I looked at the weather and almost didn’t go out. But on the off chance that we get some more snow Sunday Monday I wanted to have something laid down. There wasn’t a ton of snow out there and I kicked up quite a few sticks but it should set up pretty well by morning. Super low tire pressure will be required three or 4 1/2 pounds maybe
The walking trails are rolled. I made it through everything but the northern loop on the south side with just the sled. If anyone wants to snowshoe that it might be passable with the roller. Might be rideable by Monday morning but will need traffic. Merry Christmas.
We’re ready for snow. In case you’re wondering why Big M wasn’t groomed last week with all the snow they got, A > It’s firearm deer season, we like to give hunters these two weeks to do their thing, we get the woods the other 50 weeks. B > Our agreement with the Forest Service doesn’t allow any form of grooming until December 1st, probably because of reason A.
But we’re ready. I fired up the Snow Dog after it’s long summers nap, after replacing the battery, which cost 108 bucks, which brings us to our fundraising efforts. If you enjoy riding (or skiing) the Ludington School Forest trails, Big M or the Manistee Trail Park, consider donating or joining the club. We’ve made it easy to just donate by scanning the QR code over there in the right column, or you can join the club by clicking the link below.
Conditions seemed like they warranted grooming last night so off I went. It seemed like there was enough snow to cover the ice from the past few weeks of rain and then it got really cold overnight it is currently 16°, so I think the trails are gonna be very good it’s supposed to warm up later today. So if you do go standard winter fat bike etiquette is to lower your tire pressure and if you’re leaving a big rut, abort and wait for cooler temperatures.
All of the Manistee area trails are holding up nicely considering the lack of snowfall and warmer temps we’ve been experiencing. The Big M Outer Loop and Beginner were reported to be in great shape last night. A rider commented that the first half going clockwise had a few icy patches, but they were rideable even without studs. The Manistee Non-Motorized Trail Park continues to be solid with no reports of icy patches.
Looks like we are in for quite the warm up with weekend with chances of rain forecast on both Saturday and Sunday. Probably a god idea to get your rides in on Thursday and Friday this week to preserve spring fat biking conditions.
The Big M Outer Loop and the Manistee Non-motorized Trail are going to get a groom tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast looks awful with a high of 44 degrees and rain. If we can lay off the trails for the next two days they should be in good shape by Thursday when temps return to below freezing.
I got out and groomed yesterday afternoon, we usually try and groom after dark, but life sometimes gets in the way, so I went out mid-day. That being said, if you’re riding anywhere and you see grooming operations underway, the trails will probably not be rideable, they need time to set up, so it’s best to bail and come back another day.
There was too much snow to pull the roller on the bike trails but I was able to pull a truck tire around behind the sled and then it got pretty cold last night. So the trails should hold up pretty well until Wednesday’s warm up. I would say that the trails should not be ridden Wednesday if it gets up to 4o+ like it’s supposed to. They’ll probably be fine after that.
The Big M Outer Loop was groomed yesterday morning. The groomer commented that Big M received a lot of snow and it may take a while to set up / another pass with the tracksled. Conditions may be soft in the meantime.
The Big M Beginner Loop was groomed on Friday evening and set up very well. Trail is reported to be hard and fast.
The Manistee Non-motorized Trail park has not been groomed. We’ll be sure to post an update if anyone gets out there to groom or ride and reports back with some trail notes.
**UPDATE: As of Wednesday morning, 2/9/22 it was already 36 degrees in Manistee and temps will not drop at all today. Please do not ride during this prolonged stretch of warm temps. If we give the trails a rest, they should be good for weekend riding.
All Manistee Area trails are in great shape, rock solid with very few slippery spots. There has not been any significant snowfall in over a week now.
The forecast for the rest of the week looks pretty irregular with highs above freezing and a mix of rain and snow as the temps rise and fall for the next three days. Then proper winter conditions will return in time for the weekend.
Please use your best judgment and common sense when deciding to ride the trails this week. The weekend riding has been spectacular this season and we’d like to keep it going! If we get enough snowfall to groom, we’ll be sure to let you know
We got enough snow to make it worthwhile to go in and touch up all the trails we have a pretty solid base on the biking trails The walking trails were pretty chewed up so I added some extra weight to the back of the pan and hit all those at least once so everybody should have a pretty good time in the school forest tomorrow whether you’re walking biking or skiing.
