Snowmobile season will kick-off without enough snow - WNEM TV 5

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Snowmobile season will kick-off without enough snow

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The official start of snowmobile season in the state of Michigan is just days away, but finding snow across the state might be a bit of a challenge come December 1.  The even bigger challenge is for temperatures to cool enough for snow to fall by the end of the week.

What do you mean the official start of snowmobile season?  If there's snow on the ground it's time to go!

To a certain extent, yes.  However, state designated trails don't officially open, nor are they groomed until December 1.  Before that date, it is fine to ride snowmobiles on private land or on the roads when enough snow is on the ground.  The lone exception is during firearm deer season when restrictions are in place so that snowmobilers don't disrupt hunters during prime hunting hours.

Trails in Mid-Michigan

There are very few trails in Mid-Michigan, but your best bet would be in Roscommon or Iosco Counties.  Unfortunately, finding snow in either county will be very difficult.  The ground is bone dry in Houghton Lake which isn't very good for folks anxious to get out on the trails.  In fact, there hasn't been a decent amount of snow on December 1 in Houghton Lake in almost 10 years!  Yes, the last time there was more than enough snow to hit the trails in early December in Roscommon County was way back in 2008.

Better chances to snowmobile in Mid-Michigan will typically be present by mid-to-late December.  This, however, isn't a guarantee.  There were two separate occasions over the past ten years where snow was very hard to come by.  We'll just have to wait and see how long it will be before we receive a decent snowfall.

If there's no snow here, where can I go?

If you're itching to hit the trails on December 1, your best bet is to head to the Upper Peninsula.  There is some snow in the eastern U.P. from Munising to Sault Ste. Marie, but it isn't nearly enough to ride.  Not to mention there is no snow in the central or southern portions of the U.P.  The western U.P., on the other hand, has enough to at least get you on the trails for a little while.

Check out how much snow was recorded for the last 10 years, here are some highlights:

  • Since 2007, only 2 years (2007, 2008) saw a 6-inch or greater snow depth on Dec. 1st.
  • Since 1980, only 10 years saw a 6-inch or greater snow depth on Dec. 1st.
  • Since 1970, only 16 years saw a 6-inch or greater snow depth on Dec. 1st.
  • Since 1960, only 21 years saw a 6-inch or greater snow depth on Dec. 1st.

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