1.20.21

Well the first trail report of the year is not the greatest considering the late start, but the good news is all clubs from Bingham to the border have been packed at the very least, with minimal "grooming" in the places with enough depth and traffic to warrant it.

Here in Bingham we have about 4" of snow and 10"-12" out of town in higher elevations. The snow we received was a very heavy, dense, wet snow that made for great packing and base development. With cold temps right behind the storm, most trails locked right up pretty solid and with more cold days and nights ahead, we are in good shape if we need to wait a little bit for the next batch of snow.

One local rider came in a few minutes ago reporting today's ride to 15 Mile Stream for lunch just north of the Forks from in town Bingham. He said ultimately they had a good time but we need more snow. Logging roads are in great shape. They are firm but over heating did not seem to be an issue out of town, but in town was another story for 7mi or so on either side of town, and the trails are a little icy in both areas.

 

1.16.21

We left around 6pm to pack ITS 87 north and the club connector to Mahoney Hill 5mi out of town before Rt 16. The warm temps and rain from midnight through 2am did not help us at all, but the trails came out pretty decent minus few windrows and spots the drag slid off the trail, pushing some snow off to the side and creating a crown is somw sections. All remaining trees were removed from blocking the trails or creating unsafe conditions, but some shield scratches still need to be trimmed in places....feel free to help us out with those if you can, otherwise we will be working on those throughout the next several grooms.

ITS 87 north is very thin with a fair amount of dirt mixed in for the first 3mi out of town. Then gets pretty good for the next 3 to 4 mi to Rt 16. Once crossing Rt 16 to the "Jack Pine" trail, the condtions a reported to be better than I thought they were but boney and slow going until you hit the Sunshine loop off Town Line Rd. From there minus the old water bar conditions are great all the way to where we meet Northern Outdoor on the Chase pond road. That old water bar before Dead Water is pretty well covered up except for a chuck of ledge about 40' up the start of the hill. Ripple Rd by the radar site and on to the Chase Pond road to our turn around however is a smoke show.

 

1.17.21

Headed out at 5pm with cooler temps and a little snow squal. This night we packed the remainer of thr trail system, and it went a little smoother, other than having to fix ruts created by truck in 2 or 3 sections. We were even able to do a little cutting in some places to begin smoothing out the trail system.

ITS 84 came out really good though there is a washout section just starting up the Frank Savage rd after crossing Rt 201 impacting the edge of the trail. Mahoney Hill is in great shape all the way to the powerline where we meet the Athens Club.

Iron Gate rd came out great all the way back to the Withee Pond, T Rd, Wind Mill trail intersetion, with only a small washout mostley filled in right after turning off the Iron Gate rd and heading back up the mountain to the intersection. Trail has good coverage and should be flat and fast. Once starting on the Wind Mill trail after crossing Rt 16 for the first time, the power line sections are very thin, making them rough and exposing more rocks than is preferrable, but safely passable at the same time. Once your on the Quarry Rt headed into the upper towers you will be in good shape til the steep section we call "Bull dozer hill" which is a little rough and thin until you reach the top. We groomed down to the Cemetary Rd where we meet Kingsbury in Mayfield which came out great, all the way to tower 32 which came out good but was thin in some spots and bare on the top at tower 30, and we also did the loop around the back side where there is now view, but pops you out between tower 31 and 32 bypassing the bare spot and has much better coverage. At tower 32 is also where we meet Kingsbury. Thus far we have not seen them come through and may not this season. I am waiting to hear back from there President as he had left me a voicemail several weeks ago that the last big rain storm wiped them out in 3 different sections and he was not sure about what if any grooming they would be able to do. Let's keep our fingers crossed for them and hope for the best outcome.

The Withee Pond trail section back to the Mahoney Hill 4 way intersection is in pretty good shape coverage wise, though there is a fairly significant washout out affecting the side of the trail by the tower 1 turn. This has been marked off but could cause major issues if riders are not paying attention at high rates of speed.