The Manistee Area Trails are bulletproof going into the weekend. The Beginner Loops was described as super fast and just a tiny bit icy. The Big M Outer Loop is also fast with slightly icier conditions. The Manistee Non-motorized trail park is also solid with maybe a little slip here and there. There is more grip in areas where there was no tire tread prior to Tuesday’s warm up. Parts of the trail with tracks on them are a bit on the slippery side.
Overall, studded tires will be nice this weekend, but you don’t need them to enjoy the trails.
**UPDATE: The Big M Outer Loop and Manistee Non-motorized Trail Park were not groomed last night. It was too warm for too long yesterday making the snow too soft. Groomers will try again this evening and trails should be groomed and set up nicely by Thursday evening.
Today is a warm one with temps well above freezing! Luckily it will be short lived. The Big M Beginner Loop has received a pass with the groomer since the weekend, the Big M Outer Loop will be groomed later this evening, and the Manistee Non-motorized Trail Park will also be groomed later this evening.
Please do not use the trails until tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon to allow for enough time for the temps to drop and these grooming efforts to set.
Trails are in good shape, almost no hiker incursions, in fact footprints up to some signs and then tracks off to the side of the track. Amazing! Thank you very much.
We have one biker, not sure who it is, and, not to sound like a broken record, but whoever rode this morning, right before me, had 4″ tires and about 7lbs of air, at least 3 too many. What you’re going through on the uphills can NOT be any fun…
You should be able to press down on your tire, and make a fairly significant divot in the tire. If it’s too hard you can’t even press it, let some air out. See below. I started with 4.5 I’m guessing, and let a pound out after the first half mile.
Groomers have been hard at work on all of our trails this week and it just keeps snowing!
Big M Outer Loop: Was groomed Wednesday night! See photos below. There was a lot of fresh snow out there and groomers made a pass with both the snowdog and the track sled. We are thinking this is going to set up very nicely for weekend riding!
Big M Beginner Loop: Was groomed on Monday after receiving several inches of snow. A few riders rode this trail last night and the base is solid with an inch of fresh on top. It should be in great shape for the weekend.
Manistee Non-motorized Trail Park: This trail was groomed Wednesday morning. We expect it to set up and be in good shape for the weekend!
Did a full reset on walking and fat bike trails last night. Groomers rarely get to say this, but it was a nearly perfect evening on the groomer. Three minor issues, all operator error, going new places I shouldn’t have gone, all to add more miles to the system. Only wound up on Jebavy Drive ONCE! In any case, this light fluffy snow we’re currently getting shouldn’t impact the base much.
That being said, the first couple of riders down the trail are going to want LOW tire pressure… 3-4 is my guess.
Also, 20 miles an hour is too fast for laying down sweet corduroy.
All of the Manistee Area trails received about a half an inch of snow this week. Not enough to groom. Reports are that trail conditions are excellent with a little fresh snow on top of a super solid base. Perhaps a little less traction in some spots than last weekend, but overall very good. Get out and enjoy the trails this weekend!
All of the Manistee area trails were in excellent shape last weekend and into the first part of the week. The Big M Outer Loop did suffer some ruts and footprints on the SW side on Friday afternoon, but these were somewhat smoothed out by plenty of weekend rider traffic. The Beginner Loop at Big M is rock solid and the Non-motorized trail park set up very nicely as well.
Temperatures were a little on the warm side yesterday, but it looks like we are headed back into below freezing temperatures today and tomorrow. If you head out today, pay attention to the stability of the base and adjust tire pressure accordingly.
There is some snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow. Groomers are on standby to smooth out the trails with any significant fresh snow that we may get. We’ll keep you posted!
Got in a full pass on all bike trails and walking trails last night and finally got signs up to education both riders and walkers about A – Lowering tire pressure and B – Helping stay off bike trails with boots. There are plenty of trails for everyone in the LSFT so that is awesome. There might even be some opportunity to put in some walking trails in the winter on the north side. A snowshoer went in there and blazed a nice path. I didn’t have time to explore it last night, it might be more of a daytime thing. Looking ahead, if we can get through today I think we have a pretty good stretch of trail ahead of us. Knock on wood.
All trails at Big M were most recently groomed on Saturday afternoon / evening. With the very cold temps and first few passes of the season the Outer Loop is a bit soft and fragile. This should get better with more snow and grooming. Groomers are likely headed out for another tomorrow. We’ll be sure to post an update here.
The Beginner Loop set up more so than the Outer Loop and is in good shape.
