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Winter season shows early promise for snowmobilers

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Seasonable snowfall and cold temperatures have area snowmobilers hoping for the best conditions for their sport this winter in recent memory.

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With approximately eight inches of snow already on the ground in this vicinity, the Pierce County Snowmobile Association sent out its two groomers for the first time this season last week. Although a recording available at the official trail phone number (639-6311) reported the trails remain closed, former Association President Brian Pieper was optimistic, having heard a forecast for even more snow as soon as this coming weekend.

"The snow we've had is a record amount for the Dec. 1 to 5 dates here," Pieper said Friday he understood. "And the last time we got anywhere near that much during those days, we had a colder than average winter and a snowier than average winter."

The 10-degree above daytime temperatures experienced in this vicinity are great for snowmobiling, he said. Grooming can actually be done with less than the present snow cover, as the idea is to smooth the trails for riding.

"Some clubs in the state go out and groom before there's any snow at all," he said.

Pieper admitted winter's early arrival caught some clubs off guard, aware certain sections of area trail haven't been completely signed or otherwise prepared despite the snow cover (each of the 10 clubs in the county is responsible for around 22 miles of trail). But he expected they'll be ready for when the trails do open.

"We need to keep the trails smooth so snowmobilers stay on them," he said about the grooming, explaining a wake left by the machines tends to push the snow off of them and they can become so wide they essentially no longer exist. Additionally, smoothness promotes future snows staying on them, he added.

Read more in the print version of the Herald Dec. 12.

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