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home : news : minocqua April 29, 2016

2/21/2014 4:57:00 PM
With the latest snowfall, snowmobile, ski trails are better than ever
Chambers report a brisk influx of inquiries about conditions
Once the wind stops blowing, expect the area snowmobile clubs to be out with their groomers.
Dean Hall photograph
Once the wind stops blowing, expect the area snowmobile clubs to be out with their groomers.

Dean Hall photograph
Area ski trails will be as good as they have been all season when groomed this weekend.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph
Area ski trails will be as good as they have been all season when groomed this weekend.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph
Blizzard adds life to area sled, ski trails

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 jtaylor@lakelandtimes.com.

Raymond T. Rivard
Features Editor

Ol' Man Winter and Mother Nature teamed up to provide another heavy blast of snow the past 24 hours, with more than 10 inches reported across much of the northern reaches of the Lakeland area.

And though it has been difficult to live with, the newest round of snow does have a silver lining in that area trails will be superb for the foreseeable future as the temperatures are also expected to drop again next week, assuring that the snow will stick around and the trails will remain in beautiful condition.

So, snowmobilers, skiers, and snowshoers: It's prime time here in the Northwoods.

The latest storm started late Thursday afternoon when central
Wisconsin received sleet and freezing rain. As the storm made its way north toward Minocqua and areas north of the Island City, the rain turned to snow and provided a healthy dose of about 3-5 inches during the early evening hours Thursday.

A "dry slot" where no snow falls was situated over the area during a stretch overnight, but that was followed during the very early morning hours by another round of heavy snow which fell fast and furiously - whipped by gusting winds that continued through the late morning hours. The winds are expected to continue through the day Friday and into the evening hours.

Forecasters are saying that the snow will taper off, but it will be difficult moving about throughout the rest of the day, into tonight, and even into Saturday as the winds are expected to continue to blow in gusts of up to 40 mph.

This most recent storm has tested the will of all living here in the Northwoods as it only underscores a winter that has been nothing short of brutal. Snow and frigid temperatures have dominated the days and nights over the past three months, making this one of the snowiest and coldest on record.

The Department of Transportation said this morning that travel conditions will continue to be difficult into Saturday as even the main roads will remain snow-covered and slippery.

The following is a press release by the WisDOT issued earlier this morning:

Road conditions in Central, North Central Wisconsin snow covered, slippery through Saturday

Freezing rain followed by snow late last night created snow and ice covered highways throughout Central and North Central Wisconsin. 

These conditions, coupled with high winds, blowing snow and dropping temperatures will make it difficult for crews to clear the roads throughout today, Friday, Feb. 21, and into tomorrow morning Saturday, Feb. 22.

The Wisconsin State Patrol reminds motorists that road conditions continue to be snow-covered and slippery. Several run-off-the-road incidents have already occurred throughout the day today. Some important driving tips during icy conditions include:

  • Allow extra time for travel.
  • Slow down and drive for conditions.
  • Be sure to keep plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Sudden stops and sharp turns will likely cause your car to lose control.
  • Motorists are advised to be extra cautious on interchange ramps. 

If you must travel, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) reminds motorists to be prepared for the unexpected and check winter road conditions before leaving home by visiting 511.wi.gov or calling 5-1-1.  

Additional winter driving tips may be found on WisDOT’s website: 


In addition to the poor driving conditions that are prevalent, Wisconsin Public Service has also indicated that there could be power outages across the Northwoods with the windy conditions.

Here is the press release the power company issued this morning.

With high winds expected through most of today, Wisconsin Public Service expects to deal with scattered power outages throughout the day. In addition, Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials are saying that roads will be snow-covered and slippery through Saturday.

Your best bet to track the power outage situation is to watch the website. It is updated every 15 minutes with current WPS outage numbers. The best thing to do, according to WPS officials is to watch the website listed below.


Safety is always a concern during power outages. 

WPS officials emphasize to stay away from any downed power lines or what looks like a potential dangerous situation and call the power company at 800-450-7240.

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