The Non-motorized Trail Park was last groomed Friday evening. Trail conditions are similar to the Outer Loop at Big M; on the soft and fragile side. Stay tuned for a grooming report or rider update on this trail.
Groomed everything I could get my hands on. Too much snow to pull roller so just used sled. Even my ski contraption was too much. I would go first thing. As it’s going to be soft I bet with the rain. But after noon. It should be good. Major hiker incursion from the church property. I’ll try and get signs out in the morning. I roped the intersection off with Kenda tape.
Big M received about a foot of snow yesterday and snowfall is supposed to continue throughout the day today. Groomers will be headed out to groom both the Beginner Loop, Outer Loop, and a new connector segment.
Another Groomer will be headed out to groom the Manistee Non-motorized Trail Park. This is a flat 5-ish mile loop just East of Manistee on M-55 that was established years ago, but has not been groomed in recent years. I am happy to report that due to increased volunteers and equipment we are bringing it back! Trail conditions will be posted here.
The other half of the Outer Loop was groomed yesterday afternoon. This means all trails have received their first groom of the season. Unfortunately temps are forecast to remain above freezing for the next several days with some rainfall here and there. We’ll see how the trails hold up.
Big M has about a foot of snow on the ground. The Beginner Loop was groomed on Wednesday morning. The groomer reported that the trail is likely going to be soft and a bit bumpy. There is plenty of snow, but the ground didn’t get a chance to freeze prior.
Half of the Outer Loop was groomed starting from the main parking lot and heading out clockwise until Koon road. Groomers will look for an opportunity to get out and complete the loop.
First groom of the year. Hopefully the base sets up nicely and survives the upcoming weekend warm up.
There are at least four sets of tracks in the school forest trail system in Ludington right now and the riding was actually pretty good. We’ll see what kind of snow we get on top of the two or 3 inches that we got and keep everyone posted
I got out for a quick ride at lunch to give everybody an update on the trails in Ludington, Michigan and overall they are very, very good. Cartier Park had a couple of slick spots, no mud necessarily, and I was out at 11:30 so they may dry up by this afternoon, and for sure tomorrow and Sunday. But if you are in Grand Rapids where are you have clay based trails and you can’t ride your trails there or you are up north and there’s still snow on the ground and it’s not rideable the trails are 100% open and the restaurants are 50% open, so come to Ludington everyone
It looks like a lot of the ice is gone from the trail some of it still exists. Fat tire bikes are probably fine as always if you’re leaving a rot in mud that leaves damage which we have to repair so it’s better if you abort your ride and hit the gravel road or pave road if that’s the case. But we are very close
Big M is in great shape when temps are below freezing. Last night the trail was rock solid with no icy spots. Just a few bumpy patches here and there from deer tracks and some hiker footprints at the start of the Outer Loop if you head out clockwise.
The Fire Tower Loop remains un-groomed.
The Beginner Loop is similar to the Outer Loop. A combination of nice smooth spots with some bumpy deer track sections.
The temperatures are showing nice overnight lows well below 20 degrees. As long as folks continue to ride when the trail is frozen and not midday when it warms up, we could enjoy these nice Spring fat biking conditions for at least another week or so.
A few of us rode the Outer Loop at Big M last night. We were happy to find that the trail is hard pack and smooth despite the warm temperatures over the past few days. There are a few bumpy spots where deer have walked on the trail, but those sections are relatively short.
The Fire Tower Loop remains un-groomed.
The Beginner Loop is the same as the Outer Loop; hard pack with some deer track bumps here and there.
Looks like we continue to have warm daytime high temperatures for the foreseeable future. Please be considerate and plan to ride the trail in the morning before it warms up or the evening after temps have dropped.
We decided not to groom last night as it was too warm and just would have pressed all the water together and made ice when it froze. And then it stayed 40 all night. Trails will probably not be rideable until we get an overnight freeze.
We’re at the point of the season where we have to look pretty hard at the forecast before we groom, and before we ride. I didn’t groom last night as I knew today was going to be warm, and we’ve had hiker and high tire pressure (and skinny tire) issues. I think I’ll give it a go tonight. But please remember at the end of the season there is a time to ride groomed trails, and a time not to. If you’re sinking in more than a half inch or so, try lower pressure, if that fails hit the roads.
