Well its been a while since our last report, and we have received 2 major storms since then. The first storm brought on 1.9.19 about a foot of heavy wet snow that stuck to the trees after a light misting through the night that caused clubs to be out in full force to reopen and groom trails. This storm put us into amazing riding conditions for that weekend if you were in the right places, and only improved throughout the week. Most clubs spent 5-7 days clearing brush and re-grooming. This allowed our clubs to the south as far as Skowhegan to groom and open their trail systems with decent to good conditions. Riders reported excellent conditions for ITS 84 toward Kingfield on Monday 1.14.19 as well as ITS 87 to the Forks on Tuesday 1.15.19. After a staff ride for dinner to the Inn by the River in the Forks Thursday night 1.17.19 we were able to verify that if you haven't been up here riding yet you need to be.
Then this past Sunday 1.20.19 we received and additional 14"-18" of fresh fluffy snow that did blow around the last couple of days creating drifts in some areas, but also added to our amazing base. As of this morning it appears that all clubs have been out and got their systems groomed the last 2 nights including our clubs to the south as far as Skowhegan, in preparation for our next storm this evening through Thursday evening. Not to be misunderstood, we are suppose to be receiving a wintery mix this evening late, that will turn to rain tomorrow with temps in the 40's. It appears for no that there will be no down pours, just a light steady/consistent rain for a 12hr period, then the temperature plummeting freezing everything up rock solid until the groomers get out Friday night and break things up which should help with lubrication. We are in no way fearful that the trails will be damaged, but rather help put some moisture back in the snow allowing groomers to do their thing. We are however URGING folks to stay off the trails on Thursday and Thursday night to avoid causing unnecessary damage to the trails. No Friday riding is not going to be that great because groomers will have to wait until Friday night before they can start to do their work. No one likes to wait 2 days to ride when they have planned their trip, but it is in everyone's best interest to hold out.
ITS 87 North:
Groomed in great shape and good coverage all the way to the start of the Forks trail section, which we here is also and has been in great shape. We are still sharing the Chase Pond rd with Weyerhauser to the Cow Mountain rd where we take a left. At this point you will find groomed, covered trail all the way to the forks with the exception of the driveway at Pleasant Pond that is plowed every year. The only two club connectors that are both open and groomed are the one 5 miles out of town that will take you back to the top of Mahoney Hill (ITS 84) where you can head towards Athens on the power line or back to the rail bed to access the north end of Solon or the south end of Bingham as an alternative to ITS 87 all the way through Bingham, and the other being the Palmer Pond rd used for ATV season, and ITS 87 2 or 3 years ago just beyond the Austin Stream bridge on the right. The Palmer Pond rd allows the quickest route to the Breakneck Ridge trail head, and allows a nice 3-4hr loop through the Wind Farm now that it is open.
ITS 87 South:
Groomed all the way to the Solon Dam and as far south as Griswold's Country Store in Solon. From there for possibly another week, the trail dead ends due to a logging operation on the McCarthy rd just south of Griswold's store. The detour needed to continue south on ITS 87 to access the southern most portion of the Solon club system, to Madison and Skowhegan, starts on ITS 84 from the Bingham/Solon rail bed. From there you must follow ITS 84 to the end of Mahoney Hill where you will get on the power line and follow it past Solon's Club trail 22/23 all the way until you run into ITS 113 which will be on your right, a plowed driveway, as ITS 84 breaks off to the left into Athens. The plowed driveway you travel about 150 feet before turning left into the woods. At this point you will follow ITS 113 all the way back to ITS 87. Before getting back to ITS 87 you will pass a club trail intersection I believe is either 21 or 22. Short version, ITS 84 east to ITS 113 south, to ITS 87 south.
ITS 84 East:
Is groomed and in great shape all the way to the power line section where you would meet the Solon club
ITS 84 West:
Also groomed to the Solon Dam from our club is in great shape. Since the most recent storm on Sunday not sure if the Anson club has made it up through, but I imagine they have, and certainly will Friday night. Conditions are said to be great all the way to Kingfield, and the Carrabassett River crossing was opened up as of 1.12.19 and is said to be now safe to cross.
Wind Mill Trail:
From ITS 84 taking a left on what some call the Sunshine trail and others the old upper Lake Rd that was closed for most of ATV season, is open groomed and in great shape all the way to the Palmer Pond Rd intersection, and continues to where we meet Northern Outdoors just past Austin Lake. We have heard rumor that Northern is attempting to get the Bald Mtn trail opened for the weekend, as groomer issues have prevented it thus far as well as a logging operation just finishing up last weekend. If taking the Breakneck Ridge trail over to Monson, Blanchard, Shirley or a short cut to Greenville, you should find great to fantastic conditions, as thr Four Winds club to our knowledge has been out in full force with no current issues keeping their trails maintained and in great shape!
Town Line Rd:
Closed for the season due to a logging operation. Please respect the Land Owners wishes and stay off the plowed roads here to avoid possible future closure.
Iron Gate Rd:
This trail is open but not groomed by our club. With the right conditions it can be a rocket ship ride with sections over a mile straight as an arrow. Occasionally we see the Brighton area come through with a groomer off the Stagecoach Rd, but have heard rumors that the Brighton, Wellington, Harmony area have been lacking on trail maintenance this season. If they have made it through, (there was a bridge out during ATV season on the Stagecoach rd that may be preventing it) you will still find the first mile from ITS 84 to the Stagecoach rd bumpy. The Iron Gate rd is the club connector from ITS 84 to the start of the Wind Mill trail, and the closed Townline rd section.
Unfortunately this awesome, and limited use section of trail has had little to no maintenance done to it this season. This is not by our eyes, but those of other riders and land owners reporting conditions and asking questions. If you have ever ridden this area, and enjoy the ability to get to Carrabassett Valley so quickly with great conditions, limited traffic and spectacular views, get involved with their club as the are in desperate need of help, down to just 2 or 3 active volunteers on the trails the last several years.
As always, stay safe. Never ride alone, leave a plan at home, ride right and we will hope to see you out there!!!