The rail road bed in town (ITS 87 south) is very thin and icy. It may cause some overheating issues if conditions stay frim but it is pretty well covered up

 

1.18.21

This night was a repeat of the 16th doing ITS 87 north and the club connector closest to town. Again very thin and dirty for the first 3 or 4 miles and then gets better though Jack Pine is a little rough as we need more snow, it did come out better than we imagined according to riders. We were able to do some more cutting allowing us to somewhat soften the rock hard base created from the 16th, fill some holes, and pull everything back in the trail.

 

Please keep in mind it is still early riding conditions with some hazards to be aware and cautious of. So yes the trails are open but destinations and condtions are still a little tricky and fine details on signage are also being finalized. So be careful if you are out riding and remember we are just getting started so be patient, have some fun and help the club if you can with those pescky whip branches that still need to be trimmed.

3.18.20

Well the end of the season is upon us. We did receive and inch or two of snow last night, enough to make things look nice but not to be fooled, trail have not been maintained and there are several bare spots that will be back shortly with the warm weather on its way in for the weekend. The trails in Bingham are more or less closed at this point. On Monday, we had to shut ITS 87 down due to a looging operation needing to move into the Jack Pine Rd area of ITS 87 at the Rt 16 crossing 5 mi outside of town.

This means you will see the following locations posted no snowmobiling:

The Solon Dam will show that ITS 87 is closed in Bingham. This means that if you are to unload there, you will have to take a right 3.2 mi up the tracks on to ITS 84 east/Frank Savage Rd. From this point you will only have access to the Sunshine trail that goes through the first 11 wind towers and the Iron Gate Rd Loop back to ITS 84 Mahoney Hill Rd.....that's it! That being said we have not been grooming and did have some high winds over the weekend so riders should use extreme caution and be prepared for hazards.

At the top of Mahoney Hill when taking a left off Pat Cassidy rd to take the connector trail back to ITS 87 is closed and ribboned off.

At the Austin Stream Bridge on the Dead Water Rd and to the right coming south Townline Rd have been marked extemely well that the trail is closed south and there is no access into Bingham.

The trail is also closed at the Rt 16 crossing at the Townline and T-Rd crossing, as well as ITS 87 crossing on RT 16 for those that ignored both closeures on the north end.

It is a bitter sweet ending to a short season, but we need to respect the landowner rights and requests and let them do their jobs.

Best options for riding at this point is to trailer to Jackman where the riding is still in good shape! However to our knowledge, Jackman, Long Pond and Pittston Farms are the only clubs still maintaining their trails regularly, as the Forks and Coburn Summit riders have called it quits. Not sure if Rockwood is still up and going but best suggestion is to give the Birches a call.

On behave of the Valley Riders Snowmobile Club we would like to thank all the riders that have supported our club this season as well as adjoing clubs! Without you we could make this all possible!!! Our new map this season was a big success despite only having a couple of weeks to travel south of Solon on quality conditions, we were able to distribute 4100 maps out of 5000. Every single penny of dontations collected for the maps, went to the respective club that the rider picked it up at. This was made possible by the help from Cathleen Burnham who produced the map at no charge for the Valley Riders, who worked with several adjoing clubs to produce a regional map for the Bingham system south as far down as Fairfield and Mercer. We still have maps left at our shop for anyone interested in having one ahead of time for next season.

Think snow....only 9 months to go!

3.12.20

Well I hate to be the one to post bad news but......it looks like that's a wrap here in Bingham. With the anticipation of rain in the forecast tomorrow we have parked the groomer for the season.

On Monday we did a staff ride in 50 degree weather where we found the trails to start the same as they did for the weekend, 5 mi out the trails were great, but showing bare spots within. Once entering into Northern Outdoors system, we were surprised to see more and more bare spots. All were able to navigate around though.

After stopping at the Hawk's Nest for lunch, we were instructed to go back down to ITS 87 and take Cry Baby Hill bypass trail to avoid some bare spots on 87 we found to be actually minimal on our return. Once connecting back on ITS 87 we traveled south just back to the 15 Mile Stream trail, crossing Rt 201 there and then heading to Grand Falls on ITS 86. Conditions were great on the 15 Mile Stream connector, but quickly change when following 86 to Grand Falls with alot of bare spots that you were able to drive around but there were numerous spots. 

After returning from Grand Falls we traveled 8 mi to Coburn Mtn. Around the mountain and to the summit there was great coverage until taking the Johnson connector back to Rt 201 which presented good conditions but yet again more bare spots than we imagined.