The Groomers felt like testing out some new tactics yesterday, mostly just using different machines/methods on different portions of the trail. The result was that every section of trail had anywhere from 2 – 4 passes with a groomer! Some sections are wider, some are skinnier, all should set up nicely! It was noted that the final track laid right down the middle of the trail will be the best line. All-in-all the Outer Loop and Beginner Loop should be in great shape this week!
The Fire Tower Loop remains un-groomed.
It looks like Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are forecast to have a high temperatures above freezing. Please keep temps in mind when you plan your ride time.
Looks like we’re skiing again! Just kidding. But we did get about 4 inches of fluffy white snow which might be rideable with the base we had on Thursday. It’s supposed to snow more overnight and I’ll try and get out Saturday night and groom again.
The Outer Loop was last groomed on Monday. One of our club members got out and rode it last night and reported back that the trail is firm and has set up very nicely! The only caution was that the edges can be somewhat soft (hello inverted balance beam!)
The Fire Tower Loop remains ungroomed.
The Beginner Loop was last groomed on Monday and also set up nicely!
We are currently under a winter weather advisory and Big M is forecast to receive 5 inches of snow in the next 24 hours. We will keep you posted on trail conditions and when the groomers are able to get out.
Trail is in great shape, some minor hiker intrusion on the north side where hikers are coming out of the church property onto the trails to make a loop. We might have to create a hiking trail in there next year. Mostly the trail needs traffic. The secret to making good groomed trails great is more riders and more traffic on them. I’ll be heading out at lunch today to repair the outer loop of the north side and then hit all the walking trails quick to smooth them over. It’s 4 degrees right now, but supposed to warm up throughout the day and then a break in weekend temps should do great things for the trail.
The Outer Loop was groomed yesterday. The groomer commented that it seemed to set up well, but with the really cold temperatures and soft snow conditions it could be fragile and low tire pressure is going to be key.
The Fire Tower Loop remains ungroomed.
The Beginner Loop was groomed Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. This trail is nice and smooth after plenty of snow and multiple passes with the groomer, but like the Outer Loop, low pressure is going to make or break your ride
Knocked down another five or 6 inches of fresh powder from Saturday afternoon’s groom this evening. Had to abandon the roller after the Smallest Loop, South of Bryant and continue with the ski abomination on the bottom of the ice fishing sled, but that usually turns out OK. Again low tire pressure will win the day and the more riders the better.
I groomed late in the day Saturday, knowing that we’d get snow overnight. And we did. There’s about 4″ of fluffy snow over a pretty solid base. The trails should be rideable, but they are way better ski trails at this point. I think a couple of rider’s tracks would set up nicely. It is pretty cold though.
Post work edit. We got about 3″ of really fluffy snow this afternoon and it looks like it’s going to snow for the next 24 hours or so, conditions might not be all that great until Sunday morning. Let us know in the FB comments if you go and how it is.
I got out at lunch to clean up north side of Bryant from a hiker incursion, and hang up a few more signs to hopefully educate them. And then blasted down all the walking trails as the bike trails were mostly good. And of course now it’s a total white out outside. We’re supposed to get snow all weekend, trails should be good and if we get 2-3 inches I’ll groom everything Saturday night.
If anyone rides this afternoon or tonight, I’d be curious to know how it set up. I would think, at 22 degrees it would set up by 4-5. But there were fresh biking tracks when I was grooming so they may get some soft track on the north side.
I’ve been wanting to try the SnowDog with the roller we built for the Rokon. It’s a beast, but does a really nice job on the trail, so I knew there wouldn’t be much traffic out on Sunday, pretty cold, so I reinforced the back of the SnowDog sled with a chunk of wood and a sturdy eye bolt and off I went. The previous groom with the ski and comb tray left a nice base, but the sides caved in from all the snow on Thursday night. The roller pretty much makes a clean cut on the snow bank. Can’t wait to ride it tonight.
I don’t see much in the ten-day forecast (knock on wood) that will change the trail much. Come on up and ride, the more traffic the better.
Big M has received a foot of snowfall within the last 24 hours and it is still snowing! The Outer Loop was groomed this afternoon and there are plans to make another pass with the track sled tomorrow morning.
The Fire Tower Loop is snowed in. We will look to open it back up as soon as we are able, but the top priorities are the Outer loop and Beginner Loop.
The Beginner Loop was groomed this morning and the bumps are gone! Yay! There are plans to groom this loop again tomorrow morning as well.
There is snowfall in the forecast ever day for the next few days. I guess this is what we asked for!
