As an El Niño weather pattern pushes into the U.S. this winter, potentially bringing warmer than normal temperatures and lighter than normal snowfall, there’s little worry in Cori-Ann Cearly’s voice as she evaluates the upcoming Upper Peninsula snowmobile season.
“There’s never really a problem or a question if we’ll have enough snow,” Cearly, the president of the Munising Visitors Bureau, says with a laugh.
She’s gained that confidence based on an average snowfall of 230 inches in Alger County, making it nearly a guarantee that the Lake Superior-side town of Munising and its surrounding 330 miles of groomed trails will be as flush with snow as ever.
The “preseason” also indicates the trail system will be ready to go. As Cearly talked in mid-November, there were already more than 8 inches on the ground and volunteers were putting the finishing touches to be ready to send snowmobilers off for adventures to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and beyond.
Known as the Snowmobile Capital of the Midwest, Alger County is the place to be for sled riders looking for a complete trail system that allows travel between towns, through woods and to incredible ice caves and ice structures.
Cearly said offseason improvements have prepped the region for another outstanding year.
Here are three new developments that will make snowmobiling Munising better than ever:
30 more miles of trails groomed daily
Members of the Snowmobile & O.R.V. Association of Alger County (SORVA for short) have taken over an additional 30 miles of trail that they will groom every day beginning on Dec. 1, the official start of the snowmobiling season. The added miles are on either end of the 300 miles that have been regularly maintained. It will provide access Au Train to Shingleton and all trails and points between, Cearly said. A group that had maintained the trails handed the mileage over because it was too hard and too far from their home base. SORVA goes out every night to perfect the trail so there will be less rattling and rolling for your ride.
Widened trails improve safety
The trails that already allowed riders to glide across the snow like a highway in the woods will now include a median of sorts. SORVA brought in brush-hogging equipment over the warmer months to provide more room to ride — a key safety factor when sled operators encounter each other while traveling in opposite directions. Cearly estimates that the paths have 30 percent more room. While the width could allow three riders to fan out side-by-side, it is still strongly recommended to travel the trails single-file.
Low-lying areas have been in-filled
More off-season trail preparation has brought even better grading and filling to eliminate large depressions and holes. Don’t worry, there are still great hills and varying terrain, but riders won’t hit pothole-like conditions while zipping around the trail. Previously snowfalls would not completely fill and level the terrain since the snow packs down and forms around the hole, just like a pothole that will jar you while driving on pavement.
“All of this has been done to make it a better experience,” Cearly said. “You’re going to have just as much fun, probably more, because it’s going to be such a smooth ride.”
The advertiser paid a fee to promote this sponsor article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of this site or affiliated companies.