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Tom's Western NY Trail Conditions
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Scroll Down or click here to jump to current trail conditions
Anyone riding the trails, please email reports and I will post them below
Monitoring snowmobile trail conditions has been a hobby of mine for a number of years. Originally I concentrated on the trails I ride most often locally, the Folsom Trailblazers club trails centered in Varysburg, NY, and trails in the Tri-County Drift Hoppers systems. I have links below and good relations with neighboring clubs, and I try to cover condition reports for this part of western New York. I travel some of these trails myself to inspect conditions, but I rely heavily on riders sending in their first hand ride reports. Send me your personal updates!
In the past couple of years this website/Blog has become more concerned with reporting the best riding conditions over a wide area of the eastern US and Canada. I closely monitor conditions in the far north of Ontario between Cochrane and Hearst, where trails are often the first to open for the season and the last to close.
I am also a follower of Muskoka area trails near Bracebridge and Huntsville, New Liskeard further north in Ontario, and Old Forge in the Adirondacks. I post reports from Tug Hill, but that is a difficult area to report, with many clubs on different grooming schedules.
I will post
reports of truly GREAT riding conditions from anyplace. I am a
cherry picker of riding conditions, myself. Partly because I am a
senior citizen and not as strong as I once was, if I am going to ride,
I want conditions to be excellent. That's what this website is
all about - reporting when and where you can find a truly great ride!
Phone - 716-652-9495
Tom's article on a "wish list" for grooming - discussion of what we wish WNY grooming was like
Archive of 2006/2007 trail condition - 2007 reports (what newcomers to our trail system can expect over a season - many pictures) – Scroll down this very long page for daily trail reports from the past several years for historical data
BELOW: Links to and comments on some area Club Websites:
Oatka Valley Snowmobile Association - this club maintains the trails to the east of the Folsom club from Java and Attica east through Warsaw to Letchworth Park. This club maintains a fairly simple website, but often has recent trail conditions posted. Did not post very regular reports in 2013/2014 winter. Well groomed trails when they have enough snow.
Drift Hoppers -
this club maintains the trails south of the Folsom system towards Arcade. The
club's website is fairly extensive. This website was well updated in
2013/2014 winter season . They do a nice job grooming. (Thanks for the frequent messages, guys)
Folsom Trail Blazers - This club maintains some of the trails reported on by this independent website, in the Varysburg, Java, Strykersville area. The trail guys and groomer operators do a great job. The website is updated periodically with basic onfo. Many thanks to Jim S. who relayed very regular reports on grooming to our website!
Holland Sno-Rascals - This club maintains trails to the southwest of the Folsom system surrounding Holland. The club maintains a pretty good website with an online forum. Trail reports are usually current, if not very detailed.
Colden Trail Riders – This club has been doing a great job, especially the past two seasons. We didn’t have a link to this club before last year, but we're glad we do now. – many ride from the Folsom system over through Holland and onto the Colden Trailriders trails. The trail system includes Holland to Hamburg and Boston trails. Their website updates are excellent in recent seasons. What a club website should be.
Old Forge Town Reports – Although this is the trail condition report posted by the town for their own trails, they are very honest about conditions. I trust them, but do a check on the weather reports for that area as a backup before I plan a trip. The Town of Inlet at the other end of the Old Forge system often posts a detailed trail condition report on the New York State Forum of Hard Core Sledder.
Interactive Trail Map – OFSC Ontario trail conditions - VERY useful and generally accurate
Trail Conditions Website – all over the country, but especially good for greater New York State
HCS New York Region – this is the link for the Hard Core Sledder forum for New York State and often has useful information.
Western NY Snowmobiling FaceBook Page – Facebook is maybe the future
of trail condition reporting – so easy for anyone to contribute in real
Erie County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs – Federation website and links to EC Clubs
Archive Trail Reports – big file with all my old trail reports
Video Tour of Tom’s Horse Farm – ride with me around some of the trails on my wife’s horse farm, the Longacres Riding Camp in East Aurora
Riding the East Side of Tom’s Farm – breaking trail with the Cat Turbo New Year’s Eve.
Park and Ride Locations
- a new page now under construction with information on where you can
unload your sleds and hit the trails around western New York.
Send me your own favorite spots!
Friday, January 30 Update:
Check this video link for a boring 5 minute video of my Wednesday ride out of Emery park. Interesting for those of you who have never unloaded at the park to ride.
Widespread snow yesterday and overnight will be a big help to groomers. Conditions may be a bit bumpy over this weekend, until the new snow gets packed in and groomed. But after the trails are cleaned up from the weekend traffic early next week, we may see the best riding of the season. Stay tuned.
The Further North You Go - - -
Common sense tells us that the weather gets colder the further north you go, with trail conditions often better because of fewer thaws. Out of curiousity I looked up the forecast low temperatures for tomorrow night, Saturday, January 31st.
Western NY = 11 F
Old Forge = 0 FBracebridge, Ont = -15 F
The above temperature range is typical of this time of year, though Ontario temps are a little colder than average.
Thursday, Jan. 29, 9PM Update:
Looks like many of us will get 3" to 5" instead of the earlier forecast of 1" to 3". With our well frozen base, we should be in for some nice conditions.
do you guys like the cold winter so far? I know we have needed
more snow for really widespread good riding conditions, but the past
few years we have had big thaws every few weeks. This winter is
looking like a consistantly cold one. Let's hope it keeps up for
another month or more.
Wednesday, January 28, 8 PM Update:
Powerline trail south of Colden Lakes, Wedesday afternoon
I got a ride in for the first time of this season. No snow for a
long time, then my annual trip to Arizona right when snow finally
arrived! My own ride was a bit eventful, more on that in a
I met a couple of guys as they loaded or unloaded from rides in the Emery park lot. One guy told me that he had a great, freshly groomed ride from Emery up through the Marilla club's trails last night (Tuesday). He says he has been riding Marilla trails recently and they are better than they have been in recent years. One guy's report.
He also reported very good conditions around Byrnecliff on the Folsom system yesterday, though bumpy trails in the woods and very bumpy conditions in Strykersville. (all yesterday)
Another rider had just come off a ride from Emery Park south to Holland trails, then on around Chaffee and back up the powerline. He also reported rough in the woods and a few other spots, but a "pretty good ride" through Chaffee and back up the powerline.
My own ride was exciting for the first time out this year. I can confirm the Colden trailriders website reporting "Monday evening grooming from the Lakes down towards Sardinia. Once I made it to that part of the Colden system, conditions were good. But the ride from Emery park down to the intersection from Colden Lakes sucked; badly in need of a grooming run.
My exciting moment? My turbo was not pulling as it should at first, and I thought it was a clutching issue. Not so. Apparently my brake caliper had hung up and was dragging. It finally released and I hammered it for a hundred yards, saw a bump and let off to slow up. Good thing I let off pretty far in advance of the bump - I had no brakes at all! Apparently I had boiled the brake fluid while the caliper was hung up and dragging. I thought I had blown a brake line, but after about 20 minutes, the brakes started to come back and eventually were fine. I've seen this before when someone was riding the brakes.
have had no great riding reports from Tug Hill; not saying there aren't
good conditions in some places, but none that I know of.
Old Forge continues a disappointing year with only fair to good in some spots. Did not get any of the "blizzard" snow.
Central Ontario (Muskoka, Bracebridge and north) is getting better, but still needs more snow.
New Liskeard, Ontario region looking better with many trails now fully open.
Best riding I know of is still far northern Ontario, Cochrane, Kapuskasing, Hearst. But 12 hours drive from western New York.
Send in your reports.
Thursday, January 22nd Update:
I will be home from vacation early next week and will make some first hand reports again. Doing my reading while here in Arizona. Sounds like more snow is needed almost everyplace.
In western New York, club websites mostly indicate thin base with lots of icy hard frozen spots. Check each site for their own reports.
Old Forge has very thin snow and spring/fair conditions.
Far northern Ontario past Cochrane is good.
New Liskeard area of Ontario, which I really like, is opening up, but still some limited trails.
Trails in most of mid Ontario (Bracebridge) are opening up but have local trails limited and need more snow.
Thursday, January 15, 10 AM Update:
Ride for Today - Try Colden Trail Riders between Colden Lakes and Emery Park. Check their website, but sounds like their groomers have hit that twice this week, including passes last night. I bet that is a good ride today.
conditions in western NY are fair to good, with the very cold weather
this week helping freeze up early season mud holes. Snow is still
thin on the trails in many places, but groomers are out. All this
second hand info to me from reading and guessing. I am out of
town for two weeks. Sounds like a great day to ride locally
coming up Saturday, with pleasant local weather after a very cold
Seems like with my luck, the first good riding of the year locally often comes when I am out of town for a trip. Send in any reports of great riding, and I will post them with in a day or so. I'll be back and doing first hand reports on the 27th.
Old Forge reports "good to fair" with a five inch packed base.
Ontario trails are opening up more places. Limited good riding spots in the Bracebridge area. Fully open trails between Huntsville and North Bay, but neither of those places have all trails open yet.
Trails just beginning to open in New Liskeard area.
"A" trail now fully open from south of Cochrane west through Hearst in the far north.
Friday, Jan. 9th, 6 PM Update:
Folsom Trails are now open for limited riding.
Here is Lee's post for Tri-County DriftHoppers:
Fire them up!..The season has started. The trails are open, but please use caution for this first weekend. The snow is windblown in some areas and corn stubble needs to get knocked down. There will be some areas that have little cover . Groomers are out to blaze a trail and help knock down the bigger "clumps". Please stay on the marked trails and help get the base started.....Have fun and be safe!"
Lee pretty much sums it up; most western NY trails now are open or will be very soon, but very windblown and uneven conditions - ride carefully.
Any really good riding?
6PM - regular correspondent, Andy just sent in the following Friday afternoon ride report:
just got thru riding c4 from north of holland glen wood, thru the
forest preserve to genesee road. C4 was pretty decent, did not see much
traffic, water was minimal. Lots of snow in the woods. Took the side
trail to holland hills, pretty sparse. It appears the open fields, are
not receiving much snow, I.e. Wind blown. Warning. There is a corn
field crossing just as you exit the forest preserve. It was like a mine
field. This section should be re routed. A fellow rider actually was
riding to slow and became stuck in the ruts.
Snowing heavy at 4:00.
Sent from my iPad
My main interest is reporting where you can get a really good ride - email in any ride reports if you have a great one!
Wednesday, Jan. 7, 10AM Update:
Trail Riders and Holland Sno-Rascals trails are open with limited
conditions. About a foot of powder snow. This will quickly
pack down to a very thin base. Go out and have some fun and do us
all a favor by being the "forerunners" to get the trails packed in and
ready for some grooming as conditions permit.
Tuesday, Jan 6, 10 PM:
Heavy snow - whooo-hooooo!!!!!!
Tuesday, January 6th Update:
Finally, some real winter is arriving in western New York. Better yet, we are getting some bitter cold before the heavier snow falls later in the week, so much of the base will have at least some frost under the snow. Good bet that some local trails will open later in the week.
Old Forge: Bitter cold, but not much snow. Trails listed as "fair".
Tug Hill: Good snow coming this week.
Far Northern Ontario: Trails are open and now have a base in the Cochrane to Kapuskasing area. These trails are usually turnpike smooth, but have been a little beat by some reports. Not surprising; they were the ONLY place to ride in all the east the past two weeks and have been bombed with sled traffic - all motels sold out last week. Conditions should soon be excellent as other Ontario trails begin to open this week.
North Bay: Not open diretly on NB trails yet, but Bonfield trails just southeast of North Bay are showing "green". I have ridden Bonfield trails - good well groomed trails whenever i have been there.
Other Ontario trails are out packing.
Lake Mess: Elk Lake resorts are offering free lodging and meals
to volunteers coming to help clear massive down brush off trails.
They got a huge dump of heavy wet snow on Christmas Eve, and down trees
across the trail are in the hundreds or worse. Could be a couple
of weeks or more to open important trails if they don't get some
help. Not sure if the "A" trail through Elk Lake is impacted, but
it sounds like it is.
Saturday, January 3rd Update:
Wild fluctuations in local temperatures will prevent riding in our area for most of the week - things possibly looking promising for late next week?
north continuing to open up more trail sections. The entire
Abitibi Canyon loop north of Cochrane is now fuly open, with much of
the "A" trail between Cochrane and Kapuskasing now open, also.
You can have a few great days of riding if you are up for the 12 hour
drive from western New York. If you've never ridden in the far
north of Ontario, scroll down to some of my pictures and video clips
from my trips last March to New Liskeard, still a couple of hours south
of Cochrane, but similar riding conditions.
Friday, January 2nd:
Cold and some snow on the ground, but I have not heard of any local trails open yet.
Old Forge is improving, reporting "fair" conditions now. Groomers are out packing.
northern Ontario, Cochrane through Kapuskasing and on west towards
Hearst continues to improve, with many trails fully pen in good
shape. The east side of the popular Abitibi Canyon loop just went
green, fully open. Nothing yet open in southern Ontario.
Tuesday, December 30th Update:
Finally some promising news for here in western New York. Forecast updated to heavy snow in parts of our region the next few days. This on top of a little frost in the ground from the past few colder days. keep your fingers crosssed!
Trails continuing to open in far northern Ontario from Cochrane to Hearst. Check the Polar Bear Club's facebook page at the below link if you want to be teased.
Friday, December 19th Update:
The only organized riding I can report as of today is far northern Ontario and Old Forge. Old Forge reports "fair to spring" conditions with about 4" of base. I would not bother, but they are open if you want to try out a new sled or something.
Far nothern Ontario trails between Cochrane and Hearst are opening up, more every day. Some are fully open and in good shape, others open limited. Trails around Cochrane have been open longest and have the best base in my opinion. Some trails also opening in far western Ontario, Saulte St marie area.
Here in western NY, not looking so good, with a warm up next week for a few days.
Tuesday, Dec. 9th, 8PM Update:
Ontario has several trails open with good conditions. Old Forge
announces trails "Open, limited snow cover, marginal conditions".
Wait on Old Forge unless you are desparate to try out a new sled.
Monday, Dec. 8th, 4PM Update:
More trails now open in Cochrane, including most of the L103 loop. Polar Bear Riders club has been hoping to have the first full loop of the season open in Ontario, and they are close if they can finish packing the "A" trail east out of Cochrane to meet up with L103. Interested, local NY riders? It's only an 11 to 12 hour drive north from Buffalo!
expect Old Forge to have trails open limited during and immediately
after the Tuesday to Thursday winter storm, but with warm weather
expected next week, it won't be for long and will be over zero
base. Still - - - - it will be a place to get an early season
Monday, December 8th 9AM Update:
First Open Trail for the season: A section of the "A" trail in far northern Ontario has gone "green", open. A few miles of trail near Moonbeam between Cochrane and Kapuskasing. More to come in the north very soon. Cochrane club is posting grooming pictures nearly every day.
Forge trails officially open today, but no snow there yet. Their
policy is to declare them open on December 8th. Decent snow might
arrive Tuesday through Thursday up there.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 Update:
First post of the season -
official riding reports in yet, but lots of anecdotes about riding on
the streets near Buffalo during the recent storms! The real thing
will be coming soon. Trails are being packed and groomed already
in northern Ontario, where I am monitoring the "Polar Bear Riders"
2013 – 2014 Season Posts
Monday, April 28th Update:
is snowmobiling someplace in the world, but for the Ontario and New
York area i cover in this Blog, we finished sometime in the past 36
hours, when the trails that were "open limited" near Wawa closed for
the season. Almost to the day in April that Ontario trails
finally closed last spring.
Thursday, April 24th Update:
Still Hanging on . . .
A few trails
are still "open limited" just northeast of Wawa off of Lake Superior in
western Ontario. Getting down to the nitty gritty.
Sunday, Easter, April 20 Update
Almost All Done
Hearst far northern corridor is now all closed. But trails are
still open in the Hornepayne area north of Lake Superior. Got
close to the 2013 record for riding in the far north, when Hearst area
trails did not close until April 28th! Two good years in a row.
Friday April 18th Update:
vacationing out west in my RV, but checked in today and see from the
OFSC map that you can still ride on fully open trails in a small part
of the Polar Bear Riders system on the southeast side of Cochrane, and
there are a good bit of trails open around Hornepayne in far western
Ontario north of Lake Superior. Load up if you need a last riding
Thursday, April 10th Update:
I'm traveling in Arizona this week where it is 95 degrees, so it is hard to imagine guys still riding. But trails are still fully open in the far north of Ontario between Cochrane and Hearst and on west. There are springlike conditions coming, with some sections of trail going "limited". Daytime temps in Cochrane will touch the mid fifties for a couple of days this weekend up there, but except for one night, temperatures will be well below freezing at night. So long as that is true, the trails will last well into next week, or longer. Still time for a die hard's last ride if you are up for the drive. Two nights next week with temperature not far above zero.
Last year the final day of far north riding was about April 28th - we may come close to that again!
Monday, April 7th Update:
The Fat Lady clears her throat.
Trails closed all the way north to Kirkland Lake today, with everything in the New Liskeard area shut down.
An important section of the far nothern corridor west of Cochrane also closed, ending the chance for big northern loops.
There are still sections of open trail around Kapuskasing and Hearst and west, but they will be gone soon!
Saturday, April 5th Update:
Good riding conditions are still to be found here and there in Ontario for a few more days, though warm daytime temperatures are now common. The below picture was taken today by the VP of the Mattawa area snowmobile club. He said that the trail was mint, just like it were February! (Tha is to the east of North Bay)
All of the "A" trail in the far north between Cochrane and Hearst and west is still open as of this date.
Thursday, April 3rd Update:
Just for fun:
"5:21 AM EDT Thursday 03 April 2014
Winter storm watch in effect for:
Little Abitibi - Kesagami Lake
Timmins - Cochrane - Iroquois Falls
Snow storm threatening tonight and Friday.
Despite the calendar indicating it is now April, mother nature has decided to send yet another winter storm to Northern Ontario.
Latest analyses show a developing low pressure area over the Southern Plains States this morning. This low pressure will deepen and intensify into a winter storm as it tracks northeast to reach the Upper Great Lakes near Sault Ste Marie by Friday night.
A large area of snow from this deepening low will move into Northeastern Ontario tonight and then become heavy at times on Friday as the storm centre moves closer.
This type of winter storm often produces total snowfall amounts of 15 to 30 cm over the hardest hit areas.
Some ice pellets or freezing rain are possible southeast of a line from Wawa to Timmins.
Brisk northeasterly winds will also result in local blowing snow in exposed areas.
Motorists should consider avoiding travel overnight and Friday if possible. Driving conditions will quickly deteriorate and become hazardous due to very low visibility in areas of heavy snow and blowing snow, and accumulating snow on untreated roads."
Old Forge: Closed for season
Tug Hill: scattered open trails with deep snow in the woods
Ontario: most trails our side of North Bay now closed, and trails from there north through New Liskeard area now "limited", not for lack of snow, but because grooming has ceased
Far north of
Ontario, Cochrane to Hearst, stil shows "green" fully open today, but
if this winter storm dumps a foot of fresh, I don't know if they will
be grooming. Warm days are upon them, though the nights will be
cold a while longer. You should be able to have some fun in the
far north for at least another week, though I won't vouch for groomed
Tuesday, April 1st Update:
Old Forge is no longer reporting - I believe their trail system closed today.
Here's a report posted today on the HCS NY forum that gives an idea of conditions on Tug Hill and surrounding area:
"Yes, there is lots of snow. I rode 138 miles today. Not on Tug Hill.
In general, the issues are
(1) Some landowners want trails closed on April 1. Some clubs close their entire system. You may not know what is closed without checking beforehand.
(2) Most clubs have stopped grooming.
(3) Plowed roads are bare. Shoulders are bare or dirt. Snowbanks are big, hard, and sandy and may not be ridable.
(4) Friday/Saturday rain has caused some flooding.
(5) Lower elevation trails are thin or partially bare.
Find seasonal roads or trails on state land or easement lands/logging roads at higher elevations and you can ride. However don't expect to be able to go on really long rides. You may get to a closed trail, flooded trail, or miles of bare road.:
I have two reports today of 6" to 12" of fresh snow over the weekend in the New Liskeard - Elk Lake area. Doug from PA just got home yesterday and says no grooming is going on but snow depth is measured in FEET still.
I think we are
into spring riding conditions in northern Ontario. If you don't
mind deep ungroomed snow, you could head up now and have a ball.
Watch the OFSC trail map site for up to date conditions. Plenty
of "green" still in Ontario.
Monday, March 31st Update:
Old Forge has downgraded trail conditions from "Good" to "Fair to good". If memory serves me right, they close their trails tomorrow anyway - good year in Old Forge.
Many trails in the Muskoka/Bracebridge area are now closed and showing red on the OFSC map. Trails in North Bay are still open, but many are showing "yellow/limited", and I believe there is no grooming.
New Liskeard on north are still fully open and should be in good shape
this week, with spring conditions from this weekend on likely.
Saturday, March 29th Update:
Old Forge - still reporting "Good" conditions; weather is expected to be warm daytime up there soon, so conditions will quickly become more spring like after this weekend.
Tug Hill - check the reports on the HCS - New York forum linked above - guys had some amazing rides the past few days and like Old Forge, things should be mostly good this weekend, then start to become spring like.
Muskoka area of Ontario - cottage country is now mostly "limited" on the OFSC map - that's mainly due to road running sections getting wiped this week - lots of snow in the bush still.
North Bay - shows all green on the OFSC map still today, but the North Bay club reported parking their groomers several days ago - things will go down hill soon - probably mostly good still this weekend.
New Liskeard - we were just there and it was amazing! They got a good dump of fresh snow the past two days and the trails will be a little lumpy with the deep fresh snow. I think they will groom one more time now, but have not heard for sure. Night time temps will be very cold for the next week, with warmer days - should be at least a week or two more of fun riding, even if not perfectly groomed still.
northern corridor - Cochrane got less snow than New Liskeard this week,
which is good - their trails have been excellent and they won't suffer
from the deep new snow a little south of there. I would expect
Cochrane to have good riding a couple more weeks, likely excellent
early this coming week.
Friday, March 28 Update:
Check out this video clip of Meghan and I having a fun little race on trail L189 near New Liskeard Wednesday. Still great riding up there, though a lot of fresh snow covering the trails today.
Old Forge still reports Good conditions with new snow today - it won't last much longer.
still good, and great if you go north far enough. North Bay
parked their groomers for the season a few days ago, and with warm
days, grooming will soon end many places. But night time temps in
Ontario will be below freezing for a while yet, with slow snow
melt. Going out on a limb, I'd say there will be far north riding
into the middle of April. The snow up there is measured in FEET!
Below: Meghan and some round bales with LOtS of snow!
Thursday, March 27th, 8PM Update:
Just got in from a nine hour drive home from New Liskeard, Ontario. Amazing 205 mile ride yesterday! Pictures and video to come tomorrow. Still great riding up north and a winter storm there tonight.
Closer to home, here's a report just sent in:
love mudhotline. just back yesterday from tug. stayed @ flat rock. went to brantingham, stillwater, big moose, old forge, otter lake, boonville, highmarket, and back on monday. only spot not vgood to excellent was burdick's crossing @ greig. actually coming back thru boonville was good.
went barnes corners, talbot's corners,redfield, osceola, camden, taberg, w.leyden, highmarket and back.
only camen-taberg were not good. best spring riding ever. groomers were out sun nite - monday and as you can see from pictures what we had to put up with.
I'm pretty tired. Will report more tomorrow.
Sunday, March 23rd, 8PM -
Thanks to Don for one more Tug Hill update:
just wanted to let you know that 6 of us just came back from tug
hill on sunday.... went up on thurs and rode over 400 miles from
Friday am to sunday am.. trails were good to great depending on
when/were you rode..... still better than sitting at home..
groomers are still out and grooming trails as of Saturday nite...
trails are in good condition for this time of year....just got 8-10
inches of snow thurs nite.... so get out and enjoy the last of it....
snirt run is 4/11... trails are done after that..... ur site
Sunday, March 23rd, 8AM Update:
Great Riding, but this week might be near the end:
This message was posted online this morning by paarctic from Erie:
"175 awesome miles yesterday on the hill. Unbelievable amount of snow still. Wish we lived closer."
Old Forge is reporting "good" conditions today.
Ontario from Bracebridge on north is still very good - I may head up
there for a couple of days mid week. Weather looks to change up
there by Friday and things will start to go down hill in a hurry.
Saturday, March 22nd, 8AM Update:
More snow has
fallen in Ontario and some of the trails in the Bracebridge area that
were closed on road sections just yesterday are now showing as
available again. Riding should be fine all this coming
week. Widespread warm weather looks like it will arrive by
Friday, with temps above 40 in Bracebridge and fifty here in
Buffalo. Even the far north will begin to deteriorate in another
week if this forecast holds up.
Friday, March 21st, Noon Update:
Plenty of Riding Still!
Old Forge: Still has some of the best riding in the east, including much of Ontario. They got a few inches of snow in the past 24 hours and expect more over the coming few days, with continued cold temperatures. They report good conditions, which I can confirm after having ridden there at the beginning of this week (see my video's linked below). Temperature looks like it will remain below freezing almost continuously for the next 7 days! Don't miss this opportunity right here in NYS.
Bracebridge: The Muskoka region of Ontario is almost exactly the same driving time from us as Old Forge. They still have tons of snow in the woods and on most of their trails, but their road riding sections got blasted this past week and some of the main trails are "closed" for important sections. You could ride there, but not the long loops the area normally offers.
North Bay: two hours further north of Bracebridge, all North Bay area trails are reported in good condition and should still be for another week. Warm days are coming to Ontario around the 28th - there will still be mostly good riding into early April, but road side trails will quickly melt off and it will be like Bracebridge is now.
New Liskeard: Another 90 minutes north of North Bay, the New Liskeard trails are excellent now and will be for at least another week. Above freezing daytime temps arrive at the end of the month and the "bare road trail syndrome" will catch up to them. There should be decent riding, except for road trails, well into April.
The far north of Ontario is excellent now, and will be much like New
Liskeard the first week in April. Trails up there (12 hours north
of Buffalo) are likely to have riding well into April. Often
because of very low use and warmer afternoons, they stop grooming at
the end of this month, but riding conditions should be good through at
least the first week of April, and perhaps much longer. Last year
they were riding in mid April.
Tuesday, March 18th, 5PM Update:
Look out your front door in western New York and enjoy the spring air - but "hold your horses" just a minute! Looks like yet another arctic air outbreak early next week. The ground will be so warm by then that I can't imagine riding here in western NY, even if we get a little snow, but the arctic air will come south from Canada just in time to assure some more great riding in Old Forge, Tug Hill, and all over Ontario.
Meghan and I just returned from two wonderful riding days in Old Forge - not spring conditions - near PERFECT conditions. It was five below zero when we fired the sleds at the moterl early this morning. On our way back, trails we went by on the Hill also looked good. Old Forge is having a warm afternoon today, and temps in the 30's daytime, but cold at night the next two days - then COLD and snow, with 4" to 8" of snow predicted Wednedsay night. And cold well into next week. There will be very good riding in Old Forge for another solid week.
VIDEO: A short clip of Old Forge trail #1 taken Monday afternoon; plenty of fresh grooming - THIS is a trail!
Another video taken on upper part of trail #1 with some editing pizaazz.
One of our Pennsylvania readers just got back from a weekend in North Bay and sent me the following:
"19 of us returned to western Pa. yesterday from 4 wonderful days on
perfect ( conditions like February!) trails in the Magnetawan,
Bonfield, Northbay ontario area. Worth the drive at least thru this
week. Lakes were great too." - Thanks, Doug
I did a little
weather research, and it looks like the line in Ontario where they will
not get very much over freezing this week is right around North Bay,
just as Doug wrote. Bracebridge should make out OK, but they will
be a little warmer - stick to North Bay and further north if you want
to ride this week and next - or maybe even longer! (NOTE: after proof
reading this update, I zoomed in on the OFSC interactive map around
Bracebridge, and sure enough, they are showing very short stretches of
yellow/limited trail in various places - I know this area, and the
limited sections are in places where you have to do some road
running. This fits the weather pattern of the past few days along
with the March sun.)
Sunday, March 16th, 9:30 AM Update:
Nope - On a quick tour of area club websites, I found no open trails this morning, due to no snow or very icy conditions. If you want to read some dreary details, there is a detailed writeup on the Colden Trail Riders website. I would say we are done for the year in western NY, barring a miracle.
Out of Town:
Old Forge reports three inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and good conditions. It will be very cold there over the next two days, then temps in mid thirties in the daytime the rest of the week. They should have some riding for a week or two more, but deteriorating conditions. I expect them to downgrade from "good" to "good/fair" by Wednesday. Trail #5 will be beat.
Tug Hill - lots of snow most places, but expect icy, bumpy patches, more every day most places. I'm speculating here.
Mid Ontario, Muskoka - Bracebridge region. They report fully open trails still. I know from my trip last week that they have FEET of snow in the woods. Road crossings and sections that run the roadsides will be thin now. Temperatures reaching the mid thirties later this week will hurt those road sections, but I expect decent spring riding for another week and a half, maybe more.
North Bay - just a little colder than Muskoka, but temps still inching into the lower 30's just above freezing the second half of this week. Good conditions, except road crossings, should hold for another week or two.
New Liskeard & north - Colder still - temps remaining just at or well below freezing for another week. Great riding conditions.
Cochrane to Hearst - the gold standard. Excellent conditions still. Twelve hour drive.