Got the SnowDog tuned up and man was it awesome. I hit the many of the walking trails with two passes to smooth them out and did a full pass of all the SFT Fat Bike trails. They were in pretty good shape after a longer than normal period of inattention, due to me riding other trails, thank you Cadillac and Big M groomers! It’s currently 13 degrees so I’m guessing the trail set up fair, although the snow we got Tuesday was complete junk, granular, dry, awful stuff. BUT, we’ll take what we can get this season. The first few passes today and tonight will probably be a little soft, but after that we should be good to go. And hopefully we get some more snow this weekend to build up the base.
We hate to keep bringing this up… Why are regular MTBs (and runners) discouraged from using the groomed singletrack section of the SFT?
The trail base is very fragile. Fat tires (properly inflated between 3 and 5psi) “squat” upon the firmed up base created by grooming and “float” on that layer. Regular MTB tires, and shoes, break through that layer and ruin the trail for its intended purpose. The volunteers of the Shoreline Cycling Club groom ALL of the trails in the Ludington School Forest, and there are an equal number of ungroomed trails in Memorial Tree Park and Cartier Park where those activities will do no harm.
We are trying to create a regional, recreational resource to enhance winter opportunities and draw visitors to the area. We can’t do that if the trail is a mess from misuse. Apologies for the long rant, grooming is difficult, dangerous and takes us away from our families so we can try and create something. We’re just trying to educate the newer members of the community out there because of the limited indoor activities these days. We welcome you, we just ask that we all try and maintain the trails during this very short window of time that is the fat biking season. Thanks.
No changes in trail conditions since Saturday. The Outer Loop and Fire Tower Loop are hard pack and grippy. Things get a little bumpy in the sections where the snow is still thin, but overall the trail is in great shape and fast rolling! The Beginner Loop has a similar hard pack surface as described above, but is still quite bumpy.
Looks like we have a chance of snow starting Thursday night and possibly all day Friday. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on how much we get and if/when the groomers head out.
Big M is in excellent shape! The trail has been getting an inch or so of snowfall on top of the base every couple of days that rides in nicely. No need to groom. The result is a solid Outer Loop and Fire Tower Loop with plenty of grip.
The Beginner Loop has a similar hard pack surface as described above, but is still quite bumpy.
Managed a full pass with the Rokon and roller (half the weight), not my first choice of weapon for the fluffy snow we had but we’re still struggling with the SnowDog and ignition. Grrr. Trail should be good, but the first few riders on the WNR or before that will need to run some seriously low tire pressure. Guessing 3.5psi will be the hot ticket.
I managed to get out with the Rokon and the roller last night before the temps dropped to smooth out all the walking trails in the SFT proper, and I think that with the drop in temps to 19 degrees they should set up great for the shoe-based crowd. We’ve done a pretty good job keeping up their trails, and walkers have been very good about staying off the biking trails so I’m happy to report that we should have a stellar weekend of fat biking and walking in Ludington.
The screenshots of the maps below do a pretty good job of showing the difference between the biking and walking trails, as does the map here.
Everyone get your snow dancing boots on for Sunday, that looks like the best chance of any padding to our diminished base for the foreseeable future.
<soapbox> With all the new folks we’re seeing outdoors, we feel this needs to be repeated.
We respectfully ask that only fat tire bikes with 3.8″ or larger tires ride the singletrack sections in Ludington and at Big M. There are ungroomed trails in many spots around the state and locally if you don’t have this type of bike, but the trails are not built for any other bikes than the fat tires and riding regular mountain bikes and walking on them ruin them for fat tire riders. In Ludington we groom an equal amount of walking and biking trails, and there are an equal number of trails we don’t groom, so they are available for non-fat tire bikes.
The Outer Loop was last groomed on Saturday. Over the past few days we have received and inch or so of fresh snow on top of that. The trail is in good shape and areas that were thin before are now snow covered with very few icy patches.
The Beginner Loop was groomed last night and is in good shape. Per usual it could be a bit bumpy in some spots until we get a proper dumping of snow.
Forecast looks cold with a chance of snow each day for the next few days. The groomers plan to get out later this week and do another pass on the Outer Loop and possibly groom the Fire Tower Loop.
