Because You Never Know (Brad Stafford)
Published on Sunday, January 22, 2012 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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The forecast called for another 4-6 inches just before you went to bed last night and as you look outside on your front lawn enjoying your morning coffee it looks like the weatherman was finally right. Mother Nature had indeed smiled on your favorite snowmobile trails and covered them with even more of the white gold that you have been enjoying the past couple weeks. You gas up your sled and go out to enjoy the trails that your local club has been keeping in great shape since the season began.

Does this sound familiar? It did for me over and over last year but in our sport one of the things you always need to remember… “You never know.” Throughout last season our club’s (BGL) trails were in the best shape they had been in many years. We had a hard-packed base that had been groomed for weeks, measuring in most places over 12 inches deep and then overnight we had to shut them down. It took just one storm: where some areas got snow but most of our trails got all rain.

I went out for a ride after that storm last year and what usually takes me under an hour or so to cover, took almost three. There were washouts where I’ve never seen such damage, leaving potholes measuring over two-feet deep and long trenches on the side of the trails. There were ice-covered trees hanging down, blocking the trail, and in some areas the water had undermined the snow-packed trail leaving hollow spots waiting to become sinkholes.

That ride was another perfect example of why no matter how well you know the trails, we all need to ride under control and safely because, “you never know” what’s around the next corner. It could be a downed tree that had fallen the night before. A bridge board could have been broken by the sled right in front of you. There could be a walker, skier or in some cases, a landowner on his horse out there on or near the trailside. There could be a new rider who took the corner in front of you a little wide and now is stuck right where you thought you’d go a little faster than you should… “You never know.”

So, always ride safe and hopefully, like last year, ride often. Respect the landowners and adhere to all signs throughout our trail system, and keep “The Rubber Side Down”

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