As we headed back to Bingham you could see where some of the same places we had traveled through in the morning had gotten worse, while other still were in the same shape.

So there is still riding to be had, but you will either need to trail up Rt 16, or head out from town realizing that its not going to be pretty. Another option is of course to come to town, see what you think, and worst case scenario, head to Jackman for a ride and enjoy the RMR XC race at Long Pond on Saturday.

It is a sad ending to a short lived winter, but we thank everyone for riding this season and supporting our cause!

3.6.20

Well we took a big hit over the week with temps in the mid 50s Monday and light rain Tuesday and Wednesday. However we are not down and out!!! That being said, get up here NOW! This may be the last weekend to be able to get in and out of town, unless we get 4" to 6" of snow throught the week. The picutre on our Facebook post that is a big bare spot was the worst we came across and then were pleasantly surprised beyound that. That bare spot was on ITS 87 north heading out of town behind the high school, but the uphill section of it leaving town was covered, flat and fast. As you travel the next 2mi to the connector intersection back to ITS 84 Mahoney Hill there were still some random bare spots where the sun beat down on Monday and started to open them up, but all was passable.

The remaining mile or so to Rt 16 was covered and in great shape, and the few bare spots in the jack pine section just before Rt 16 was more covered up than I anticipated. Once crossing Rt 16 the thin coverage over the ledges that was starting to show itself last weekend is now exposed and will stay that way for the remainder of the season at this point.

Once ducking back into the wooded section of softwood the trail condtions change for the better rapidly. No bare spots to speak of and the inside of every corner had plenty of snow and nice transitions.

We crossed the Austin Stream bridge and foound the conditons to only get better all the way to meeting Northern Outdoors turn around. It did not appear that they had been down last night but the coverage looked good, as did the trail conditions with plenty of traffice by 11am chewing it up providing lubrication. When we returned to town, we decided to take the other way back to look at the south end of the system.

So at the intersection off from Town Line Rd loop where ITS 87 takes a right into the woods when traveling south, we continued straight back out to the Town Line Rd and crossed Rt 16. This section back to ITS 84 at Mahoney will was not groomed last night, but was sovered, flat and fast. The lack of grooming did leave a few small ruts to be mindful of, but to give you any ideas we had no issues pulling 95+mph on it, known as Heart of Gold. Once approaching Mahoney Hill rd we did notice the snow coverage thin out about 2mi before the intersection.

The groomer did get all of ITS 84 last night, including down to the dam, but did not get to Iron Gate Rd.

Mahoney Hill rd had one bare spot where the powerline crosses but was ontherwise covered and in great shape. Turning on Pat Cassidy rd is where conditions started to charge back. Again about 5mi from town. Because Pat Cassidy was plowed earlier in the year by the camp ower, there is little to nothing to work with, creating dirt up the middle of the road for half the distanc back to the Frank Savage Rd corner. 

Frank Savage Rd was good all the way to the sharp turn half way to Rt 201 that was quite bare and starting to get muddy. it was then intermittent to Rt 201.

Once on the railbed, it is quite honestly a mix of snow, ice, mud and a few random puddles. But it is certainly flat and passable at this point.

We will be back out grooming tonight and aturday evening and will most likely see where the weather goes from there.

If your an amature off trail rider, bnow is the time to go exploring. Off the trail is currently firm enough to keep your skis on top, but soft enough to spin the track and break the front end down through if you want it to.

I am the last one to say its coming to and end unless I believe it, so take my word for it....get up here! Our Jackman office put on 86mi yesterday morning and found fantastic conditions still that far north with no complaints.

Stay right, ride safe. And enjoy what's left of the season.

2.12.20

Sorry for the delayed update things have been a little hectic around here both at the shop and within the club. That being said we have good news and bad news, so we will start with the bad news...As of Sunday night, Dr Dave has regretfully informed us that he is forced into retirement from the Piston Bulley. He is in the process of training new operaters as we speak, and working with others to make sure are trails stay in the shape they've been since the Valley Riders Club was blessed by gaining him.