Saturday, March 15th, 8PM Update:
Sadly, the temperatures in the low 50's stayed with us late last evening and we lost a lot more snow than many of us expected. The sun this afternoon didn't help any. Temperatures only dipped below freezing again an hour or two ago.
Although we'll have plenty cold enough temperatures from now until Tuesday morning, I just don't know if there will be enough snow anyplace for any clubs to open trails. Check club websites and I'll post if I hear anything, but don't get your hopes up.
Then temps rise into the 40's every day from Tuesday through the end of the week. That should do it for the season, barring an unexpected late season storm. Last spring we rode locally until March 25th.
There should be great riding in Northern Ontario for several more weeks, maybe more. I'll post details here until those far north trails close for good, in case any of you feel like a long drive!
Two Years Ago:
riding in 2012 was February 25th or 26th. And even the far north
of Ontario was done that spring on March 15th when the trails finally
closed in Hearst, Ontario. By contrast, trails in Hearst last
spring (2013) were open until April 28th or so - they almost made it
Friday, March 14th, 9AM Update:
Folsom, and Colden trails, among others, are formally closing trails at
various times this morning because of the rising temperatures. I
advise ALL to stay off trails during this brief warmup. If you
do, we will likely have decent snow left to reopen Sunday for a few
Thursday, Noon Update:
trails also now open. I just spent an hour working on my
driveway, which is a lot like a trail in winter. Pretty nice out
right now! Get on out with your sleds and pack those open trails
so they will be ready for some weekend grooming.
Thursday, March 13th, 7AM Update:
Holland, Folsom, and Oatka trails now listed as open
reporting plenty of fluffy snow over a mostly unfrozen base.
Trails will get better with a little traffic. Whether or not
clubs close again tomorrow, I suggest staying off the trails tomorrow
afternoon when temps rise into the 40's. Those higher temps will
nicely settle the fluff and we might get in several days of nice riding
from Sunday through the middle of the week.
Wednesday, March 12th, 6PM Update:
Colden and Hamburg clubs are the first to open their trail systems. ride with caution.
Wednesday, March 12th, 11AM Update:
Weather Roller Coaster!
Blizzard conditions today, then over 40 degrees, then another Arctic air mass - yikes!
Stay tuned or
check club websites to see if anyone opens trails soon. Most
likely prospect is that some local trails will open on Sunday after the
storm total snow settles a bit in the brief warmup, and after
temperatures begin a cold spell that looks like it will last several
days. Could be a few days of nice local riding at the beginning
of next week - we'll see.
Sunday, March 9th, late evening:
We drove all day and got home just now from New Liskeard. Like I said this morning, we had a really great time!
Picture below - west of Earlton, Ontario this morning - there will be snow up there for some weeks to come!
Sunday, March 9th, Noon Update:
A Great Four Days!
Meghan and I
are packing up to start home. We got in another terrific ride
under bright sun this morning and were the first sleds on some of the
trails since the overnight grooming. We rode from New Liskeard
out towards Elk Lake and back. We had set aside a few days this
coming week to drive around looking for great riding, or to wait out
bad weather. But after four days of perfect weather and fine
trail conditions we're going to quit while we're ahead. I'll post
some more pics and video tonight. Not sure whether we'll make the
drive home in two days or drive all the way today - some weather is
coming in, so we'll see if the driving conditions hold up. When
you ride in northern Canada, driving conditions are always part of your
planning. Two years ago we were up here and a snow squall and
truck accident closed the only main north south highway for 24 hours.
Saturday, March 8th, 5PM Update:
Come North, My Friends!
This is what I ride for - three days and counting now of near perfect trails and perfect weather. I am known to be a bit of a wussy about the conditions under which I will ride. At my age I'm no longer interested in racking up every possible mile of riding over the winter. I collect memories of great rides.
And I find some of those rides locally. I've posted video of a perfect ride across a freshly groomed Tri-County trail, and another clip of a fine ride on the Colden Trail Riders powerline trail. Meghan and I also enjoyed a fine blast across Bennington on the Folsom system one afternoon. So great rides are possible locally, but we all know the challenges local clubs face including frequent melt downs, spotty snow, and all the other challenges of trail prep and grooming. Amazing that we have as much good riding locally as we do.
But if you want to experience some snowmobiling heaven, head north of the border during a good winter. Or try a great winter like Canada is having this season!
My dream ride is over freshly groomed trails on a deep, solid base, with scenery to match. But that's not enough to please a finicky old fart. I need bright blue skies, next to no wind, and temperatures near zero in the morning to put that crunch and sparkle on the snow, but rising to the mid or upper teens by afternoon. A little colder is OK in bright sun. That's not asking too much, is it?
Not this week in Ontario! Meghan and I rode in perfect conditions in Bracebridge Thursday afternoon and again Friday morning. Then drove further north to New Liskeard where we just finished another perfect day of riding Saturday. I'll post more video later tonight.
Video here - this clip is of a local trail, which was, if anything, even better than the "A" corridor trail.
It looks like our sunshine is going away for a day or two tomorrow, but the silver lining is that we're supposed to get some fresh snow to cover the evergreens. That'll make for some picturesque riding if we stay up here a few more days. Not sure if we will after tomorrow - hard to beat the perfect conditions we've already experienced. (We had light snow while driving north from Bracebridge yesterday, and more last night, which put two to three inches of fresh powder on the local trails for us this morning.)
conditions should be prime in central and northern Ontario for another
week or two. If you've never ridden up here, you owe yourself an
OFSC riding experience. It's the high point of the winter for
Meghan and I every year about this time.
Below: Tom near Temagami
Below: Meghan on the "A" trail near Latchford
Friday, March 7th, 8PM Update:
Most local trails closing tonight. I'm up in Canada, where trails are far from closing. I've had some messages and checked websites. Looks like most western New York trails have been stripped by the strong March sun. Most are listed as closed. Some hope to perhaps open next week if more snow comes, but it will be tough.
I will post a video here that I took this morning in Bracebridge, Ontario. Sweet! There should be excellent riding in Canada for quite a while to come.
Meghan and I
were able to ride in bright sun on great trails around Bracebridge
yesterday and this morning. Then as it began to cloud up, we
loaded up and drove four hours further north to New Liskeard, where we
are supposed to have another sunny day tomorrow. We're thinking
of riding here for two days and then heading even further north to
Thursday, March 6th, 9PM Update:
Meghan and I
enjoyed great weather for our drive to Ontario today. Except for
one bad traffic jam in Toronto, we made good time and were on the
trails in Muskoka by 2PM. As others have posted on the HCS
forums, conditions are AMAZING! There are mountains of snow in
this part of Ontario, piled to the eaves of houses in town. The
snow next to most trails rises up to as much as 4' above the adjacent
trail, and two feet in most places. There should be excellent
riding here for a while. Because it has been so cold for so long,
the base is deep and solid. Most trails are flat smooth even at
the end of a day of riding with a fair amount of traffic
We enjoyed the typical Muskoka trails through the bush and forrests today. We'll go for one more ride on the "D" trail tomorrow morning, then head north to the wide open high speed trails further north, spending the weekend riding in the New Liskeard region.
Check out a YouTube video I took this afternoon on the "D" trail next to the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge.
Tuesday, March 4th, 9PM Update:
Tri-County Trails are now open, have been two days and I missed it.
I'd like to compliment the Colden Trail Riders website. They've consistently had detailed trail condition reports this year. Very nice job. Read their current update about area conditions this week and the prospects that this will be the final week locally.
I'll try to
post something again tomorrow, then I will be out of town riding in
Ontario for a week. I'll try to post some teasers while I'm up
Sunday, Mar. 2nd, Noon Update:
Lose one, Gain one
Marilla trails closed today, but Folsom trails are opening after receiving a few inches of snow last night.
"Guess What??? TRAILS ARE OPEN.. Snow is thin north of 20A. No grooming will be done at this time. There may be washouts and trees down. Use caution and report any issues. We will do the best we can to address these.
Ride Safe and respect landowners.
Oh. Please remember Meadow Lane is not a short cut to The Flip Side.
Here in East Aurora we had a solid three inches of fairly heavy snow last night. Definiitely will help the trails that were already open and had heavy traffic yesterday!
Careful with those Hand Signals!
Not one, but two guys put me at risk yesterday using unnecessary hand signals. This is one of my pet peeves, so bear with me while I rant. I have always believed that giving the multi finger signal showing how many sleds are following in your group is unnecessary in many situations, and actually dangerous if you are not an experienced rider.
Example yesterday: twice I met groups where the leader took his hand off the left bar and gave me a signal, and bobbled his steering as he did so without slowing a bit on a narrow trail. If you cannot steer perfectly, you have no business taking one hand off the bars to signal while riding fast and passing head on on a narrow trail. If you feel compelled to tell me how many sleds are right behind you, pull a little extra out to the right side of the trail, giving extra room for the pass, slow down just a bit, and then carefully signal.
IF there is any rational reason to signal. In both of the above passes, we were on the powerline trail with visibility of oh, let's say half a mile down the trail. I saw all four following sleds; what earthly reason is there to give a hand signal telling me that?
When signalling is useful: If you are in the woods or on twisty trails or coming over a hill, then absolutely it is helpful to signal oncoming sleds that several are following you. Even the snow-cross gonzo's might slow a bit for a minute in that case. Which is safe and helpful.
How about that
"closed fist" signal that you are the last one in your group? I
think that should never be used. All that closed fist signal
means is, "I happen to be the last sled in my group, and if you are
really stupid, you will now blast on down the trail and plow into some
sled that might be right around the next corner." This is not a
signal I want to send anyone.
End of rant.
Some Long Range Accuweather:
It is ten days out, but here is some long range Accuweather:
Riding weather next weekend, but warming up.
A week from Tuesday - 46 degrees and bright sun. (fast melt)
Then a few cooler days.
Then 55 degrees by a week from Sunday (two weeks from today).
I'm thinking a
few of our trails will stay open through next weekend and maybe make it
to Tuesday, the 11th. I'll bet that will be it for around
here. By then, I hope to be 500 miles north in Cochrane or
Sunday, March 2nd, 8AM Update:
Marilla Trails closed again
Because snow has been less and traffic high yesterday in warm weather, Marilla trails are again closed.
The trails on
and south of the Colden ridge remain open and mostly in good
condition. That includes Colden, Boston, Sardinia, and the west
side of #16 for the Holland trails.
Get out and ride while you can. I would not be surprised if this is the final week of the season locally. We are now under the March sun, which being higher in the sky is much stronger. I noted even on Friday driving around in ten degree weather, that where the sun hit pavement or bare ground, it instantly melted any snow.
There is lots of snow on Tugg Hill - should be riding there for a while.
very good with lots of snow in much of Ontario, but because of the
spring sun, even a few days of warmer weather late next week will hit
them and they will go down hill in a hurry. Especially roadside
I am hoping to hit Old Forge and Tugg myself Monday & Tuesday and then make my annual March trip to the far north for a week beginning late next week. I'll report!
Here's another YouTube video from yesterday's ride on the Colden trails.
Saturday, March 1st, 1PM Update:
Thanks to Colden Trail Riders!
Many thanks to the Colden club, one of the first to open after the thaw. I drove around their system by car yesterday and I did about 30 miles on my sled starting from Emery Park this morning. Up on Colden ridge, there just seems to be more snow than most other areas. Meghan and I had an excellent ride this morning! It may not last all day - traffic was heavy - at 9:45 this morning there were more trailers at Emery Park than I've ever seen, and more were pulling in every few minutes. Not surprising - Colden and clubs to the south are the only game in town this weekend.
We met lots of sleds out on the trail. The base was well frozen and had adequate snow most spots, but had some icy and near bare short stretches. Glad we are supposed to get a few more inches of snow tonight and tomorrow and a return to cold weather.
Here is a Youtube video of the Colden groomer on the powerline trail. We passed them twice - they had the trails in mostly very good shape and continued to work this morning!
I took some GoPro video and will try and post one later today.
I bet the
trails will be a little rough and have a good bit of dirt showing
through by tonight, but if we get three inches overnight, things should
be decent again tomorrow.
Thursday, Feb. 27, 10PM:
club opened trails earlier today, but has found that the wind has blown
many fields bare - they may close again tomorrow. Check their
website or here before riding tomorrow. Even if they stay open,
the club warns about icy conditions and big chunks of ice near the
Centerline road crossing.
Thursday, Feb. 27th, 9AM Update:
Holland Trails WEST of Rte #16 now Open:
We now have a cluster of clubs with open trails including Colden, Boston, Sardinia, and half the Holland trails. Ride with caution because of the glare ice under fresh powder many places.
Colden Club reports increasingly good conditions with another 3" of snow last night. More snow the next few days will help things get better and better each day.
still closed as far as I know in Tri-County, Folsom, marilla,
etc. I'd guess they will be able to open by the end of the
weekend with two shots of additional wide spread snow coming.
Wednesday, Feb. 26th, 9AM Update:
Boston, Colden, and Sardinia trails are all open, with warnings about very icy conditions. Ride with care.
Tuesday, Feb. 25th, 8AM:
Colden Trail Riders are the first to open their trails after the thaw. Check their website - they report five to eight inches of fresh powder over the frozen and icy base that survived the warm weather. Ride with caution. And keep your fingers crossed that we get the wide spread heavier snow that is being mentioned in the long range forecasts as possible for the beginning of next week.
I'll let you
know if I hear that other clubs are opening. This will vary
depending on how yesterday's meandering lake snow bands hit different
areas, and how bad the melt was in each area.
Saturday, Feb. 22, 7PM:
Meghan and I took a long drive today down #219, then east on Genessee Road through Springville, Boston, and Sardinia, then back north along #16. There are a bunch of washouts, with small rivers crossing some trails in low spots on fields. There will be issues to clean up if we get to groom again.
But there is also good news. There are long stretchs of good solid trail base left. We could have got in some good riding (though icy) this afternoon. I think if we get even three inches of fresh snow during the coming week there will be places where trails can open again. But if so, it will be a "watch out for those washouts" kind of riding!
Below: Frozen trail base with flooding
Saturday, Feb. 22nd, 11AM:
Old Forge reporting fair to good, but did get some melt.
Much of southern and eastern Ontario got heavy rain and got hurt.
Here is a reliable report from North Bay this morning:
"North Bay got about 5-6" of good snow which wasn't forecast which is terrific.
Our Redbridge Groomer was out at 7:00 a.m. as you see from GPS track."
Friday, Feb. 21st, 2PM Update:
I took a ride out from East Aurora to Byrncliffe, then back in Centerline Road, and up through Emery Park. Lots of bare fields out near Byrncliff (worse than near East Aurora). Lots of heavy flooding on low trails. But still a good bit of frozen trail base many places. Some may remain after the thaw, with temps dropping already this afternoon and the rain over for the moment. The other good thing is that frost is deep in the ground many places which will aid freeze up when air temperatures drop again tonight.
Much has been lost, but not all.
Some pictures here from this morning.
Wednesday, Feb. 19th, 8PM Update:
Oatka Also Now Closed:
Not looking good - we'll hope for the best, but it looks like heavy rain tomorrow and tomorrow night. Oh, well.
Wednesday, Feb. 19th, Noon Update:
Most local trails now closed to try to keep some base during the warmup.
One exception is Oatka, which is choosing to stay open in spite of rough conditions in places.
advice: Stay home and keep your fingers crossed that we get
through the next four days without the heavy rain that is possible.
Tuesday, February 18th, 5PM Update:
Colden Trail Riders have already announced that their trail system will close first thing Wednesday morning. My vote would be for every club to follow suit.
Looks like we have about 36 to 48 hours of temps in the mid 40's Thursday and Friday. Not as bad as previously forecast. The fly in the ointment is possible heavy rain. Do your "anti-rain dances". If the heavy rains do not materialize, then I think we will hold onto much of our base in western New York. Thunderstorms could sure change that for the worse.
The late weekend and early next week forecasts are inconclusive about new snow, but it is possible.
Monday, February 17th, Noon Update:
Good to Very Good COnditions around Folsom
I just took a drive looking at some of the Folsom area trails from the road. Conditions look good to very good, much better than I would expect after a busy weekend. I passed fresh groomer tracks crossing #20A near Byrncliffe, so they are already out doing more grooming.
Here are some pictures I took along #20a and at Byrncliff, where there were about half a dozen trailers this morning. The sun is out, trails are well frozen, and I wish I did not already have a commitment this afternoon!
Here is a link to a video that reader Kevin Knarr sent me of the ride they took yesterday.
Attached below is a video my friend made from our ride early Saturday morning. We met at Holland Willows and rode east out through Sardinia way then out towards Bliss. The trails were in very good shape. We came in the eastern side to the Lodge for lunch. Then took the old rail bed towards Strykersville for gas then back out through Holland. It was a 150mile ride with the trail conditions good to excellent.
Here's another link to a quick video clip I took of a rider crossing #20A near the Auction barn and headed north towards Marilla. 11AM this morning.
continues to look a little less scary each forecast. We'll have
to wait and see, but I think if we stay off the trails from Wednesday
afternoon through Saturday, we might retain much of our base.
Some snow coming again Sunday, "MAYBE".
Sunday, Feb. 16, 9PM Update:
In the latest
long range forecast, late week temperatures have trended just a little
lower than the past few runs, with freezing temps back by Saturday
evening. Our trails might just hold up if we stay off them during
the thaw. If current forecast continues, maybe trails close
Wednesday morning and might be able to open again Sunday? We'll
see what the next few forecasts bring.
Saturday, Feb. 15th, 1PM Update:
Meghan and I just got home from a fifty mile figure eight ride around the north and south sides of the Folsom trail system. Mostly good to very good conditions with stutter bumps forming, especially out of corners. I will post a video later taken out towards Java on some trails that were excellent. Railbed trails look like they were groomed last night and are pretty good, with some bumps now forming. We hit some very good sections on the north side of 20A. There were quite a few sleds on the trails and we spoke with a few groups that were travelling through from a distance away. There were only 15 trailers in the Byrncliffe lots at 12:30 PM - surprisingly few.
Video to come later on today.
Friday, Feb. 14th, 1PM Update:
Already Very Good, About to be Excellent!
Just had a
phone call from Jim in the cab of one of the Folsom Club
groomers. He likes to give me updates right from the trail.
He says that nearly every inch of the Folsom Club trails will have been
groomed freshly either yesterday or today, or tonight for tomorrow's
weekend riding. The Folsom trails were already in very good shape
when Meghan and I rode them on Wednesday. They should be near
perfect tomorrow morning. I may try to get out for another ride
then. Jim says that they may touch up a few trails again tomorrow
morning while lots of you are riding, so watch out for groomers on the
trails. With the warmup coming next week, there are likely to be
a LOT of sleds on the trails over this weekend!
Friday, Feb. 14th, Noon Update:
Happy Valentines Day - Don't forget to make mom happy!
Very Good sledding pretty much everywhere - get on out there over the weekend and enjoy before the Wednesday warmup.
Locally - very good nearly everyplace.
Old Forge - reports Good conditions
Tugg Hill - Below is a recent post from HCS, others on the forums agree:
"unloaded at 46 corners around 930 got back around 3ish, camden to florence to redfield through wionna forest over to bc to fill up on gas. Then up to Copenhagen then to montaque to tablots corners then across the rail road bed back down camp 2/4 road back to 46 corners to load up. 132.4 miles of the smoothest fast trails i have ever seen in my life. Big thumbs up to all he clubs we traveled today. It was like a ghost town even more then this past weekend."
Ontario: All good - the Bala - Port Carling trails that have recently been beat up because of down groomers are once again showing all "Green" - should be good to go.
Ontario Far North - excellent with very little traffic since everyplace further south is also so good.
Thursday, Feb. 13, 9PM Update:
Trail Bosses - Food for Thought
Many trail bosses and snowmobile club officers become weather junkies, like me. We are always looking as far out as we can trying to get a handle on what mother nature will do to the trails and trying to figure how that might effect grooming plans, trail closures, etc.
There is "weather stuff" in the long range forecasts. it seems quite likely that we will have temps in at least the high 40's by Thursday a week from now, and those temps will likely last four days through the following weekend. Not good. But there is better news in the 10 to 14 day forecasts, which at this very early date, are predicting another very cold spell beginning around the 24th.
The "food for thought" for clubs is whether to keep trails open as long as possible and use them up, or to close them at the first sign of 40 degree weather in hopes of saving the base. If we had no long range cold weather in site, the smart move would be to get in a couple of extra days of fun riding as it gets warm. But with the possibility of another arctic pattern, perhaps it makes sense to close trails next Wednesday night and try to keep the snow base on the trails until temps drop again after the weekend of the 22nd. It is too early right now to know which way to go. We will have much better forecasts by this coming Tuesday. Still, this is something clubs might want to talk about. If there is no change in the long range forecast we now have, the idea of closing on the 19th or 20th in hopes of preserving the base until the week of the 24th might make sense. A lot depends on whether we get signiificant rain during the warm spell. And things might change a lot by then.
What Does this Mean to You?
butts off between now and the 19th. We should have a really nice
riding weekend coming up now and through the beginning of next week.
Thursday, Feb. 13th, 5PM Update:
"Ride of the Month!"
yesterday, Meghan and I had a great ride around portions of several
club trails. We got lucky when we hit the Tri-County trails
between Java and Chaffee. A groomer had just made a pass and we
met him on the way back for a second pass on the same trails! My
GoPro video was working just right.
Hope you enjoy this video clip on YouTube. If you have a fast connection and a nice computer monitor, watch it full screen in 1080P. Sweet trails and a fine ride. (Posted at 4:45 PM - it will take an hour or two to process in full HD 1080P.)
Out of Town:
Old Forge reports good conditions.
Mike reports great Tug Hill conditions.
Pretty much all of Ontario is in fine mid winter form with only a few trouble spots. The club that covers Bala and surrounding trails west of Bracebridge has had bad groomer problems, like our local Holland club is going through, but they are beginning to get caught up - only two trails now show yellow/limited.
conditions nearly everywhere, I hear traffic in the far north around
Cochrane and Hearst is very light. Conditions should be very fine
Thursday, Feb. 13th, 1PM Update:
Two more email messages came in today. The first is from a reader with some trail info, including comments on trail issues in Holland. The second is directly from the Holland club president with some very helpful information about the issues they are having. Very nicely worded and a good look at what goes on in the background as the clubs try to keep up. Thanks for the report, Tim
First the rider report:
"Tom, we left from the pizza inn in clarence about 10am on wed. took the ness trails first with the idea of rideing to strkersville. the ness trails were awsome! as we headed south, some of the trails were marked poorly. caused us to get lost a few times. when we got to holland, some the trails were extremely bumpy. made it to strykersville, but it took 4 hours!. on the way back, took a different route past the kwik fill. those trails were great. made it back in 2 hrs! on a different note, when we left it was 5 below. Monday i leave for jamaica, a contrast of 90 degrees! also, i want to wish you an early happy birthday (feb 24, same as mine). hope theres snow when i get back, Tom"
Here's Tim Beechler's nice response from the Snow-Rascals:
Tim Beechler here, President of the Holland Sno-Rascals. Sorry to hear about your poor riding experience through our trails. :( As always, great job with your trail reporting, I like your honest approach and not beating up on clubs when things aren't perfect. Just alerting other riders of what to expect.
What route did you take through our system so I can set some priorities.
Long story short, I hope you understand it's not due to a lack of effort. Equipment woes have killed us this year. Right now we have a machine down on the trail and another one that continues to have fuel issues. Tried to groom Sunday night, machine wouldn't run right. Fixed it Monday night and I groomed S41 up to the powerlines and C4/C4A back to Hunters Creek. (I'm guessing you rode C4 down by the speedway from the Colden Powerlines, wish you had take taken S41) Got a call while I was out that the other machine broke and had to be left on the trail. Gentlemen went to go out last night and once again more fuel issues. He's fixing that today and I'm hoping he can go out today and then I plan on going out tonight. Hopefully the machine on the trail broken will get fixed today as well. Wish I didn't have an 8-5 job because it's tough doing these things at 7-8 at night. Hoping to have everything nice for the weekend before the warmup.
Trying to keep my chin up and get through this, Happy Trails!
Update - Right after I sent this e-mail I got a call that more debris was found in the fuel system causing our issues. Groomer is running great again and in Strykersville right now then headed to S46a this afternoon. I'll take over the sticks at about 6 and hit C4 up the Speedway trail to the powerlines. Now if I get a call the other groomer is off the trail and up and running again it'll be a good day. Sorry to send you all this, just figured you'd be interested."
Thursday, Feb. 13th, 8AM Update:
Mary and I just got back from camp in Osceola, NY Spent 7 days riding some of the smoothest trails up in that area on the hill ever in my 40 years of riding! The traffic was very low too from all of the state having snow for a change probably. 900 miles and not a bad mile of trail was pretty awesome, we really hated to come home but work calls……
When we got home we went for a quick ride to Strykersville and back to the Marilla line, over to Bennington and on to Byrncliff. Then back toward home past groomer barns and to Harris Corners. Some of the nicest conditions here I have seen in recent years too for the little snow thats out there to work with. Ryan and Luke went out in the Tucker last night and groomed up the trail to Strykersville and back to the barns. Jeff will be out to touch up the trail to Marilla and to Schelkoph Road this morning.
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7PM Update:
Just got home
from a fun afternoon ride. Will post a more complete report later
or in the morning. Did not go as many miles as planned because we
got a late start, but what a fine day to ride! Rode through some
Folsom trails, through Tri-County, west through Sardinia, north through
Some Colden Trail Riders stuff, across Holland trails (pretty beat),
then back to Folsom. Except for several bad sections in Holland,
riding was very good to excellent. More later.
I enjoy it when one reader pitches in to help another. Here's a response to Dan's questions from Pat; maybe others will find it useful:
In response to Dan’s question. There is a gas stop station/convenient store/restaurant in Perry, NY, near the north entrance to the park. It’s called the Silver lake Country Market. It is on the corner of rt39 and standpipe rd. Trail C4 crosses standpipe road just west of the store. Should be signs. if not, there will be plenty of tracks heading east along standpipe rd. Hope this helps him out.
(NOTE: Dan and
Pat traded emails today correcting the above gas locations. In
case you were following this thread, here is the updated info: I have
located two other possible stops. There are two gas stations
Perry - there is a mobile station off of C4 on the corner of Lake street and S Center st., its near the north end of silver lake, where the trail crosses at Oatka rd. its east approx. 2000ft east down lake street. Should be tracks heading that way or signs in the area.
Silver Springs – where trail s30 crosses Broughton/church street. The gas station is located on the corner of 19A and east perry ave (7). Not sure where the trail is to get there, but its not far from the main trail should be signs.
I would land make both of these stations and in the worst case you may have to ride the shoulder of the road for a little bit to get to them, but atleast you will get gas.
Sorry for the false info initially. I have not been that way this year yet. Hope you have a good ride.")
You should have a great ride today. I live in Sheldon, we rode last night, trails are hard, flat and fast, well groomed. However, still dealing with the some frozen bumps under the new snow from the last thaw.
Meghan and I are pulling out in a few minutes for a long ride. Call us wimps - we waited for it to warm up a bit; also had to deal with frozen pipes in our tennant's house.
Also - nightdragon responded to my post about me getting lost last week:
"just saw your blog about getting lost isn't that half the fun about riding?" - LMAO
Tuesday Evening, Feb. 11th Update:
Meghan and I are planning a ride south from Byrnecliffe through Arcade and west, then back up through Colden trails tomorrow afternoon. Should have some pictures and video tomorrow night.
Dan wrote in the following questions. I am afraid that I have not ridden to Letchworth in all my riding years. If someone else can help him, email me the info and I'll pass it on to Dan.
Tom.. I read you trail conditions website often.. Great source of
information, pictures and videos.. Thanks for the good
info. I was wondering if you can help me with a question i
have. I don't have a ton of experience that far east to letchworth
state park and i would like to get my wife there on the snowmobiles
Saturday. If i leave byrncliff then head down to the south
side of letchworth and ride north up through the park and back to
byrncliff my GPS says it is about 90 miles round trip.. That is to
close for comfort on gasoline. One miscue navagating and we will
be "walking" My GPS is awesome but it does take me the wrong way
sometimes. My question is because of the lack of information on
gas stops on snowmobile trails, Is there a fuel stop location in silver
springs, perry or i can jog up to Warsaw area? I Attached a PIC
of my planned estimated route. A 100 mile day is a
nice ride for my wife as long as we have fuel in the tanks and the GPS
is working. She would like to takes pictures of the park so i
would like to get her there. Do you have a recommendation for a
Late lunch stop also?
If you don't know that is OK but i figure you were the one to ask and i thank you in advance."
Monday, Feb. 10th 9AM Update:
Plan to Ride!
long range weather forecast is pretty nice. For the first time in
a couple of years, it looks like we are in for a prolonged period of
good riding over a wide section of western New York. Enjoy!
I plan a long Wednesday ride.
Sunday, Feb. 9th, 4PM Update:
Tom Gets Lost
Pretty embarrassing - I'm the guy who writes about trail conditions, and Meghan and I got a little lost yesterday. It was an example of not paying attention to even well publicised changes in trail routes from year to year. Somehow we never got out last year onto the section of C4 that used to run from North Java over to the campground through a nice thick forrest. That part of C4 now is routed over S43 and south along Hummbert Rd to where it meets C4A. I can now, after the fact, remember being told about this, but it did not get mentally filed properly. Before we knew for sure a change had been made yesterday, we were well out #33 onto Oatka trails. Anyway, the moral of the story is have a current copy of the trail maps and pay attention when a nice guy like Jim takes the time to tell you about a re-route!
