Following winter storm, snowmobile trails open across western Wisconsin

Some counties opened trails Thursday morning, while others plan to have trails open up by Friday morning.
Some counties opened trails Thursday morning, while others plan to have trails open up by...
Some counties opened trails Thursday morning, while others plan to have trails open up by Friday morning.(WEAU)
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 10:26 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - After a winter stormed dumped up to a foot of snow across much of western Wisconsin, snowmobile clubs began reopening trails that had been closed after a stretch of mild weather in February.

Snowmobile associations in Eau Claire, Chippewa, Dunn and other counties notified the public that trails would be open as soon as Thursday morning in some cases, while others would open Friday morning due to some initial maintenance needing to be done on the trails to get them ready for opening.

Eau Claire County’s trails were opened at 7:56 a.m Thursday morning. In Chippewa County, trails will open Friday morning, as groomers and trail workers need to open gates along the trails.

All neighboring counties to Eau Claire and Chippewa were either open as of 10 a.m. Thursday morning, or planned on opening later Thursday or early Friday, according to Travel Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources offers some safety tips for those riding on snowmobiles. In addition to displaying proper registration and not drinking alcohol before or while operating snowmobiles, operators should:

  • Slow down. Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Drivers should proceed at a pace that will allow ample reaction time for any situation. Drive at moderate speeds, and drive defensively, especially after sunset.
  • Carry a first-aid kit and dress appropriately, Your first-aid kit should include a flashlight, knife, compass, map, and waterproof matches. Always wear a helmet with goggles or a face shield to prevent injuries from twigs and flying debris. Wear layers of water-repellent clothing and make sure you have no loose ends that might catch in the machine or tangle in equipment.
  • Avoid traveling across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness or water currents. Rapidly changing weather and moving water in streams and lake inlets also affect the thickness and strength of ice on lakes and ponds. Snow cover can act as a blanket and prevents thick strong ice from forming.
  • Stay on marked trails or, where allowed, on the right shoulder of the road. Be alert for fences, tree stumps and stretched wire that may be concealed by snow.
  • Never travel alone. Most snowmobile accidents result in personal injury. The most dangerous situations occur when a person is injured and alone. If you must travel alone, tell someone your destination, planned route, and when you will return.