Ludington School Forest Update 1/22/21

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.

Thank you, the groomers.
</soapbox>

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Big M Update – Fri. 1/22/21

The Outer Loop and the Fire Tower Loop were groomed last night! With cold temperatures in the forecast, Big M should be in excellent shape for the weekend!

The Beginner Loop was groomed on Tuesday and is is in good shape. Per usual it could be a bit bumpy in some spots until we get a proper dumping of snow.

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Big M Update – Wed. 1/20/21

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.

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Ludington School Forest 1/19/21

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.

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Big M Update – Mon. 1/18/21

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.

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Big M Update – Fri. 1/15/21

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.

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Big M Update – Tues 1/12/21

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!

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Big M Update – Sat. 1/9/21

The Outer Loop is hard pack and fast rolling with some icy patches. Icy spots are primarily on the section known as Road Monkey / The Outback where the snow cover has been thin.

The Beginner Loop is hard pack and in great shape with no ice or bare patches reported.

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Ludington SFT 1/9/21

Trail held up well this week. Only frozen footprints on the north side. And they weren’t too bad. Rest of trails super fun.

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Big M Update – Wed. 1/6/21

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.

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This is going to be a tough week for groomed trails. 1/4/21

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.

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Ludington School Forest 1/2/21

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.

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Big M Update – Wed. 12/30/20

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!

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Ludington SFT 12/31/20

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.

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Big M Update – Tues. 12/29/20

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.

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Ludington School Forest 12-28-20

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.

Image to show trail conditions
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Big M Update – Fri. 12/25/20

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!

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Ludington School Forest and LUST Update 12-18-20

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.

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Big M Update – Fri. 12/18/20

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!

Friday, Dec. 18 – Monday, Dec. 21

image.png

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Big M Update – Mon. 3/9/20

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.

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Big M Update – Fri. 2/28/20

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.

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Big M Update – Tues. 2/25/20

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.

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Trail Updates 2-24-20

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.

Big M Saturday morning
Ditto
Sled on contraption
Ski thing with sled
New comb
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Big M Update – Thurs. 2/20/20

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.

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Ludington SFT update 2/18/20

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…

Before
After
Just what the groomer ordered…
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Big M Update – Tues. 2/18/20

Big M received several inches of snow last night. The Beginner Loop will be groomed tonight. The Outer Loop groomers will be able to get out tomorrow night (Wednesday).

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Ludington SFT update 2/17/20

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.

So then of course the 1-3 that would fill in the holes nicely grows to this…
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Big M Update – Sun. 2/16/20

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!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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SFT reset 2-14/15-2020

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.

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Big M Update – 2/14/20

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.

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Ludington SFT update 2-13-20

Well I started with good intentions…

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.

Walk of shame time. At least it’s a short walk.
Ski, ice fishing sled contraption was working to perfection. The inner loop of the northern section of SFT is gonna be amazing.
The good news is that the front chain held fine this outing, bad news, back chain did not.
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Big M Update – Tues. 2/11/20

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.

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Ludington SFT report 2-10-20

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.

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Big M Update – Wed. 2/5/20

The Outer Loop is in great shape. Overall the trail is hardpack and fast! The section named Road Monkey (aka The Outback) is a bit bumpy.

The Beginner Loop is bumpy due to not enough snow and some frozen footprints. Some deep frozen pickup tracks from the parking lot to the start of the loop also make things um…interesting.

The Fire Tower Loop has not been groomed.

Temperatures are forecast below freezing through the rest of the week and weekend. We’ve been waiting for these conditions, time to get out and enjoy that Outer Loop!

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Big M Update – Fri. 1/31/20

The trail is in mint condition! With highs near 34 degrees today and Saturday, we expect it to hold up. Time to get out and enjoy it!

The forecast for Sunday shows a high near 40 degrees, so please keep an eye on the temps and maybe choose to ride earlier in the day before things warm up.

It should also be noted that the Firetower Loop has not been groomed.

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Big M Update – Wed. 1/29/20

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.

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Ludington SFT Report 1-29-20

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…

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Big M Update – Fri. 1/24/20

The Outer Loop was last groomed on Tuesday night. Groomers attempted to groom the Fire Tower Loop last night, but were unable to do so due to heavy/wet snow conditions.