Because of the embarrassing ride yesterday, I took a few hours today to go out, buy current copies of Erie, Wyoming, and Cattaraugus trail maps, and then drive around the roads in some areas I don't normally ride giving myself a better idea of where the various trails run.
Here are some pictures taken during our drive today.
Here is a short video clip.
Plenty of snow everyplace this afternoon. Should be great riding the coming week!
Sunday, Feb. 9 Update:
Conditions across a wide swath of western NY seem to be decent for riding. Read the following ride report from a very ambitious rider. 370 miles - wow!
Just wanted to say thanks for the reports and to the clubs for all their hard work. Rode fri and sat was able to get 370 mi on some of the best conditions in this area in a long time. Started on folsom up to lechworth down to Franklinville, west valley, springville and worked my way back through all the locals a few rough spots but all in all 8-9. Then set out to little valley and back pretty much riding every club along the way. Great job
Folsom member, groomer"
I am thinking
that today's and tonight's light snow will provide just enough for
groomers to touch up the trails after the heavy weekend traffic.
Should be some fine riding on the sunny days coming the middle of next
Friday, Feb. 7th, 5PM Update:
Folsom Good to Very Good:
Looking for good riding tonight and over the weekend? I just got in from riding mostly the southern half of the Folsom system, and conditions are good to very good. They would be excellent in many spots, but for all the wind blown snow on the trails. I rode just a bit onto Oatka trails and Tri-County trails, and they were bumpy near the Folsom system, so I turned around and stayed on Folsom trails for the afternoon. I'm sure oatka and Tri-County will be caught up soon. I talked with Jim, and he told me Folsom groomers will be out again soon to take care of the wind drifts across many of the trails.
Meghan and I had a great ride! I will post a Youtube video late tonight.
Thursday, Feb. 6, 3PM Update:
I took a drive out around Byrnecliff this morning. Plenty of snow on the trails and the Folsom club has been grooming. Snow is not really settled yet, but riding conditions are good. The upper parking lot is fully plowed and frozen up solid. There were two trailers parked at Byrncliff at 11AM.
Some pictures at this link.
Wednesday, Feb. 5th, 9PM Update:
now open - their website reports that all three groomers are out and
working tonight. Should have some FINE riding at the end of the
Wednesday, Feb. 5th, 3PM Update:
Colden, Tri-County, Holland, and Oatka trails are all now open. All suggest caution as the trails get their first use in a while, watch for fallen tree branches and washouts.
Folsom is holding their trails closed just a little longer, but I am sure will open very soon. Check their website.
had a heavy dump of snow right after I posted this morning, and the
same appears true all across our western NY riding area. Most
clubs are reporting grooming beginning either right away or overnight.
Wesnesday, Feb. 5th, 10 AM Update:
Weather radar has been out for almost 24 hours, so we can't easily tell how much snow is falling in different areas. But there is less here in East Aurora than I had hoped for. I'd bet most trails will be able to open tomorrow, but I'm less sure there will be enough for widespread grooming. Stay tuned.
10:30 AM -
Colden Trails have opened. Most others in the area remain closed
until a little more snow falls or what has fallen sets up just a bit.
February 3rd, Monday Update:
Could Very Good News be Right Around the Corner?
It's still a little unclear of the exact storm track, but snow is coming Tuesday night through Wednesday. Maybe 6 to 10 inches, and not lake effect, but widespread snowfall! If the best case scenario pans out, nearly all western NY trails could open Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. If the storm forecast holds, I hope every groomer in the area is fueled up and ready to run all night Wednesday night. We have cold and sunny weather forecast after the storm Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Could be the first sustained good riding of the year, especially since it is right on top of a well frozen base, given the cold temps after the rain and slush and light snow of the past two days. Let's get every club ready for action so we can do big loops over the coming weekend.
Of course, we are talking about western New York - with our luck the storm track could shift south and miss us completely. But I am betting on good snow.
Thanks for Park and Ride info:
Several of you have sent in Park and Ride information for our new page. I am posting things as they come in. It will take some work to organize the info and put it up in the most useful format, but we have a good start.
Here is a list I have gathered over the years. I hope it helps your drop and ride list. I agree this info is to hard to find!
lots of info, and warns that it was gathered for his personal use over
several years and that some could be out of date. We'll all work
together to update the Park and Ride info.
February 1st Midnight Update:
Pretty Slushy Out tonight!
What a mess I found arriving back in town after ten days in Arizona. Still good snow cover on my driveway and farm trails, but the rain has soaked the snow into a slushy goo. I'm sure area trails are much the same. Glad that cold weather is returning soon.
I don't know
what was going on with the OFSC interactive trail map earlier today
showing many closed trails. But they are all showing fully open
again tonight. Everything in the far north Cochrane to Hearst,
including the Abitibi Canyon loop looks good, as I have heard from
other sources. Same with many of the other destinations in more
February 1, Saturday Update:
Folsom is closing their trails again because of the thin snow cover. Here's their update:
"After a few reports of trail conditions, we are going to close our trails at midnight. Even though the ground is frozen, some of the fields are just too rough and some areas of the trail system don't have enough snow. Hopefully, with a couple inches of fresh snow, we can re-open."
Out of Town:
Old Forge reports "fair to good", which I would not make the drive for.
Bracebridge Ontario area and North Bay area both showing most trails fully open.
New Liskeard area shows most trails open, but not all the way between there and North Bay.
Abitibi Canyon loop is closed again.
A number of
Kapuskasing area trails now show as closed, and I don't know what is
going on there - they were the first to be fully open and I saw an
online report of a ride all the way between Cochrane and Hearst through
there the other day reporting great conditions.
January 30th Update:
Sled Drop Off - Trailer Parking:
Just got the following email from Pat yesterday. He makes a very good point, one that we're going to do something about.
I haven’t sent in any trail reports in a while (probably because of the lack of snow)but I was thinking about traveling to some of the other clubs around western NY. (I’m in Wyoming, NY and a member of Oatka Valley) So as I browsed around the various club websites looking for who’s open….it struck me!
Not one website from any of the various local clubs have a listing of public places where ‘out of towners’ can unload and go ride! (Including my club) I think we are missing the boat on this. We as clubs WANT people to come use our trails, see our scenery, visit our businesses, but we don’t tell them where they can go unload.
Can you help pass the word to our clubs? It doesn’t necessarily have to be on the map, put it on the websites….I’m sure the businesses and the riders will find this info very beneficial! (Especially when we are all driving around looking for snow….) Thanks.
I very much agree with Pat. I encourage webmasters to add a "Trailer parking" page to their websites. But I also see that as a very useful thing that could be implemented across club boundaries here on "Tom's Trails". I will work on it over the next few days at the following link: trailerpark.htm on this site.
Send in your descriptions of legit trailer parking sites and I'll add them.
January 26, Sunday: Rich sent in the following report on the Colden Trails yesterday. He wrote again last night that Colden got four to six inches more snow yesterday. But Colden and Folsom are two of the few with open trails. Oatka and Tri-County still have wind blown fields and are closed.
I am in Arizona this week with temperatures in the 70's. Sorry!
Here's Rich's report:
Good day! Rode most all of Colden Trail Riders trails today. All was decent except for the wind blown open fields. Main power line trail was good, due to it being cross wind and thus picking up wind blown snow. Rode out of Colden Lakes to head towards Chestnut Ridge Park, but turned around by Omphalius/Cole rode area due to heavy moguls, traffic, and well worn trails.
Pics to follow. Lunch at Colden Lakes was shared with about 35 other sleds. Pics to follow.
January 21, 1PM Update:
A mixed Bag
Lee from Tri-County wrote me and sent a telling picture of how thin the snow is in many of the fields. Their trails remain closed.
Jim called me from the Folsom club and they are opening "limited" with no immediate grooming, but ground is frozen and they welcome riders to pack in the trails.
"We have decided to open our trails with limited conditions.
Trail C4H by Rt. 98 and Dunbar Road will remain closed until we can get the ice removed from the flooding last week.
Please use caution while riding and report any serious conditions.
Because of the problems we have had throughout our trail system, please stay on the trail. - Jim"
Colden Trail Riders system is "open limited" with a good report on their website (link above); Holland and Oatka trails remain closed, I believe.
Out of Town:
Old Forge still reporting only "fair" conditions with a lack of snow. Check the HCS New York Region link above for Tug Hill reports - sounds like the usual very mixed bag.
Conditions slowly improving with most Bracebridge area trails open and in good shape, and North Bay trails looking to be good again after the rain and slush a little while ago.
Happens about this time every year. Just when trails start to get good, I go on my scheduled Arizona vacation for 10 days. Starting tomorrow. I will do some updates from my laptop, so send in any ride reports. But it will be more like every other day or two until after the Superbowl.
January 18th, 1PM Update:
Colden Trail Riders club link above and read a well done and detailed
report on current snow conditions in our area. I drove some
backroads through the northern part of the Trail Riders system and what
I saw an hour ago is just what they are reporting.
January 18th, Saturday Update:
Well, not much good to report locally. The cold weather is good news, with the ground freezing nicely. Some light snow every day for a while, so MAYBE some trails will begin to open again in a few days, but no heavy snow forecast unless there are lake effect bands here and there.
The last thaw and rain hurt everyplace.
Old Forge is still reporting only marginal conditions.
Much of Ontario was hurt by the thaw and rain. Muskoka area opening again, but lots of gaps in the trail system.
New Liskeard is now open for nearly all of their trails - might be some decent riding there this weekend.
North Bay was hurt with lots of slush last week, but is now opening up again on most trails.
The Abitibi Canyon loop up north of Cochrane closed again. More snow needed everyplace.
My "Best Bet" this weekend would be new Liskeard, about 8 + hours north.
January 13th Update:
No good news
The closest riding that is really likely to be good/excellent is all the way up in the northern corridor of Ontario, between Cochrane and Hearst on trail “A”. Even in Cochrane, temps went just above freezing yesterday and today, but not enough to hurt trail conditions.
Even North Bay is reporting slushy conditions and rain over the weekend.
Nice that temperatures apparently will be dropping this week, but I don’t see significant snow in the forecast.
Jan. 8th, 9PM Update:test
Enjoying the weekend forecast yet? Temps in the 50’s Saturday with moderate to heavy rain for a while. &%$#&^%###$%Yeeeeeech!
January 8th, Wednesday, 1PM Update:
The wind was a killer of many field trails. Folsom and Tri-County are both reporting their trails closed. Oatka also says closed on their website. Holland and Colden Trails are reported as “Open”.
Old Forge reports Good conditions.Tug Hill got a big dump of new snow, which is good and bad there; go if you like drift busting. All that snow is likely to be good for mogul building, so go at your own risk. Let me know if I am wrong.
Ontario – more trails are opening. Two thirds of North Bay trails and most of adjacent Bonfield trails are now fully open, as are most Bracebridge – Baysville – Dorset trails south of Huntsville.
The snow that fell locally was fine and dense, rather than the fluffy powder we usually get in cold weather lake effect, so what we have will pack well. Before much of it melts in the near 50 degree rainy weather forecast for Saturday. Looks like a great weather day for riding tomorrow, so load up and trailer to trails that are open. With the wind blown bare fields, that may not include nearby normally great trails like Folsom and Tri-County. Stay tuned.
January 7th, Tuesday, 4PM Update:
Most Trails Closed
Not much point in my reporting weather, which is the big news all over western NY. I will pass on the fact that most of this snow has missed the southern clubs like Tri-County in the Arcade area. They have closed their trails for lack of snow and snow blown off the fields by the high winds. Those winds will leave many near bare fields even where a lot of snow has fallen.
All this may be moot, given the likely meltdown over the coming weekend. Sucks to live in this yo-yo temperature regime! Sorry I don’t feel more optimistic. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and we’ll have a period of solid trails. Let’s see what is open and rideable on Wednesday night and Thursday before the warmup.
January 7, 3AM Update:
Heavy Snow, But - - -
Snowing like stink right over the Folsom and Tri-County trails. Snow should be measured in feet when we’re done, as you all know. Should be some good riding Wednesday afternoon and Thursday after the winds die down a bit.
Temperatures near or greater than forty Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and ?????
These wild swings in temp just suck. Think about heading north.
Locally we will probably have riding through part of the weekend, at least, but getting slushy.
January 5th Update:
Here It Comes!
Looks like we’re in for a real blast of winter over the next three days. Let’s hope we get a prolonged cold spell with the lake effect snow.
Are You A Website Guru?
I need a new website page editing program.
What Webpage Software Should I use?
I edit several websites that are mostly text information. I use simple word processing programs like WORD to add information. That works fine so long as we don’t change many pictures.
We also do more and more of our Internet promotion on our Wordpress Blog or on Facebook. That works OK, but we need a better way to edit more complicated web pages on our regular websites.
I’d like to add more pictures to this website without having to link to separate picture albums. Word processors are not well suited to this kind of work.
So if you are a club website editor or other computer expert and you have a suggestion for software I might like, please email me. What I’m looking for is a photograph friendly webpage creation program that is SIMPLE – all I want to do is create and maintain individual pages, not complex websites. We want the ability to create a simple page full of pictures and text info, and to be able to edit the text and change pictures and change links to other web pages.
I’ve got a lot of smart readers out there. Make some suggestions!
January 4th, 2PM Update:
It’s a nice sunny day for a ride. Meghan and I just got back from a 26 mile quick jaunt around the Byrnecliff area on some of the Folsom trails. Conditions were fair, early season riding, to some good spots and a few well groomed very good short stretches. Progress is being made.
There were perhaps 25 trailers at Byrnecliff just before noon.
Check this link for a short YouTube clip taken with my GoPro. Unfortunately, I had the camera pointed too low and all you see is ten feet or so in front of my sled most of the time, so I only posted a minute or two. But you will get the idea. The problem with most places on the trail system is that the base is very thin and not set up well yet, so if you run carbides you will be hitting rocks all the time. But it’s a good start. When temperatures plunge on Monday, this base will set and all the new snow we are expecting next week should put us in good shape.
Conditions may be better further south where more snow fell during the past few days. I’m waiting for ride reports.
Meghan enjoyed today’s ride, so if you are on the fence, head on out this afternoon or this evening. Just be prepared for thin base, rocks not far from the surface or kicked up by the groomers, and lots of ripples and bumps from snow blowing across the trails.
Southern Tier Clubs
Just got the following email. We should probably post links to websites and Facebook pages from nearby southern tier clubs, since the heaviest snow seems to be falling in that direction. Send in suggested links.
I have been following your page for quite some time and now I invite you to monitor our face book page for the Southern Tier Snow Drifters. We are based out of North Collins, but our trails extend into Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties. We are trying to keep up to date with trail reports and/or problems. When I am out in the machines I will also post pics to the FB page.
Vice President - Southern Tier Snow Drifters.
January 3rd Update:
Check this link for a few pictures taken near Byrncliffe on the Folsom trails this morning. Some freshly groomed, others not yet, but soon I am told. Even the ungroomed trails look like a good ride with some sled traffic having packed them in but not yet moguled them up.
There were five trailers in the Byrnecliff parking lots at 11AM. With light wind and sunshine, it looks like a good ride, even with temps hovering just above zero.
Abitibi Canyon is Open!
This won’t mean anything to many of you, but some riders live for the trip to Abitibi and the east’s little version of mountain powder riding. Nearly all Cochrane area trails in northern Ontario are now open, though I bet not many are riding with nighttime temperatures the past few days at forty below zero.
Old Forge reported only fair to good yesterday, but is back to reporting good conditions on top of a solid base today.
Let’s get some first hand ride reports in. Get out on those trails and report back to me!
January 2, 2014, 9PM Update:
Jim called and reports second hand that Marilla trails will open tomorrow. NOTE: There is apparently a landowner problem requiring closure of the C4 trail in Bennington just where that trail leaves the Folsom trail system and heads north parallel with rte #77 onto the Marilla system.
Nearly all Folsom trails south of rte #20A have now been groomed or will be tonight. They will begin grooming north of #20 tomorrow.
Most western NY trails are now open after the very widespread snowfall today.
January 2nd, 2PM Update:
Lots of Trails Opening & Groomer Action
Thanks to Roger for the report that Boston club trails are now open and groomers are out.
Jim just called from the cab of a Folsom groomer. They are out grooming with two machines. Jim reports that the snow is really coming down out their way. He reports that a section of the C4 trail that had been closed due to a landowner issue near #98 is being re-routed this afternoon and will be open and groomed by tonight.
Big Picture Locally:
There should be plenty of snow area wide by the weekend and the frigid temperatures should help freeze things up. The brief warmup to above freezing on Sunday should actually be beneficial settling the new snow, followed by another arctic blast next week to freeze everything up further. Keep your fingers crossed that we don’t have another western NY “special” winter thaw late next week just when things should be looking really good! Nothing in the forecast to indicate that, but you know our luck recently.
The full screen view of the trail maps for Ontario are beginning to look more green than yellow or red. The RAP (round Algonquin Park tour) trails are almost all open. North Bay is still closed, but the nearby (just southeast) Bonfield trails are now fully open; that’s where a lot of “North Bay” guys ride anyway.
Colden and Folsom Trails both open as of this morning.
Current (10AM Thursday) temperature in Cochrane, Ontario = 42 below zero!
New Year’s Day, 9PM Update:
Check this link for some pictures I took this morning around Chaffee, just south of the Milestone, and on back roads east of #16. Lots of snow, probably 10” to 12” of fresh most places. Tri-County opened today and will be grooming over the next few days. Good move to get sleds out and packing the fresh powder first. We hope the Milestone will be hospitable to trailer parking again this year; today their lot was partially filled with huge plowing drifts and there was less space for trailers than most years. The Earl’s Drive in lot was available, unplowed. Four or five trailers there this morning. We saw half a dozen sleds out in the area in a short time period.
Old Forge is now reporting trails back to “Good Condition” again after a fresh 12” of snow.
New Year’s Day 9 AM Update:
Trails Begin to Open:
Tri-County trails now listed as open – the following posted this morning on their website:
Happy New Year!!....Let's start it off right with OPEN trails!
We got 10" of snow yesterday through last night. Please watch for wash outs and any limbs down. The groomers will be out with the next snow fall, with any luck before the weekend. The guys will be wanting to try out the new trail paver drag that is getting delivered this weekend. This now completes the updates our drags for better trail setting. Have a Safe and Fun White New Year !!
Others will likely open soon, especially those more to the south that have had heavy snow.
New Year’s Eve, 9PM:
Want to drive up and ride the freshly groomed trails between Timmins and Kap in Ontario tonight? Temperature will dip to a chilly -38 to -40 degrees F tonight and tomorrow night with balmy daytime temps rising to a bit warmer than -20!
Tuesday, New Year’s Eve:
Still reporting only fair to poor.
Regular correspondent, Andy, sent the following last night:
I agree with the conditions reported on your site for Tug Hill.
Rode out of the Nice and Easy Gas station yesterday in Constableville/Turin. Rode most of the day. The vast majority of trails were not groomed and had heavy moguls. Traffic was fairly heavy as well. Good snow cover though.
Check the HCS New York link at the top of the page, for other reporting on Tug Hill, including a new Blog with some good reporting.
Check the OFSC link for interactive trail reporting. Trails all over Ontario are now going “green”, including one of my favorite 4 hour drives, the Bracebridge – Huntsville area. And a very long stretch from Timmins to Cochrane, and west all the way through Kapuskasing is now fully “open”. If you’re up for a 12 hour drive, that’s your preferred destination this week!
Monday, December 30 Update:
Lake Effect Tuesday – Yee-haaa!
We knew the arctic cold was coming for all of this week, but only this morning did the weather service decide that indeed, we will have significant lake effect snow on Tuesday. With very cold air today and tonight before the snow, the ground and mud will freeze nicely.
I would bet we will have trails opening again Tuesday night or Wednesday. Stay tuned.
Tug Hill – I read a report yesterday that many Tug Hill trails are still open, but 75% moguled.
Old Forge – Fair to Poor
Ontario – More opening every day, but still another week or so needed. Arctic temps all this week will really help up north.
Monday, Dec. 23 Update:
You guys can look out your windows and see the trail report. At least the temperature is falling again, so a little snow is in the forecast.
Old Forge is reporting only marginal conditions after the rain. Not worth the drive.
Most of Ontario escaped the rain and continues to improve. Sections of trail are upgrading their reports from “limited” to fully “open”. There is a nice section between Orillia and Midland that is now fully open – about three ½ hours drive from us in western NY.
In the far northern corridor, Kapuskasing area trails have gone from yellow to all green on the OFSC interactive map, above. Only a 12 hour drive, LOL!
Saturday, Dec. 21st, 9AM Update:
South to North – Where we’d rather be!
Wow – the snow is sure disappearing fast! I knew the trails would be toast locally, but we may get down to green grass on the fields too.
Just to give you an idea of the temperature gradient from here on north, Bracebridge in central Ontario may get some ice pellets and a little freezing drizzle this afternoon, but will not get above freezing, and will retain their impressive snow pack.
And if you really want cold temps, as I write at 9:30 am, it is four below zero in Cochrane and will be 18 below at night over the next couple of days.
Old Forge’s website is still claiming “good” conditions, but it is 46 degrees there and I am skeptical.
All but one short section of the far northern corridor in Ontario, Cochrane to Hearst, is now open “limited”. Very soon they will go fully open the whole distance on the “A” trail.
Friday, 8AM Update:
Here’s the formal announcement from Tri-County Drift Hoppers; consider all western NY trails closed, unless you know different; thanks to Jim from the Folsom club for contacting many other clubs and confirming to me that all we have heard from are now closed.
From Lee: Tom,
I hate to have to report that we must close our trails before the weekend even gets started. Might have been OK to ride this morning, but too hard to control the sleds once they are out riding. Hard to believe we may lose all this fresh snow.
Here is our Web site post:
The Trail are Closed as of Friday 12/20/13 due to the recent warmer temperatures and the forecast for rain and continued above normal temperatures. This is really hard to do after all that fresh snow last week and the effort of so many to get the trails opened up this week. We must do this to prevent the trails from turning into mud runs and out of respect for the landowners. Lets all hope the warm front moves through quicker than they say it will......keep dreaming for a White Christmas!
Thursday, Dec. 19, 11PM Update:
With the temps above freezing all afternoon I had thought it would be a clear call to close trails for tomorrow, but I was out on my own trails this evening a short while ago and the snow is still holding – even a bit crunchy. I checked Folsom and Tri-County websites, and no mention of closing trails yet there.
If you want to squeeze in one more short ride, you might get one in first thing in the morning before the rain really picks up. Check here or the club websites before you go in case the trails are officially closed tomorrow.
If I were making the call, I would say “Closed after lunch tomorrow”.
Are We Too Far South?
Maybe. With a little bit of climate change going on, western New York seems cursed with regular melt downs every few weeks the past few years. Frustrating for all of us who ride. Just try to imagine how discouraging it is for the active club guys who work their hearts out all fall, then get a dump of snow like we’ve had, groom the trails for miles and miles, finally open the trails in great shape, and “WHOOOOSH” – the warm winds and rain come and they are back to where they started. I can’t imagine doing that. Two years ago, it was really bad, with only a few days of riding all season.
Just a couple hundred miles further north in mid Ontario (Muskoka), they still have brief warm spells, but nothing like here. Or a thousand feet higher elevation and just a bit north on Tug Hill and in Old Forge, the melts are less severe.
And in the Ontario far northern corridor, they don’t get any more snow than we do (probably less), but from early December on, it NEVER melts up there!
We’ll hope for the best over this weekend, but it is not looking good.
(Looking for a little bit of good news? Ontario is beginning to open all over the map. They are only getting a touch of the warm temps over the weekend, and should have long stretches of open, connected trails by Christmas.)
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 Noon Update:
Folsom Trails Good +
I personally checked some of the Folsom trails near Byrnecliff and along #20A and #77 at 11 AM this morning. They were better than I would have expected, the snow was holding a set (though not for long with rising temps). Trail conditions ranged from fair, to mostly good, to very good.
Check pictures at this link.
I drove in a car, but actually walked out on some of the trails and kicked snow. At 11 am the snow was holding firm. I expect it to start to get slushy later today, and with temps in the 40’s and rain tomorrow, forget it.
I would think the conditions I saw around Byrnecliffe would be typical of other clubs that have run their groomers, like Tri-County. Get on out there and enjoy our one day of decent riding, just like so many other recent years. Hope the line between rain and mixed precip is just south of us, rather than just north of us this weekend. Where that front sets up will make a world of difference.
At 11 AM there were five trailers in the Byrnecliff parking lots and the nearby trails showed a moderate amount of sleds having passed through. More than just a few.
Wednesday Dec. 18, late evening:
Report from Folsom Groomer operators:
Just a quick line to tell you I have just finished trails from groomer barn to Marilla line and the split to Shelkoph road and back to groomer barn tonight. Groomer barn through Byrncliff to Thomas this morning. Barn to Strykersville we did last night. Overall everything is not bad with the usual water holes here and there.
hope to see you soon!
Wednesday, Dec. 18th, 8PM Update:
I’ve heard directly that both Folsom and Tri-County clubs have done extensive grooming the past two days, but I don’t have any first hand ride reports yet. Let me know if you got out today. I’m going to try to get out around some of the trails myself tomorrow – spent two hours digging my trailer out of three feet of snow today! I had thought of riding to the Tri-County meeting tonight, but I am a big “Miami Heat” NBA fan and they are playing the Pacers tonight, so I had to stay home! If you plan to ride, go for it early tomorrow since the warmup is coming.
Four days of 40 degree plus days coming up L We’ll see what we have left when it gets cold again next week. The big question is just exactly how much rain will come during the four warm days. It will be cold enough to start snowing again on Monday, but the long range is not predicting heavy snow; keep your fingers crossed.
Old Forge is still reporting “good” conditions with a slim base.
Some guys riding on Tug Hill, with the usual mixed reports.
Check the OFSC link above for the interactive Ontario trail map – lots more small sections beginning to open. Longer stretches of the “A” trail around Cochrane now open “limited”.
Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 Update:
Western NY trails open in two days. Don’t expect perfect conditions, in spite of and because of all the snow. The ground is not frozen most places under all that snow, and it is still very light powder not packed most places. We need the warmup coming at the end of the week, IF it doesn’t give us a serious melt down! Keep your fingers crossed that we have only two above freezing days and that it does not rain heavily (possible). We do have a below normal temperature period coming back early next week, so if the snow settles but does not get seriously rained on, we will have a good base by Christmas time.
Old Forge has upgraded to “good” conditions.
“A” trail in northern Ontario continues to open in more sections, and Bracebridge is showing sections open “limited”.
Things are coming together.
Guys are riding on the hill, with very mixed reports showing online. Check the HCS link above to read for yourself.
Trail Opening Dates:
Most western NY clubs open Wednesday, the 18th
Old Forge is open now
Redfield Club on Tug is open now
Various seasonal roads on Tug Hill open now
Most other Tug Hill clubs open Monday, 12-16
Check Holland club website – they are finishing trail marking and might not open for a day or two after others
Check all my info before you travel, especially if you’re heading to Tug Hill spots
Snow Depth Teaser: Redfield and Constableville on the hill are reporting 56” and 58” of snow fall from this storm, settled down to 42” on the level. Everyplace on the hill appears to have 2’ or more.
Saturday, December 14th Update:
Good Early Season Progress:
Old Forge and Tug Hill continue to get hammered with deep snow. I have no first hand reports from Tug Hill, but online posts indicate a few trails beginning to open there.
Old Forge trail conditions have been upgraded from “fair” to “fair to good”. Base is still thin because the snow has come down so fluffy.
Local clubs are on track to open on the 18th, as scheduled. Slight concern that temperatures will rise above freezing on Friday the first day the trails are open. Keep your fingers crossed.
New trails beginning to open every day north of the border. Several sections of trail are now open “limited” on the “A” trail in the northern corridor around Kapuskasing and Hearst. A section of the “B” trail southest of Algonquin Park around Barrys Bay is open, as is a section of trail southwest of Burk’s Falls. Check the OFSC link at the top of this page.
Thursday, Dec. 12th Update:
Tons & Tons of Snow!
Simply enormous amounts in the traditional lake effect belts, both off Lake Erie and on Tug Hill and into Old Forge, as well as the Muskoka region of Ontario. Very light powder, so not the best for packing, but we’ll take it all.
Legal riding spots are beginning to pop up, but remember that trails do not generally open until after deer season next week. Old Forge is open, and they claim it is “fair” with 6” of base and a lot on trailside.
There is a section of the “B” trail in Ontario open on the southeast side of Algonquin Park if you want to ride a fully open and groomed section.
In one of my favorite riding areas, the far northern corridor of Ontario, the Kapuskasing club just opened “limited” on a section of the “A” trail.
More coming soon, and little warm weather in sight.
Wednesday, December 11th Update:
Lots of Snow!
Jim from the Folsom club called me this evening and reported 25 inches on rte #77 and still coming down hard. We have about 20” in East Aurora and the storm total page on NOAA’s website indicates wide stretches of 30” plus snow in the lake effect belts. Better yet, it is supposed to stay cold for a while.
Remember, STAY OFF trails until they open on the 19th (?). Ride only on private land where you have permission until then.
Tug Hill and Old Forge are getting slammed also – Old Forge is open and will have fair conditions for Snodeo this weekend.
Muskoka, Ontario is not open yet, but also is receiving heavy lake effect snow off Huron and Georgian Bay.
Cochrane in the far north of Ontario is out packing trails and should open very soon.
Saturday, December 7, 2013 Update:
Riding opportunities are coming soon! The last trails to close every spring anywhere near us and often the first to open are northern Ontario between Cochrane and Hearst. It will be 18 below zero in Cochrane at night beginning Tuesday (zero as I write). The Polar Bear Riders club posted on their Facebook page that a groomer was heading out this week to pack trail.
