By Jamie Taylor
of The Lakeland Times
In a winter that was already blessed with higher-than-average snowfall, Thursday’s arrival of nine-plus inches via Winter Storm Seneca has made a lot of outdoors enthusiasts happy.
With snowmobile trails rated as “very good-plus” to “excellent” before Thursday’s blizzard, those coming north will find the trails in great shape for the weekend and beyond.
Kim Baltus, executive director of the Minocqua Woodruff Area Chamber of Commerce, said the phones have been ringing off the hook with requests for trail conditions all winter, but the volume really picked up Friday morning.
“We opened this morning at 8 a.m. and I would say our first call was at 8:10 a.m.,” Baltus said. “I had to leave at one o’clock and the phone was still ringing as I left.
She said the abundance of snow in the area has been a big drawing card to the area, based on the increased number of calls the chamber has received all winter.
“We got so much snow this year and that is driving the calls,” she said. “When you don’t have a lot of snow, you don’t get those calls.
She said that she personally took calls from Madison, Watertown, Janesville and Sheboygan Falls.
Trail conditions can be found on the chamber’s website, as well as those of area clubs.
The most recent trail report available Friday afternoon was from the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce. On their website, they have the following report:
“Trails are full of snow right now, we had 9 inches last night with high winds so they are blown over. We will be out this afternoon and night smoothing them out so they should be in great shape for the weekend.”
According to the Minocqua Forest Riders Snowmobile Club’s website, the trails were already in “very good-plus” shape before Thursday’s snowfall, thanks to the 10 inches the Minocqua area has received in the last week.
According to the Minocqua Forest Riders Snowmobile Club’s website:
“The new snow helped fill in some bare spots,” their trail report dated Feb. 19 says.
The report goes on to say that even though the area had a couple days above freezing, the trails survived just fine. The fresh snow would be falling on an already solid base.
The Cross Country Cruisers website listed a trail report dated Feb. 20 that also rates area trails in the above average to exceptional mark before the storm, adding, “with the new snow they should be excellent.”
Minocqua Winter Park reported that while 30k of their snowshoe and cross country skiing trails have been groomed, the stiff winds are not helping matters.
“It’s been so windy that what is groomed is blown over already,” Jenny Lucas, operations manager, said.
Lucas said that despite the blowing and drifting snow, the trails at Winter Park are still in “good shape.”
Lucas said their groomer will be back out Saturday morning to get more trails groomed and ready for users by noon.
“I’d say after tomorrow’s grooming, we’ll be at 50k-plus in groomed trails,” Lucas said.
Jamie Taylor may be reached at email@example.com.