Snow not a problem, cold is
WILLMAR -- For once, there's plenty of snow out there. Though those people who only shovel out their driveways and sidewalks might complain, those who enjoy the outdoor activities look forward to hitting the area trails. "My wife and I were out l...
WILLMAR -- For once, there's plenty of snow out there.
Though those people who only shovel out their driveways and sidewalks might complain, those who enjoy the outdoor activities look forward to hitting the area trails.
"My wife and I were out last weekend and the trails were outstanding, the best we've had in six to eight years," said Dan Edwards, president of the West Central Snow Drifters, an area snowmobilers association, "but we didn't see anyone out there."
The West Central Snow Drifters is a member of the Little Crow Trail Association, which is in charge of grooming and maintaining approximately 220 miles of trails in Kandiyohi County.
Edwards thinks one of the reasons for the lack of snowmobile traffic thus far has to do with the number of years without appreciable snow amounts.
"It's one of those deals where they've gotten out of the habit of snowmobiling," he said. "Even our club in the last five years has had to trailer (haul sleds) farther away to find snow."
Recently, however, there's more to the lack of riders than not used to getting the sled out.
With temperatures in the last week failing to break above zero, it's too frigid for people and machines to function well enough to enjoy winter's treasures. The high temperature Thursday was a brittle minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chills creeping up to minus-23 degrees. In fact, the temperature at 11 a.m. Thursday in Willmar was minus-24 degrees, according to Weather.com.
"It's cold this week and actually, it's too cold for machines," said Gregg Soupir, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Trails and Waterways office in Spicer.
Soupir and his staff are in charge of the state trailways that snowmobilers and cross country skiers use in Kandiyohi County. He said that the temperatures need to warm up before anyone can really enjoy outdoor activities. Forecasts for today are for highs in the low 20s and mid 20s for Sunday.
"To this point, I think we finally have enough snow to have a base," Soupir said of the state trails. "There are some rough spots in the open areas. It takes a good amount of snow to build a good base. Now we need temperatures in the 10s and above."
So if you're in the need for some weekend entertainment, don't overlook all the trails and ditches that can be cut by a sled.
"It's really nice. The trails are perfect," Edwards said. "When you get over to Lake Florida and Sibley State Park, it's really nice."
At Sibley, trail conditions are "excellent" for skiing with a six-inch groomed base. The state park has 12 miles of groomed trails. Snowmobiling conditions are "very good" with a five-inch groomed base. There are six miles of groomed trails. For daily updates on trail conditions at any state park, visit the DNR's web site at mndnr.gov.
We have the snow and are just waiting for it to become more comfortable to play outside. Hopefully, if it warms up, the riders will come out.
"Compared to last year and the year before, we have more snow," Soupir said. "I remember two years ago in February, when we got a lot of snow, there were sleds everywhere."