Overall we anticipate the trails to be soft this weekend due to consistently warm temperatures. We hate saying this, but unless you run VERY low tire pressure and are not leaving ruts you should probably avoid riding this weekend. Let’s hope for some colder temps soon!

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Big M Update – Tues. 1/21/20

The track sled is back in action! Groomers are headed out tonight and will focus on getting the outer loop in excellent riding condition.

The Fire Tower Loop will not be groomed tonight. There are plans to groom it later this week with the goal being mint conditions by the weekend.

The beginner loop was groomed twice on Saturday during a big snowfall that dropped 6-8 inches. We haven’t received much additional snowfall since then and a solid base is well underway; however, this trail may be a little bumpy until we receive more snow.

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Ludington SFT report 1-20-20

Joe Sanders took his first laps on the tracksled today. Grooming the walking trails of the SFT south side. I took the Rokon and a tire and cleaned up the hiking tracks and posted some signs at lunch. It should set up fine by this evening. I ran about 2.5 pounds of air on Sunday. Someone in front of me was running about 8, near as I could tell. I’ll go in and clean up north side later tonight, after the beagle walker tracks it up.

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SFT groomed Sat night 1/18

I got all of the singletrack trail’s a path through the disc off and I did a bunch of the walking trails as well with the track sled. It’s currently blowing 3o knots outside so we’ll see what develops but there will probably be something rideable Sunday morning. Glad to have the first groom done it’s quite a challenge.

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Big M Update – Sat. 1/18/20

Big M received 6-8 inches of fresh fluffy snow and it is still coming down. The forecast says it will continue through tomorrow. The beginner loop was groomed this morning and will be again this afternoon.

The outer loop has not been groomed with the track sled out of commission, but we will continue to post updates on grooming efforts.

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Big M Update – Thur. 1/16/20

Trail conditions are good. We survived the meltdown, there is still snow, and the trails are pretty smooth overall. The forecast calls for cold temperatures and fresh snowfall over the next few days which should make for some good weekend winter riding!

The track sled is well on its way to making a full recovery; however, we do not anticipate being able to get out and groom anytime before Sunday.

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Big M Update – Mon. 1/13/20

Half of trail was groomed on Sunday before the track sled experienced unfortunate mechanical issues putting it out of commission. Groomed sections include Corkpine, Bullwhacker, and the Fire Tower loop down to Steinberg Rd. The remaining portion of the Northern section & the Little Loop are not groomed. The sections that are not groomed have been ridden in, so there should be tracks and good riding.

The forecast for the next couple of days looks great with mostly below freezing temps and not a lot of new snow, so things should firm up nicely!

Weekend plan with the track sled out of commission: If we do not receive too much snowfall this week we may groom the outer loop with the Rokon or borrower the Ludington School Forest track sled. If neither of those options work out, the goal will be to ride in the trail by Saturday morning. Check back Thursday or Friday for another update before the weekend.

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SFT update 1/12/20

We didn’t get quite enough snow to groom but we got the perfect amount to ride in again. There are at least three sets of tracks through the school forest trails and Memorial tree and at least two sets of tracks through the Dragon. So the Ludington urban single track trail system is pretty magnificent as of today. It looks like Tuesday might be a little sketchy but then the temps drop and there is an inch or two of snow in the forecast every day. So potentially grooming operations could startNext weekend. In the meantime the trails are great come on out.

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Big M Update – Fri. 1/10/20

The trails are currently in decent shape with some patches of grey ice. There is supposed to be a big storm Saturday night and we are tentatively planning to groom on Sunday.

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Big M Update – Mon. 1/7/20

Light fresh snow over the groomed trail made any icy spots grippy and the trail rolled really well. There are warmer temps and a rain snow mix in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, so riding should be avoided. The weekend could set up nicely with colder temps forecast. Check back on Thursday or Friday for a better idea of what Mother Nature has in store for us.

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Early SFT report 11/13/19

Four riders laid down tracks in the Ludington SFT trail system today in prep for tomorrow’s Wednesday night ride. It is supposed to stay below freezing and there is a potential for some more snow so the Ludington school forest trails are open for business.

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Ludington School Forest Update – It was a hell of a run

I’m sure we’ll get one or two more blasts of winter after spring break, so we might be able to groom something up for a short period. But for now, I think we’re done… And the beach isn’t all that great either.

DCIM101_VIRBVIRB0241.

