right now generally have alot on their plat in December, and then easier schedules from Jan 1st on.

Now, I know a few people know, or have heard rumors, but I need to put this out to the public. There are a few changes afoot around here. Effective immediately, I have stepped down from the day to day operation of the club. I have had to take on much more responsibility in my and my family businesses, and I can no longer just take time off or concentrate on club needs whenever I please. I must be much more selective with my time as I was supporting club activities very much to the detriment of other important activities.

Therefore this post is the official announcement that Groomer Wayne has been promoted to Groomer Coordinator Wayne! (Cymbal crash fireworks explode) OK, not really sure you get promoted, appointed, or just pain roped into something like this, but a big thanks to Wayne for stepping up. Wayne covered for me several times over the last 2 years when my mother was sick and did a great job. Now he has the opportunity to take the operation and shake things up, maybe introduce some new ideas, and mold things into his vision. I call it Waynes World! Wayne is organizing the current drivers, and will soon be calling for new crop of drivers to bring into the fold. We have been woefully undermanned the several seasons. Normally I as able to cover for that with great snow conditions and fantastic drivers, however last season and the never-ending crappy snow showed us all that we could not sustain that shoe-string operation any longer.

Now dont worry Im not going too far. I will still be processing the paperwork, taking care of all the grant stuff, and such. I will be hopefully be able to do a few more fun things this winter, and hell maybe I will even buy a sled!

What will happen to this page? Not sure long-term. There has been a movement to change to a different platform. Maybe happen, maybe not. For the time being I will still be relaying reports here. There hopefully will be Wayne, and more drivers posting here again too. There likely will be in-between and/or cross posts on another platform. But what I do not want to for someone to have to check 4 places to get info about us. There will be a transition maybe after this snow season, but we will all be in one place to gather on-line.

Now, after all the text, the stories and BS, lets just put up what you really want you want pics dont you! OK, so here is my driveway on Sunday night as I was prepping to plow. This was all bare the day before, and we got 2in more after this pic, but you get the idea. I will be working out West tomorrow, and will try to get a few pics here that there to satisfy you.

Glad you are back, and here is to a great 19/20 season!
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-- Neil
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:43 PM   #2
Guest Groomer. Drainer of Water.
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Thanks Neil for the updates, and Wayne for taking on more responsibility. Im excited for another great season. Happy trails everyone!
Nick Westhouse, Grand Rapids MI
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Thanks Neil for everything you have done for the club over the years. A lot of us really do understand how hard you have worked and the time it has taken. You have done an amazing job and the Straits system is the best in the state largely because of the role you have played!
Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly!

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Old 12-03-2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Thank you Neil for all the years, the Straights trails have always been the best! Welcome Wayne! I am more than happy to groom the west side Friday and Saturday's (give guys the weekend off). Can't do it every weekend but I can certainly fill in.

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Old 12-03-2019, 10:45 AM   #5
Johnny Cash
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Thanks Neil for your years of hard work. I always enjoyed your comments on HCS too.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:23 AM   #6
Alan Thomas
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Thumbs up Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Neil, Great work and updates over the years appreciate all your time in making Straits club the best on the east side. Wayne is an awesome guy and sure he will do well in this new role. I have a place in Moran neighbor of groomer Chris. I will let Wayne and Chris know I will be up for the Holidays from Dec 20th until the New Year. Would like to get out on a groom one day for some training on the groomer as I can offer myself up once in a while when I am up for long weekends.

Regards Al Thomas
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Old 12-03-2019, 01:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Neil thank you for all your hard work! Couldn't have picked a better man for the job, I think Wayne will do an excellent job! Thanks for the updates and I am sure I will be seeing you around! Keep the rubber side down and ride hard and right! Braaap on sled heads! I am going to get my season started on Saturday, looks like some water crossings might be in my future
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Old 12-03-2019, 05:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Thanks for all the great work over the years. Hope to see you out on the trails this year.
John Newman
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Old 12-03-2019, 08:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Thanks Neil for all the hard work and making the club the best in the state. Welcome Wayne.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

I cant begin to imagine how much work there is behind the scenes. You took great pride in your job which was obvious in the great trail conditions and your reports. What a great asset to have Wayne take over. Neil, thanks for all your hard work and Wayne, welcome to your new position, I know youll rock it!
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Old 12-04-2019, 12:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Trail Conditions 12-02-2019 Season Begins!

Reports confirmed. There is a crap ton of snow out there.

There is 10in in Iggy, 16in in Moran, 20in in Trout Lake & Epoufette, 24 in Naubinway & Curtis, and 30in in Gould City.

There is also trees down all over the place, so ride with caution if you choose to.

Right now, if I had to guess, we will not get our trails punched open until this weekend. And then the West end may not be done. The ground was not frozen, and there is alot of water out there under that deep snow making vehicle and groomer traffic interesting. The Cut River & Caffey trails are where we will be seeing problems until it get much colder (hopefully next week)

First pic is a road in Gould City, yes the snow is deep enough I had issues with my tracked atv.
Second, snow piles in Epoufette.
The next 3 is the intersection of the RR Grade and Cedarville trail near 123.
Lastly the intersection of the RR grade and M123.
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-- Neil
VP Straits Area Snowmobile Club
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