Sunday September 23rd, 2012

ED Note- This update was started 9/16, added to on 9/23, and posted 10-1 so some of the time references may be a little off. RJB

Greetings and welcome!

It is time to kick off season 13 at the Big Snow Page. I am running late this year, but I am looking forward to the season, and have been thinking about it for months.

I ended up missing Hay Days this year. I had planned on taking some sleds and parts and liquidating them with an eye toward upgrading. By the time I got my act together with a truck, big trailer, helper, and so on, they were sold out. From what I saw it was a huge event with really a lot going on beyond the grass drags and swap meet. I was very disappointed that I missed out.

Last weekend Sept 29 & 30 was the Wausau  swap meet and grass drags. Saturday they had the NSRA snowmobile drags and Sunday it was the vintage sleds. Both days had the Central WI state championship ATV, garden tractor and mini-rod pulls, and Sunday has lawn mower racing. Their ad also said that it is the biggest snowmobile swap meet in WI. See their web site at  .

Snowmobile USA show dates are Oct 12-14 in Milwaukee Oct 19-21 in Wausau, and November 2-4 in Novi, MI.

The NEW Low Buck Vintage Riders vintage show is December 1st in Crivitz at the Gateway Bar.

I have spent some time on forecast research and will be spending a little more in the near future. Right now all signs point to a mild El Nino this season. There are signs of an El Nino brewing, and we have minimum El Nino conditions now.

The good news is that both current conditions and the models agree on a mild El Nino or neutral conditions for the season. If it does stay on the mild side, it might turn out to be a good winter.

Something that was in my thoughts all summer was the big snow right at the end of the season..

Thought one- If that would have come in December, we could have ridden it for 4-6 weekends. It took 70+ degree weather and March sun to knock it down.

Thought two- What if we had a pattern with 2 or even 3 of those storms hit us in a row? We would have trails into April for sure, but it would be a real mess, both for the groomers and for people off of the trail.

It isn’t all that absurd of  a thought. Take a look at this summer’s precip. We had a lot of big precip storms with 2″ of rain or more.

I like to look to the paper wasps for a Winter outlook. By my observation if the nests are low to the ground, it will likely be an ugly Winter, maybe an El Nino. Higher up in the trees holds a little more promise.

This year they are sending mixed messages. They were a real pain late summer as they built nests in truck fenders, under picnic tables, and otherwise near the ground. At the same time I was killing high nests in the shed. Later in summer they were not very active on the ground and seemed to be a lot lower in numbers in general. I am not sure what to think of it other than it was very different.

Last week brought the first snow of the season. The last wave of the storm brought a little snow to an area of north central WI from a little west of Vilas Co down to about Wausau. It wasn’t anything that you could play in, just the first flakes. Sunday’s radar showed some rain snow mix in the central UP near Escanaba.

Last week also brought a few nights below freezing. I think that it might have been Wednesday or Thursday night that it got down to 25 in Lakewood. Friday night the back step was slippery as we crossed the freezing mark again.

I added a new pony to the stable over the summer. It is a little 94 or 95 Indy Trail in really nice shape. I was looking it over Sunday afternoon and ran it a little, and its a sharp little sled. I didn’t pay much for it, and kinda wanted to do a victory lap around the yard.

I still need to pull it into the shed and drop the suspension and check that over, go through the chain case and cross shaft bearings, and give the track a better look. From what I saw on the quick check over, it is trail ready now.

I have plans in the short term to liquidate all of my XLT stuff. I loved the performance, but got sick of tuning it and started running the fuel injected RXLs. When the XLT didn’t sell, I sold the motor, pipes, and carbs for more that I was asking for the whole sled.

Now I have the chassis and a bunch of parts to sell off. I started digging through them last Sunday afternoon to see what was there. The plan is to clean, catalog, and E-Bay them. There is a lot there.

The RXLs came under scrutiny over the summer when a friend offered a post Y2K sled  pretty cheap. I love my RXLs, but the 1992 suspension and fuel mileage make liquidating them for an upgrade pretty tempting.

Looking around that probably won’t go well for me. The used sled market is swamped with nice snowmobiles at outrageously cheap prices and an old Polaris wedge era sled from the early 90s doesn’t get much respect, even in nice shape.

Right now the focus around here is on firewood and all of the outside work that I don’t want to do under 40 degrees. I am almost up to 4 rows in the wood house, probably 15-20% of what I need done. There is a huge pile in the side yard to process, and I still have a couple of trips to make to the woods. It feels like I am ahead of the game, but with October weather being fickle, I want to stay at it. The sooner that I finish that the sooner I can spend time on the snowmobiles.

There is a lot more to talk about in the pre-season so I will be back soon!