Tuesday night ITS 87 was groomed from its entirty from the Solon Dam to the Chase Pond turn around where we meet Northern Outdoors, who had been down Monday night after the storms to smooth everything up which riders were reporting they did a very nice job of. Since our last report we received about 8in of snow mixed with sleet from one storm and an additional 3-4in Monday evening on top of it. Last night the remainder of our system was also groomed providing riders of the Bingham are with smooth flat trails that are well covered and providing plenty of lubrication. With tonight and tomorrow's cold temps everything should lock up really well for vacation week traffic.

As mentioned our groomer will be out on the trail training this evening and tomorrow evening in hopes of turning over the reins if all goes well. That being said, either way we will have someone in the drivers seat every evening from now through the vacation week with intentions on do half the system one night, and the other half the next. In addition, some combination of Fri, Sat and Sun we will attempt to put in long evenings as traffic requires it the keep everything in great shape.

About the only other thing to report is that ITS 84 section on Frank Savage Rd and Pat Cassidy has been covered up and Pat Cassidy had not been plowed for the last 2 storms, so we dropped the drag to get it smoothed out and mostly covered. Please keep in ming these sections do have some thin spots, so please take it easy to keep the snow in the trail.

Ohhh, lastly we have spoke with the Kingsbury club about the new bypass to get out of town, as we had heard from many concerned riders that there was a fairly substantial washout that everyone was turning around at, and no one had broke trail from the Kingsbury side. Please keep in mind this section is groomed with a pipe drag behind an ATV that travels 10mi just to get to that section to maintain it. Being a new and smaller club, time and resources are limited as with many clubs. They are going to try to get a first hand look at it as will we in the next couple of days to see what can be done to make that section passable and more user friendly so please bare with us. In the mean time if you are over in that section on the powerline, please feel free to throw some bows in the bottom of it to fill in, and add as much snow as your shovel will allow to get it where it can be groomed over and freeze up. Yes that is really what it is going to take at the moment...we need to scout it out from our end to see if we can unhook the drag and drive our Piston Bulley in there safely to push some snow in the hole, but are told it is very narrow and may not be possible.

Other than that trails in the Bingham and Moscow area are in great shape, allowing riders to travel north, south, east and west!

Ride right, ride safe, and stop in to say hello!

1.29.20

Took out one of our 2020 Polaris Adventure 600's today that has a 137" x 1.25" ice ripper track and 4" stock carbides to have a look see at how the trails turned out after last weekend's weather and warm up. We did receieve a decent amount of rain, mixed with some sleet and very little snow last Sat into Sun with the groomer having to head back from the Solon Dam at 9pm after only completing our section of ITS 84. Then Mon evening was the first cool off where our groomer was able to go out and do our whole system. Thank god he did! Trails are flat and rock hard and primarily covered in snow.

The first 7-8mi out of town is very thin and dirty in a few places. Current recommendation is to head south on ITS 87 down the railbed to ITS 84 east, Instead of leaving town on ITS 87 which is pretty bad for the first 6 mi. When traveling 2 mi on thin coverage on ITS 84 you will unfortunately come to a 1mi plowed section that was the warmest section we found. After taking a short break at the end of it and cooling the sleds at Mahoney Hill, the coverage just got better and better, as we took the left of ITS 84 Mahoney Hill Rd and crossed by the first 11 wind towers on the Heart of Gold trail.

Once popping out at the Withee Pond intersection where right use to take you through the rest of the Windmills or as before and groomed now to the Iron Gate Rd, we took the left on the T rd leading you to Rt 16 to cross over to Townline Rd. This section to Rt 16 was the only section that did not get groomed Mon night, but will be the first priority tomorrow night along with getting a fresh scratch on the trails.

Townline Rd is still being plowed but there was some snow on the sides to grab to help with cooling for the mile down to the left hand turn that runs you into ITS 87 north. This whole short loop back out to the Townline Rd had great coverage, and was flat and fast. There is another short section to the Dead Water bridge crossing over Austin Stream but the trail quatliy picks back up quick all the way to the short powerline section we are running this year to connect to the Heald Pond rd. Surprisingly this was in good shape but there were to small spots in the middle to be mindful of that had water running underneath of.