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SFT report Thursday, March 7, 2019

SFT is amazing and should stay consistent until noon or so on Saturday. Literally the best trail since we’ve been grooming. Park downtown and enter trail at A on this map. Only the trails in the SFT are groomed, the stuff to the east. The Dragon might be rideable, but we’ve had about 5″ of snow since the last groom there.

DCIM101_VIRBVIRB0215.

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SFT groomed 3/5/19

Hopefully we don’t get a bunch of snow tonight. Got around most of trails with roller ’til I broke hitch on the ice fishing sled. Then I had to go get tires to finish.

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School Forest Grooming plan for 3/5/19

Waiting for the blizzard to die down to see what happened out in the woods during the latest Polar Vortex-like blast. We sure had a great weekend though. Hope everyone got a chance to get out while they were so amazing. Was fun to see the Manistee crew Sunday! At this point planning on trying to get out tonight while my daughter is at dance class. Will report after that, but should be back online for WNR. Probably not Dragon though.

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Big M after the weekend

The outer loop and little loop were groomed late in the week only to get covered by 4-7 more inches Friday and Saturday night. The trail did get ridden in by those that worked hard to get around the Udell. Things aren’t firm but as long as your pressure is low (less than 4 psi) and have at least 4.5 in tires, you won’t need a box of tissues. Hoping to get things cleaned up during the week and ready for the second weekend in March.

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Ludington School Forest 3/1/19

All of the school forest trails at this point are dialed in, five stars, fantastic. We are however of course supposed to get 1 to 3 inches of snow tonight which should be fine to ride in Saturday morning.

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School Forest trails 2/27/19 part 2

$20 bucks at Briggs and the groomer was back in action. Did all the bike trails and most of the walking trails before I smiled clutch two.

Some poor soul rode the entire system on what appeared to be a regular mountain bike. Luckily no damage was done but if you know anyone that rode the trails today try and educate them about winter trail riding. It cannot have been a fun experience judging by their tracks. I see little in the way of temperatures that will dampen the awesome trails we have going. Get out there.

Happy trails.

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Ludington School Forest Update 2/27/19

Well my best efforts to groom 5.2 miles of trail for my brother’s 52 birthday ended when the bold holding the sled to the groomer snapped as I crossed Bryant Road this morning, .5 miles into my grooming run. So we’ll be skiing tonight. Then I’ll get out and groom after that. Should be back online Thursday after work.

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Big M Update – Sunday 2/17

So I was a bit optimistic with my last report. The warm day and rain never really materialized so trail conditions stayed at “mid-winter” and didn’t harden up into spring snow. The trail got pretty chewed up on Saturday from people riding with too skinny of tires and at too high of pressure so most everything was groomed again Saturday night.

I would recommend at least 4.5″ tires and lower pressures unless you are a light rider (under 150lbs). If you can’t stay on the trail, have to walk uphills… lower your tire pressure. Also if you have to walk, walk in the deep snow next to the trail not in the groomed portion. Everything was 100% rideable yesterday until people started walking in the trail. If you can’t make it up a hill, please don’t screw up the trail for people that can ride it.

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Ludington SFT 2-14-19 (Update) yeah it’s the bomb…

Got out and groomed everything with the tracksled and two tires while it was warm. Should set up nicely for the weekend. 2-3 pounds of air and you should be good. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Big M Groomed Wednesday 2/13

The little loop and outer loop were groomed on Wednesday. There was 4-6″ of more snow since the day before.

Thursday is supposed to be well above freezing with some drizzle but temps are supposed to drop down Friday so the trail should be hard and fast from Friday into the early part of next week.

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Big M Feb 12

4 inches of wonderful snow was groomed Tuesday afternoon just in time for a forecasted 4 more inches Tuesday night. Both the little and the outer loop got the treatment. Working hard to make the upcoming weekend just as good as last weekend.

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Ludington SFT 2-12-19

Just laid down a set of tracks so that when the snow stops there is a recent track to go through.

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Big M fat bike trail update

The struggle is real but we’re thinking we’ve got this thing as good as it can get considering the situation we just got out of and are getting into. Little loop is good to go. Wide tires and low pressures.