Closer to us in the Muskoka region of Ontario, there are snow squall warnings up for tonight.
Actually, guys have been doing informal riding in western New York, what with our early snow and cold. Some guys have been bad, riding closed club trails – please don’t – someone actually was dumb enough to cut a lock and open a farm gate on a Holland trail and that trail may be lost. Wait until trails officially open in another two weeks.
Thanks to Dan and Andy who have sent in snow reports and comments already. Keep the trail and ride reports coming, guys – just wait to ride the club trails until they open.
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 Update:
Did anyone ride today? Be the first to send in a ride report for the coming season, even if it was just around your back yard. I am considering a trip around my farm later tonight – we have about three or four inches here in East Aurora on grass areas and temps falling to near 20 later. Temperatures will rise to near 60 over the weekend, so this is a one day teaser!
2012 – 2013 Season Post
Sunday, May 6, 2013 Update:
NO, I’m not reporting that you can still ride, though I’m sure that in the Arctic or Greenland you can someplace. But we did almost make it into May in Ontario! I missed checking the Ontario trail map for a couple of days early this week, but trails around Hearst only closed on the 28th or the 29th of April.
ALMOST made it to May! This is the final update until next fall. Bye!
Saturday, April 20th, 2013 Update:
STILL Riding in Ontario!
Trails are now closed from Moonbeam through Kap and west until the Hearst system. But they are hanging on as “open – limited” in all of the Polar Bear Riders system around Cochrane and from the Hearst system nearly all the way south to Wawa. April 20th – wow.
NOTE: Last spring the final trail closure in the north, the Hearst trails, closed for good on March 19th. We have over a month more riding this winter!
Thursday, April 18th, Noon Update:
Winter Storm Warning for Hearst!
I am not kidding – on April 18th, we have a storm warning for Hearst, Ontario, with 8” to 12” of new snow expected on the still “open limited” trails in the Hearst area! There will be below freezings temps Friday and Saturday, then warm days for next week, so things will melt down soon. But might we see a few trails open until May 1st? Maybe!
Wednesday, April 17th Update:
I’m enjoying checking the northern Ontario trail condition map every day. Still showing “open limited” all around Cochrane and Hearst. I read a posting from a guy who was out today up north on his sled, and measured 24” of ice with an auger. Simply amazing for this time of year! Snow still waist deep many places.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 Update:
Trail just north of Timmins now closed. Most Cochrane area trails and all Hearst area trails are still listed as “Open Limited”.
Monday, April 15th Update:
Middle of April and they are still riding in northern Ontario! Only today did the Polar Bear Riders in Cochrane finally close the Abitibi Canyon loop, and only because the necessary refueling station at the Canyon closed after this weekend. Cochrane area trails are otherwise still “open limited”, with plenty of snow (2” of fresh the other night), but no grooming since the end of last week. Trails between Moonbeam and Kapuskasing are now closed, but the “A” trail from Kapuskasing all the way through Hearst and back south a ways are also “open limited”.
Sunday, April 14th, 2013:
STILL Some Far North Riding!
Trails are still “open limited” in Cochrane and Hearst – closed now in Kapuskasing. But April, friggin’ 14th! Pretty good year for far northern Ontario! Temps rising to the upper 40’s the next few days and 50’s mid week, then getting cold again end of next week, but we should be done sometime this week.
Friday, April 12th Update:
Going Fast - - -
Cochrane, Hearst, and nearly all other northern Ontario trails were downgraded to “limited” conditions today, with grooming ended. There are a couple of short local sections of trail still “open”, but things are melting fast.
Thursday, April 11th, Noon Update:
The Fat Lady Clearing Her Throat
- - - But not yet quite ready to sing around Cochrane!
Unbelievable that I am able to talk about good riding conditions on April 11th! But Cochrane is still fully open and is getting several inches of fresh snow with below freezing daytime temps, even, the next two days. The trails are still in good condition even before the fresh snow, and the new snow will keep the trail surface soft for the next few days. Daytime temps will rise into the 40’s beyond that and trails will quickly officially close, but diehards wanting a final ride will likely find patches of good trail for a week or even two – might not quite make it to May, but close!
But the end is coming. Kapuskasing trails have been listed as “limited” for a week, and went “closed” today. Hearst trails went “limited” today. Only Cochrane still lists their trails as fully “open”, and that is thanks to the Polar Bear Riders who have been grooming right up until a day or two ago. They just posted final grooming ending yesterday. Hats off to those guys!
We’ll monitor the far north until they go “closed” everywhere.
Monday night Update:
After 4” to 10+” of new snow over the weekend around the northern corridor (Cochrane to Hearst), someone posted the following snow depth table online:
According to this morning's snow-depth results (April 8th), the Northern-Corridor is at a season high for snow-depth at 93 cm on the ground. Amazing, especially for April.
Another rider near Wawa reported pushing snow up over the hood wherever he rode yesterday.
Monday, April 8th
Cochrane Still Open
The snow line is steadily retreating north, but Cochrane, most of Kap, and Hearst are still open. Today trails closed in all of Iroquois Falls and on north to the Polar Bear Riders line on the “A” trail. Other mid Ontario trails also closed today. But with 4” of fresh snow over the weekend and colder temps this week, there should be riding in Cochrane through next weekend. A fine season up north!
Sunday, April 7th, 2013 Update:
And It Keeps on Going!
What an amazing spring in the far north for snowmobiling. Four inches of fresh snow on the trails in Cochrane last night and the Smooth Rock falls club is out grooming the “A” trail today. Pictures posted online show flat & smooth trails. And after a warm afternoon today, back to cold nights and likely good riding for another week.
Saturday, April 6th Update:
STILL Good Riding in Far North!!
Rarely do I have trail reports this far into April, though it is not that rare to have good riding in far northern Ontario at this date. But the trails there closed almost a month earlier last spring.
I’ll post the info to document it for the record. Ontario trails are still showing “green” on the interactive map from Timmins and Iroquois Falls north and west through Hearst. There are some trails right around Kapuskasing showing “limited”; not sure if it is just because they may have stopped grooming there.
But Cochrane and the Polar Bear Riders were still grooming yesterday! They have two warm days (but with below freezing nights) coming up tomorrow and Monday, then cold weather with more snow the rest of next week. Should be decent riding up there at least until April 12th & 13th next weekend if the long range weather forecast holds up. Maybe spring conditions even longer than that. I’ll predict that trails will go closed on April 14th; we’ll see. Last year the OFSC posted all trails as “closed” and then had to open some in the far north back up because the clubs said things were still good.
Right this minute as I write this post it is 11PM on Saturday, the 6th, and Polar Bear Riders just reported on Facebook that it started snowing again in Cochrane 7 minutes ago!
Tuesday, April 2nd Update:
Tantalizing to look out the window here in East Aurora at intermittent snow squalls. Had to clean the car off the past two mornings, but only a little on the ground.
Old Forge closed April 1st with some riding right up to the end.
Everything in Ontario south of North Bay and including that area is closed up now.
Cochrane is STILL grooming and just got a dumping of new snow! They will have very good conditions this weekend, but that will be the end of grooming. Temperatures look like they will remain cold at night into early next week, so there may be casual riding for one or two more weeks up there. It is not unusual to be able to ride into mid April in the far north.
Kapuskasing area shows many yellow “limited” trails – should be plenty of snow – likely they are done grooming there.
I am thinking about one more banzai drive north this week. Thinking.
Saturday, March 30th Update:
Even in Cochrane today, it is almost 50F! Obviously the snow will be crusty when it gets cold again tomorrow and for most of next week, but I just read a Polar Bear Riders club posting that they will continue to groom early in the week up through Wednesday after the cold front comes through. Should still be great riding for all of next week after the short warm spell passes today. Riders are reporting excellent conditions in the Cocharane – Kap – Hearst corridor the past few days and there is plenty of base to survive the day and a half warm spell.
Anyone who leaves tonight or tomorrow morning to drive up, get settled in on Monday and let them do some grooming and riders to break down the crust, and you’ll have several great days. Wish I could afford the time & money to go!
Friday, March 29, 2013 Update:
New Liskeard going fast:
Here’s a report a guy posted last night from the New Liskeard – Elk Lake – Kirkland area – this is pretty far north and going away fast.
we have been up all week and the trails have been pretty good untill today. they are really failing fast. i really dont understand the no grooming part other than low traffic as there is tons of base. if the trails were groomed it would save the snow that is there but with the temps not much longer. the a trail above elk lake is washed out so if running that west be very careful as you come over the hill you cant see it till too late. we put branches up to warn people. the a trail from out of elk lake south is still amazing and quite easy to maintane the speed limit lol. englehart to elk lake on the l trail is wicked still. the closer to new liskeard the worse it gets and fast. think by sat it will be fubar. went out for a ride tonight and liskeard has tons of bare spots. very rough from machetewan to shinning tree. no gas in gowganda all weekend till tuesday.
Thursday, March 28 Update:
I rode on my own farm up and down a field a few times yesterday morning, but I’ll concede “last ride” to Gary, below for his ride the day before putting on some real miles.
Old Forge is now reporting fair to poor conditions and spring riding.
New Liskeard area is apparently done grooming and deteriorating.
Cochrane and surrounding far north trails are grooming tonight and over the past couple of days for what should be nice Easter weekend riding, but they are reporting that this will be the end of grooming. Great base, so probably one more week of early April riding in the far north. Jump in a truck tomorrow morning and enjoy some fine northern riding! Wish I had the energy and money to make one last trip north, but I’ll wait until next year.
Tuesday, Last Ride Report?
Gary makes the first claim for “Last Ride Honors”:
Went 64 miles today, only because it was my sons 24th birthday. He has been on a sled since I could prop him up behind the handle bars, and in all these years he was never able to ride on his Birthday, until today!. Mostly Colden trails and ate lunch at the Vallley, probably about the same time the Holland trails closed :( .
Gary - picture
Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 4PM Update:
Boy, that March sun!
It will be touch and go whether I can ride my own farm tomorrow morning – packed snow is melting fast this afternoon.
Trails near and just north of New Liskeard are deteriorating fast, but still open “limited” or better. Need to get to Iroquois falls and north for good conditions.
Tuesday, March 26 Update:
End of the Season Locally:
Oatka, Folsom, and Tri-County all closed for the season yesterday. There are still pockets of good snow and local field riding here and there, but not on the trail systems, please.
Out of Town:
Old Forge still reports “good” conditions after a huge dump of new snow this past week. The nights are cold enough for them to keep grooming, but days are getting warm and I bet the “good” conditions will go down hill after the next day or two. But they will have riding another week likely for the die hards who want that very last ride.
Tug Hill – going fast – check “western NY trail conditions link” for first hand reports.
Southern Ontario is pretty much done up to North Bay – still some trails open from North Bay through Mattawa, but getting very icy many places.
All trails from New Liskeard north still show open, but many guys are complaining that the grooming is done most places and trails are icy and crusty in spots. A few sections of the corridor “A” trail have gone limited.
Good riding from Iroquois Falls north, and especially from Cochrane through Kapuskasing and on to Hearst. This part of the far north is always the last to go. Polar Bear Riders club is still grooming at night when it is cold. The far north will have temps in the upper 30’s during the day the next few days and then a cold spell the first few days in April. Should be good riding on the northern corridor for another week, then increasingly sketchy and crusty trails perhaps all the way to the middle of April – more likely many northern trails will close around the 10th.
We had a decent season – stellar compared to last winter! Locally in western New York the sweet spot for snow was in the Arcade, Franklinville, Boston, Sardinia area. Folsom, which usually offers great riding and is where I often start, was on the edge of many of the snow falls.
One of the best stretches of really good local riding was right after Christmas, then about ten crummy days with some closed trails, then off and on good riding for some of February and some bonus time in March!. But we never strung together more than four or five days in a row of really widespread great riding. I haven’t counted up the exact number of days of “open” trails, but it sure was a lot more than the 2011 – 2012 season! All in all, we had a decent snowmobiling winter in western New York. Hats off especially to the Tri-County club that had more than their share of snow and kept it well groomed. Thanks also to Lee from that club for doing a great job posting conditions.
Personally, I didn’t put on as many miles as I do some years, but I’m getting older and more picky about the conditions I’ll ride. I had a couple of nice short rides around the Folsom trails during that good spell after Christmas. Meghan and I rode in some gorgeous sunny weather on the Tri-County trails last month, and just two days ago I had a great ride on Tri-County trails Sunday morning to end my season.
Meghan and I did one trip to Old Forge for two days in the middle of February and rode perfect trails in bright sun. That’s the kind of snowmobiling I live for!
Then a week or so later we did three days in Bracebridge, Ontario, again hitting some wonderful sunny days and perfect trails.
Our big trip of the year was the first week in March when we spent two days in New Liskeard with excellent conditions and then four more in the far north riding around Cochrane. We chose that week because of a nice weather forecast that promised several days in a row of bright sun, which is important to me. The sun did come out, but only off and on most of that week, so we had stretches of several hours at a time of perfect conditions and then would have to slow down when the visibility got worse under cloudy skies. Still – some really great riding on excellent trails. Everyone owes it to themselves to ride far north Ontario trails once in their lives!
Hope everyone who reads this Blog enjoyed a decent riding season, as well!
Who will get in the LAST RIDE of the year? Send a report if you get out again before all the snow is gone and we’ll make a “Die Hard Rider” award! I’m riding my farm tomorrow morning.
Sunday, March 24, 2013, 8PM:
Jim from the Folsom club just called and said their trails are closed as of this evening. Rumor has it that Franklinville is now closed for the season. Others will follow soon. (Colden Trail Riders posted today that many of their trails were groomed for the weekend.)
In case you were wondering: Polar Bear Club ( Cochrane ) just posted that they were checking ice crossings on the “A” corridor trail today. They were using a 38” auger – they could not break through into water. They think they will have trails open as much as another three weeks. They are still grooming at night when temps are well below freezing.
Sunday, March 24, Noon Update: (scroll down for today’s video’s)
Still good to great riding today here and there!
Many thanks to Greg (see below) for his tip to ride C3C today. Just as he said, it is recently groomed, lots of snow, and I had a great two hour ride this morning on C3C and adjoining trails, some not so good. There is still tons of snow on the fields and in the woods on the ridges, less so in the valleys. The sun and above freezing temps today will put a whupping on valley trails needed to access the good stuff.
I’ll post some video later this afternoon. I’ll put this much up right away so if you’re still thinking about it, you can get out and enjoy today and tonight. Every day this week will be worse for the wear, though there will be good riding out away from the highways for several more days.
Will the trails stay open? Maybe, maybe not. Already, the mile or so of trail from the Milestone in Chaffee over to C3C where the good snow starts is nearly bare snirt. Some clubs will have to close some or all trails soon to avoid land owner damage in the bad spots. But make no mistake, there is almost two feet of snow in the higher elevations and you could park along side roads on the ridges where trails cross and ride isolated sections most of this week if they are not officially closed and off limits.
I had some fun today, stretching the limits of where the edge of the trail ended and zooming through 18” of powder! More to come later.
If you ride this afternoon, you can park at the Milestone like I did, but I think there is less snirt to negotiate if you park at earl’s – proably other good options, but those are the ones I checked out this morning.
I left my house at 6:45 AM while it was still 17 degrees, so everything was nicely frozen for me; not the case this afternoon with the sun out some of the time and temps in the upper 30’s.
Personal Note: I struggled with my glasses fogging up for the first 20 minutes of my ride this morning. I don’t usually have trouble, but the humidity and temperature were in a “non-sweet spot” for me this morning. I find that I am OK unless I have some sweat in my scalp or torso that works it’s way up to my helmet and shield. I finally solved the problem by stopping and nearly stripping and sitting in the cold for five minutes to completely dry out. Good tip for other glasses wearers riding in marginal conditions for fogging!
Saturday, March 23, 9PM Update:
Thanks to Greg for his reports, including this hot off the press from this afternoon:
Had a great ride today. Started at Earls and headed East to Tri-County system. Stopped for lunch at the Bliss hotel. Then headed north on S34 up to 4A then back down C3C. C3C was groomed all the way back down to C3A. Plenty of snow and even ran into a near whiteout it was snowing so hard. Beautiful day on the trails. Thanks for all your reports Tom. I follow your site religiously. Also enjoy your videos too.
Saturday evening – odds ‘n ends from Saturday:
Rode West hill of Warsaw into bliss and over to Arcade. Trails were in better shape then I was anticipating. Lots of snow,grooming from Oatka club and very little water. Had a great ride with the family. Thought I was done for the year what a wonderful surprise.
= = =Tom, your best bet is tri county/Oatka trails - they have been grooming! Tons of snow in Colden their groomers sitting idol???? What do they do with their trail funds? Thanks for your work on this site again this year........
= = =
I rode Tug Hill Friday. Rode Barns Corner and most all the hill. Also rode over to Stillwater and Turin and also C ville. This whole area was as flat as the road. There were not many people out early, but as the day went on there were more and more people out. But for getting over 2 feet of snow those clubs did a great job on getting it flat from all that traffic from last week. We started out at 7 am and got back at 6:30pm with almost 300 miles, can't complaine.
I attached a photo of the flat trails from Tug Hill.
But, on another note thanks for doing a great job on the local trail reports done in Wyoming County.
Saturday, March 23, Noon Update:
I have no fresh reports for local conditions, but did talk to Rob and another guy at Jancen yesterday who rode around Franklinville and Arcade on Thursday and had GREAT conditions then. Let me know if anyone rode local trails today. I may go out tomorrow morning early in Arcade.
As always, very mixed reports. Here are two different views, both posted online in the past few minutes Saturday morning:
Southern Tug Hill - SUCKED
Turin - SUCKED
Rector Road to Montague - SUCKED
Barnes Corners - HORRIBLE!
Must be not enough snow, too warm to groom, ran out of diesel fuel, blah blah blah!!!!
There is NO dirt or even snirt. None!
Here’s a quite different response:
You are incorrect on that point (non grooming). Everything from Sportsmans to Montague was groomed lastnight. Trails were smooth as of 3 am. I have the GPS Logs of all the machines that were out. Over 100 miles of grooming occured on those trails lastnight. Last operator got in at 3am. Said there were sleds out still riding. Cannot speak to others trails, only the ones that I can view from our GPS data. Will be grooming AGAIN tonight. Ride safe and enjoy!
Some clubs on the hill are reported to be grooming (see above); others done for the year.
Here is the Old Forge report for today:
Today is Saturday, March 23, 2013.
We have received over 2.5 feet of new snow this past week.
The Town of Webb snowmobile trails are in good condition with 0 to 6 inches of base.
Far North Ontario:
Excellent conditions and should be good to go into early April!
Wednesday, March 20, 2PM:
More Open trails:
Oatka has opened their trails south of #20A and west of #19. They say to ride with care and watch for washouts and icy spots.
Folsom has opened all their trails EXCEPT:
The short section of trail between the Red Apple in Strykersville and the Strykersville Pub, which was recently closed by the landowner due to abuse from a few riders. They mean business. Do not be tempted to ride this short section of trail because “it is so short a section and so convenient”. Rumor has it that right before the snow melted two weeks ago, they had the Sheriffs and a DEC guy there and wrote 18 tickets for trespass. A good guess is that they will be watching again today and tomorrow. Let the club arrange a workaround for next season without making things worse now. If you ride into the Red Apple from up on the hill, go back up the hill and around to the southeast side of Strykersville.
Wednesday, March 20th, Noon Update:
Late March Snow!
With as much as 12” of fresh snow reported in Arcade, Tri-County is opening their trails again today with “limited” conditions. Have fun! More snow on the way the next few days.
Out of Town:
Old Forge is reporting 14” of fresh snow and conditions still “Good to Fair”.
Check your own Tug Hill conditions on the “Trail Conditions” website link above – I throw up my hands at keeping track of which sections of Tug Hill are good and which not – it changes day to day.
In Canada, conditions are improving in the south and are stellar in the far north. There is a patch of fully open trails north of Kearny (south of North Bay). Most North Bay trails are back “open limited”, with excellent fully groomed conditions to the east towards Mattawa.
New Liskeard has gone back to fully open trails including the river, and from New Liskeard on north it is as good as it has been all season. I am DYING to go north again but have pretty much spent my budget for riding for the year – and my wife’s seasonal summer horse business is getting very busy, so hard for her to take the time. Still – next week in Cochrane and the northern corridor will be a treat if anyone goes!
Monday, March 18, 6AM Update:
Any Clubs Have a Trail to Open?
We are at the tail end of the riding season, but we have snow and cold right through the end of this week. I wonder if any of our area clubs have a particular trail or trails starting from a good drop off point, with good drainage, that could be opened even for a short distance this week so guys could trailer in and play around? Let me know. I know of a few guys who bought new sleds just last week who would like to try them out without trailering out of town.
Out of Town
Conditions continue to be excellent in the far north of Ontario, Iroquois Falls, Timmins, Cochrane, Kap, and Hearst. Also, some new ride reports just in from the New Liskeard and Kirkland Lake area, reporting excellent conditions still.
I also just read a report of very good riding along the Bancroft – Pembroke route; this is east of the now closed North Bay trails towards Ottawa:
Ryan, Dave and I did 550 miles this weekend thru Bancroft Denbigh, Eganville, Renfrew, Pembroke, Duex Rivers,Pembroke Barry's Bay and back to Bancroft. Lots of grinding along with incredible riding in the bright March sun. Apart from seeing a few local sleds around Barry's Bay at lunchtime, we only met 2 sleds between Pembroke and Bancroft today. The look-out near Combermere was incredible.
Bulliten: Winter storm warning for 10 to 14 inches of new snow tonight through tomorrow in Old Forge! They are still grooming and should have very good conditions right after this storm for the rest of the week. Maybe good in places on Tug Hill also, though grooming is less regular there at this time of year. Old Forge is best equipped to quickly groom and take advantage of a late season storm like this.
Sunday, March 17, 10AM Update:
Winter Hanging On!
Here’s a report from yesterday on Tug Hill:
3/16 tug conditions
Smith road to talbots corners was BuMpY as usual, what club is responsible for this section? Curious what the excuse was, too cold, too warm, snow was grainy, snow was packy, the moon wasnt out?????
Anyway after talbots all trails were in good shape, id rate average 7-8 out of 10. Cul Pepper rd was as flat as a race track, not even a small divet in the trail, good all the way to Barnes Corners went towards adams center started getting thin but still good. Made a bunch of loops on the hill, railroad bed was good, trail by sportsmen was good behind barrows had slight chop but not bad looks like someone attempted to groom. On the tril by 9am, loded up at 3pm 170 miles
Old Forge reports 6 to 8 inches of new snow and conditions on the trails improving to “good to fair”.
Conditions in northern Ontario north of New Liskeard are still excellent over a wide area – some of the best riding of the season still on the northern corridor, Cochrane to Hearst.
Closer to home, more new snow last night here in East Aurora. I could definitely ride the fields around my farm, but my sleds are at Jancen being serviced for end of the season. Anyone know of local trails at least unofficially open in an area?
Tuesday, March 12, 3PM Update:
Last Ride Options
Old Forge reports poor to fair conditions, but still open. Later this week with cold weather and a little snow, I bet you could have some fun on their inner forest trails.
In Canada, you’ve got to go pretty far north now, but there is still excellent riding in the far north. Most Muskoka trails (Bracebridge – Huntsville) are now closed. Some trails south of and north of North Bay are open “limited”, but the immediate North Bay trails are closed. Trails all the way up into New Liskeard are now limited most places.
You have to go all the way to Iroquois Falls and north to Cochrane, Timmins, Kap, and Hearst for the still very good to excellent conditions with very cold temps this week and fresh snow. Some southern clubs have sent machines and operators to help with the grooming around Cochrane. The Polar Bear Riders club is posting grooming updates.
Monday, March 11th, 8PM Update:
It’s Not Over in the Far North
There was about a foot of snow in the Timmins – Cochrane area today and they will have temperatures near or below zero the next few nights. Then bright sun Thursday through Sunday and continued cold temps. There should be fabulous riding up there at the end of this week. Sigh. If I was younger and had both the energy for another 12 hours of driving each way, and an extra $1700 bucks or so, I’d be on my way tomorrow for one more trip.
But we can’t have everything. My sleds are over at Jancen being serviced before being put away for the season. The time comes when you have to be grateful for the good rides you had during the season and accept the end. If anyone decides to go up that way, drop me a line. I’ll tell you my favorite spots and ask you to send me a pic taken on a sunny trail next weekend!
Saturday, March 9th, 9AM Update:
Following is the post on the Oatka website from yesterday. I assume they are closing today, but it sounds like many of their trails (per below) will still have snow over the weekend. Use the info appropriately if you need to make a last blast someplace.
3/8/13 Trails are still OPEN South of 20a and west of 19. Most trails in the Bliss, Hermitage, Hardys, Wethersfield and Orangeville area are still in good shape with some of them being groomed last night and early this morning. There are some thin spots but generally most have plenty of snow cover. We got lucky yesterday and the higher ground didn’t loose to much snow. It went down into the mid 20’s last night and the trails hardened up nicely. I think today will be it, since it is already above freezing up here on top of the hill. Please be respectful of the land owners. Be aware that Tri-County and Falsomdale have both closed their trails.
Has the Fat Lady Sung?
Probably locally, yes. But you never know about Buffalo March weather. It is getting cold again next week, and you might yet get a little more riding. The Colden Trail Riders website says their groomers “are not put away yet”, just in case. Some trails around western NY still have base, and even a modest snow during next week’s cold snap could make some rideable.
Out of Town:
It is Snowfest weekend up in Old Forge. They claim “Good to Fair” conditions.
I am in Bracebridge (Muskoka) this morning on my way back from Cochrane. There is fair to poor riding here, but trails are still open.
North Bay will be open another week or two, and the far north (Cochrane to Hearst) for at least that long, with the cold snap coming next week.
We will keep an eye on trail reports and pass them along for another couple of weeks until the Far North closes up for the season.
Friday, March 8th, 7AM:
Tom, Oatka trails are still open and being groomed tonight. Hopefully they will stay open Friday. varysburg lodge is in fair condition and as you head south east they improve from good to excellent . The best riding in the bliss and hermitage area. It should be some fantastic early morning riding before it warms up. Have fun in Canada. Brian
Thursday, March 7, 8PM Update:
Meghan and I are enjoying Cochrane. We did 140 miles this morning on very good trails and never saw ONE other sled, other than a couple parked at a restaurant. Here’s a video taken on the “A” trail between Smooth Rock Falls and Cochrane. It did start to rain very lightly this afternoon, but is now snowing again. It will be above freezing during the day over the weekend and then down to near zero at night next week, so riding up here should be first class for at least another week. There is TONS of base!
We’re riding again tomorrow morning before it warms up in the afternoon, then heading south for the 11+ hour drive home.
Wednesday, March 6, 10PM Update:
The Fat lady?
Fat lady has sung I believe….
I believe the final act is over....as of Mid-Night today 3/6/13 Tri-County Drifthoppers Trails will be CLOSED. Hats off to all the people that made this season possible, we could not have done it without you! Unless winter comes back in force, I think this is it for the season, I know the Diesel tanks will be breathing a little easier, nice to able to get the groomers out there this year. We will be taking notes from this season and working to improve for next year. Still send us any notes that might help us plan for next year, can't say we can address everything, but we try. Will be planning an ATV/Vintage grass drag, and our regular fall Grass Drag in October and Winter Snow Drags next year.
Colden Trail Riders website reports their trails holding up well and might be open two more days.
Meghan and I had three great days in New Liskeard, Ontario and then this morning drove another 140 miles north to Cochrane, where there should be very good riding for a couple more weeks, even with this warmup.
Old Forge reports fair to good.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 10AM Update:
Folsom sent in this post:
With the warm weather coming and problems we have had on our trail system, we will be closing for the season. Thank you for supporting our club and the businesses throughout our trail system. Our trail system will reopen on December 19th.
Thanks to Folsom and all the clubs for a fair amount of good riding during this “global warming” season.
Here’s a post from yesterday on the Tri-County website. Anyone recognize the description of the bad guy?
Tue, Mar 05 (9:46 PM)
Need help!! We have a Rider with a Ski-doo with a loud can that is putting trail S36 in jepordy...info from landowners is...he wears a helmet cam and sometimes wears a back pack. This is the trail the club house is on and where the groomer parks, we would hate to have to close this down. If anyone has any info shoot us an email before one of the land owners finds him. Thanks for the help......Tri-County Drifthoppers.....Oh Ya...Trails are still open..A little worn, we are waiting to see if the storm moves a little north, but we might be down to days!
Meghan and I are riding up north in new Liskeard and Cochrane this week. Awesome conditions. Base is so established with the good snow year up here that trails should survive this week’s warm weather with little harm. Should be a couple more weeks of riding here. Dan reports good conditions in North Bay this week, where he is riding.
Monday, March 4th, 8PM Update:
Jim from the Folsom club sends the following requesting us to post. Stay off closed trails:
ATTENTION!!! THE TRAIL IS CLOSED FROM FACTORY ROAD TO SANDERS HILL RD IN STRYKERSVILLE. YOU WILL BE CHARGED WITH TRESPASING IF YOU RIDE PAST THE TRAIL CLOSED SIGNS. THE LANDOWNER IS TAKING DOWN ALL REG. NUMBERS AND IS REPORTING THEM TO THE DEC. IF ANYONE ELSE FEELS THE NEED TO RIDE THRU THIS SECTION IT MAY BE LOST FOREVER!!!!!! THIS IS THE MAIN TRAIL THRU STRYKERSVILLE PLEASE RESPECT THE LANDOWNERS WISHES AND DO NOT RIDE BETWEEN FACTORY RD. AND SANDERS HILL RD.
