Slow Start To Snowmobile Season in Duluth

Posted at: 12/30/2012 5:37 PM
Updated at: 12/31/2012 7:07 AM
By: Laurie Stribling

The snowmobile season has been underway for about a month, but Duluth trails have not had enough snow to groom.

Phillip Lockett packs trails with the Reservoir Riders in the northern part of Duluth. His team has not been out at all this year, and he said they need another foot of snow in order to start grooming.

"Every day we don't have snow it cuts the season a little shorter," Lockett said.

Lockett has been checking on the trails since the season started. He said he's seen some snowmobile tracks, but most trails in the Duluth area are not safe for sleds.

"They look pretty bad," Lockett said. "They are very, very thin. There is really not enough out here to even pack it."

That same scene is being reported all over the Northland. Bob Klein works with the Drift Toppers who groom the eastern part of Duluth.

"We are in dire need of snow," Klein said. "Here we are, already a month into our riding season, and not enough snow up here to do it. It's sad."

This lack of snow not only hurts avid snowmobilers, but business owners as well. Many Duluth bars and restaurants rely on snowmobile traffic during the winter to stay busy.

"It does hurt business a little bit," Hi Banks Resort owner Tim Wagner said.

While Wagner keeps busy with ice fishermen on Fish Lake outside his resort, snowmobilers give him big business.

"Yesterday, we had quite a few in that were snowmobiling on the lake, just out messing around," Wagner said. "They're glad to get out."

Both business owners and snowmobile club members are hoping for more snow, but admit the upcoming forecast is not desirable.

"The forecast doesn't look good right now for snow," Lockett said. "If we don't have snow by now, sometimes it doesn't come so easy."