The entire Heald Pond road all the way to the Chase Pond rd had great coverage, flat and fast, with some areas on the side for cooling. The Chase Pond rd conditions were much like the Heald Pond Rd conditions until we go to where we meet Northern Outdoors. From there coverage was good but they had not been back down since the weekend storm. This caused what I like to call the roller coaster effect with ski ruts that had frozen solid. The good news is the ruts were not that huge, and after speaking with Jim Yearwood at Northern Outdoors, they are on there way down this evening, and will connect with us again both Fri and Sat nights this weekend!!!! Also there second groomer is up and running this evening headed toward Greenville.

As of todays conditions, picks and scratchers are highly recommended, but between the grooming the next several nights and mid to upper 30 degree temps this weekend softening up the snow we should be in good shape for Fri - Sun.

The conditions are not what they have been the past several years but they are not that bad either. Mother nature is just not cooperating at the moment and the outlook for the remained of the season is not that promising that there is going to be a big turn around. So that being said ....... get on your sled and ride, enjoy it while you can.

With the current firm condtions, please be careful coming into corners. Ride right, ride safe and we will see you on the trails!

 

1.17.20

Last night the Valley Riders were able to help out our adjoining club to the north Northern Outdoors who had yet to be able to connect with us due to conditions at Moores Bog on ITS 87 just north of the turn to the Sterling Inn. This allowed us to have a groomed trail all but 1.25 mi and they are hoping with the recent and incoming snow to be able to make the full connection by the end of the weekend. That being said, 5 sleds had been through this section, and the recent 5-6" snow seemed to fill in a lot of the cracks leaving far less concern than before. But like everywhere still, the woodened sections of trail, powerlines, and minor wet areas still need another 6" or so before everything will be pancake flat.

ITS 87 north:

Groomed last night, and will be for at least 2 out of the next 3 nights throughout the weekend. The powerline section behind the highschool when leaving town is still pretty thin and does have a water bar right after the bridge at the bottom of the hill to be mindful of. Once leaving the powerline, there were some ruts created by pickup trucks this spring and hunting season that we were able to mostly fill in, but you still need to use caution for about a half a mile or so. From there the road system is in good shape with great coverage to the Rt 16 crossing.

The next section like always requires a lot of snow to really make it good, but there is good coverage throughout. The 2 biggest areas of concern are about halfway through when going down into the small bog area where there is some wetness and ledging, and when you are within a mile of the intersection for the Sunshine trail that comes off from and back to Toenline Rd, where there is a decent water bar we were able to fill in enough last night to make it more easily passable. Ironically, this is where we saw where the first sled of the year had left the trail going to fast downhill for conditions on their way back into town on a half groomed trail.

Once taking the left at the Sunshine trail intersection you are back on road system which is covered well and in great shape to the Townline Rd which has been being plowed to the Deadwater Rd, where you will cross the Austin Stream bridge. The short wooded section was worked over before the snow allowing smoother terrain to the old county road that parallels the stream to the gravel pit. Taking a left out of the gravel pit on the Ripple Rd should be a short plowed section for a half mile to the powerline where we are now taking a right due to logging. It had not been plowed as of last night, and had not been last week. The powerline could definitely use some more snow. There are a couple areas of concern that are wet/have water bars. We were able to fill them in for the most part, but are concerned traffic between now and the next storm are only going to open them back up so please use caution.

Once hitting the Heald Pond rd you will have smooth sailing and great conditions all the way to the Chase Pond Rd and for the next 13 miles. That being said we typically meet Northern Outdoors at mile 3, which you will see to there and for the next 5-6 miles to the end of the Chase Pond rd is in great shape. When you get to the end of the Chase Pond rd a pick up truck had plowed the Carney Brook Rd in from Rt 201 past Chase Pond approximately a mile and left a snow bank in the middle of the trail we removed last night. We groomed about 2 miles more before turning around and there did appear to be another inch or so of snow.

ITS 87 south:

We groomed down to the Solon Dam and back opening all the gates on the railbed in our section. Talking with the Solon Snowhawks this morning, they have opened all their gates on ITS 87 south only. The trail system is in good shape down to Griswold's store, but declines shortly there after.