On a cheerier note, Meghan and I had an amazing ride on the “A” trail north of Temagami today. One of our all time favorite trails anyplace! Fast, wide, and great scenery.
Sunday, March 3, 6PM Update:
Nearly all area club trails are now open, including Colden Lakes and Folsom north and south of #20A. Clubs and some riders are reporting good to very good conditions. Have fun!
Sunday, March 3rd, 5PM Update:
“Hi Tom, We have good to excellent conditions from Warsaw 20A to bliss thru Arcade and to Varysburg. All trails are groomed. Get out there while it last. Brian”
Thanks to Brian for that field report which coincides with what I saw outside my house in East Aurora this morning – an unexpected 4 to 5” of fresh powder. Ride your hearts out today and tomorrow, and then the warmup sets in. With night temps just below freezing for a few more days, there may be riding until late in the week. But it sounds not good beyond the next few days.
I loaded my truck with supplies for a week of riding in Canada last night. We were very surprised to find so much snow when we came out the door at 6:30 this morning, and we talked about canceling the trip to ride locally in these nice conditions. But we headed north after all. Nine hours of driving later we’re sitting in a motel in New Liskeard and plan a week of riding up here and further north. From Wednesday on, the far north up here will be just as warm as western New York, but we’ve got a LOT more base up here and should have great conditions through the end of the week. Might have some sweatshirt riding Friday on still very good trails!
Keep the reports coming. I wish I was back home tonight, but glad I will be up here the rest of the week.
North Adventure Inn?
Send me a report if you have had any experiences staying at North Adventure Inn (NAI) in Cochrane over the past couple of years. I have had decent stays (two years ago) and a very disorganized messed up stay last winter. There is gossip in the Ontario HCS website that there is new management (maybe) or new ownership (I don’t think so). Would love to get more first hand reports from readers of this website who have gone north to ride and stayed there. We hope to at least stop and talk to them this week.
Friday, March 1st, 1PM Update:
Fat Lady Getting Ready to Sing, but looks like one more weekend the next two days
Jim from the Folsom club called me this morning and is opening their trails south of #20A. Folsom will be joining Oatka Club trails south of #20A and west of #19, and the Tri-County trails system that has seemed to have the best luck of all with snow this winter in having open trails this weekend. Enjoy, because a warm-up might be coming late next week.
I checked my archives of trail reports for the past two years this morning. The last local riding was this weekend last year and about March 8th in the spring of 2011. So we are right on schedule for the “global warming” era.
Lee from the Tri-County Club posted the following this morning. Kudo’s to Lee and that club for keeping their trails open and well groomed more than most this winter (good fortune with snow fall!), and for their timely reports on their own website and to us. Thanks, Lee!
Fri, Mar 01 (1:22 PM)
Updated report Friday (pm)...Some grooming was done last night on the east/south side or Arcade and trails are in pretty good shape considering the warm temps. We got a little freezing rain while they were out grooming, than the couple inches of snow on top. With the cold weather coming we should be good for the weekend if they make it through the traffic tonight. May not be many more weekends in the mix...Watch for some gates to be up east of Rt.98N and west of Curriers Rd. due to Maple season starting, will be route around. Also check with surounding clubs as to the trail status in other areas..
Fri, Mar 01 (8:06 AM)
1 to 2 inches of snow overnight to help brighten things up a little. Still going to be spring conditions today until the colder weather comes in over the weekend. We need the colder temperatures and a little more snow for the groomers to hit the trails aging, but it is getting closer to the end so don�t let the weekend slip away. Please check with other clubs before going off our trails!
Out of Town:
Old Forge is claiming “good conditions” today.
Tug Hill has it’s ups & downs, but I hear good snow still many places. Wish I had better reports from the hill.
Bracebridge Ontario will see the warm up next week and may start to get sketchy by next weekend, but still has good conditions now.
North Bay has seen heavy traffic the past week, and some trails near town have been rough, but temps have been good and they should have good riding still for a while.
New Liskeard – I will be there tomorrow night or Sunday and will report, but I hear they have lots of snow and are a couple of degrees colder than North Bay.
Far North – Cochrane to Hearst should be good for a while yet, but even up there (where I will also be this week), they will see temps of mid 30’s by Wednesday and the March sun will melt off roadside trails and places where you have to run plowed roads.
If all goes well, Meghan and I will enjoy about a week of riding up north and we hope that our friends who ride only locally will also have at least five or six more days before a melt down. Get out there – this is about the end, perhaps.
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 11AM Update:
It’s amazing to me considering how hard it rained here in East Aurora yesterday, but Lee from the Tri-County club sends the following report:
I was surprised that we survived the rain from Tue…..but the reports from the trails say we’re still open for business. If the nights keep getting cold enough to set things back up we should be good for the weekend!
Looks like we survived the rain from yesterday! The majority of trails have been groomed since the weekend. Trails are open. If we can get a little more snow by end of the week for the groomers, we should be in good shape for the weekend! The snow gets light towards Franklinville and North Java . The precipitation has changed over to snow as I type!
Unexpected good news above! It is snowing lightly here in EA this morning, and it looks like the weather reports expect several inches of new snow over the next couple of days before quite cold air arrives for the weekend. We could have another weekend of OK riding locally, especially in that sweet spot centered around Arcade and the Tri-County trail system that has been lucky with snow this season. Read Jay’s report below for conditions in that area the past couple of days and put two and two together to plan possible weekend rides.
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 9PM Update:
I know that Jay said he was riding tomorrow from Franklinville, but it looks VERY WET out there! I hope it came as partial snow down that way, but the creeks are running hard here in East Aurora tonight!
If you want to dream of riding again, check this video I took last week on Thursday of Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Baysville, Ontario trails. It came out well. I am starting to get the hang of editing and importing these GoPro video clips.
Tuesday, Feb. 26th, 4PM Updsate:
Still some good riding in the southern tier
Thanks to Jay for the following detailed report on his rides yesterday and this morning. The warm temps this afternoon will not have helped conditions, but it sounds like you can still ride where Jay recommends.
Hi Tom. Just wanted to confirm both yours and Kevin's report. Yesterday i trailered to the Milestone and rode up S36 to S38 then to the S34 Hermitage loops then down to Bliss. This was, some good, some bad, some water holes, some grooming. Tri-County and Oatka did a pretty good job with little snow in places, alot in others and a really wet ground underneath. Things were freezing better than the day before. Then took the RR bed all the way to C3 to Franklinville. The RR bed was smooth and groomed, a little thin/rocks, but C3 to F-ville was awesome! Then headed back up C3 to Arcade/Chaffee and home. Did 110 miles, snowmobile was a little muddy, conditions = limited. Today i trailered to Ischua Valley Golf in F-Ville, it was great the day before. More snow, fresh grooming, colder temps for sure because snow is harder and packed and ice holes were more frozen. So i ride C3 to West Valley and on to Ashford Hallow it was great groomed 4 wide like Kevin said and fast snow, 20 degrees and sunny! Sweet! Much better than i expected and much better than Arcade/Bliss ride. Then headed up S41 to C4F to Zoar Valley. This was groomed too, a little wet by the river but good all the way to C4 and S44A to Springville. Boston Club, Ashford and F-Ville Club Awesome grooming all in a row. It could only get worse, after gas in S-ville, went C4 to Sardinia and Chaffee and this was horrible. Where the Boston groomer stopped the fun stopped. All bumps, lots of water/mud holes, some scary, some impassable and grooming needed, stay off this stretch of C4. Then headed back down to F-ville on C3 from Chaffee/Arcade, it got much better at Rte.16 found Pioneer groomer, hopefully he was headed to C4, and Tri-County groomed C3 again, nice. I'm going back to F-ville tomorrow! No traffic out there, a weekday and conditions = good. And I'm turning around once i get to Springville. Another 100 miles! Jay
Monday, February 25th, 1PM Update:
Well, at least the sun forecast for today did not come out. That will keep the trails already open rideable for another day. As far as I know, the trails in the Tri-County system and the Colden trails are the only ones officially still open in my “area”. I’ve seen online reports of decent trails still open in Sardinia and adjacent areas from the weekend, but have no first hand info.
I did take a drive in my car this morning around parts of the East Aurora to Colden trails. Snow is thin near Emery Park, but you could still drop there and ride south into Colden. Some field trails along the pipeline are windblown with grass and dirt spots showing through, but other sections are quite good. Snow gets better in the higher elevations along Center Street heading towards Boston and Holland. (Holland trails not open).
Local weather looks to be mushy with mixed precip the rest of the week, but colder again on the weekend. If we don’t get much rain and do get even a couple of inches of snow, there could be “fair” riding this coming weekend. Keep your fingers crossed.
Here’s a message from Greg:
Good morning Tom and Happy Birthday. Saw your video on Bracebridge. Looks great up there. For future reference was wondering where you stayed up there and what trails you rode. My wife might enjoy a trip up there. I see a trail pass for 3 days is $100. The trip is not to bad either. Any help or tips on places to stay and eat are greatly appreciated. BTW the riding on TriCounty system was great on Thurs and Sun. Road to Bliss and back yesterday. A little bumpy in the wooded sections. Don't know why the system wasn't groomed. But had a great time anyway. Have a good one. Greg
Since Greg asked, I thought I’d write a couple of paragraphs about Muskoka area riding. Muskoka refers to the “cottage country” region between Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Huntsville in Ontario surrounding Lake Muskoka. Bracebridge is about 220 miles north of my place in East Aurora, a four hour drive in good weather and the highways are good all the way.
When Meghan and I go, as we did this past week, we usually stay at the Sleep Inn in Bracebridge, with the main “D” trail literally along the side of the parking lot. The Sleep Inn is clean, well run, and currently getting an update of all rooms. Rooms are a little over $100 per night and $20 more on weekends. The Deerhurst is an upscale resort fifteen miles further north in Huntsville, if you want to splurge. Very nice with an excellent restaurant. Sometimes the trails close to Deerhurst get pounded, but only for a short distance usually. There are other cheaper motels in the area.
Some of the best riding in the region is the ten miles south of Bracebridge on the “D” trail, and ten or fifteen miles north on the same “D” trail. Those trails are hilly and pretty to ride, but still wide and straight enough to ride fast. Muskoka trails are some of the most scenic in Canada, but the downside is that many of them are “bush trails” (forest), and are twisty. Don’t get me wrong, there are fast sections and you’ll experience all kinds of riding, but if you like to really turn it on, you may be frustrated at times.
When we were there Thursday morning, Feb. 21st, we got up and rode south on the “D” to Gravenhurst, then turned around and blasted back through Bracebridge and on north. Twenty five fast miles to stretch our legs! We then rode on north up the “D” trail to Sprucedale which has gas and restaurants. I think we were at 55 miles by Sprucedale when we stopped for lunch. We then backtracked down part of the “D” and turned east onto #88 and other “80 series” trails, then south on #50 into Hill & Gully Riders trails and on south on D102B to Baysville. We were at about 115 miles when we stopped for more food and fuel in Baysville. (Very disappointed to find that a rustic bar I’ve been hitting for 20 years closed this summer, but there is a new place just around the corner that had good food and service.)
D102B trail near Baysville has some good fast sections and we enjoyed the ride back north towards Port Sydney and then back down the “D” trail again to Bracebridge for a 154 mile day with a good variety of trails and first class grooming. See my video at the link on the Feb. 24th Update below.
On Friday we rode south from Bracebridge and then west on D101B to Bala. Good grooming on winding forest trails and a nice pit stop for lunch in Bala. You can continue north through Port Carling and then back to the “D” north of Bracebridge to make a nice loop, but on this day we chose to backtrack through Gravenhurst again.
Another good loop out of Bracebridge is northeast towards Dorset or Dwight, then south and back through Gravenhurst to Bracebridge again. Other good loops go north from Bracebridge and on to Parry Sound or to Magnetawan and then back through Huntsville.
Other Ontario Destinations
Every 100 miles you go north in Ontario, you get slightly colder temperatures, fewer melt downs, and in many places slightly wider and faster, straighter trails. Bracebridge is a good first place to consider if you’re heading north from New York State. Next stop north on Hwy #11 is North Bay. Trails radiate in all directions from this sizable city (50,000?). I have had great rides heading southwest on the south side of Lake Nippising, but I now prefer riding just to the east of North Bay in Bonfield and out towards Mattawa. You can also start in North Bay and saddle bag for days, heading north and then west on the “A” trail.
Another 90 miles above North Bay is New Liskeard, with many motels and services and another very nice trail system. Weather just a little colder than North Bay, so that much better chance of good trails.
Another couple of hours north gets you to the gold standard of Ontario trails in my opinion, the northern Corridor along Hwy #11 from Cochrane through Kapuskasing and on to Hearst. Cold winters and excellent grooming. Trails are wide and fast. Pretty forest, but not as hilly as the Muskoka and North Bay regions, so not as scenic in some ways. Still very nice terrain, though. And did I say, “FAST”? Two hundred mile days on the northern corridor are nothing.
Hope this info is helpful to those of you considering an Ontario trip.
Don’t forget your wallet. We buy season trail permits for $210 each (early bird - $260 in season). I think they offer a three day pass for $100, and a week pass for $140.
This past week, we spent just over $800 for the two of us including gas for the truck, gas for sleds, 3 nights motel, and meals. NOT including permits. Did not drink, or eat fancy this trip.
Sunday, Feb. 24th (my Birthday!), 9AM Update:
When I checked online last night, Colden trails were still open. Not sure about others in the area, though I hear that Folsom is closed. I’ll try to get updates today.
We just got home from an amazing two and a half days of riding in Bracebridge. Great conditions. Here’s a video.
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 3PM Update:
Off to Ontario
I hope you guys have some decent local riding over the next few days. I won’t be able to update here until I get home Saturday afternoon. Email me with reports and I will post them then.
I am always looking for a chance to ride perfect conditions and it looks like tomorrow in the Muskoka region of Ontario (Bracebridge) will be about as good as it gets. Bright sun forecast, with just above zero temps in the AM warming into the low 20’s. Local reports are of perfect midweek grooming. I’ll let you know when we get home if it is as good as I am expecting!
Wednesday, Noon Update:
Folsom Trailblazers system is now also “open limited”. Thinner on the north side. So, guys, get the eager beavers out to pack down some of this fresh snow. Then we’ll see if there is enough to groom. I’m sure that some of the trails will at least be panned and packed by the weekend.
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 8AM Update:
Tri-County Trails Open Again
Here is the report on Tri-County’s website:
** 02.20.13 - Hooray - we got some snow!! About 10" by 7:30am & still snowing. We did get the rain yesterday - so if you're out on the trails - PLEASE USE CAUTION! We are opening our trails with "limited" conditions. Have fun, be safe & THANK YOU for being a supporter of the Tri-County Drift Hoppers...
It looks like the current lake effect event is a carbon copy of the last storm earlier in the month. The bull’s eye seems to be in the Chaffee and south area. Much lighter snow up towards #20A and the Folsom system. Stay tuned.
8:30 AM Update:
Colden Trails also opening – here is the report on their website this morning:
“Trails are once again open. Reports are 5-6 inches near Emery Park more as you head south with 6-8 inches in Boston and Colden areas of our trail system. It’s still snowing with forecast of at least 4 more inches by tomorrow morning. Again the base melted in some areas and high winds have probably created hazards on the trails (branches down and deep drifts covering obstacles). If you go out please be careful.”
Tuesday, February 19th, 2PM Update:
Make Up Your Mind, Mother Nature!
Temperatures are bouncing all over the place. Finally, at least it is snowing again here in East Aurora. Sounds like 2” to 5” area wide over the next day or two. Likely not enough to open trails, but we’ll see.
Very cold temps tomorrow and the next day, then three days in the 40’s next weekend. If we don’t get an arctic front right after that - - - well, the Fat Lady could be warming up to sing.
Out of Town:
Old Forge claims good conditions, but I think the base is still a little thin. Don’t know about Tug Hill, except that there is lots of snow at higher elevations.
In Ontario, you need to be at least as far north as North Bay for really good conditions, though trails are open further south.
Friday, Feb. 15th, 1PM Update:
Old Forge – Love it or Hate it
Few people are neutral about Old Forge, NY. It is certainly a contrast with the club managed trails nearby and connecting from Tug Hill. I know a number of riders who refuse to go to Old Forge because they require paid local trail passes. Others don’t like it because riding distances are quite short; you can do most of the inner loop trails in a couple of hours and ride all the Town of Webb trails in a long half day.
But for me, it is a fun place to go. Old Forge is the Gold Standard for grooming, with three or maybe four full size groomers run by town employees. There’s no such thing as a trail not groomed because an operator’s wife wanted him to watch the kids or something. Grooming is a job. They even have a small groomer to smooth the narrow trails connecting some of the motels to the main trails.
Other plus’s are the varied mountain scenery, variety of forest, elevation changes, and the fact that it’s an upscale resort area with lots of restaurants and watering holes an easy ride apart. Because of these attractions, weekends with good snow are a zoo, like many popular riding areas. I always go during the week. I enjoy blasting around on the smooth trails with great scenery and stopping for snacks and meals, or just pulling over by a mountain stream or pond surrounded by snow covered evergreens and sitting in the sun for a few minutes. We did all of this yesterday. Watch my 15 minute video from after lunch yesterday at this link, if you’ve got nothing better to do. The last few minutes shows us relaxing and taking pictures at one of those scenic stops.
Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 9PM Update:
Tug Hill & Old Forge
I just spoke with Jim from the Folsom Trailblazers. He and I, unknown to one another, were traveling west on I90 at about the same time this afternoon. He was returning from 500 miles of good riding on Tug Hill. I was returning from less than five hours of good riding in Old Forge!
Jim and some friends spent several days and he told me they had three feet of snow on the upper portions of Tug Hill.
I am a little embarrassed to admit how much effort and money I spent for 104 miles of great riding, but I am never really in search of the most possible riding time or miles. I look for those magical moments of really great riding. I always watch the weather and conditions in different regions, and yesterday morning I thought I saw a good opening for Old Forge riding. The forecast called for a very cold night last night, then partial sunshine in Old Forge today. Meghan and I loaded up, hopped in the truck, and drove up last night.
We arrived late in the afternoon and heard great ride reports from other folks at Christy’s Motel. We decided to take a short night ride, getting on the trails about 7PM, just as the fleet of Old Forge groomers was hitting the trails for the night shift. We had a fine ride out to Daiker’s Inn and back. (Great place for a pit stop!) The trails were in fine shape and we flew. The sleds were running great in the dropping temperatures.
Back up early this morning, I was very disappointed to start our ride under cloudy skies. We put on about 40 quick miles on very smooth trails, then stopped for breakfast at Keyes Pancake House (excellent). While we were at breakfast, the sun began to poke out. By the time we were back on the sleds conditions were excellent on the trails and the sun was out. See this video, with more coming later. Here’s a longer video with some nice scenery shots at the end.
We only planned to stay one day, and we invested almost 500 miles of driving to and from, a night in the motel, and meals in order to ride 104 miles. Many people would not put in that much effort for so little mileage, but for me, it’s the quality of the mileage. And we had 9/10 this afternoon in Old Forge.
Really amazing how different conditions are just 240 miles apart, between here in western NY with rain and no snow, and Tug Hill/Old Forge, with winter wonderland conditions. Of course the extra 1800 or more feet in altitude is even more important.
Oatka Trails now also closed.
Weird weather the next few days, with big temperature swings. Looks like a significant cold spell beginning Friday, though.
Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, 9AM Update:
Tri-County, Colden Lakes, and Folsom trails are all closed as of this morning until further notice because of the rain and warm temps. Apparently, Oatka is leaving some of their trails south of Weathersfield Road and west of #19 open, pending further update, but I hope everyone stays home.
Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, 6PM Update:
Some good news; at least in my area (East Aurora), the warm afternoon and sun did not wipe out as much of the snow as I might have expected. There is little or no water puddling on the side of the highways. Maybe the very cold morning helped. The quarter inch or so of rain forecast overnight will not be good, but maybe we’ll get through tomorrow with some trail base left.
Here’s a ride report from Don for the Cassadaga area:
Hi tom, just wanted to send a quick note on the trails from cassadaga
to mayville..made the run this morning..temp -3 we left the surefine gas station.....rode to mayville to have lunch at lakeview... trails were groomed and in great shape this morning..nice flat ride..trail signage was great...diden't even have to look at the map one time..great job done by all the clubs involved... return trip not to bad..passed lots of sleds with no problems at all..everyone was very polite and friendly..lots of little ones out for ride with mom&dad today..trails worn down but still ok...this is my 3rd trip to this area this year..all of them have been great!! Hope to get more snow soon!!! thanks....Don
Sunday, Feb. 10th, Noon Update:
Some nice riding today, but warming quickly!
Meghan and I rolled out of bed at 6AM this morning (ouch!) and we were on the trails in Tri-County land by 8AM to take advantage of the very cold overnight temps. It was below zero in Arcade last night, and still only 3 above when we unloaded at the Milestone. (Met the new owner, Hoot, who is doing a “soft reopening” next Sunday for the hockey game.) We did a little over 50 miles and didn’t hit ONE DROP of water or mud.
Here is Jay’s report from last night that we used as a guide:
Hi Tom. Looking for a freshly groomed trail? On your favorite Wyoming county trails. Here's my suggestion. My son and i and 2 friends rode from Holland C4 to Strykersville to get gas, don't go there or Byrncliff no snow base at all fields very rough and rocky. Holland trail wasn't bad. So we went south for more snow on C4A to C3C thru Java Center and the new snow fall maybe 6 inches or more of heavy not powdery snow was sticking to trees on top of these Java hills, trail covered good and smooth. Then, here's ur money ride, where C3C meets S36 go left on S36. Thats where Tri-County trails start and grooming starts! S36 to S38 all freshly groomed and great. Then went up S34 loop then to Bliss and these are Oatka trails and they had less new snow and RR bed was choppy and rocky. C3 to Arcade was good, back on Tri-County groomed trails with ice bridges everywhere and hardly any water holes, C3C north :out of Arcade was great to S36 to Holland. Lost the grooming but Ok.Thin on Holland town trail C4A.Then rode over to Colden Lakes loop C4, S49C,S49A all groomed and good. 110 miles of mostly "Good" conditions. The snow definitely got better after dark 8 degrees at 10 o'clock. So i would definitely go early because that wet snow is gonna turn to slush quick in the afternoon sun. If u ride from EA Colden thru Holland is ok. Or trailer to Earls. Enjoy. I'm going again! Jay
Just as Jay said, S36 was in very good shape. We would say an 8 out of ten most places. The snow is very thin in the woods, but on S36 it was all frozen up, groomed recently, and very smooth. Fields on S36 were very good. Some of the other trails we hit (C3, C3A) were not awful but were bumpy. On our way back to the Milestone to load up, we crossed #16 and did a couple of miles of the Sardinia trails that were AWESOME! See my YouTube video at this link. Later this afternoon I’ll have another YouTube of S36 at this link. Some pictures from this morning at this link.
It warmed up from near zero to almost 30 during the 2 ½ hours we rode. I bet many of the trails will hold up all afternoon, but they will start to get slushy and muddy by 2PM. Better than tomorrow, though!
Out of Town
Old Forge is finally calling their trails “Good” for the first time since right after Christmas. I might head up there for a day or two this coming week. Love those Dyker’s Inn lunches!
Dan Wilhelm spent three days in North Bay this week and you can read his reports below. Conditions are getting better by the day there, though they will have a mild day tomorrow (Monday), but then back to below freezing all week. Should be very good riding.
Far Northern Ontario (Iroquois Falls, Cochrane, Kap, Hearst) have been in good shape for a while now and the “A” trail is now passable all the way from North Bay if you want to saddle bag it.
REMEMBER Tri-County Drift Hoppers race today in Arcade!
Saturday Evening Update:
Folsom Trails are now open. Jim says they are marginal and they probably will not be able to groom before the thaw. Just not enough snow.
Don’t forget the Tri-County races tomorrow – see their website above in the index.
I hope to do an early morning ride myself tomorrow while it is still cold. Anyone have suggestions for a section of freshly groomed trail?
Friday night Late:
Here’s a third day’s ride report from Dan, who is up in North Bay.
We rode 140 miles today and never experienced a trail less than an 8. Anything that wasn't groomed yesterday was groomed today. Went out A2 (8-9, a couple of residual moguls/washed out ditches), up 300 (9-10 flat) north west on 308 (9-10 fast) west on 102Q (9-10 very fast), north on AD (9-flat,straight and fast), north on A (was being groomed) so went from 8 to 10 depending on which side of the groomer you were on. Came back south on A, and AD. The south end of AD under the power lines had been groomed so was a great 9. All in all it was a hard day to beat. We could just cruise all day long. We didn't start until 9:00 AM, rode 140 miles, stopped for a long lunch and we were back to the hotel at 3:30 PM. This is why we come to North Bay.
Special note: We were stopped twice today by the OPP checking trail permits.
Second special note: I was almost involved in a head on collision yesterday by someone cutting to the inside (my) corner. I see a lot of tracks where riders track inside corner to inside corner. Please remind everyone to stay right on corners and rises. A couple of years ago we came upon a head on collision near Bracebridge. It wasn't pretty. Both parties had broken limbs and smashed sleds.
Friday, Feb. 8th, 2013 9PM Update:
GoPro Video Workflow?
I am fairly new to GoPro video (since Christmas, thank you very much, Meghan!). I have had some success with riding video, but feel that there must be a better workflow. Thought I'd ask for suggestions from fellow riders on this forum.
Here's a link to a recent video, which turned out pretty well, but after jumping through a few post production hoops.
Up to now I have been shooting in the hi res 2.7k 30fps mode. This makes very clear video, but produces VERY large files which choke my computer and play back very choppy. What I have been doing (see the above YouTube sample) is load the 2.7k file from the GoPro into my computer, load the file into Quicktime, then down res it by saving it as a 720P video file. That's what I upload to YouTube and it plays very nicely and looks good.
But the computer rendering process to down res is very slow and time consuming.
Today I played with shooting in 1080P 30fps to see if it looked just as good and if it could be uploaded to YouTube without the down res’ing step. Jury is out on the quality because it was cloudy today, and the 1080P file still stuttered a bit when I played it on my computer (Apple MacBook Pro, not the latest model).
Anyone out there using GoPro and putting it up on YouTube? What is your workflow for best results?
Friday, February 8th, Noon Update:
Not Pretty Now – But maybe Saturday night and Sunday Will be Nice
We had several hours of steady rain here in East Aurora this morning that is just changing over to all snow now at noon. It is a mess outside. We just took a drive through some country roads around East Aurora and Elma, and conditions vary greatly even a few miles apart. Green grass now showing in many places in my area. The already thin trails will not take well to the morning’s rain. Let me know if you are in Arcade or other areas that were pretty good the past few days, how you survived this morning’s weather.
We should still get several inches of snow this afternoon – maybe even the 6 to 10” that many have predicted, though I’m not holding my breath. The silver lining is plunging temperatures tonight, tomorrow, and tomorrow night. The wet snow should set up crisply and if there is enough of that snow and the groomers can get out on it Saturday, we could have some nice riding as the weather improves Saturday evening and on Sunday. Sunday now looks to be only in the upper 30’s, rather than 40 or higher as previously predicted.
If I were “Trail God”, which I am certainly not, I would hit the grooming hard Saturday evening and very early Sunday. With the sunny day expected Sunday and early morning temps of only 10 degrees, we could have a banner day of riding Sunday!
Sunday night and Monday looks to be warm and rainy. Either it will wash us out again or it won’t; just have to wait and see. Temps settling back to seasonal just above freezing by day for the following few days next week.
Dan has been riding for two days now up in North Bay, Ontario. Here is his report from last night. His experience is consistent with OFSC trail map updates, showing most North Bay area trails coming “Open”, with just a few still limited or closed.
10 = First person after a groomer - flat trail.
9 = Not first person after a groomer but still flat, can cruise without caution.
8 = Can cruise but need to be alert to washed out cross ditches and rough
approaches to bridges.
7 = Can not really just cruise. Occasional bump/mogul. Need to be alert to
washed out cross ditches, rough bridge approaches. May bottom out occasionally.
Can still ride sitting flat footed.
6 = Need to "post up" often. Can not sit and ride.
5 = Solid moguls
4 = Minimal riding conditions.
3 = Should be home watching television.
2 = I am glad I am not riding my sled.
1 = Mud, snirt, open water. Get out the 4 wheeler.
Cruise = Ride sitting down, with feet forward in cowling. Can hold a constant
speed. No back jarring. No bottoming out. No sliding around. Bridge
We had a very mixed bag yesterday. Mostly because the North Bay groomers had been busy opening up the trails to Quebec and the Redbridge groomer couldn't get to a section of trails due to last weeks flooding.
We went east on A2, east on 112, northwest on 308, west on 102Q and south on AD. Then we did a loop to the south on A, west on 102D and north on D. A2 and the west end of 112 were about a 6 due to moguls. The groomer had not been able to reach that area until yesterday afternoon. According to the NBSC website that section was groomer yesterday. 308 northwest was a 10 where there was no logging activity. 102 was a 10. Where there was logging activity is was still an 8. But, there was no snowmobile strip left along the road as was expected.
As the day before, AD along the power line was a 10. However south of the groomer shed it was only a 7. I suspect the north groomer will dress up the south end of AD today. A south was a 8 instead of a 9 due to a couple of icy spots. D north was a 8 instead of a 9 due to a couple of icy spots. Other than the icy spots A and D could be rated 9.