I took a little extended lunch break and groomed about 10 miles of fat bike and walking trails in the Ludington school forest today. I don’t normally groom in the daytime it doesn’t generally have enough time to set up but I got a pretty early start and it should set up fine by five or 6 o’clock tonight. I also wanted to go in and Smooth down the walking trails, most of the walkers have been pretty respectful of the groom fat bike trail so I like to keep them happy. There wasn’t much snow, two or 3 inches maybe zero in the heavily forested areas, So riding them early won’t hurt anything and they are or will be in great shape once we get some more snow. Just a plug for the groomers and the Shoreline Cycling Club, if you enjoy the trails and want to throw a little coin our way, join the club, there’s a PayPal link on the front page of our site. Most of the money goes to support the grooming mostly. I break something almost every time I go out. This time only the battery came loose and was floating around by the time I got home, so only a bolt. But before that it was a spark plug and before that it was a staple gun to hang some signs and before that it was a clutch for the last track sled before that it was a track sled before that it was a Rokon, if you get my drift.
The Outer Loop was groomed on Saturday morning and overall the trail set up nicely. The section known as “Road Monkey” or “The Outback” has thin snow cover with some patches of dirt. As the temperatures drop, this section could become a little icy. The forecast calls for consistently cold temperatures over the next few days with a few inches of snow possible. Some fresh snow will help with those thin/icy sections.
The Beginner Loop was groomed on Sunday morning and is in good shape. Per usual, the trail could be a bit bumpy in some places until we get more snow.
The weather today and tomorrow shows high temperatures and a rain/snow mix. For the next few days the trails will likely be a sloppy mess if temps are above freezing and and ice luge if they are below freezing.
Sunday – Tuesday is showing some promise with colder temperatures and a chance of snow showers. We’ll keep you posted on how the trail holds up through all of this.
Word out of Big M today is that conditions are similar to what we saw over the weekend. Hard pack and fast rolling where there is still a base, icy in places where the base is thin. There is finally some precipitation in the forecast for later this week! Yay!
Reports from Big M today are that the trail is fast and firm with some icy patches when the temperatures are below freezing. Thank you to all who have planned your rides during the colder parts of the day. Looks like we will have to continue to do so through the weekend.
If anyone knows an ancient cold temperature/snow summoning dance, now would be a good time to use it.
With temperatures hovering at freezing or above this week please take care when riding the trails that anyone grooms really. From Marquette to Grand Rapids we’re trying to hold on to our base until some more snow is in the forecast, which doesn’t appear to be anytime soon. We have signage up in the Ludington School Forest designating which trails are for fat bikes now. We’ll see if they work. There are just a lot more people outdoors with Covid still a factor, so there is a bunch of new folks in the woods that don’t know about the fragility of groomed trails. See post from NTN trails in MQT as an example.
Still experimenting with the snow dog so I went out and did a hot lap just pulling a large truck tire. We will see how that works.
Just a reminder to Riders new to the sport, we appreciate fat bikes only on groomed Singletrack. In Ludington we Groom the multipurpose trails as well as the fat bike specific trails so if you do not yet have a fat bike there are plenty of trails for you to ride. High pressure tires that are less than 4 inches wide carve up the trails and ruin them for everybody else. There was plenty of evidence of people running too much air pressure both fat bikes and skinny tires in the trails.
PS if anyone finds that green kayak strap that’s in the back of the snow dog can you leave it with the grooming equipment either off Sherman or just south of Bryant it fell out, I’ll probably find it in the morning but you know if anybody else gets out there before me I would appreciate it, thanks.
Big M received several inches of fresh snow last night! The Outer Loop was groomed today and it is expected it will set up nicely. The Beginner Loop was groomed with the same track sled used for the Outer Loop due to mechanical difficulties with Beginner Loop grooming equipment. Expect a more narrow track than usual. The Fire Tower Loop was not groomed.
The weather forecast looks colder than it did yesterday, Yay! That being said it looks like we could have temps above freezing here and there over the next few days. Please plan to ride during the colder time of day to preserve this awesome base we have going!
All the trails, hiking and biking, got at least one pass. Snow Dog ran great, right up until the end and then some fuel line popped off. Didn’t burst into flames, yet. And is parked WAY out back… Here’s a video of one handed track sled operations. Trail should be good until next weeks warm up. Knock on wood.
A few people made it out to Big M yesterday and reports came back that we received about another inch of snow. The base in still in good shape and the trail was described as fast and grippy with worry free corners! Still not enough snow to groom. As usual, the Beginner Loop is expected to be a bit bumpy until we get more snow.
The forecast for the next few days looks like a real rollercoaster: snow tonight, snow tomorrow morning, possible rain tomorrow afternoon, then back below freezing on Thursday only to warm up again on Friday!? We’ll be sure to provide and update on how the trail holds through all of that later this week.
