Snow storm brings back winter sports activity to Eau Claire County

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 4:07 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The snow storm has come and gone, and bringing with it, the return of winter sports activity to Eau Claire County.

Last week the area saw most of the snow melt away, but now the trail groomers are back out getting the ski trails ready.

Todd Johnson drives the machine for the Eau Claire County Parks and Forrest Department, and said he had been out with another member of the team since the early hours of the day.

“Two groomers it will take between 8 to 12 hours. What we’re trying to do is keep a good corduroy, keep a good track,” said Johnson.

With the Winter we’ve had so far, Johnson said grooming the trails in general came with its challenges and hopeful outlooks.

“We did have some icy conditions. But with this new base we’re able to build... we could prolong the snow skiing season this year,” said Johnson. “The problem is this time of year the sun has gotten more power, it’ll melt and we’ve got icy conditions. Our machinery isn’t able to handle that.”

That is not the only problem however.

Johnson said it is goof for people to be enthusiastic to get back out on the trails, but they should always remember that the groomer has the right of way.

“If we do have to stop while we are grooming we’ll leave a hump that somebody could fall or wipe out on,” said Johnson.

And Josh Pederson with the County Parks and Forrest department said the machinery is hard to maneuver with already.

“It’s very difficult to stop a grooming machine and get around someone,” said Pederson.

He also pointed out the type of snow could affect how fast these trails can get ready for skiers.

“This has been a light snow, so it’s not packing as well as some of the heavier snows do,” said Pederson.

He said it will take time for them to be in the best shape for everyone to enjoy.

“A lot of times the weather needs to cool down enough so that trail bases can freeze and firm up. We’ll see that over the weekend,” said Pederson.

Alicia McElroy said however, there is no time better than the present.

“It’s beautiful. It’s a little icy in spots that need to be packed down a bit, but otherwise it’s beautiful,” said McElroy. “Try and come out and enjoying it while you can, becuase before you know it it will all be melting.”

Snowmobile trails in Eau Claire County have re-opened due to the snow storm as well.

Trail groomers for those snowmobile trails are asking for your help in re-packing.

They will be out to touch up the trails as soon as it is safe to do so.

For the latest on conditions click here for the Associated Snowmobile Clubs of Eau Claire. Marc Thompson who is the head of the Foster-Brackett Bracketters club said he recommends everyone sign-up for a member ship to keep up to date on the snowmobile trails in the county.