due to earlier warming trends and proximity to the ocean. Local clubs determine when conditions are right to open the trails in their area. Snow pack alone is no guarantee that trails will be open. The determination is based on factors like the amount of snow on the ground, progress of preseason trail work such as signage, and whether the ground is well frozen. In some areas landowners will re quire an opening date that doesn’t conflict with their pri mary use of the land, and the clubs will of course comply. There are Maine businesses, Chambers of Commerce and tourism organizations throughout the state who will gladly assist with trip planning and local trail information. Snowmobiling has a significant economic impact for many communities in the state, and lodging facilities, restaurants and other local businesses look forward to the arrival of snowmobilers in their area. The advertisements in this guide and listings and links on the MSA web site, www. mainesnowmobileassociation.com , contain information about a number of these welcoming businesses. Depending on where you choose to ride, lodging choices may include resorts (lodging, dining, sled rentals and guide service available in one location), modern motels, inns, B&B’s and sporting camps. Some groups prefer to rent cabins where they can prepare meals and enjoy one another’s company in a private setting. Couples may prefer private cottages or suites. Families with youngsters may enjoy a motel with a swimming pool and on-site dining. You’ll find restaurants from home-style cooking to fast food, upscale dining to grab and go. If you have the opportunity, stop by a snowmobile club public supper (or breakfast or lunch...). There’s always lots of good home made food at a can’t be beat price. If you’re planning to rent sleds, reserve the machines in advance. Expect a minimum age for operators, and a damage Please respect “Trail Closed” signs. Services for Snowmobilers

snow mobi l es since they could manipulate the controls of a mini sled. They become competent operators at a fairly young age, instructed in the rules and ethics of snowmobiling by their parents and grandparents. Children who haven’t benefited from such experience should not be allowed to operate a snowmobile without training and adult supervision. Where’s the snow? The MSA maintains trail condition reports on line at www. mainesnowmobileassociation.com , updated weekdays during the snowmobiling season. Along with reports vol untarily submitted by club trailmasters, groomers, riders and business members, the site has a number of links to other trail report pages maintained by clubs and businesses throughout Maine. The trail report page was originally cre ated as a courtesy to riders, and continues in that spirit. It was quite a novelty at the time it first appeared on the scene many years ago; now there are numerous internet sources for winter trails information. Reports should not be considered a guarantee of conditions, as conditions can change rapidly. If you have trouble finding a report from the area where you plan to ride, try contacting the local snowmobile club, your lodging facility or the area Chamber of Commerce. The MSA trail report focuses on groomed trail riding. Gen erally groomed riding can be found somewhere in the state from mid-December through early April, with prime rid ing found in the months of January, February and March. The longest grooming season is usually found in a north erly widening swath running from the elevated western mountains and foothills up through northern Maine. Great riding can be found in all areas of the state, but southern and coastal areas usually see a somewhat shorter season



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