With the help of the snowshoe crew, we were able to get around the outer loop with the track sled but we’re not sure how things are going to set up being that it’s above freezing for the next few days. No grooming will be happening till Tuesday at the earliest. Tread lightly and good luck. Wide and low is the tempo…

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SFT Update 2-1-19

We’re chomping at the bit to go ride ourselves and enjoy the trails, here’s an update.

We’ve spent all week getting the trails back into shape after the big storm. Skiing, tracksledding, snowshoeing and now we have Dave out with his snowmachine and the roller.
My guess is as cold as it still is they might be rideable today around 5, please use caution while riding them. If you’re sinking in on what looks like freshly groomed trail, turn around and come back another day. We think Saturday should be all good, but probably no riding Sunday, Monday until it freezes again Tuesday. We may get out and tape off the trails to try and save them. We’ve no idea what a half inch of rain is going to do to them. Hopefully there’s enough base to hold up.
Low, low, LOW tire pressure is going to be key, squish your tires, if they don’t squish in an inch or so, that’s too much. between 3-5 pounds of air is all you’ll need. Your pump won’t register that low, so you need a low tire pressure gauge, like for Silver Lake sand dunes.
The Shoreline Cycling Club volunteers their time and equipment to groom the trails, if you’re not a member we hope you’ll consider it, and if your business wants to kick in for a corporate sponsorship we are all in for that.
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Ludington School Forest report 1-31-19

We are slowly opening up the Ludington School Forest trails, both hiking and biking trails. We might get them open before the rain comes, but then we’ll have to close them again. Nothing is rideable at this point. Might try to make a first pass through the SFT loops proper this afternoon. We skied them last night, all but orange loop, so broke trail a little. Lots of snow in the woods. If we got them open, it would probably only be for Friday a little while Saturday.

Here’s a little video of a first pass with the track sled.

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Big M

No promises about this weekend. Think of it this way… from Thursday on we’ll be working as much as we can to get trails as rideable as possible. In other words, snow shoe or ski. Give er a shot but air down and get fat.

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Big M Snomageddon

We’re doing our best to make things rideable but it may take the better part of the week. We’re doing multiple passes without weights and pans just so we can get the 12+inches of snow to cooperate. Maybe by the weekend things will be ready for riders but unless you’ve got 2XLs and a 26T front chainring, you might get out the snowshoes or XC skis.

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Ludington School Forest 1-27-19

Killer grooming session tonight. In a good way. Got 100% groomed. Rescued roller and smoothed out most of the walking trails with 50# of weight in the pan. Then Got around north side with the roller and 20# pounds so that should be widened out nicely. I know we’re supposed to get snow tonight but at least we’ll have a known base to deal with tomorrow. Need to hang signs tomorrow. Lots of walkers on south side of through trail.

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Big M post race condish

How quickly a trail can turn to mash potatoes and how quickly there’s no evidence of a soul ever riding it let alone 50 racers. Between the end the race yesterday and today, Big M received another 2-3 inches of snow to cover everything up. For what’s its worth, the little loop was groomed today but we’re anticipating Snowmageddon tonight into Monday which will made riding anything during the week pretty challenging. We’ll do the best to groom it in before Ground Hogs day…..stayed tuned

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Big M 1-25 weekend condish

Wow….finally a dump. The Udell Hills received nearly a foot of freshies this week. Even nearby Wellston didn’t get this much. Everything is groomed and seems to be setting up quite well. The roller stopped rolling because the snow was packing up so well which made for tough grooming. The tracksled is moving along pretty darn good though. Should be firm as long as people lower their pressures and ride wide tires (4in or wider)

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Ludington School Forest 1-25-19 #groomus_interuptus

Update – The groomer is back in action, and everything has been groomed with the exception of the northern section of the orange loop. Most everything the southern section of the north south through trail is also not been groomed, I may head out and groom that later tonight we will see.

LOW TIRE PRESSURE WILL BE CRITICAL.

The SFT grooming woes continue, between crappy snow and groomer break-downs here’s where we stand.

The north loop (red) has not been groomed since Wednesday morning, and the dog walker walked down the middle of that. The Blue loop has a couple of laps with the tracksled and the sled behind it and the southern half of the orange loop was done with tracksled and pan. Most of the walking trails around the blue and orange loop were hit last night before the clutch on the tracksled seized up and it became a really large paperweight.

Here’s a map to the trails.

Disc golf has not been groomed since Wednesday. See everyone at Big M Saturday morning for the Big M Firetower fat bike race.