ITS 84 west:

Are only section of this is the same section of railbed as ITS 87 south which is groomed and in good shape. I read this morning that North Anson's club will be out today grooming, so we are assuming they will connect with us at the Solon Dam.

ITS 84 east toward Wind Towers and Athens:

All groomed and in great shape to the power line where we meet Athens. The once place to be aware of is where the Frank Savage Rd turns into the Pat Cassidy rd where it appears camp owners are still plowing into there camps, so you will run about a mile of plowed road that we are ok to be on.

Lower Club Trail:

This is the first connector leaving town on ITS 87 or ITS 84 when taking the left off Pat Cassidy onto Mahoney Hill, instead of following ITS 84 on Mahoney Hill. This was pack last week and will be groomed freshly this evening. As many know this is a tight, windy so please use caution.

Heart of Gold Trail: (Aka middle club trail/start of the Wind Mills)

This trail was in fantastic shape on Monday after the storm last weekend. I'm not sure as the groomer go to this last night but most certainly will tonight if time did not permit last night. At the end of it after passing Whithee Pond, taking a left will bring you to the Rt 16 crossing to the Townline Rd and back to ITS 87. Taking a right allows you access to the rest of the Wind Mills which we can only go as far as Tower 20 as of right now, or wrap you back around to the Iron Gate Rd, connecting you back to Mahoney Hill rd ITS 84 in our system where we meet Athens.

Iron Gate rd: (Aka upper connector)

We were granted permission from the state and Harmony club to help them out by maintaining this section this year. As mentioned above it makes a great loop, and is the best place in our system to safely play with your throttle, as it has a nice 2-3mi stretch that is straight as an arrow and a rocket ship ride when it is flat! This trail also also access to Athens and Brighton. Harmony is going to do there best to maintatin the Stagecoach Rd from Brighton to us every other week as far as we know now.

Lastly, we are working with the new club the Kingsbury Off-Grid Groomers (who are on Facebook and looking for new members) to make a connection from the top of Mayfield Hill on Rt 16 where we normally maintain the gravel pit road that leads to the rest of the Wind Mills that are closed for the season due to logging. If we can get this connection approved by the state and Weyerhauser, there is hope to open it next weekend. This would allow us to connect to the Breakneck Ridge trail system from the south end allowing you to loop back throught the Forks, but it will also get you access to Abbot and Parkman using many of the same ATV access we have currently.

If you haven't been out riding yet, now's the time. Get off your phone, pack your bags, and get up here.

Don't want to load your trailer, rent a sled and save yourself the hassel!

As always, ride right, ride safe and we will see you on the trails!!!

1.13.20

Well it has certainly been a late start to winter this year, and while we all would like to have some more snow the time has come!

Yesterdays ride from our shop found flat, hard and fast conditions. We made it through the weekend storm with more sleet than rain, with some fresh snow on the top and more to come before and during the upcoming holiday weekend. We are expecting another 2"-4" of before Friday, with a weekend storm providing another 8-10". Our groomer is scheduled to go out Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening even through the storm so our trails should be even better than they are now!

Knowing the powerline leaving town on ITS 87 north was pretty thin, I decided to head down the railbed whch was completely covered with no icy spots showing. I turned on ITS 84 east and found the first 2 or 3 miles to be the thinnest in open areas with a few loose rocks in one spot the drag kicked up. But again everything was covered up. Once hitting Mahoney Hill and turning right down the hill, everything was again covered and in great shape. I then took a left across the Heart of Gold Trail also known as the upper Lake Rd to the ATV community that goes by the first 11 windtowers which was again flat and fast. Once getting down by Whithee Pond the trail was a little uneven, but completely covered and not rough.

At the next intersection where you can take a right to the rest of the windmills or Iron Gate Rd, I took the left on the T Rd that heads to Rt 16 where it crosses over to the Town Line Rd. Town Line Rd is again this year being plowed, and we have only been granted shared access for the 1 mi from Rt 16 and less than a mile on the Dead Water side. Taking the left off Town Line Rd is what's known as the Sunshine trail that leads you back into ITS 87, allowing for a nice bypass during low snow conditions.