The trails are really shaping up here. However, the lakes are generally rough due to frozen slush on top. Of couse some riders had to ride in the slush during the meltdown and now there are frozen ruts on the lakes. So, lake riding requires caution. The frozen ruts can really throw you.
With the grooming that occurred yesterday and what will occur today, the trails should be A-OK for the weekend with nothing but 8-10 quality trails though out the region.
Dan also wrote suggesting that contributors to this website have a discussion and standardize their trail ratings for ride reports. I don’t want to exert any pressure on the guys who generously take their time to sit down and write up the ride reports, so I’m not very concerned about whether one guy’s “8” is another guys “7”. I think the best thing about this website is that when there is riding available, we get enough reports so that you can read between the lines and have an idea whether or not it is worth going out in a particular area. But I do find Dan’s thorough definitions before his ride reports interesting and I’ll gladly print comments by others. If you have time to define your terms as Dan does in some of his reports, it is very useful. I’ll start it off by saying that, for me, a “10” trail is not really absolutely fresh grooming, but a trail that has been groomed flat and then maybe a dozen sleds have been over it, loosening up the surface snow. Absolutely the very best trail for me, my own “10++”, is a trail that has been regularly groomed so that it is dead flat with a solid thick base, has had light traffic to scuff up the surface, and then two inches of fresh powder overnight. Give me that and bright morning sunshine, and I am in riding heaven!
Thursday, Feb. 7th, 8AM Update:
Late last night I got the following report from Jay about conditions south and west of Arcade (Franklinville, Boston, Ashford Clubs), pretty much confirming other observations reported last night from Kevin. Good info. Sounds like some of the best riding in western New York is down that way this week. I usually ride myself in the Folsom – Oatka – Tri-County – Colden trails and have no first hand experience south and west where Kevin and Jay rode yesterday. I think I’ll make a trip that way soon.
Hi Tom. Just wanted to confirm both yours and Kevin's report. Yesterday i trailered to the Milestone and rode up S36 to S38 then to the S34 Hermitage loops then down to Bliss. This was, some good, some bad, some water holes, some grooming. Tri-County and Oatka did a pretty good job with little snow in places, alot in others and a really wet ground underneath. Things were freezing better than the day before. Then took the RR bed all the way to C3 to Franklinville. The RR bed was smooth and groomed, a little thin/rocks, but C3 to F-ville was awesome! Then headed back up C3 to Arcade/Chaffee and home. Did 110 miles, snowmobile was a little muddy, conditions = limited. Today i trailered to Ischua Valley Golf in F-Ville, it was great the day before. More snow, fresh grooming, colder temps for sure because snow is harder and packed and ice holes were more frozen. So i ride C3 to West Valley and on to Ashford Hallow it was great groomed 4 wide like Kevin said and fast snow, 20 degrees and sunny! Sweet! Much better than i expected and much better than Arcade/Bliss ride. Then headed up S41 to C4F to Zoar Valley. This was groomed too, a little wet by the river but good all the way to C4 and S44A to Springville. Boston Club, Ashford and F-Ville Club Awesome grooming all in a row. It could only get worse, after gas in S-ville, went C4 to Sardinia and Chaffee and this was horrible. Where the Boston groomer stopped the fun stopped. All bumps, lots of water/mud holes, some scary, some impassable and grooming needed, stay off this stretch of C4. Then headed back down to F-ville on C3 from Chaffee/Arcade, it got much better at Rte.16 found Pioneer groomer, hopefully he was headed to C4, and Tri-County groomed C3 again, nice. I'm going back to F-ville tomorrow! No traffic out there, a weekday and conditions = good. And I'm turning around once i get to Springville. Another 100 miles! Jay
Wednesday, Feb. 6th, 9PM Update:
Here’s a very useful ride report I just got in from Kevin, who rode well to the south and west from Arcade this afternoon.
I loaded up and headed down to park at Earl's Restaurant. There were about 8-10 others that had the same idea. Unloaded and headed over towards Arcade via C3A to head south on C3C through Arcade, trails were in decent shape with some water areas. We went to take S32 which was freshly groomed, we were the first tracks on it, we ended up turning around it was ugly. Just after you cross route 16 there is a swamp I would advise to stay away from that area. From there we headed back to take a different trail, C3 to the railbed. We were one of the first to run this trail which was freshly groomed! We headed south towards Franklinville via the railbed. The further south we got the better the conditions were. Tri-county trails were in pretty good shape, then we ran into Franklinville trails which were even better. Crossing route 16 we stayed on C3 heading towards Ashford Hollow. The further we went the better the conditions. Once we hit Ashford Snowmobile Club trails it was even better. Freshly groomed two passes wide and tons of snow. Just a little warning be careful when you are heading down the hill into Ashford Hollow near 219. I came up to two riders who were stopped on the other side of the trail at a turn. One of the riders missed the turn because of the ice/speed and ended up at the bottom of a ravine 30' down. I don't know how he did not get hurt nor do I know how the heck they got the sled out of the ravine. We had a tasty lunch at Ashford Hollow and returned via the same route home. It was about 90miles total and well worth it. Coming back the trails were starting to get chewed up pretty well. There was lots of traffic. All in all it was a great afternoon ride.
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 8PM Update:
Meghan and I took another buzz around the Arcade and Chaffee area this afternoon. Great sunny day to be outdoors! We started from the Milestone and rode C3A down around Arcade, then east on C3 and north on S36 and around the S36 loop back to Chaffee. C3 and C3A were a little bumpy and we were wishing for some grooming. Water holes were not bad until one spot just east of where C3A dumps into C3 – wicked mud hole you can’t get around requiring some serious through the water power! We got across no worse for the wear.
As we rode north on S36, already looking pretty good, we ran into a groomer coming south. He had been working the north side trails, making multiple passes on parts of S36, including cleaning up in the woods where we ran into a logging mess yesterday. (Be careful what you wish for – we wanted to run into fresher grooming, but the base is VERY thin and when we did hit freshly groomed trails, the groomer had kicked up a good rock collection. All in all, the smoother trail was good, but at the cost of more rocks.
It was such a nice afternoon weatherwise that we had a really good time. I assume that the groomers were continuing to work later in the afternoon and that the bumpier trails we hit on the southside likely got groomed this afternoon or this evening. Arcade area trails are very thin in the woods, but mostly pretty smooth. Fields were getting bumpier today than they were yesterday, but were seeing some grooming. All in all, you will likely have some good riding tomorrow (Thursday), if you head out on the Tri-County trails.
I spoke to Jim from the Folsom club this evening and he is hopeful about the possible winter storm on Friday. Folsom trails are still too thin to open, but he might open them by the weekend if the storm drops 5” or 6”. Then, of course, right after the storm we face a couple of days of melt down Sunday and Monday. Temperature drops back to freezing or just below Tuesday and Wednesday, but not cold enough to freeze up water and mud that will collect during the two warm days. At least we may get to mid week with some snow still on the ground. Expect trails to close many places during this event.
Old Forge & Tug Hill
Even more snow is expected from tomorrow’s storm up on Tug Hill and in Old Forge, and the warm spell will be less up there, so we should have good riding that way next week.
Regular reader and contributor, Dan Wilhelm, is riding up in North Bay this week and just sent a detailed report after his first full day of riding. Check it out below – I might head up there next week.
10 = First person after a groomer - flat trail.
9 = Not first person after a groomer but still flat, can cruise without caution.
8 = Can cruise but need to be alert to washed out cross ditches and rough approaches to bridges.
7 = Can not really just cruise. Occasional bump/mogul. Need to be alert to washed out cross ditches, rough bridge approaches. May bottom out occasionally. Can still ride sitting flat footed.
6 = Need to "post up" often. Can not sit and ride.
5 = Solid moguls
4 = Minimal riding conditions.
3 = Should be home watching television.
2 = I am glad I am not riding my sled.
1 = Mud, snirt, open water. Get out the 4 wheeler.
Cruise = Ride sitting down, with feet forward in cowling. Can hold a constant speed. No back jarring. No bottoming out. No sliding around. Bridge approaches smooth.
We had a good ride today. We went north on AD, west on D, east on 104, south on A, and back south on AD. 155 miles. AD north along the power line was about a 7 out of 10. Some residual bumps and rough approaches. Not uncomfortable to ride, but couldn't just cruise. AD along the pipe line was a 9/10. Cruise at a steady 50 mph. D west was a 7 or 8 with residual bumps. 104 was a perfect 10 - just groomed. A south was an 8. Could cruise but there were a couple of washed out cross ditches. One or two icy spots.
After the rains last week I don't think there was enough soft snow to completely smooth out frozen moguls. The snow that was left was pretty hard. For example D west had some hard ice chunks here and there.
There was about 6" of snow last night. There is enough snow now to really dress up the trails as evidenced by 104. One more grooming pass on AD and A and it will be awesome all the way to Martin river.
I think it is safe to come up any time now.
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 9 AM Update:
Oatka Trails partially Open
I am a day late in reporting the Oatka Valley trails opening. Here are the posts from their website:
2/5/13 Trails are OPEN . Trails are still open south of 20a and west of 19. The best riding will be between Bliss and Arcade. That is where the groomer has been able to run. The rest of the open area has enough for sleds to run, but not to groom.
2/4/13 Trails are OPEN . They are ONLY OPEN around the Bliss area south of route 20a and west of route 19. Some trails may have debris on them and the large fields have thin coverage. The trails over towards Perry are not ridable and are still Closed.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 8PM Update:
SledTug Blog (link above in our index) has been posting again recently. Here is today’s post copied from them; this is what frustrates me about Tug Hill – you can go from excellent to poor, ungroomed conditions and back several times during a ride, and it is hard to plan ahead.
Dropped in Parish this morning and Square Valley Trail Blazers had the ride out of the Gristmill groomed up real nice right through Happy Valley. But a word of caution…despite new snow and grooming there was ice in just about every corner of today’s 140 mile ride. Out of Happy Valley onto Kasoag’s trail C5 and C4 there is plenty of snow but nothing had received much needed grooming.
Once into Redfield groomed trails resumed. Jackson Road was groomed smooth but there are several areas where there are water issues…it was obvious that the groomer operators put a lot of effort into rebuilding areas damaged by last week’s rain. Salmon River Road was groomed with a little gravel chatter.
BC Sno-Pals section of SRR was getting a bit choppy. The plowed section of SRR was in good shape…it’s amazing how low the banks are considering today is February 5. Culpepper Road was perfection. Snow coverage lessens closer to Barnes Corners…lots of gravel on Milestrip and the trail behind Tuggers is snirt and dirt. Heading west out of BC toward Adams there can’t be more than 4” of snow on the ground.
Took the South Shore trail (C5 south of the Salmon River Reservoir) on the trip back to Parish and again the Redfield section had been groomed but not the Kasoag section
Back in the Parish area S52 toward Mexico has good snow coverage but has not been groomed.
Loading up the Gristmill at 6pm the Square Valley Trail Blazers groomer was just heading out…hopefully Kasoag and Mexico are doing the same.
Tuesday, February 5th, 4PM Update:
Tri-County in Good Shape
Meghan and I loaded up and trailered down to Chaffee late this morning and explored some of the Tri-County trails. They are in quite good shape. We didn’t come across any fresh groomer tracks, but conditions were generally good. I had heard lots of stories of all the mud holes in the woods, but the woods trails are in very good shape. Yes, there are still a few open water holes, but they are closing fast and nothing was impassable. Many of the wooded sections of the trails were snirty with very thin frozen base, but they were remarkably smooth. I rode sitting down comfortably most of the time. Didn’t really see any badly moguled sections – just a bump or dip here and there. Only really bad ride was S36 (I think that number is correct), where there is active logging. We huffed and puffed to turn our heavy 4-strokes around and ride back out of the woods!
Some sleds were out; we passed maybe 15 or 20 riders, but traffic was light. I recommend riding on Tri-County trails during this week before the coming warm-up. Arcade was the bull’s eye for the first heavy lake snows this week and Tri-County was the first club to get groomers out on the trails. It has paid off.
Meghan and I drove down to Chaffee in bright sun, which promptly clouded up as we unloaded. I hate riding in heavy overcast because my old eyes have even more trouble than anyone else would. Near the end of our ride the sun popped back out and I could turn “Mr. Turbo” loose here and there. I might go out again tomorrow.
I played with my GoPro and might post some video later if it came out. Here is a link to some still pics.
Here is a video link for the first part of our ride on Tri-County trails this afternoon.
Here is another video link to a second video taken on the Tri-County trails this afternoon. It shows lots of the water holes that are closing up very nicely. Good, accurate picture of conditions on these trails as of today.
Monday, Feb. 4th, 7PM Update:
Looks like very nice weather locally tomorrow. I think I’ll trailer down to the Tri-County trails, maybe Earl’s, and have a ride tomorrow late morning. I’ll post some pictures.
Out Of Town
Reliable reports of good out of town riding have been hard to come by recently. Here’s a post from HCS of a ride over the weekend between North Bay and New Liskeard. I am familiar with parts of this trip, which are very beautiful. From what I’ve seen online, this report sounds creditable, though I am a little skeptical of really good conditions in North Bay quite yet.
A group of us rode from North Bay to New Liskeard on Friday (Feb. 1st) and the conditions were fantastic . Saturday we rode up to Kirkland Lake and back down to New Liskeard, then yesterday, we rode back to the trucks in North Bay. The trails were all in awesome shape. Only a couple sections of swamp just outside of North Bay (on the A/D trail) that had opened up at some point and then froze that were rough/icy, and 1 or 2 open "holes" that were easy to cross but got the sleds dirty . I'm not complaining at all though! We got in well over 400 miles, and that was with a couple late starts due to a hard-to-start sled (moisture/electrical issue).
We would have done a bigger loop, and probably hit either Timmins or Sudbury if we had more time, but as it was, it was nice to get out ........we had planned on doing the RAP, but that obviously wasn't going to happen due to effects of the meltdown on the trails in either direction of Haliburton (pretty much everything from Huntsville across to Barry's Bay would have been pure ice on the trail surface!).
Anyway, North Bay area was great!
Monday, Feb. 4th, 9AM Update:
I spoke with Jim from Folsom late last night and he told me several inches of badly needed snow had fallen in his area. Folsom is “close”, but the trails there remain closed as of this morning. Lake effect advisories and warnings continue across western New York today, so stay tuned. I plan to ride tomorrow down in Tri-County trails, which have had the best snow for the longest time this week.
And here’s a quick report from David, who rode the Arcade area trails yesterday. His report fits pretty well with what we’ve heard from others – need more snow and more of this cold weather.
As always you do a great job on your trail reports.
Left my house on rt 98 in Freedom today my first ride in 2 years coming off a back surgery this summer. Just rode around Freedom and Arcade lots of snow in the fields down to dirt and mud in the woods after Saturdays heavy traffic.
Arcade club put in a good effort for what they had to work with, 50 deg.temps the day before it snowed, heavy winds and lots of melting snow and rain.
Well it was better than sitting in the house but we need a good 6 inches more snow at least.
Superbowl Sunday – 3PM Update:
Colden Trail Riders are now “open – limited”, except for the trail out of Emery Park which is still closed (that one is near me, and I have literally only two inches on the ground here). Hope they don’t mind me copying a nice explanation of local conditions from their website today:
Sunday Feb 3, 2013
Trails are open for limited riding (except S45D [Trail between Emery Park and Partridge Road]). Use extreme caution and expect to get muddy. Again there is no base and you are riding on the underlying terrain.
There are so many reasons to open the trails and so many more to keep them closed. With conditions like they are right now it’s a tough decision for a club to make. So many volunteers have dedicated countless hours to prepare and maintain the trails and so many more have invested so that they can enjoy the sport. Tie for the number one decision factor are “safety” & “landowner’s property”. Friday evening there was enough snow to safely support some sled traffic. There was nowhere near enough to support the kind of traffic we had last week-end. Now that it is Sunday, and other trail systems have been open for people who had to get out, the traffic should be a lighter. Once you hear trail reports from riders who have been out you’ll think twice about going out anyways. I went out and interviewed a couple riders last night. They described Springville area as having 2 feet of snow, but full of water crossings. I clarified that they are not just muddy spots and are indeed numerous open water crossings. They say that as you head north there is less snow and less water crossings although muddy areas are numerous. It sounds like if you have to trailer in to drop somewhere it’s not quite worth the effort. Overnight we held around 10° so any shallow water that is not still moving may be firming up. If we get some riders out there we’ll be in better condition for any new snow. The forecast has about 1 inch falling before the game starts, another inch during the game, then there is a Lake Effect Snow Watch on for this evening through late Monday. If that band hits our area we should be in good shape.
Saturday, Feb. 2nd, 9PM Update:
Tri-County Open – Others not Yet
Tri-County got the best deal on snow from this week’s storm. They have had groomers out on most of their trails and are open. Ride with caution because of wet spots and wind falls. No other clubs in our area appear to be open.
Here at my place in East Aurora, we barely have two inches of snow, and the Folsom website reports grass still showing through in some areas. The lake effect machine has produced very narrow snow bands the past few days. As I write Saturday night, an intense band is hovering over Niagara county, with very heavy snow in a band only ten to fifteen miles wide. We may get some more badly needed snow tomorrow night.
Enjoy the Tri-County trails the next few days – they should get better and better through mid week.
Then, I’m sure you guys have seen the long range for yourselves. Nearly 40 on Friday and low 40’s next Saturday.
Out of Town:
Old Forge tonight is listed as “fair to good” – they should be “good” in another day or two
Tug Hill is getting some heavy snow in areas; still dealing with wet spots
Bracebridge – Huntsville, Ontario still not fully open; suffered from melt down
North Bay closed in some areas; some open “limited”
New Liskeard area trails are finally listed as fully open
Far North is fully open from Kirkland Lake on north through Cochrane and on to Hearst, including both sides of Abitibi Canyon loop
Friday evening, Feb. 1st 10PM Update:
Tri-County Trails to Open Saturday
We’re ready to give it a try is the word from the field……..
The Tri-County Drifthoppers trails will open Saturday 2/2/13...Be forewarned that even though we have 20" in some places, others only have 8"-10". There will be wet spots until they can be opened up to freeze. The wind and snow is slowing down tonight. Some groomers may try a run tonight to see what happens. Have fun but be careful out there until the trails can be re-established. Please respect any of the clubs nearby that may not have enough snow to open their system yet. We would love to wait another day, but another warm up could be coming end of next week.. Take it low and Slow....
I measured 20” at 5:00pm today (Friday)….in an un-blown section of the yard, but by the time you get to Sad Dog to the north maybe 8-10”. Conditions will vary greatly….
NOTE: Here in East Aurora as of 10PM, we still have only about an inch of snow – much more coming tonight – maybe!
Friday, Feb. 1st, 3PM Update:
There should be some powder riding tomorrow, but very localized. Below is Lee’s second update of the day, direct from Arcade:
Friday afternoon update……
Friday afternoon update. SNOW SNOW SNOW still coming down hard in Arcade . We have trail guys out checking trails on sleds, as of now, we should be able to open trails in the morning unless we get some bad reports back in later today from the trail heads. Groomers may not get out until Saturday due to bad visibility right now. If we do open Saturday, be very careful until trails are broke and groomed. I cleaned driveway out at 6:00 this morning and when we had to pick kids up from school, due to being closed early, at 2:00pm, we pushed snow all the way in!
I would say we are measuring in FEET not inches any more in Arcade proper……Hard to tell what’s happening elsewhere in the system until reports come in.
Below is the current NOAA special weather statement as of 3PM:
...MODERATE TO HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW WILL CONTINUE THIS
A PLUME OF MODERATE TO HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW WILL EXTEND FROM
STURGEON POINT...TO BOSTON...TO ARCADE...TO HOUGHTON AT 2 PM. THE
HEAVIEST SNOW WILL IMPACT AREAS IN AND AROUND BOSTON...
BIRDSALL. SNOWFALL RATES OF AN INCH TO AN INCH AND A HALF PER HOUR CAN
BE EXPECTED OVER THESE AREAS THROUGH 4 PM...REDUCING VISIBILITIES
TO A QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES. SNOWFALL RATES WILL DROP OFF
VERY RAPIDLY JUST OUTSIDE THIS MAIN BAND OF SNOW.
TRAVEL ON PORTIONS OF I-90 FROM HAMBURG TO SILVER
CREEK...AND ALONG I-86 IN ALLEGANY COUNTY FROM ANGELICA
EASTWARD...WILL BE DIFFICULT. MOTORISTS SHOULD ALLOW EXTRA TIME
TO TRAVEL THROUGH THESE AREAS...AS THERE WILL BE SOME SLICK
SPOTS...ALONG WITH SOME SNOW COVERED SECONDARY ROADWAYS.
Here in East Aurora, we have had patches of blue sky and sunshine all day and I can still see the grass through very thin snow. We will try to publish tomorrow some suggestions on where you can expect to ride over the weekend nearby.
Friday, February 1st, Noon Update:
Following is a report from Lee at Tri-County he just sent this morning. I just took a drive myself out to Byrncliff, south to Java and back through Strykersville to East Aurora. The Folsom area has much less snow than Lee reports in his area further south. Lots of variation due to the lake effect bands. Green grass was still showing through very thin snow all along #20A this morning. Snow depth quickly increased heading south to Java along #77, with maybe five inches in Java and then less as I drove back west and north along #78 through Strykersville. This fits well with Lee’s observations below:
Here is the update added this morning to our web site…..
Winter is back….at least in some places! Our area got between 6” and 18” of snow yesterday and overnight. The trails are not open as of AM today (2/1/13), but the guys will be out to survey the trails soon and we will be updating the status soon. The hard part about this is that we had all the water earlier in the week along with high winds, need feet on the ground to see what is passable and what needs work. The same will hold true for the race track, need to get trails opened up first, and than see what happens when we pack it down…stay tuned!
Not much snow once you get north of Java……..even our system, some places have 1-1/2ft and other places only 6”-8”. The thing that concerns me the most is all the water I saw Wed around the area….
Much more snow appears to be on the way as lake effect bands wander north over the next two days. I’m guessing you will see some trails posted open – “limited” over the weekend, but keep in mind Lee’s comments about all the water and down trees. As of right now (noon Friday), the heaviest lake snow is well south, likely hitting Arcade, Chaffee, Franklinville.
Wednesday, January 30th, 10PM Update:
Just got home from the airport – T-shirt weather! But that will change in the next few hours. Let it snow!
Sunday, January 27th, AM Update:
Shame on You
If you are reading this Sunday morning – you should be out enjoying the fair to good riding we have in western New York today! Because another big melt is coming. Riding reports are of fair but thin snow conditions in northern and eastern areas and better as you go south and towards the lake. Following are two reports from Friday.
Hi Tom. Sorry i haven't given you a trail report yet but here's my Thursday and Friday report. On Thursday i headed to Strykersville for gas and Holland trails and Folsom were grommed but very thin. Only 6 to 8 inches of snow and no base, obviously, and the fields were very rough. The powdery snow, as opposed to the 15 inches of wet snow we got after Christmas, does not fill the fields very well. So, Wyoming county wasn't looking good and u headed south to Arcade on C3C to S36. More snow but no grooming in Tri County. Then i went C3 to S32 thru Sardinia and now the snow was getting deep, over a foot of snow and the fields were filled in nicely. No grooming but pretty good and not one water hole they were all frozen. Then went toward Springville then up S49C to Spraguebrook Park. This was all good and Colden was grooming, drove by 2 groomers. Then went home to Holland on C4A to C4 and the snow got thinner, only 75 miles. On Friday, i knew where the snow was better, and went south and towards the Lake. So my son, who had a 1/2 day of school, took C4 by the Willows up to S41, very nice, to C3 to Springville got gas and went closer to the lake to do the Eden loop. Wow! Way more snow, maybe 2 feet, these trails were groomed 4 groomers wide smooth and fast thru fields and beautiful rolling hills near the lake. I felt like i was in Wyoming county and but this was Erie county at its best, because of that lake effect machine. These clubs over here did a great job. We took C4 to S44B to Uncle Franks for a great fish fry, then went C4N to Eden then C4A to Chestnut Ridge and started to run out of snow and no grooming and bumpy. Lots of riders out and C4A home to Holland was worse than the day before. 120 miles with my best buddy in Southwest Erie county = great day! Trails by Eden and Langford should be marked "very good" everywhere else "limited". So tomorrow I'm going further south and west to Chautauqua thru Gowanda and Perryburg where i hear there's maybe 3 feet of snow. Jay
And From Don:
Hi tom,just wanted to send you a quick note about trails in cassadaga...we rode from cassadaga (sure fine gas station) to cherrycreek and most traile inbetween on friday am... (93miles) trails were good with some bare spots and no water...on our return to sure fine the trails were turned up and rough from traffic...still rideable..all & all not to bad..
Tug Hill: The Sled Tug Blog linked on our directory does not post regularly, but they have been recently. Check out their reports. Sounds hit and miss up there this week.
Saturday, January 26th, 6AM Update:
Folsom Dice Run Sunday
The weather looks good for the Folsom Dice Run on Sunday. Check their website for details (link above).
I spoke with Jim again late last night, and he reports the Folsom trails south of #20A to be “rideable”. After a grooming pass and some sled traffic during the cold this week, the trails are snow covered with a little base, but they are thin in many spots. All the snow that fell was very powdery and packed down to just a few inches. Corn fields are bumpy where the wind blew the snow thin. Trails north of #20A are still closed.
Jim will be riding to Chautauqua today and plans to call me with a report on conditions down that way this evening. Stay tuned.
It does sound like area trails will close first thing Monday morning until it freezes up again later in the week.
Friday, January 25th Update:
Bitterly cold temps the past few days, then two days this weekend when riding conditions should be near perfect, especially Sunday, then I get ready to fly home from Florida on Tuesday and it is supposed to be near FIFTY FRIGGIN’ DEGREES!!!!!!
I do not have actual trail reports from anyone, but I know that both Tri-County and Folsom planned to be grooming the past few days. I’ll post a report as soon as one comes in from the trails, but Sunday should be the day. Mid 20’s for temps, light wind, and bright sunshine. I’ll bet the Byrncliff lot will be chock full.
Check with the clubs or I will post it here if they tell me, but I would not be surprised if trails were closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday when it is above freezing, especially Tuesday and Wednesday. If it were going to all melt down, I’d say ride until the last minute next week, but it is going to freeze up again by Thursday. It makes sense to baby the trails while it is warm for a couple of days and we should get through this brief thaw pretty well. Just my opinion.
My NBA Experience
Have any of you guys been to a big time sporting event recently and bought drinks in a premium seating area? Meghan and I don’t spend that kind of money often, but we got tickets from one of our customers for a Heat game the other night. Here’s my description of the drink prices from another Blog I write:
Especially nice was the chance to see a Miami Heat basketball game thanks to Anderson and her dad giving us great tickets the other night. THANK YOU, Anderson and George! I am a big Lebron James fan and the other night was a highlite of my whole winter. It was a real treat for Meghan and I, who do not splurge on high end entertainment very often.
In case you haven’t been in premium seating at a big time sports event recently, you can share in the culture shock from this little story. As soon as we sat down in our nice seating section, a VIP waitress came right up to offer to get us food or drink and bring it right to us. We knew that this level of customer service was the kind of thing that we “provide to others”, not something that we consume ourselves often. So we declined the beverage service, in deference to our budget.
Four young men sat down in front of us next, and it appeared that, like us, they were not regulars in premium seating. The same waitress came over and asked them if they wanted anything. “Four beers”, one of them said, generously ordering for his buddies. The server answered, “Coming right up – that’ll be $87.50, please.”
Well, the young guy just about fainted and turned green! His buddies would not let him off the hook, but joked the rest of the game about nursing those beers to last until the fourth quarter! Food and drink prices in premium seating are not friendly to young college guys or to snowmobile Blog writers!
Out of Town:
As of today, Friday the 25th, the forums I read indicate:
Good, but maybe not great conditions in old Forge
Snow a bit thin still some places on Tug Hill, but fair to good riding (don’t quite get the “thin snow” reports after the heavy lake effect recently, but I saw pictures from yesterday showing thin and snirty snow on some trails
Trails beginning to open but still some limited or closed in Muskoka (Bracebridge to Huntsville, Ontario)
North Bay mostly open now, needs a bit more snow some places, some great loops now open in Bonfield to Mattawa area
Far Northern Ontario looking good
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 8AM Update:
South Side of Folsom Trails Now Open
I spoke with Jim last night and he told me Folsom trails from #20A south would open at 7AM this morning, joining Tri-County. Most of those trails should have seen the first groomer pass by this afternoon, though don’t expect perfect conditions until more snow blows back into the trails and another grooming pass is made. With this cold, the snow is very fluffy.
Mike Kehl sends in this report on Michigan riding:
Just got back from a week of riding out in the "UP" of Michigan. Started out a bit thin below the Keweenaw peninsula but lots of cold and snow provided snow awesome riding! Well worth the trip if anyone wishes to go out there! The upper Keweenaw area should be a snowmobilers paradise from this point forward, if anyone needs info they are welcome to contact me.
Southern tug hill area from Osceola south is getting nailed today I have been told. Osceola received over a foot and it keeps on coming down, I see a trip up to camp in the near future too!
Out of Town Riding Destinations:
Mike reminded me of the Michigan Upper Peninsula, which is one of the prime riding destinations in North America – talk about lake effect snow off Lake Superior! Below as a general reference of good snowmobiling areas within a reasonable (very long day) drive of western New York.