The picture is from Saturday, but we just got another 2 inches of fluffy powder (ungroomable) but three of us are riding at 8:30 this morning, so that should pack it down pretty good and it’s supposed to stay cold for a while with more snow (cross your fingers) in the forecast. Once we start grooming operations we respectfully request fat tire bikes only on groomed trails in the Ludington School Forest. Thanks.
Big M has not yet been groomed, but it is ridden in. Reports from today were that there are about 3 inches of light fluffy snow out there that is easy to cruise through. Any icy crunchy base from the recent thaw/freeze cycle is now buried and the weekend riding should be good!
Seeing Erin’s post about Big M and just having walked a section of the SFT (and deciding that it needs to be ridden ASAP) I thought I’d chime in about the Ludington conditions as well. Trail looks to be mostly hard packed dirt with probably some icy spots where there was more snow. But it looks great. Hoping we get that 1-3″ for a couple days in a row they are predicting for the tail end of next week. I’d sure like to get everyone some fresh corduroy for Christmas on Friday. Happy Holidays, stay safe, be smart. I see a dim light at the end of this damn tunnel…
Post ride edit. More ice than dirt. Good with D5 studs.
All of the Big M winter fat bike trails have been ridden in over the past week (Beginner Loop, Outer Loop, and Fire Tower). As usual, the beginner loop will be quite bumpy until we receive more snow. The outer loop and Fire Tower are fast and icy in some spots. Studs are recommended.
Weekend Forecast: Both Saturday and Sunday report highs well above freezing. Looks like the trail will go through a freeze/thaw cycle each day/night. The best time to ride will be early in the morning and studded tires are recommended.
Looks like we could potentially get some snow on Saturday. The Groomers are anxious to get out there and we will be sure to let you know once they do!
A group of us rode Big M this past Saturday morning and over all we are quite pleased with how the base is holding given the recent warm temperatures! Some areas are a bumpy and the Southern section of has a few bare patches where the trail gets a lot of sun. Luckily, the transitions from snow to dirt on these patches are not bad at all, there is little grey ice. The shaded spots on the North side (Road Monkey, aka The Outback) are in excellent shape!
The Beginner Loop is hard pack and in good shape!
The Firetower Loop was ride-able on Saturday morning however; this section has not been groomed, it has been ridden in and therefore is somewhat bumpy and soft in spots.
The weather forecast this week looks similar to last week. Temperatures will consistently pop above freezing during the day and duck below at night. Looks like a chance for some snow on Wednesday night. The Groomers will be keeping a close eye on the forecast and groom when they see an opportunity in anticipation of the race on March 14.
Yesterday the trail received about an inch of snow on top of the existing hard packed surface. Overall the trail should be in great shape for Friday night / Saturday riding with potentially an icy spot here or there.
The forecast calls for a major warm up on Sunday with a high of 46 degrees. Riding during these warm ups can be disastrous for our grooming efforts. Please consider riding Saturday rather than Sunday, or make Sunday a dawn patrol ride. Either way, please keep an eye on the temps.
A rider who was able to get out and around all parts of Big M yesterday reported that the trail is in good shape after the unseasonably warm weekend! Thank you to all who used lower tire pressure and good judgement deciding when to ride! This rider also mentioned that the bench cut section on the South West side of the trail known as Bullwhacker had melted quite a bit. Use caution as we head back into freezing temps as this section could potentially become icy. Hopefully, we will get the forecasted snowfall and this will be a non-issue!
The Beginner Loop was reported to be in good shape with a soft spot here and there.
Fire Tower has not been groomed, but riders continue to ride it in.
The National Weather Service is calling for a chance of snowfall tomorrow evening, Thursday, Thursday evening, and Friday. There is no estimate on accumulation at this point, but the Groomers are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to pack down some fresh snow before the weekend. Check back in a few days for another update.
I think mornings will be the best option for the next two days, then we get some snow and some cold and should be back in business. I think everyone that got out this weekend, especially at Big M, enjoyed themselves. I’m adding a couple of pictures at the bottom of a thing I built for grooming the School Forest Trails to share easily with a guy. Thanks.
The Beginner Loop was groomed on Tuesday afternoon and is in excellent shape!
The Outer Loop was groomed Wednesday afternoon and is expected to have set up nicely over night with the cold temperatures!
The Fire Tower Loop has not been groomed since the recent snowfall.