Once hitting ITS 87, the condtions are great all the way across the Austin Stream Bridge off the Dead Water road, to the gravel pit where we turn left on the Ripple Rd. Please be advised that we are only going about a half a mile up Ripple Rd to the powerline where you will take a right at our new kiosk. The poweline section is passable with a few small water bars to be mindful of. It is a little rough and slow going, but once hitting the Heald Pond road on the other side, conditions turn back around for several miles all the way and a few miles beyond where we meet Northern Outdoors on the Chase Pond Rd.

About 7 mi up the Chase Pond Rd ends intersecting with the Carney Brook Rd. At this point you will notice a pickup truck plowed in past the Chase Pond Rd about a mile, then took a right up a dead end and left a snow bank in the middle of the trail so be very careful. We are hoping to work toegther for the upcoming weekend and get that section cleaned up due to Northern not being able to connect thus far due to lack of snow near Deer Bog and the turn for the Sterling Inn. So after leaving that plowed section you will travel about 2.5 mi to get to the Deer Bog bridge which is where you will find the thinnest conditions and ruts from folks that just had to ride Sunday before things had a chance to freeze up.

After crossing the Deer Bog bridge you will have another couple of miles of groomed/frozen ruts on a road system to get to Pleasant Pond intersection. We have been told that the Forks system is about the and they are anticipating moving groomers Thursday.

So all and all we need some more snow but its on its way, and the trails are in good shape considering the year we have been having. What bad sections there are, are short lived and typically in and our of the towns, but everything is passable.

We did received permission from the Harmony Club and the state to groom the Iron Gate Rd this winter to help out Harmony, seens how we have lost several miles of trail we normally maintain, provding a nice extended loop. We have also groomed the lower connector of Mahoney Hill Rd that meets ITS 87 above the powerline and before crossing Rt 16 and it is in great shape. When taking this trail, just keep in mind it is very thin and rough on the powerline when attempting to come back to town. When heading north on ITS 87, everything is covered including the ledges on the other side of Rt 16 before the intersection off town line road, but it is somewhat bumpy due to a lack of depth of snow, and there is one passable washout, just befoer the bridge.

*Please note the upper Windmill section and Palmer Pond Rd will be closed all season due to active logging, so please do not attempt to travel those areas. We will be grooming past the building up to tower 22, but will be turning around before the last Rt 16 crossing as soon as we get a little more snow. The trail is closed at the top of Mayfield Hill on the Quarry Rd, but folks can unload there if they would like and travel back towards ITS 87.

Ride right, ride safe, and think snow!

3.21.19

It's the first day of Spring and we are still in great shape despite last weeks warm temps and little bit of rain. The Poker Run and Rider Appreciation Weekend went off without a hitch, with right around 60 participants allowing us to raise $1537.50 for the Valley Riders Snowmobile Club. Special thanks to all those who participated and a huge thanks to all the contributing businesses. Yesterday we closed the doors and had our company day with staff, and found trails to be in good shape. Road crossings are definitely getting bare, and in about every clubs system, there is a 1 bare spot not associated with plowed roads which are also down to dirt in most places. It is really hard to nail down an accurate report but the best summary is there is varying conditions from trail to trail and day to day. Groomers have still been out and about at least 3 times a week, but traffic has been making an impact. In the mornings trails have been very had not softening until 1030am to 11am, which is when the bumps are getting formed. All and all the riding is still good, but if you are expecting perfect trails....well we will see you next season. The upcoming weather is showing so rain but also the potential for either 2"-4" or 5"-8" of snow depending on the report before it is all done. Warm temps on Sunday, then it should cool back down. So if you got to get another trail ride in this weekend is the time to do it, with good potential to get another ride in next weekend. From what we have heard, Northern Outdoors will continue to groom through 3.31.19 assuming conditions allow it, as well as Coburn Summit Riders. I have not heard from the Solon Snowhawks or Abanaki Snowriders, but I can tell you that Solon trails all and all are in good shape with 2'-3' of snow still left in wooded sections. Our club should follow suit with the others, we will continue to groom at least twice a week if not 3 as long as conditions allow it. Stay safe, ride sober and stay on the right side of the trail!