Tug Hill – 4 hours
Old Forge – 4 hours
Muskoka region of Ontario Cottage Country – 4 to 5 hours
North Bay area in Ontario – 6 hours +
Ontario Far Northern Corridor (Cochrane, Kapuskasing, Hearst) – 11 to 13 hours
Michigan Upper Peninsula (above Lake Michigan) – 9 to 11 hours
Quebec mountains, Laurentian area – 10 – 11 hours
Val D’Or region northern Quebec – 10 – 11 hours
Gaspe Region of Far Eastern Quebec – 15 to 20 hours
AND, as long as we’re posting a snowmobiler’s bucket list:
West Yellowstone, Montana – ask Mike Kehl! 29 to 33 hours?
Revelstoke, British Columbia (Mountain Powder rider’s Dream) 35 to 40 hours
We’ll post some descriptions of these areas soon.
(Any NBA fans out there? One of my customers gave me mid court side tickets to a Miami Heat game tonight – watch for me on TV!)
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 11AM Update:
The good news is starting to come in. I am still out of town, so will be posting updates not as often as I would like for a few more days. I’m in Florida now, where it is finally warm after driving all the way across the country from Arizona with a strong cold front following us all the way. We’re flying home a week from today and I EXPECT you guys to have all the trails nicely packed down and ready for Meghan and I when we get home, LOL! Here’s a promising report from Jay this morning:
Hi Tom. Hope your trip is going well. Good time to be away. Unless you're not coming home soon! Because we got cold frozen ground with about 1 foot of snow in Holland still snowing maybe another foot coming today and tomorrow. More snow further south! 2 plus feet and counting from Arcade over to Chautauqua!! Finally the lake effect machine has been turned on!! Still going for a couple days! Sweet Jesus! Thank u! Colden and Tri-County trails are open! Other clubs are sure to follow as soon as they update their websites, because there is definitely enough snow. And the ground is really frozen good as it was 3 degrees last night and 5 degrees now and possibly 20 below windchill factor tonight. Hopefully early riders today (myself included) will pound down the trails and the groomers can lay out the carpet tonight and tomorrow as it keeps snowing on top of their grooming. Should be great in a couple days! Ride on brothers. I let u know what the ride today and tomorrow is like. Jay
Tuesday, Jan. 22nd, 10AM Update:
Lots of Snow & Cold! – Tri-County Trails Open
I got the following message this morning from Lee at Tri-County:
We’re open for riding!....About 6-8” of snow overnight and nice COLD temps to help freeze all the water.
Posted this morning…..
Trails are OPEN as of 1/22/13…..The groomers will go out after a few sleds help pack down the trails today. They won’t be as smooth as the last snow yet, but the water should be gone with these couple of cold nights. Be careful to watch for blowdowns until the groomers get over all the trails to open everything up. Just a note that the snow band runs out around 20A to the north, so some of the clubs to the north and east may not be able to open their whole trail system.
As of this morning (1/22/13) Folsom and Oatka are not open yet…….The snow band was pretty narrow, Snow runs out around 20A. Don’t know if Folsom could just open the south part of their trails or not..
I also talked with Jim from the Folsom club last night and he confirmed what Lee wrote – the snow band was very narrow and thinned out north of #20A. Folsom will likely wait a couple of days for the additional forecast snow to fill in. Then, they might open only south of #20A. Stay tuned.
Out of Town:
Old Forge reports only fair conditions.
Tug Hill ??? Let me know if you hear anything.
Much of southern Ontario has not yet recovered from the melt down. Trails are beginning to open again in this cold, where there is enough snow. Muskoka area not open yet. North Bay not open, though nearby Bonfield and east trails beginning to open.
(PS – just went online and looked at a report of great groomed trail with pictures from the Bonfield to Mattawa run – looks awesome, so the rest of mid Ontario should not be far behind.)
Nearly all of the far northern corridor trails (Iroquois Falls, Timmins, Cochrane, Kap, Hearst are now fully open, including the Abitibi Canyon loop both sides). But it is BITTERLY cold up there this week.
Monday, January 21 Update:
I’m still out of town, but monitoring the net. Sounds like it is sure cold enough this week! Some snow, so hopefully trails will be able to open before long. Not yet, though most places in western NY.
Twenty-five to thirty below zero up in Cochrane several nights this week – too cold for me!
Hit me with update info if you hear of trails opening.
Wednesday, Jan. 16th Update:
Getting cold around home soon. And how about THIS for cold, Environment Canada report for Cochrane area:
Issued : 11:30 AM EST Wednesday 16 January 2013
Snow squall warning in effect.
Flurries at times heavy and snow squalls. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Local blowing snow. Wind southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming northwest 30 gusting to 50 late this afternoon. High minus 2.
Flurries at times heavy ending this evening then clearing. Local blowing snow early this evening. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light late this evening. Low minus 35. Wind chill minus 48.
Monday, January 14th Update:
Well, I’m still out of town traveling in my RV in southeast Texas at the moment. It is very cold here – it was warmer in Buffalo yesterday!
At least it’s getting cold again in the northeast, but little snow seems to be in the near future. Let’s hope that a week from now when very cold weather is expected, we can get in a little lake effect. The only good news is that we should nicely freeze up the ground this week during the cold weather with little snow. Waterholes should all freeze up, allowing riding soon after we get more snow.
Out of Town:
Old Forge reports still open with “fair” conditions – I wouldn’t go.
I have conflicting reports from Tug Hill; some riding still going on.
North Bay Ontario trails suffered during the warmup – not open most places now.
Far northern Ontario corridor shows fully open on the OFSC map, but I have a recent report of poor conditions between Kap and Hearst, so would be suspicious of conditions further east for a few days until the cold snap settles in and freezes thingds back up.
Thursday, Jan. 10th, 11AM Update:
So far as I know, all trails in our corner of western New York are now closed. Keep your fingers crossed that a bit of the frozen trail base survives. Seasonal temps return early next week, but no significant snow in the long term yet. Many thanks to all the guys who have submitted trail reports the past two weeks and to the clubs that got right on the grooming at first snow fall to give us “the best riding in two years” – not that it was hard to beat last year!!
Ironic – I flew across the country to Arizona and southern New Mexico for two weeks of “warm weather” in my RV. Saturday the high temp in East Aurora at home will be close to 60. Where I will be the high will be 44.
Tuesday, January 8th, Midnight Update:
I’m out of town, but there was apparently still some decent riding around western New York today. Here is an update from Lee, of the Tri-County Club. Hats off to Tri-County for their great grooming since Christmas – they were the first to put their groomers out and it paid off for them!
I just posted this update on our site…looking Like Wed will be the end until cold weather returns…..
What a great start we had for the season! But it looks like the early winter warm up is on the way for the end of the week through the weekend. As of now it looks like we will have to CLOSE the trails by Wednesday! So make the most of it today and tonight. Our hats off to all the groomer guys and trail people for making this first real riding in a couple years so enjoyable for all. We can only hope that some of the base might be able to be salvaged after the weather turns colder next week. Please respect our land owners and stay off the trail when they are posted CLOSED….Will place an official posting to trail status tomorrow, just want to give everyone a heads up.
I also spoke with Jim from the Folsom club this afternoon. Their trails are holding up and they plan one more day of riding Wednesday, then closing trails. By the way, the Folsom club has taken some flack online for poor condition of some of their trails this past Saturday. Please note that the Folsom trails took the brunt of the heavy traffic this past weekend, with many, many sleds unloading and riding from Byrncliff, while the Folsom club had two of their three groomers down being repaired at the beginning of the weekend. They made up for it Sunday night and Monday. See Jay’s report from yesterday below:
Hi Tom. Hope ur time away is serving u well. Here in WNY, as a snowmobiler, it feels like the apocalypse is coming. So, I've been riding every day because it feels like last winter is about to happen, but as my father always said(not really) Carpe Diem or the Latin translation "Sieze the Day". So, i did just that on a sunny and cold January day and i rode to Wyoming County's jewel, Letchworth State Park. I did 115 miles almost entirely in Wyoming county and every bit of it was Great! I started as usual from Holland on C4 to Strykersville Kwik Fill for gas, a Red Bull and a Milky Way and went S43 excellent and groomed! Then to C4A, also freshly groomed to S33, also freshly groomed and awesome. Folsom groomed everything!! It was great! Cold, hard and smooth. I thought i was dreaming, especially because the last couple days were not so great. So, i headed S34 to C4 to Silver Lake area and it was still good. Instead of going north to Perry i went south on RR bed(S30) to Gainesville and went to the south entrance of Letchworth. All if this was groomed. I mean freshly groomed! I thought i was going to pass the groomer at any minute. Oatka Valley also groomed EVERYTHING! The park was not groomed, as that is where Oatka stops. Park was bumpy so i got my beautiful sunset picture of the "Grand Canyon of the East" and headed back home toward Bliss on the always fast and smooth and beautiful ride down the RR bed to Bliss and Arcade on C3. Once i left Oatka trails and the bumps came back. Surprisingly Tri-County did not groom( i bet their out tonight) and got gas in Arcade and headed home on Folsom trails C3C to S36 and they were groomed!! Tired and hungry, I was able to ride like Levi Lavalle on Red Bull filming a GoPro commercial. The trail was like a race track, the snow was soft enough that the groomer made a Daytona type 45 degree angle on turns that i never had to let off the throttle. Insanely Awesone considering the early season minimal snowfall. The reason for this, in my opinion, is all the hard work and expertise of 3 clubs that do their work with passion and conviction to deliver fun for their members and visitors. Folsom and Oatka took the day but Tri-County takes the first 2 weeks. Thanks guys! I'm probably going again tomorrow ( i know, I'm a self employed Landscaper, and ur jealous) to hit S36 and C3C and from there I'm not sure, thinking about Ellicottville or towards Rushford, but something tells me to just keep riding in gods country of Wyoming County(no I'm not running for County Executive!) I'll let u know how this last ride before the Apocalypse goes tomorrow night. Jay
Tuesday, Out of Town Bulliten:
Abitibi Canyon loop is now “open limited” for far north fanatics!
Tuesday, Jan. 8th, 10AM Update:
Looks wet the rest of the week – check with the club websites before riding, trails likely will close soon. More seasonable temps returning a week from now – keep your fingers crossed!
Here’s a late report from a ride last night:
Hi Tom, Jeff from Alden. My brother and I started and Bennington and did a 60 mile loop last night (Monday Night) toward Warsaw and looped around and back up to Smokies Pub where we met up with 4 friends from Sardinia. The trails were groomed awesome, I bet 70% of the time we were on perfectly flat trails. My main purpose for this email is to thank the person who found my windshield bag on the trail between Strykersville and Byrncliff. Seems I was having too much fun to notice I lost it? At any rate I noticed it was gone when I got unloaded in my sled in the garage. So I loaded everything back up at 10pm to head out to look for it. About 2 minutes before I was going to unload at Byrncliff, my wife called and said the Flipside had it!! I wish who ever found it was still when I arrived, so I could buy them a beer… My daughters snowmobile Licenses were in there, and it saved me some time and aggravation. I am thankful there are still honest people out there. Well, let’s all hope this warm up does not wreck our great season start.. See you on the trails.. Jeff
Sunday, January 6th, Midnight Update:
Monday looks to have good riding locally. Then things will go down hill fast the rest of the week. I’ll try to post when trails close, but check the club websites. Many may close Tuesday, certainly by Wednesday.
Western New York trails will be badly melted by this system.
Old Forge and Tug Hill will be impacted, but a base may survive.
Muskoka region of Ontario will be impacted.
North Bay may get a bit slushy, but should come through this OK.
Cochrane and the far northern corridor is expected to get only one afternoon above freezing and should see no adverse effects from this warm-up. Too bad they are 11 to 12 hours away!
Sunday, January 6th, 1PM Update:
Here’s a current ride report from Jay who did 130 miles locally last night. He might have another report late today. Sounds like conditions are “ok” but going down hill. The trails will take a beating today with temps in the mid 30’s. Last decent riding will be tomorrow after a freeze up tonight.
Hi Tom. Jay from Holland reporting. I rode 130 miles on Saturday. Started from home to Emery Park on Sno-Mob trail C4 to S49 not very good. Thin snow and many water holes opening fast with running water underneath. At Emery Park i picked up my best buddy Jay( yes 2 Jays) who just bought a new 2013 Ski-Doo Renegade 800 with all the extras. Very nice! I told him he better be prepared for mud and water on that new machine. And that he better stay behind me and my Ski-Doo 600. Just because his machine is faster doesn't mean anything. So, we went south on Coldens power line. Very nice. Finally groomed and fast as usual. Then went to Chaffee to Arcade for gas. Good but getting bumpy. Much more riding in this area. So, we decided to go to Wyomings money trails up S36 to my favorite trail S38 to The S34 loops thru Hermitage and then down S34 to Bliss Hotel for dinner. Great snowmobile bar/restaurant, good eats good atmosphere. At least 30 sleds there. Then we met Jay's brother and wife there and rode with them, slowly, back up S34 to S33 to their house in Warsaw off of C4E. Started to get bumpy near Warsaw but conditions were still very good no water holes out this way, just a couple bumps. Then we had to go home. Went C4 to S40 to the Lodge this was very bumpy much more riding here so many bumps. We probably should have gone back toward Java and Bliss, but home was calling and we bit the bullet and headed thru the bumps to Byrncliff then to Strykersville for gas. Very bumpy and getting thin a dirty. But who cares bumps are a reminder that we have had riding for almost 2 weeks. Yes! Trails may close this week. But get out today and tomorrow and hit those bumps be because u may not be able too for awhile. I recommend Wyoming county. And some groomers may be out today and tonight to knock down the bumps and cold temps tonight may make for awesome riding tomorrow on those groomed trails. A groomer was just spotted at Emery park. Im going today and i'll let u know how it is later. Jay
As I write this at 1PM on Sunday, current temperature is:
35 degrees F locally
36 degrees in Old Forge, NY
33 degrees in Bracebridge, Ont
15 degrees in North Bay, Ont
2 degrees F in Cochrane, Ont
Even Bracebridge, 200 highway miles north of us, will have four days above freezing this coming week. North Bay will have three days slightly above freezing. Cochrane will have only one day next week with the temp above freezing – that’s why they have such good riding in the far north – melt downs are few and far between – conditions just get better as the season goes on! Locally, we might have to start over after this warm spell.
Saturday, Jan. 5th, 8PM Update:
Here’s a late report from Greg from his ride today:
Tom, We had a 70 mile ride leaving from Byrncliff through Folsom,Tri county and Oatka valley trail systems. Conditions could not have been much better. These clubs had the trails in the best condition anyone could ask for. The parking lot at byrncliff was jamb packed when we got back mid afternoon. This may be the last good riding until another cold/snow snap. Hopefully the base will not completely melt down this week. Still not sure why the other local usually good clubs (colden,holland,sardina,etc.) decided not to groom?
Looks like tomorrow (Sunday) should be OK riding, with the surface snow on the trails getting soft in the afternoon, a cold Sunday night should give us one more very good riding day on Monday, then it goes down hill fast. The long term is NOT looking good L
Saturday, 8AM Update:
Friday Ride Report from Dan:
Tina and I went for a very nice ride yesterday. We started out at the White Star Restaurant (Formerly "The Hearth") in Chaffee. Went west on C3A and then dropped south through Arcade on C3C. Then west on C3 all the way to Bliss. That was all good. Blowing snow made visibiliy bad and drifts created sudden bumps (some seen and some not seen) due to the blowing snow. So, in the morning, riding requried some caution but the bases were solid, the woods were smooth, waterholes were of no consequence, and there were no moguls. The drifts we did hit were softer than moguls so they didn't bounce you around. The big waterhole on C3 east of Arcade was filled in and no evidence of last weekends problems. The railway bed on C3 to Bliss was smooth.
North of Bliss we rode S34A, S34, S33A, and S38. These trails were fun. It was not "sit and steer" riding due to the drifts. However, there were no moguls so the experience was nice for us. Although the drifts "slowed us down", they did made the riding interesting. We went over some of the trails more than once when we found good "fast" sections. So, a rider could still get an adrenaline fix. We made a fast trip out and back on S30 east of C3. It was a blast.
I had never been on S38 before. What a lovely trail. Open fields and beautiful scenery. We went over it twice.
We came back to Arcade on C3A and then made a loop north on C3C and S36 back to Chaffee. C3C north was rougher and less fun. I am not sure if it had been groomed at all this year. We did see a flock of turkeys on it though.
In all we rode about 107 miles and enjoyed the day very much. On a scale of 1-10, I would call it an 8 with deductions only for (1) the wind and drifting and (2) C3C condition. It was definitely worth a day of vacation. My thoughts - get out there and enjoy it while it lasts!
Saturday, Jan. 5th, 7AM Update:
Friday night ride report from Big Jake:
Its 6:00 am sat. jan. 5 and my wife and I live in Strykersville and went through N Java to Bliss last night and it was AWESOME. Bliss to Eagle on the tracks was ok. Eagle back to Java Ctr. via the trail with Tri County' s clubhouse on it was alright. It was very drifty north of Torrey hill rd. Back to Sville was ok. Absolutly no water or mud and like 2 ditches to cross the whole 50 mile ride. hats off to OVSA , Tri county and Eagle riders groomers. great job.
Friday, January 4th, 9PM Update:
All trails in the Kapuskasing, Ontario district are now fully “green” on the OFSC map. They don’t list them that way unless they are very good. The “A” trail is fully open from north of Iroquois Falls, through Cochrane, and to the west side of Kap. You could have some great riding up there right now, and they should be immune from the warm weather coming here next week.
Friday, Noon + Update:
It may seem like I’m puffing out my chest and tooting my own horn when I post compliments about this website and - - - - - well, shit yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing! LOL. I love to hear from you guys who actually read what I write and find it useful. It keeps me going. We all love to get an “attaboy” for our work now and then. Also, many of the groomer guys read this and they, too, love to hear about people really enjoying a ride on the groomed trails.
Here’s a message that just came in this morning from Tim in Tonawanda. Thanks, Tim. Sounds like we’ve created another Byrncliff fan.
Hi Tom, I came across your website this season and wanted to send a short note to thank you for all your hard work and dedication.
I'm a relatively new to snowmobiling, having only purchased my sled in the fall of 2010. I always had one as a kid, but we never took it on any type of trails.
As someone said earlier, I now wake up to checking your latest posts, and usually check before I go to bed.
We normally start off at Chestnut Ridge and ride south from there. Last weekend was pretty miserable because of the water and we were put off, assuming this season to be like last year. Then I read your post about your ride Wednesday afternoon, I watched the videos and called my brothers telling them that we need to get to Byrncliff and start from there.
We had one of the best rides ever! We put on an easy 100 miles and would still be riding right now if we could.
With that being said, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! Without the time you spend on this site we would have never thought of starting there, without your video clips we would be taking a blind guess on the conditions. I live in the Town of Tonawanda and it's great to know that we have eyes and ears down where we wish we were all day!
Friday, Jan. 4th, Noon Update:
Jim from the Folsom club just sent a picture from the cab of the groomer where he is out grooming the A&A trail this morning. I drove around some this morning, and though it is very windy, there seems to be less blowing snow than I was worried about. Warmer temps and the consistency of yesterday’s snow is helping a bit to keep the snow in place on the fields – there will be drifts, but it may be manageable.
(Jim’s still a little PO’d at me for calling the A&A only “Fair+” in my post two days ago. My standard for good is if I can comfortably ride sitting down, and I rode most of the A&A standing up the other day. But it will be good this afternoon, thanks to Jim!)
Friday, Jan. 4th, 9AM Update:
I don’t know what to say about conditions today and over the weekend. This was supposed to be our weekend of excellent conditions. The trail base was solid in Folsom and Tri-County areas and all we needed was a little more snow. We got that yesterday.
Now we have very high winds today and overnight tonight, which will not be kind to grooming efforts that were planned for today. Riding conditions over the weekend will be decent, considering the good base and the new snow that is blowing around. Whether or not we see very good conditions will depend on how much grooming can be postponed until tomorrow.
Best riding day weatherwise will be Monday with the sun back out. Not sure how the trails will hold up or if any grooming will get done Sunday night after the weekend riding.
After a cold day Monday, I expect trails will stay open Tuesday even though it will be above freezing. If the current long term forecast does not change, I expect all trails to close for at least a day or two by noon Wednesday if temps go to the 40’s. Keep your fingers crossed that this warm up does not become a full scale thaw and melt down. Our base can probably take three days or so of pretty warm weather.
Thursday, Jan. 3, 1PM Update:
Lots of Feedback Today:
Here’s a note from Lee at the Tri-County Club – they appreciate the nice comments from riders about their trail system this week!
Great to here the positive reports from the field for all the hard work the groomer guys from Tri-County have put in the last week. Even with one groomer coming apart, the main pivot pin between drag and tractor pulled apart, lots of behind the curtain helpers!.....But it does “BUG” me that they (parks) have “derated” two of our three groomers to Class “B” , I think their Formula is a little outta whack…I think Folsom had one of their’s classified as Class “B” also…..I think it should be more results orientated. Than you read what’s happening on the other side of the state……..
Get out while you can before the warm up……hope they are a little high on the temps since Tri-County has the Chicken BBQ coming up on the 20th
Follow the link Lee sent for interesting reading about trail fund controversy.
Following is a quick update from Mike Kehl, who just got back from Tug Hill and who will be grooming more Folsom trails today:
Quick update on riding up north.....went to camp over new years and found great riding on the tug hill area. Not many sleds to our surprise though and trails were flat and fast all over for the most part. Would stay away from Pulaski area, lots of water holes there. But Highmarket, Montague, Barnes Corners Salmon River to Osceola/Redfield are very good with more fresh snow yesterday.
I will be out today grooming Folsom area from building to Marilla split etc so that should be good for tonight.
Happy New Year!
Others have reported the same as Mike; very low traffic on Tug Hill, probably due to the fact that there is snow and decent riding all over the state, making a trip to the hill less necessary. Mike’s report is the first reliable one I’ve seen indicating widespread good conditions up there.
Thursday, January 3rd, 5AM Update:
Here’s a wonderful report sent in by Jay. He confirms our observations and greatly expands current first hand field observations. Thanks, Jay!
Hi Tom. Absolutely love your WNY Trail Conditions website. Its like my bible, from the minute i wake up and right before bed from Dec 20th thru March i check ur website religiously. Great job on snowmobiling info from all over and i like the new GoPro video links. I haven't emailed yet this year because I've been riding 4 out the 6 days open. Over 500 miles of good to very good riding. The first 2 days (last friday and saturday) were good and powdery but also had lots of those muddy water holes. My snowmobile looked like my quad does after a ride in the spring. Very hard to clean with a frozen hose! So, i waited like ur website said to do, for those holes to freeze up and let our awesome groomers go to work. And like u said the last 2 days(yesterday and today) were good to great! I live in Holland and i ride to Strykersville Kwik Fill to fill up and go get my fill of beautiful Wyoming County. WNY's best trails and clubs. So i too rode S43 all 4 days and it really improved from last weekend, especially that first mud hole that i made a detour around. S43 was real good but if u went south to N.Java and then east to Hermitage on S33, S33A, S34 and S34A loop u would find them to be even better than S43. Perfectly flat hard packed and set snow. No bumps and no water holes. So then from Silver Lake area went toward Bliss on the RR bed and it was smooth and fast as usual. Yesterday from Bliss went RR to S31 to Rushford and back to RR and up to Arcade for gas and that was real good. But then made the mistake to leave Tri-County trails and enter Erie county and go over to Colden where nothing was groomed, thin snow, still mud holes everywhere and very bumpy. Then saw a Holland Sno-Rascal groomer that was stuck in about 5 feet of snow in a drift on the way home. Help was on the way for him. But today when i got to Bliss i learned from my mistake and i stayed on Tri-County's trails and went north on S34 to S38. S38 to S36 was awesome! I mean perfect! So i turned around and rode it 2 more times very quickly!! If i had the GoPro i could have made a great commercial for TV. It might have gone viral! I gotta get one. Then, back at S36 which also was perfectly groomed, i went south by the Club House to thank them groomers for their incredible job of not only great grooming but also for how well they fixed the water holes. They spent way more time packing and filling those holes than any of the other 10 clubs that I've ridden thru. And the result was a clean snowmobile when i got home. Thank you! To all the clubs but especially Tri-County. I know some clubs are disadvantaged by the types of trails and the amount of snow they get but Tri-County seems to really capitalize on their advantages. Folsom and Oatka do a very good job too! Bottom line is go to Wyoming County stay away from Erie County (haven't been over Boston/Hamburg way but my guess is no good) and I'll let u know about Catt and Allegheny counties as i plan to check their trails tomorrow and this weekend. I dont like those trails as much as Wyoming's , but i must explore and see for myself. My gut tells me that they wont be anywhere near as good as Wyoming county trials. Ride on brothers! WNY Trailblazer Jay
Wednesday, 9PM Update:
See below for local conditions.
Out of Town:
Old Forge is now reporting good to excellent. I trust their reporting pretty much.
Guys are riding Tug Hill, with some good reports. As always, conditions vary from club to club on the hill at any given time. I have never really learned that trail system and don’t pass on more than very general Tug Hill info.
The Mt. Tremblant area northeast of Montreal is showing good conditions in Quebec; St-Michel-des-Saints / St-Zénon / Manawan / Ste-Émélie-de-L'Énergie and St. Donat are popular destinations with current good conditions.
Ontario is opening more and more trails. The earliest good snow fell southeast of Ottawa and many trails are starting to be fully open in that region. North Bay and Muskoka region still not fully open. Ganaraska Forest trails east of Toronto have been open/limited for a while. If I were willing to drive a long way this week for the best possible conditions, I would still go to Cochrane, where a good loop has been open for almost two weeks.
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013, 1PM Update:
Still a few bad spots but better; other trails good to excellent in places!
I hadn’t really planned to ride myself until the end of the week, but the sun was out this morning and the trails beckoned. Meghan had some horse business down towards Boston and left me alone, so I loaded up the sled and headed out to Byrnecliff. What a difference a few days can make! Whole different deal than my last ride a few days ago. This was FUN!
Mine was the only trailer in the Byrnecliff lots, all the trails out of the lot were freshly groomed, and the sun was shining, so I was in excellent spirits. I headed west on S41 past the groomer barn. The trail to the barn was wide and flat – things were looking great. From the groomer barn over the hill and through the woods to C4B needs to be groomed. The base is excellent, with no ground showing through, and only a couple of small mud holes that are almost frozen over. But there were stutter bumps. A groomer was out on the north side while I did my ride, so maybe they will have hit S41 by now.
When I hit the C4B junction and turned south towards Strykersville, there had been recent grooming. The base is good, but the groomers have picked up dirt here and there and the trail is “dirty” in many spots. But smooth. Just an inch of new snow or a windy day, like we have coming, and this trail will be prime. There are still some mud holes and icy spots, but they are freezing up very well.
I turned east on S43 up over the hills and across #77, and it was about as good as it gets. Recently groomed and in excellent shape most of the way. A few mud holes almost frozen in and one nasty one up on the hill by the windmills between #77 and Humphrey Rd. There is a bypass guys have been taking around this monster mud hole, but it is freezing in and should be OK by the weekend. All in all, trail #S43 is in prime mid season condition and I turned “Mr Turbo” loose most of the time! Yahoo!
Then it was on to C4A and C4 back north on the A&A railbed trail back to Byrnecliff. The A&A was not bad – some would call it good, I would call it fair+. It was not comfortable for sit down riding. But the base is now excellent and a few groomer passes and it will be in great shape. There was plenty of snow all over the field sections of this trail.
Only one nasty, a 300 yard section through the woods where the trail has been re-routed at the top of the hill above Byrnecliff – nasty mud and water holes that are now partially frozen. It’s going to be a while before this section is in good shape.
After making my loop back to Byrnecliff, I headed up C4 towards Bennington. I didn’t have a lot of time, and only went about half way before turning back, but a groomer had just been through and the trails were in good to very good condition, with just a few muddy sections. Check this link for pictures of one of the partially open mud holes.
Fun riding, the mud holes getting much better by the day, a few trails in need of grooming, but decent, and some trails (S43!!!) in near perfect condition. I did not ride a number of trails, but this gives you a picture of what you can expect. Can’t wait for the weekend after some more snow and grooming!
Boston – Hamburg area:
My wife is out driving and called to tell me that she passed a number of trails crossing roads over in the Boston and Hamburg area that looked very good to her. Nothing more specific than that, but good news.
I am fooling around with a GoPro camera I got for Xmas. I filmed my whole ride. I don’t know how much I will post, since it takes a long time to process files and upload to YouTube, but I will play with them and post some links later on.
This link is a 720P HD video taken from Byrnecliff over S41 to C4B and down to Centerline Road. The sun was out, so it looks pretty good.
This link is a 680 by 480 video taken coming back from Bennington towards Byrnecliff. Cloudy. See if you can tell much difference between the HD and the 480.
This link is another 720P HD clip from this morning’s ride, beginning at Centerline on C4B, then taking S43 up over the hill towards Humphrey Road.
New Year’s Day, Evening Update:
Jim from the Folsom club just called in again to report that they finished grooming the southside of their trails today and will have the rest groomed by tomorrow morning. Groomers will then be parked until after the wind (and hopefully some snow) event on Thursday. Grooming is planned again for Friday, setting the stage for what may be our best riding yet this year on a sunny Saturday.
The water holes are shrinking, but some are stubborn. We have three very cold nights in a row ahead of us (11 degrees at Jim’s out in Varysburg a few minutes ago), so hopefully the mud and water will be done with by Friday – at least until the “warm up” suggested by long term forecasts for next week. Even with the modest snow in the forecast, Thursday and Friday are expected to be quite windy, and that will blow powder onto the hopefully frozen base. Should lead to pretty good conditions most places for the end of the week. (There, is that optimistic enough for you, Jim?)