The forecast for today and tomorrow looks great with temperatures mostly below freezing! Unfortunately, the weekend forecast says we are in for a warm up. PLEASE consider the warm temperatures when planning your rides this weekend. It looks like riding early in the mornings may be the best way to ensure you don’t undo the Groomer’s hard work.
After last night’s snow and tomorrow’s dropping temperatures I decided to go out and do a quick groom of the school forest walking and biking trails. They should set up perfectly overnight with 2 to 4 days of magnificent riding come on up. Or down…
I went out Sunday night and tuned up the walking trails, all of them, for the hikers and skiers. our trails, with the exception of the outer loop on the north side were in pretty fine shape all weekend after the Valentine’s Day groom (the second year in a row that’s been the best day to groom). I see nothing in the next 7 days that will screw these trails up, knock on wood, so come on up to Ludington, the riding is awesome right now.
The Outer Loop was last groomed on Friday night and most of it is in excellent shape! See photo below! I received a few reports today that the South West side was on the soft side and lower tire pressure was needed.
The Beginner Loop was last groomed Saturday night and it also in great shape!
Firetower Loop is being ridden in and reported to be in good shape. The more we ride it, the better it will get!
Mike Reilly and I got all the groomers, the Ludington-based groomers, repaired on Friday, went to a fabulous Valentine’s Day/birthday party, and of course I went out to groom.As it turns out a couple of beers and a couple of shots of tequila are not a bad pregame for grooming. All went well and the school forest trails should be amazing Saturday and Sunday. A huge shout out to Joe Sanders, I could not have groomed what I groomed without his tracks from Monday. It takes a village.
The Outer Loop was last groomed on Monday. I had the chance to ride it on Wednesday night and thought it set up pretty darn well! There was a soft spot here and there in the clearings and the Road Monkey/Outback was a little bumpy, but overall it made for a great ride!
We received some fresh snow in the past two days and the entire Outer Loop will be groomed tonight. Based on Wednesday night’s conditions, fresh snow, and temps forecast below freezing I expect the Outer Loop will be awesome this weekend!
Fire Tower was groomed on Wednesday night and will be groomed again tonight.
The Beginner Loop groomers were both motivated and creative this past week. New equipment and…um…methodologies were utilized to smooth it out. See photos below. The result is a wider and smoother trail. There are plans to groom this loop again Saturday evening.
Tracksled broke down about 20 minutes in to the groom, we’re looking at it at lunch. Just got inner loop of north side done. Went to get Rokon, got through the walking trails and half of disc golf and the rear chain slipped off, I got it fixed enough to get it back home, but that’s out of commission too. We had a good base though, and other than footprints around the outer loop, which I assumed I would have gotten done, were it not for the breakdown, the trails should be in pretty good shape. The base we had will have set up quite well by now. It’s 15 degrees out.
The Outer Loop was groomed yesterday. The snow is still thin in the low lying areas such as Road Monkey (aka The Outback) making for some bumpy conditions. The track sled also left a few lumps of snow on the hills, so keep an eye out if you decide to get sendy on the downhills.
The Beginner Loop was groomed yesterday as well. Reports are that it is still a bit bumpy.
There are plans to groom the Firetower Loop tomorrow and the Outer Loop and Beginner Loop again before the weekend.
The biking trails of the Ludington school forest were groomed last night, it didn’t get quite as cold as it was supposed to but it should still be rideable and any and all bike traffic will certainly help the situation. Remember if you are breaking through the crust to lower your tire pressure to 3 pounds give or take.
The full outer loop was groomed last night and the groomer noted that the trail conditions may be a bit soft. Some locals are planning to ride it in over the next few days. With some low pressure tire tracks and firming up, it should be in good condition.
The beginner loop has not been fully groomed, but the track sled covered a portion of it last night. The groomer reported that it is currently in rough shape, bumpy with ruts and some footprints. There are plans to groom it before the weekend to smooth it out.
All of the SFT trails got a groom of one sort or another. Some got the roller, some got just the ice fishing sled and some got the pan. It didn’t get as cold as it was supposed to, but the 3″ or so of snow needed to be groomed in, that was pretty much unrideable. And the rest of the system needed a reset from hiking traffic.
I also groomed most of the hiking trails to smooth them out for walkers.
Both forays into the disc golf area are out and backs at this point, need to go in there in the daylight. And I’m happy to report I didn’t break anything, except you know, my lower back…