Snowmobile and Ski Trails are Looking Good

The Ideal Sno Pros marked several lake trails on Jan. 7. The area received at least 6 inches of fresh snow between Jan. 9 and Jan. 11. Photo via the Ideal Sno Pros Facebook page.

Music to the ears of Whitefish Chain residents and visitors is the hum and buzz of snowmobile engines. And we've been hearing it a lot lately.

Snowmobile trails- as well as cross-country ski trails- seem to be getting better and better every day. Just this morning (Jan. 11) another inch or so of snow was floating onto the trails, with 4 inches falling Tuesday and 2 inches on Monday. Up-to-date snow reports can also be found on

Snowmobile Trail Conditions

According to the Brainerd Lakes Area Snowmobile Trails  (BLAST) Trail Conditions Reports, the entire area has between 10" to 12" of snow on the ground.

Matt Werneke, trail coordinator for the Ideal Sno Pros, said that all area clubs are grooming, though some clubs are running into issues on the swamps,which in some areas have not completely frozen. Though the area received a stretch of below-zero temps recently, use caution in swampy areas.

The Ideal Sno Pros are reporting that the lake trails that have been marked as of Jan. 7 included Cross Lake, Duck Lake and Pelican Lake. The northern side of the Whitefish Chain was to be finished up by Jan. 16.

"The riding is good," Werneke said. He rates Ideal Sno Pros trails as in excellent conditions, and all trails in the state as either good or excellent. "We're not even halfway through January and we plenty of snow, plenty of cold weather."

Werneke said that the rain the area received on Christmas day helped solidify the base of snow on the ground and prevent melting. He expects that if things keep going the way they have, it's going to be an excellent sledding season.

The Sno Pros post great updates on their Facebook page, so be sure to check there for the latest trail conditions and photos of the trails.

The Emily/Outing Snowbirds are reporting that cold temps last week and this week will help firm up the trail base and freeze up swamp areas. The groomers were out on the trails Jan. 11 with the goal of completing the entire trail system. Check their website for updates (linked above).

The Gull Lake Drifters had trees down on their trails, but those are cleared now. They are reporting that their trails have been 100 percent groomed. They could be seen out grooming trails near Pelican Lake on Jan. 11.

The Merrifield Marathons groomed the Paul Bunyan Trail on Jan. 3 and reported it was in excellent condition. The rest of the Merrifield trails were groomed on Jan. 5 and are in good condition, "seven out of ten." They asked that snowmobilers ride with caution as at last report there is still some open water in ditches along County Road 3 and in some swamps.

Ski Trail Conditions

The Nordic Ridge Ski Trails at the Crosslake Community Center were planned to be groomed on Jan. 12. Jon Henke, director of Crosslake Parks and Recreation, said that after the recent snowfall he believes the trails will be in excellent condition after grooming. Find a map of the ski trails here, or pick one up in the Community Center's front office.

Cut Lake Ski Trails, west of Pine River, were groomed Jan. 7 and were reported in very good to excellent condition. There are no bare spots and tracks have been set, though there was some snowmobile damage on the north loop. Find a map of the Cut Lake trails here.

For more information on cross country ski trail conditions, visit

Join in the fun! The snow has been falling and the Whitefish Chain has a solid blanket of white.  Winter awaits!

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