Tuesday, new Year’s Day, 2013:
Get out and do some riding this week, because:
LOOKING FURTHER AHEAD... THE MEDIUM RANGE OPERATIONAL MODELS AND ENSEMBLE PACKAGES (INCLUDING THE NAEFS) ARE IN STRONG AGREEMENT THAT THE LOW AMPLITUDE PACIFIC FLOW WILL REMAIN IN PLACE THROUGH NEXT WEEK. THIS WOULD PLACE TEMPERATURES ABOVE NORMAL...WITH SOME PACKAGES SUGGESTING MUCH ABOVE NORMAL READINGS...ESPECIALLY DURING THE SECOND HALF OF THE WEEK. A FORECAST OF A NEUTRAL TO NEGATIVE PNA...AND A NEUTRAL NAO... CORRELATE WELL TO A LOW AMPLITUDE FLOW AND ABOVE NORMAL TEMPS. CAN YOU SAY...JANUARY THAW?
The above is from the National weather service forecast discussion of the long range forecast for next week. For us in western New York, that means, “Don’t sit around and wait for local conditions to get better.” Only light snows are forecast for the rest of this week. Cold temperatures this week will continue to help freeze up the remaining mud holes while the light snow will freshen things up occasionally. The best riding is now and then this coming weekend. The following week is too far out for detailed forecasting, but at best, it will present us with some light thawing, and at worst - - - - - - -.
Enjoy your riding this week. Happy New Year.
Monday, 12-31-12, 9PM Update:
Direct from the Trail Report
Jim from the Folsom club just called while they were stopped out on the trail near Bennington during a ride. He said they hit just two water holes between Byrnecliff and Bennington. Apparently the wind blown snow and a lot of grooming is starting to lock up the mud holes. Jim says almost all of the Folsom trails will be recently groomed by tomorrow morning. Pssst – secret – Jim suggests an early morning ride tomorrow for best conditions on the Folsom trails.
Monday, 8PM Update:
Have a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!
I spoke to Folsom Trailblazers trail boss, Jim S. this afternoon and he said their club is continuing to groom extensively until the trails set up. He said that the strong wind today did them a lot of good by blowing powder into the trail base and some of the remaining holes. They are out packing again. I’m waiting for some more first hand reports before heading back out to challenge those mud holes again! I did have a fun little ride around my farm this afternoon – see the links above.
Monday, December 31st, 8PM Update:
I enjoyed a ride around the trails on my horse farm this afternoon and took the opportunity to play with my new GoPro. John me for a tour of some of the trails and fields at the new link at the end of the link list above.
Thanks to Greg for the following nice comment. A little of what I do is field checks, a lot is monitoring other websites and discussion forums, and a lot is posting reader reports. This site is useful because we all contribute.
“Tom, Looks like a lot more people found your site! This is the best information available. Again thanks for your time with up to date info!”
Regular readers will notice that I am posting ride reports from some distance away, because we do now have readers from all over, probably just because people enjoy reading about their sport. It is useful to western New York riders, though, to hear about conditions in Syracuse so you can extrapolate and have a better feeling what’s happening to our east.
Now to head out around my farm, where conditions are very nice, so long as we’re satisfied with the same one and a half miles of trails over and over! I have bridges over my creeks.
PS – Colden Trail Riders report their trails as “open limited”. I have no detailed reports beyond those from the past two days further down this page, but expect they have the same water & mud problems everyone else faces.
Monday, December 31st 8AM Update:
Below you can read a report Dan just sent in from his Chaffee-Arcade ride yesterday, and several other rider reports. Bottom line for most western New York riding today and tomorrow is stay home if you don’t like mud hole bashing, or choose very carefully for local sections of trail that are mostly field riding. Meghan and I were out yesterday afternoon, and it was no fun.
Example – If you drop at Byrnecliff and stay within a mile or two in several directions, the trails were flat and fast last night. If you just want to test your sled out, you could ride there just heading out and back, have a meal at the restaurant, and have a fun little ride.
The clubs (at least Folsom and Tri-County that I am familiar with) have done all they can, running many hours of groomer time and setting up a base that can freeze up during the cold weather beginning tomorrow, but now we need more snow.
On the bright side, if you do go out, you might find the “best riding in two years”, LOL, considering that there was almost no riding at all last year!
Here’s Dan’s report:
Good morning Tom,
We had a decent enough ride yesterday but encountered a few water holes. At one hole (south out of Chaffee) we just turned around. At another (route 3, west of Arcade), we went through. However, on the way back the conditions were much worse and a gaggle of people were pulling a stalled sled across the hole. We managed (with some difficulty) to get around it. Open field riding is good. Woods riding is fraught with water holes. If you can get to the area around Bliss you can get some nice field riding. We didn't see too many groomed trails until we got to the Bliss area.
It is evident that the trails are freezing up so, I expect that each day will be better than than last. Especially if the groomers can fill in or bridge over some of the water holes and level out / pack in the trails.
Tina decided she would rather do some off trail riding around the farm tomorrow instead of going back over to Chaffee. Her first riding (as the driver) exerience was in North Bay last year. So, she thought the water hole dodging was a far cry from what she learned on and would degrade the experience. She would rather try the deep snow riding. And truthfully, one does need to learn to handle a sled in deep snow. As you and I know the weight shifting in deep snow it is a very different type of riding than sitting and steering on a packed trail.
Her new helmet worked fine. However, I discovered that my right handle bar warmer was not working.
Enjoy your ride.
Sunday, 10 PM Update:
Here’s another ride report from today – thanks to Carol from Depew:
Today's ride started at the Milestone in Chaffee. Hoot, the new owner hopes to be open soon. He is waiting on the liquor license but will have a full menu when he does open. While asking for permission to park he gave me a tour and has done a very nice remodel on the place!
From there we rode south east toward the Eagle Inn. Along the way there was a very bad mud hole (GPS coordinates: N42 32.103 W078 18.359) that we managed to pick our way around but a group we met there did not fare so well. They broke the drive shaft in their Polaris crossing that mud hole. My husband payed it forward and towed the sled to the street for them. That hole really needs a bridge. A few of the fields had some bare spots but were more than passable. Other fields were blessed with nice deep powder. The woods trails had some mud holes but nothing that was unavoidable.
After a meal at the Eagle Inn we took the trail toward Franklinville. It was bumpy but had plenty of snow cover. Just after we crossed Rt. 16 in Sardinia we came across a young man who warned us away from what he said were 4 very deep unavoidable muddy holes. He advised us to run the shoulder of Rt 16 north a bit and pick up the trail again behind the Big Lots in Sardinia. Probably not the most legal thing to do but we took his advice based on the amount of mud on his sled and caught the trail again behind Big Lots. From there we rode the trail that parallels Savage Rd. back up to Chaffee. The Pioneer Snowsurfer's groomer was out and did a nice job on that section of trail filling in some holes. The trail was mostly smooth and just a few easy to avoid mud holes up to the new establishment called Chaffee Flatts. Had some snacks there, then rode back to the trailer and called it a good night.
All in all we did 60 miles and all 5 sleds are mostly clean, just a little dirt on the skiis. For early season WNY riding it can't be beat!
As I type this channel 4 is reporting that the Genesee County sheriffs rescued a snowmobiler from a 4' deep mudhole the rider was stuck in for 40 minutes up to his chest in water:
Till next time,
Carol from Depew”
Sunday, Dec. 30th:
Reports from the Far North
Two guys posted tonight about their weekends in Cochrane, Ontario, which is my personal favorite riding destination:
“I just got back from Cochrane and the trails were awesome!
We had a great time and it was great a great ride on the Top A trail from Cochrane to Kapuskasing.
We stayed at the Thriftlodge Motel in Cochrane that was newly renovated and a big improvment from last year.
I want to thank everyone involved for getting the trails ready in time for the holiday season.
“Just got back from Cochrane aswell. Spent 3 nights at the Best Western, it's a great place to stay. Trails got better every day we were there and by Saturday the A trail from Cochrane to Kap was mint. Thanks for all the hard work the clubs put in to get the trails open!”
Sunday, 7PM Update:
Revised Report; Folsom conditions today only fair
Maybe it was because the sun was out and everything looked so lovely this morning, but after I got out on the trails on my sled this afternoon, conditions were not as good as they looked from the roads this morning. I’d say just fair to good in a few places, with MANY open water holes and muddy spots.
Definitely you can get a ride in over the New Year’s holiday. The Folsom club has done all they can to work the trails with their groomers, and one was out on the trail near Byrncliff as I was driving home this evening, and I met with Jim in his groomer yesterday and know that the club has groomed for many hours this week.. There are very good sections on the fields, but the base is still loose and thin. More than half of the time during our ride this afternoon, we were bouncing around. After tomorrow’s above freezing afternoon, the rest of the week looks to be below normal temps and those pesky water holes will finally freeze up. I don’t think I’ll ride again until late in the week.
Check this link for a few pictures of our sleds after the ride this afternoon – MUDDY!
A report from Carol on Alleghany Park (thanks for the nice comments, Carol)
I religiously read your trail reports and thought I'd send along what we experienced at ASP Friday. The trails in the park were groomed, the seasonal road trails were pristine. The woods trails had a few slush spots but no mud at all. I'm sure by now there has been more traffic and it has changed but we had to scratch the riding itch and we were trying to avoid having to chisel frozen mud from the machines so we chose the park and it was the right choice.
Going to try Arcade/Bliss/Letchworth area today.
Thank you for posting nice accurate trail conditions!
A Report From Greg’s Ride in Colden
Tom, We did a 65 mile loop from Emery Park to Colden to sprague to chaffee to holland back to emery there is plenty of snow and quite a bit of water. We saw at the most 10 other sleds out we were the only trucks at emery in the morning no trucks at holland willows at linchpin time? Where is everyone? The bigger question is where are the groomers?! NO grooming anywhere! What are they waiting for? After last season I would expect to see more action. The conditions seem to be perfect to pack the base and fill in the holes..........
Sent from my iPad
Greg, Folsom is doing lots of grooming, even though they are fighting to get the mud holes filled in. Tri-County has also done a lot of grooming. Don’t know when they will be catching up over Colden way – maybe by now it is done?
Sunday, December 30th, Noon Update:
Good to Very Good
Check this link for pictures taken around the Folsom trails between Strykersville and Varysburg an hour ago this morning. Considering it is early season riding, conditions are good to very good. Trails are nearly flat most places, with recent grooming this morning nearly everyplace we were. I had not planned to do my first ride until tomorrow (we were in our car this morning). But after driving around the trails for an hour and a half, we came home and are loading up the sleds to head back out.
I stopped a bunch of riders and talked. Some said, “a lot of mud holes”. Some said, “very good, just a few mud holes here and there”. I gues it depends on whether you are a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person. It is early season – mud and water are part of that.
Where is everyone?
That’s what I’m hearing from everyone who has ridden. Sled traffic is still light. There were a dozen trailers in the lower lot at BYrnecliff and four in the upper lot when I was there an hour ago (11AM).
I’ll post another report this evening after I’ve ridden.
Saturday evening, Dec. 29th:
It’s a little out of our area, but if it helps, I’ll post the following that was just sent to me:
“My name is Mark DeFelice. I am a trail boss for the Sleds of Stafford. Just wondered if you could post some info for me: Trail heading North into Byron has been closed due to flooding. Detour trail has been posted. Do NOT attempt to go around the water - just use the detour. Stress that we need to stay on trail to ensure future landowner permission.”
Noteworthy reminder that all this snow is insulating the ground and it may be a while before the base really freezes up in troublesome spots all over the state.
Check this video clip of my wife, Meghan, playing on one of our farm fields with her four stroke Cat. Lots of snow in East Aurora!
Saturday, December 29th Update:
Things are shaping up. Thanks to you guys who got out in early season conditions yesterday and got the trails packed down, and to the clubs that were able to do some grooming and packing. That set the stage perfectly for the 3” to 4” of widespread show coming today and more light snow through the rest of the coming week. Only thing more we could ask would be slightly colder temps to help freeze up the base, and those are coming after Monday.
Note of Caution:
Check this link to a thread on the Trail Conditions website. These guys were riding just east of Syracuse. Nasty water and mud under the snow! I have not heard any reports of conditions this bad in our area, but they probably exist where there is very bad drainage or swampy sections. Let me know if you hit bad mud sections.
Heres the video clip of the Folsom groomer working yesterday.
Friday, 4PM Update:
Below is the best news for western NY sledders:
AS FOR TEMPS...BOTH THE OVERALL SYNOPTIC PATTERN AND PROJECTED MODEL TEMPS ALOFT ARE FAVORABLE FOR SOMEWHAT BELOW NORMAL TEMPS THROUGHOUT THE EXTENDED PERIOD.
I drove around some of the Folsom Club trail system in my car this morning and met up with Jim in one of the groomers. All the Folsom club groomers will be running a couple of shifts today. I took pictures (this link), and a couple of videos (posted at this link and this link a little later this afternoon)
There were five or six trailers at Byrnecliff this morning, with light sled traffic around the trails where I was inspecting. Just about the right amount of traffic to pack in the trails a bit without tearing them all up. There is still no frozen base most places, though with today’s grooming and sled traffic, we’ll start to see freezing of that base and of the open mud and water holes. The groomer guys are pushing snow into as many of the water holes as they can and packing it. With several more inches of snow expected over the weekend along with colder temps, riding is looking good for early next week.
I stopped several guys and talked with them. They all reported enjoyable riding conditions, with the exception of a few open water holes here and there. The 12” + of new snow packs down to only 2” or 3” on the trails and lots of grass patches stick up in many places after the groomer or sled traffic has come by (see my pictures), but there’s good lube for the tracks, there are no moguls, and the trails will quickly get better.
Early Season Conditions
Watch for ice, rocks, or fallen tree limbs. Stop and move stuff out of the trail if you can.
Remember that all clubs have to occasionally re-route trails to satisfy land owner issues – pay attention. If the stakes or arrows go off someplace that they did not last year, there is probably a reason for it. It looks like a section of trail right behind the Folsom groomer barn is now routed right along the road – watch out here.
Friday, December 28th,
First decent local riding in two years – yahoo!
link for pictures Lee sent of the Tri-County club groomers out yesterday.
Jim called from a groomer cab an hour ago on the Folsom trails – two
Folsom groomers are out working all morning. Hope to have more news and
pictures this evening. I expect a lot of sleds will be out tonight and over the
weekend, if everyone can shake out all the cobwebs!
Thursday, Dec. 27th,
Plenty of snow, but no frozen base
I got 12” to 14” here on my farm in East Aurora, Dan from near Corning got about a foot, and Adam reported
during his ride on Tug Hill today that he had lots of snow. So the storm was
very widespread, and gives us a nice start at what hopefully will be a decent
winter. Unlike last winter, when soon after every little snow it all quickly
melted! There is no warm weather in sight in our long range forecast this week.
The only problem is that so much
snow fell after a relatively warm spell. The ground is not frozen and the deep
snow will insulate it and keep it from freezing up. That’s why we encourage
early bird riders to get out there where trails have been opened and pack it in
so it can freeze the base. Many clubs will have groomers out tomorrow packing.
With some more snow coming most days over the weekend, things could be much
better in a few days.
Below are reports from Dan and from Adam.
I got all plowed out and took two of my sleds for a ride. The ground is not
frozen here. It is soft under the snow. I really messed up the
grassy area in front of the barn.
My mom said she measured the snow right at 12". The ground was warm under
the snow and then packed down as I tried to plow. Her driveway ended
up pretty icy between the snow freezing on it and me packing it down with the
The old Polaris worked like a charm. The newer Ski-doo sounded funny
sometimes. I realized when I was finished and cleaning up that the
snow filter for the air intake was plugged with snow. That must be what I
was heaing, a change in sound due to varying openness of the air intake.
This snow filter tends to plug up in this type of deep snow.
Now, I have to get to work and do something worthwhile.
From Adam up on Tug Hill:
120 miles since this morning,
solid base around most of Tug Hill with occasional mud spots in the north &
south ends. Grooming has been sparse, we broke trail in 2 to 2.5 feet on the
way to Copenhagen. Unfortunately the freezing drizzel has mad visibility impossible,
even when equipped with a heated shield. Another 3-6" tonig & grooming
will set up for a weekend that I'm confident saying will be worth the 4 hour
drive if WNY isn't up to par by that time. – Adam”
at the The Flat Rock Inn on the hill. 16" groomed base this morning with
packed powder covering all wet spots in 25 square miles. Worth the 4 hour trip.
Pictures to follow after we've had our fun for the day. – Adam”
Adam, West Seneca
Out of Town up North:
One of my all time favorite loops
in northern Ontario is now fully open most of the way around. From Cochrane
south on the “A” trail, then west on L103, then back north on A106C back to
Cochrane; the “A” and L103 are full open; A106C is still open limited for the
short stretch back to Cochrane. All it takes is a 12 hour drive from Buffalo
area, and presto, you have an amazing 2 hour ride. Twenty four hours of round
trip driving for a two hour loop? Probably not, when we may soon have some
pretty nice riding locally, but Meghan and I will definitely ride that loop
sometime this winter. It is that nice!
Wednesday, December 26, 10PM
Some Local Trails Open
Following much the same logic as
my post from Monday, several local clubs have opened their trails as “limited
conditions” today. Thanks for the calls from Jim at Folsom and Lee & Sherri
from Tri-County. Both of those clubs now list their trails as “open”, but warn
of early season conditions, down tree limbs, open water holes, and everything
else associated with the first riding of the year. It will be good to get a few
sleds out to pack down the new fluffy snow. Both clubs say they will be out
packing with groomers before the weekend if all goes according to plan. Rumor
has it that the Franklinville club has also opened trails. Marilla may do so
Let me know if you are aware of
Here in East Aurora, we have
about 8” of new snow and it is still coming down heavily. Additional snow is
expected most of the rest of the week.
Monday, Christmas Eve:
With a little more snow coming
tonight, colder temperatures Tuesday night into Wednesday, and a likely major
winter storm Wednesday night and Thursday, some clubs may decide to open trails
on Wednesday. The logic would be that the trails would be frozen in a little
from the colder temps Tuesday night, and some light sled traffic would
beneficially pack a bit of base before the heavier snow arrives Wednesday
through Thursday. It will depend on whether there is a minimum required amount
of snow already in various club’s areas. Check with the club websites or back
here. Either way, I bet you can plan to ride locally on Friday through next
weekend – when yet another winter storm may pass through – yippee!
Out of Town:
There is now a good bit of snow
on the ground in all traditional riding areas. Trails are popping up as “open
limited” in many parts of Ontario. People are doing some early season riding on
Tug Hill, there are open trails in Old Forge, and far northern Ontario has
sections of trail (Cochrane) that show as “green – fully open” on the
OFSC maps. The only thing limiting riding in many areas is deep unpacked snow,
lack of frozen base, and lots of down trees. All that is quickly improving.
Sunday, December 23rd
We had another inch of snow here
in East Aurora last night making everything a pretty seasonal white. So I got
up this morning, did my online research, and then took a drive around the
Folsom – Strykersville area.
No clubs are yet reporting open
trails, even limited. During our drive around this morning, we could see how
tempting some of those fence line trails and fields are looking, but it is thin
snow with no frozen base. Most places in western New York are a few cold nights
away from being able to open even “limited”. News sources report 11” or more in
Franklinville and other parts of the interior southern tier and that is
consistent with the way the radar pictures were looking yesterday. It wouldn’t surprise
me to hear that some of the Chautauqua and other clubs south and east of here
would be the first to open on a limited basis in a few days.
The weather service reports that
the chance of another Wednesday to Thursday snow event is looking stronger. If
that forecast continues to hold up, and we get a little more snow Christmas
day, it might make sense to open some of the trails Tuesday to pack in a little
base for the additional snow expected the latter part of the week. We could
have some good riding next weekend, when yet another snow event is on the
horizon. This might turn out to be a traditional western New York winter after
Lots of snow fell from this
system between Ottawa and North Bay and groomers are out packing and clearing.
There are some nice video’s online.
The far northern corridor is now
open “limited” all the way from Cochrane west through the Kapuskasing trails,
with a small area still closed before additional open trails in Hearst.
Old Forge is now reporting 0” to
2” base and fair conditions with wet spots, and trails open.
A guy posted pictures of a first
ride on Tug Hill today with lots of snow, but lots of mud and water holes.
Saturday, Dec. 22nd,
A White Christmas, but that’s all
Here in East Aurora, I had about
three inches of snow, already melted down to 2” or so. Tri-County’s website
reports 5” or 6” in Arcade, maybe, but the fields are blown nearly clean of
snow. Nothing to ride on. No club’s I’ve checked are reporting anything good. About
all we can hope for is that with cool temperatures through Christmas, the base
will freeze up and we will get enough snow with the next system due Wednesday
to start some riding then.
Out of Town
Heavy snows are reported in north
central Ontario, North Bay east to near Ottawa. Things are looking good for
riding there SOON!
Friday Morning, December 21st
Some Riding Soon
We’re all excited to see a wide
spread winter storm event on its way. But the real good news may be seven days or
so away still, and it’s no sure thing yet.
The snow totals in western New
York are expected to vary greatly from tonight and tomorrows storm. The best
snow depth is expected in the higher elevations, which favor Folsom Trailblazers,
Tri-county, and some of the other inland clubs. We’ll try to report as soon as
any club makes a decision to open some or all of their trails.
Poorly Frozen Base
Note that conditions will be far
from ideal at first, even if we get a decent snow. We’ve had very warm
temperatures for several days and are getting mostly rain early today. A heavy
snow on top of that right away tonight will insulate the ground from freezing,
resulting in a mushy muddy mess many places during the first rides if the trails
are opened right away.
That said, the long range
forecast is a little more promising. Area temperatures are expected to stay
just below freezing through Christmas and then drop to the teens for at least a
night right after Christmas. This could freeze up a trail base decently,
especially if a few sleds do ride the trails on Monday and Christmas day to
pack things in. (Maybe open some trails as “limited” on Monday?)
The most hopeful news is that
another major winter storm MIGHT be on its way for late next week. If we got
another snowfall after packing in a base early in the week, we could have some
really decent riding next weekend into New Year’s. Don’t hold your breath, but
it is possible.
It is going to be a tough call
for club trail bosses whether to open any trails right after this storm. It
will depend on how sloppy the base is and just exactly how much snow falls in
each area, whether the landowners will have their fields ripped up too much if
people start to ride. Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for late next
Three sections of trail have gone
to “Open Limited” in far northern Ontario. One just east of Hearst, another
area around Kap, and a third around Smooth Rock Falls. Unfortunately, they do
not link up, but if you want to be the first kid on your block to ride
officially open snowmobile trails this season, I’d hop in my truck and drive
the 12 hours to Kapuskasing, which has nice motels and open Limited trails.
With luck, those three sections of trail that are open will expand and link up
by next weekend, for the first really decent riding of the year.
Thursday, Late night:
Hey, Steven Johnson; you left a
message on my answering machine tonight asking about snow. I tried to call you
back, but the number was no good. Maybe you are not in our area code. Try again
or better, send me an email (see top of the website). Summary answer of your
question: we have no snow yet; it is all supposed to come later in the weekend.
Thursday, December 20th,
Winter Storm Warning –
BRING IT ON!!
Finally we have a chance (still
much doubt within NOAA on how much snow and where) of a significant snow event
for western New York. This afternoon’s forecast discussion suggests 8 to 14
inches in the Boston hills and higher elevations of Wyoming County (much of the
Folsom and Tri-County trails!). This to come later Friday through Saturday,
with much of it hanging around for a white Christmas, and perhaps some local
Send in reports of trail openings
in case you guys here something before I do.
Tug Hill and Old Forge are also
in line for some snow, but unsure how much because of marginally cold enough
temps the first two days of the storm period.
Wednesday, Dec. 19th
The following was posted
yesterday from a rider near New Liskeard, Ontario:
Dads up there now (Gowganda)
around 8" of snow and 10" of snow on the lake in front of our place.
They have another 8" forecast if it all works out.
But no trails officially open
Tuesday, Dec. 18 Update:
Although I don’t want to turn
this special interest website into a political mud wrestling pit, we have no
snow and time on our hands and a National tragedy to deal with. I’ll open this
forum to comments for a short time and then go back to talking only about snow.
Dan Wilhelm, a long time reader
of this website disagrees with my call for more gun control. I will post his
full comments later. I know that many of the readers of this site will agree
with him. I hope I can find one or two lonely liberal snowmobilers to accept my
Sunday, December 16th
Still no good news to report,
except that a “White Christmas” seems possible. We’ll need some luck, though,
to have enough snow for riding here in western New York.
Old Forge and Tug Hill are a few degrees
cooler and may have riding not long after the first decent snow there, but not
If you’re willing to drive to
Ontario, still nothing yet, but North Bay and the far north around Cochrane
where we like to ride is starting to have snow and consistent below freezing
temperatures – riding time is getting closer there, with unofficial
logging road and ditch banging rides already underway.
Many sledders are country people
who hunt, fish, enjoy the outdoors, and are comfortable with guns. I’m one of
them. But I believe the time has come to better control access to guns. There
is no magic that will suddenly do away with all gun violence, but we can make a
start. I think it is a mistake for the NRA to oppose ALL gun control. They
worry that if they go along even a little bit with mild gun control, it will be
a slippery slope to more problematic gun laws. I don’t think the nation can any
longer afford that policy. Surely we can craft laws that will make it just a
little harder for a mad man to get hold of guns, while protecting gun ownership
by those of us who are responsible, law abiding citizens. We must try. If we
prevent just one more school shooting, it will be worth any minor sacrifices we
have to make.
Thanks for reading my off topic
thoughts, and I hope you aren’t offended. Remember Newtown, Connecticut and the
Tuesday, Dec. 11th
Hey guys, want to be teased a
little? Check this link
for pictures taken by “Token” this morning in the North Bay, Ontario area.
Token is a young guy who regularly posts on the Hard Core Sledder Ontario
forum. Thanks, Token.
AND, here at this link is a video taken by another
rider near North Bay this afternoon! Supposedly on a closed road –
remember, trails are NOT open yet.
Tuesday, December 11th
The first ridable snow within
reasonable driving distance might be North Bay / Bonfield area. They have snow
on the ground and even during the warmup late this week, their day time temps
will only hover a couple of degrees above freezing with cold nights. Groomers
are moving, brushing, and soon will be packing. I’m guessing that they will
have riding before Old Forge – Tug Hill, but I’ll report when I hear for
Still nothing in site for western
New York – bummer. I heard on the news last night that we are actually
behind last year in snow as of this date – and we know what last year was
for riders &%$#(&$#@!
Monday, December 10th
Nothing much in the local
Record breaking early winter snow
in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Old Forge and Tug Hill having
some snow and cold nights, but still pretty warm during the day, so nothing yet
Reports coming in from up north
of a foot or more of snow in places near and around North Bay. Some guys there
are doing some informal riding, but no trails open yet for a while.
Very cold temperature continues
in the far north of Ontario around Cochrane. If we get a good dump of snow up
there, and some trails will begin to open up.
Friday, December 7th Update:
Ready for another fine winter of
riding? LOL - It CAN’T be worse than last winter. But it is not promising for the
next week or ten days here in western New York. After some chilly days early
next week, it looks like it will be back into the 40’s. Not promising for any
real snow on December 19th when many local trails officially open,
though we could get a sudden lake effect dump by then. But the base will not be
very well frozen.
As usual, the best prospect of
some early riding will be in far northern Ontario. The coming week is all below
freezing in the New Liskeard / Cochrane area, with temps over this weekend
below zero at night. There is little snow there yet, so the base is freezing up
Shoot me an email if any of you are checking in
here early, just to encourage me doing updates. Any of our regulars online yet?
Tuesday, Dec. 11th Late Update:
Hey guys, want to be teased a little? Check this link for pictures taken by “Token” this morning in the North Bay, Ontario area. Token is a young guy who regularly posts on the Hard Core Sledder Ontario forum. Thanks, Token.
Tuesday, December 11th Update:
The first ridable snow within reasonable driving distance might be North Bay / Bonfield area. They have snow on the ground and even during the warmup late this week, their day time temps will only hover a couple of degrees above freezing with cold nights. Groomers are moving, brushing, and soon will be packing. I’m guessing that they will have riding before Old Forge – Tug Hill, but I’ll report when I hear for sure.
Still nothing in site for western New York – bummer. I heard on the news last night that we are actually behind last year in snow as of this date – and we know what last year was for riders &%$#(&$#@!
Monday, December 10th Update:
Nothing much in the local forecast.
Record breaking early winter snow in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Old Forge and Tug Hill having some snow and cold nights, but still pretty warm during the day, so nothing yet up there.
Reports coming in from up north of a foot or more of snow in places near and around North Bay. Some guys there are doing some informal riding, but no trails open yet for a while.
Very cold temperature continues in the far north of Ontario around Cochrane. If we get a good dump of snow up there, and some trails will begin to open up.
Friday, December 7th Update:
Ready for another fine winter of riding? LOL - It CAN’T be worse than last winter. But it is not promising for the next week or ten days here in western New York. After some chilly days early next week, it looks like it will be back into the 40’s. Not promising for any real snow on December 19th when many local trails officially open, though we could get a sudden lake effect dump by then. But the base will not be very well frozen.
As usual, the best prospect of some early riding will be in far northern Ontario. The coming week is all below freezing in the New Liskeard / Cochrane area, with temps over this weekend below zero at night. There is little snow there yet, so the base is freezing up nicely.
Shoot me an email if any of you are checking in here early, just to encourage me doing updates. Any of our regulars online yet?
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