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Ludington School Forest 1-23-19

Everything but the two southern loops, the loops south of Bryant, have been groomed. I’m not sure how it will set up, the snow was really weird of course, but it’s better than nothing. And we’re supposed to get a couple more inches of snow so at least we have a little base. I’m not sure how it will set up for tonight’s Wednesday night ride but it might be pretty good.

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Big M 18-20 weekend…send it

Perfect condish, tasty barrels all weekend. Augh….tasty barrels.

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Weekend Outlook (Jan 12) for Ludington School Forest

Trail is in pretty fair shape. There are some patches of ice, very limited, but they do catch you by surprise. The balance is thin snow or dirt. Very rideable, 3.75 out of five stars.

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Weekend is looking good for Big M

Just got back from the evening ride and the trail is in great shape. Just enough fluff on top to provide some grip but not enough to turn it into a slugfest. Forecast for the weekend has temps staying below freezing so it should be great riding out there.

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Big M

To say it’s been a light year for the groomers would be an understatement. Big M has only needed to be groomed once (late last week) and so far this week, can be ridden in without grooming. Temps were high but plummeted below freezing so any trail that was soft and recommended as unridable is good to go as of this post through the projected forecast this weekend. There might 4 inches of mixed media this weekend. Or not. Updates Thursday night are expected

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Ludington School Forest 1/2/19

Ludington School Forest is amazing right now. Just enough snow to smooth it out. With temps rising to above freezing right now rides before noon are probably your way bet. That pic is from Tuesday, we rode in another 3” today.

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Ludington SFT 1/1/19

I set tracks through the Ludington school forest and the disc golf this morning. The trails didn’t get as much snow as the roads, I think most of that stuck to the trees, but there is an inch to 2 inches of really nice snow with a couple sets of tracks on the phone now so that we have seven or 8 miles of pretty nice Thinly covered but pack down trails

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Ludington School Forest 12/7/18

Ludington received about 3 inches of snow Thursday night and a group of seven or eight of us road in the SFT loops. The trail Saturday morning should be fantastic. Hopefully we continue to get couple inches of snow per day and winter fat biking season is here folks, come on up.

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Tracksled 2.0 for the Ludington SFT

Looks like the groomer 2.0 for the Ludington School Forest is ready. Apparently it’s shorter and a little lighter. Excited.

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North Country Trail open from 56th to Marilla*

Thanks to the efforts of many of the members of the Shoreline Cycling Club, our section of the NCT in Lake, Mason and Manistee Counties is open.  A quick tally of man-hours driving home last night, purely a guess, but I’m guessing it’s taken 150 man-hours to get this trail, and the Ludington School Forest trails, open.
* The section between Free Soil Road and West 5 mile isn’t open yet, but the ride around is pretty easy.

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Ludington School Forest Update – APRIL stinking 4th

I thought I was done grooming, guess not… The Ludington School Forest Trails, with the exception of the Orange Loop, and a TON of disc golf were groomed this morning. We’ll ride in the Orange Loop tonight and then if we get more snow Friday I’ll go in Friday night and spit shine the trails for Saturday morning. Get out there!

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Big M….one last groom

The outer loop and little loop each got a groom with the recent dump we received Monday night. The jury is still out on how it’s going to set up but we’re still hoping this weekend will rock with night time temps dipping way down. Plan accordingly. Get in one last hurrah

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And…. we’re done, Ludington School Forest

Should be free of ice pretty soon, then, a couple days to dry out and that’s it. Thanks everyone that used the trails this winter we only had one instance of riders riding when they shouldn’t, but I think those guys learned their lesson, we fixed the trail and had a great season overall. Look for more groomed trail, and maybe an improved parking lot for 2018-19 season.

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Big M – Wednesday 2/21

Our snow took a big hit over the last few days. Lots of ice now so studs are mandatory.

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Ludington School Forest 2/16/18 weekend update.

Kudos to the folks in Ludington. Everyone knew well enough to stay off the trails Wednesday and Thursday. I put a fine tooth comb to the slush that was the Ludington School Forest trail system last night. It should set up for Friday night lights and be awesome on Saturday. Get out there and enjoy it, it just might be the last 48 hours of winter fat biking. Oh and bring your studded tires if you have them, gonna be icy in spots. I didn’t do the orange loop. Our trails were so good they didn’t even need grooming. I left the orange as sort of a test to see how that snow compacted on its own. I also added a mike or so in the disc golf area. Should be fun.