3.11.19

We received some disappointing news at the Valley Riders Snowmobile Club meeting here on Wed night 3.6.19 that our full time groomer Dr. Dave's health concerns have forced him to give it up at the end of this season. We are in the process of training new operators this season to be prepared to try to fill the shoes of a great man.

We shut the shop down on 3.7.19 and went for a ride on the trails to get a first hand view of conditions after receiving conflicting information from various riders at the shop. We traveled up ITS 87 which seemed to be in pretty good shape to the Dead Water rd, where we then followed the Palmer Pond rd which had not been groomed in several days but was in decent shape, minus some wind drifts that had the potential to be problematic, due to flat and fast conditions for miles between them. When we arrived at the Breakneck Ridge trail, we found it to be freshly groomed with only 2 tracks across it all the way to Monson. After lunch with Mike and Kim at Spring Creek BBQ, we filled up and headed to Greenville on ITS 85 north and found the rail bed to be in great shape minus the Shirley Bog wind drifts and one other closer to Greenville. From there we followed ITS 86 to the Forks and found it to be in pretty good shape as well will only a few bumps in the corners. We stopped into Northern Outdoors for gas and a warm up and found out the had freshly groomed ITS 87 south the night before which was in fantastic shape all the way to our system. From there, ITS 87 was also in really good shape all the way to the other side of the Austin Stream bridge minus the drifts on the Ripple road just after leaving the Chase Pond Rd. After we crossed the bridge, we noticed the groomer had gone up the Palmer Pond road we had been on in the morning, getting that knocked out as, as well as traveling into Tower 30 from that north end into the Wind Mills.

Friday night (3.8.19) I found myself sitting next to Dr. Dave getting my first groomer operator lesson. We took off at 5:20pm went half way up ITS 84 east on Mahoney Hill and saved time by turning around at the closed opening of the Wind Mill travel as the trail proved to be in really good shape. So we go the connector to ITS 87 groomed and then the remainder of the railbed before refueling and heading up ITS 87 north to meet Northern Outdoors. ITS 87 north had its corners banked and a few rough spots but was all and all pretty decent. The responsibility of a groomer driver is no joke. My hat goes off to all that are involved for several reasons, most importantly taking on the responsibility of all that could go wrong.

Saturday our club President Jack Lord went for a mid-morning ride to scout out our trail systems and abutting clubs to give Dr. Dave and idea of what was going to need be tended to the most. He found that by about 1130am ITS 87 was already in pretty rough shape due to all the traffic. So Dr. Dave returned to the trails Saturday night to groom both ITS systems.

Yesterday around 4pm a few of us went out for a ride to mileage the Poker Run we have coming up this Saturday to raise funds for the club and found the following. ITS 87 south toward Solon had a few bumps but was in good shape. Solon's trail system seem to have been freshly groomed Sat night and received less traffic then ours. This was the case on all their club trails as well. Once heading down into Athens corner store from the powerline ITS 84 section, it was quite bumpy but still had plenty of snow and just needed a fresh grooming. While traveling ITS 84 west back to our system meet at the end of Mahoney Hill rd we found to also have good coverage but was rough until hitting our system. In our system ITS 84 was in good shape but getting bumpy in spots all the way to the connector, and needed a touch up with the groomer. The connector trail held up great over the weekend and made a nice short cut to the Bingham General store. Where to connector comes in on ITS 87, south was in good shape to the powerline and down into Moscow and the Austin Stream wire bridge crossing behind Lavallee's Garage. Once crossing the bridge to the right had been freshly groomed, but heading into Bingham General store was pretty bumpy and needed a pipe drag brought through it a few times to get it smoothed out.

That's all I got for now.

This week the temp is warming up with light rain forecasted for Friday and a couple of passing showers on Saturday, with temps then dropping back to the teens Saturday night and all next week. If we can get folks to hold off this weekend, groomers will have plenty to work with Saturday night and prolong next weeks riding to have good to great conditions for late season riding.

Bare in mind that plowed roads, and road crossings are going to start becoming a pain, and the snow will start to begin to be eaten away from underneath the trail. This may cause holes in the trail and ice to open up mean drivers will need to operate with even more caution than normal. But don't get me wrong, there is still a ton of snow and an immaculate base and I am anticipating riding into April at this point!

As always, ride right, ride sober and ride safe!