Keweenaw Snowmobile Club halts trail grooming operations due to wet and icy conditions

Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club.
Photo courtesy of the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club.(WLUC)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:54 PM EST
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club (KSC) will be pausing grooming efforts on its snowmobile trail system until further notice.

The club said this is due to recent rain and higher temperatures, which have made the snow very difficult to filter with their groomers.

“It’s very hard for us to groom because it doesn’t filter through our drags the right way,” said KSC Trail Boss Justin Rogan. “We’re just basically taking snow and carrying it for long distances and putting it in other places. It just stays in the drag and makes it very hard.”

The club is also concerned about ice forming with the next stretch of colder temperatures. They are especially concerned about trail inclines, as ice on them could risk operators and equipment near drop-offs.

“Our trail system has a lot of grade,” continued Rogan. “A lot of steep hills and things we have to climb in order to get to places and climb to get out of them, and after this rain, it’ll turn to ice. If we slide down, we could cause damage to equipment, and it’s an operator safety thing, too. We just don’t want to see anyone to get hurt.”

The KSC cautioned snowmobilers about riding due to thin snow and water hazards.

“Riders should pay attention to the conditions of the trail because it is going to be very icy and you’re not going to stop as fast,” added Rogan. “We also have water on our trail system in places that I’ve never seen water, so that means the water areas are already way worse. Watch for water holes and bare spots and rocks, because it’s very thin out there.”

Rogan especially cautioned against using Trail 133 from Lac la Belle to Gay, which he said is almost entirely water-filled.

He also said there may be hazards on trails they are not aware of.