Greetings and welcome!

It is time to bid farewell to what is easily the worst winter for snowmobiling in my 21 years of doing this. Our biggest snow was only 8-9” and we ran it for all it was worth.

We did get 3 weekends of open trails, none of them exceptional.

The clubs did a miraculous job of working what little that we had into the best trails that they could. For that we thank and salute them.

I have been holding out hope as long as I could and now it is time to accept reality. There is more mud than snow and the frost is coming out of the ground. There are no big storms obvious in the near term. Of course there is one on the GFS model two weeks out, but there has been for most of the winter. That is typical of a La Nina or El Nino winter.

Now Marinette County is closing all snowmobile and ATV trails as of Friday until the frost comes out of the ground. Typically that is the first or second weekend of May, but that varies with the conditions.

The counties have also put road weight limits on the roads (road bans). Some are already in place, many more start this Friday.

When the frost comes out of the ground it makes the soil very soft and soupy. With our sand and clay mix soil it can get as soft as quicksand. That makes the trails very vulnerable to ruts from wheeled vehicles and the road base very vulnerable to heavy trucks.

In my ¼ mile long driveway I have buried the truck up to the axles many times in the soft mud, and often times it was just a better idea to walk it and wait until it freezes or dries out to bring the truck up to the house. It makes one plan ahead for stuff like groceries.

It is traditional for me to guide you to “Play in the snow one more time” by trying spring whitewater rafting with Kosirs(.com). The Peshtigo is a formidable whitewater river and they start rafting on the first weekend in April (if not sooner). We don’t have a lot for snow runoff, but the watershed and aquifers are ridiculously full of water from the last two abnormally wet years. Before the thaw hit it was already running at almost a +12, a level that will bring excitement to even the most hardcore rafter. With a little spring rain it could go really big.

I originally found this area because of the whitewater. I was insatiable as a rafter and went on to learn whitewater kayaking. Later I became an action sports/whitewater photographer and video editor for over 15 years and about a million pictures. I am too old and out of shape to take to the river these days, but it will always be a big part of me. That is why I point you that way every spring.

I want to thank everyone that visited, donated, said hello, or otherwise was a part of the Big Snow Page this year. You guys are the gasoline that keeps the motor running. Just about anytime I am considering retirement one of you comes along and thanks me, talks about the fun that we had, or otherwise cheers me up. Thank you!

I am hoping to slow down a little this year (no I am NOT retired) and get a lot more saddle time next winter. It seems like every time that I want to go ride I have to work, plow snow, fix something, or otherwise get distracted. That is getting old. If I wanted to work all winter I’d go back to the city and double my income. Hopefully next winter will bring a lot more snow and a lot better reporting here.

Thank you to everyone!

RJB

PS- Visit my https://northerndestinations.com/scindex blog that I do in the summer. I try to keep up on events, weather, and whitewater rafting conditions a lot like I do here. I will be starting up on that blog very soon.