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Big M Weekend Forecast

Right now we are shaping up to have great spring snow riding this weekend!

We groomed Tuesday evening and I hoping no one ruts it out between then and when temps are supposed to drop Thursday evening. We will regroom the trail Friday if need be.

Friday and Saturday look like the trail should be amazing. It is supposed to be below freezing both days so we should have amazing spring snow conditions to ride. The base is solid so there shouldn’t be any ice.

Saturday night there is a chance of snow. Hard to say how much there will be at this point. If there is a ton (more than 4″, which is doubtful) we will groom Sunday morning. Otherwise it should ride in nicely on Sunday.

Sunday is predicted to have a high of 38 so you want to ride in the morning and be off the trails before they soften up too much.

If you are lucky enough to have Presidents Day off on Monday it should be good riding in the morning. It is currently supposed to be below freezing Sunday night so things should firm up nicely for riding Monday morning.

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Big M Groomed Tuesday Night

The little loop and outer loop were groomed Tuesday evening.

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Ludington School Forest Trails 2-13-18

Trails are awesome. I think we’ll be fine through this little thaw Wed and Thurs, just might not be able to ride in the late afternoons. Thursday afternoon might be sketchy, just go with 2-3 PSI to start and if you’re leaving a rut retreat. Weekend should be good until Sunday.

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Ludington school forest Sunday, February 11, 2018

First full run with new track sled. Trails closed now. But should be good Monday after work.

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Ludington School Forest ~ February 9, 2018

At lunch yesterday I threw a frame around an ice fishing sled we had as a groomer a while back, it’s been in my garage as we’ve not had a winter like this since we started grooming operations. The idea was to haul a rider around behind our Rokon when we can’t pull our big roller groomer, but need something more than a truck tire can offer. They could then berm some corners and fix some off camber sections that are just a slippery slope at this point in the season. We got about 100 feet down the trail and realized a full grown human was too much drag. So we threw in a couple of bricks and then I threw in a tire that we used at one point, basically grabbing things to throw in the sled until I couldn’t pull it. It worked pretty well, the coolest part, see the video in the comments below, are the wings that are custom tensionable hinges. Those work great. And note to self, if you install a bottle opener on your groomer, thinking you’re cool, put it on the INSIDE of the handlebars…

In any case, the SFT and disc golf were groomed last night, we got an inch of that crappy loose granular snow last night which shouldn’t do much to that groom. Should be good this weekend.

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UPDATED – Big M Weekend Forecast

The little loop is decent but the foot of snow we got last weekend does not pack very well and the outer loop is soft. Uphills are currently almost impossible unless you are only running 1-2 psi.

We are planning to groom again late Friday afternoon going into the evening. That should help but it likely will be soft still this weekend. 4.5″ or bigger and low pressures recommended.

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Big M groomed Tuesday

The outer and little loops were both groomed last night. Seems like the trail is finally setting up really well. There was less than an inch of very light fluffy snow overnight but that should not degrade things much if at all. We are setting up for an amazing weekend of riding!

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Ludington school forest February 5, 2018

It is amazing what just pulling a truck tire around trails with a solid base can do. I was the first one around so, the first pass was soft but very rideable. When I went back over my tracks for the second time it was 100% better so the trails are great they just need some traffic. And I came up with a harebrained idea for a different type of groomer which Mike Reilly and I are going to build this week and we’re going to try it

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Ludington school forest Sunday, February 4, 2018

Brutal grooming session tonight, all I could pull, after getting stuck twice with groomer in the first 100 yards, was the truck tire. So I got around the trails with that, moving the snow off. Hopefully that will set up and I can get around it with the drag tomorrow at lunch. Three seasons with Rokon and I’d never tipped it over. Twice tonight. Almost had to call for backup the second time but finally got it.

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Big M Sunday update

The outer loop and little loop are both groomed but there was 8+” overnight so things are soft. Going to try to groom tomorrow and get some better compaction.

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Ludington School Forest, Sunday, February 4, 2018

It’s kind of killing me not to groom the Ludington School Forest this morning but the snow is really grainy and it would not set up by the time people would probably start riding it. So, dust off your XC skis for the day and I’ll groom tonight during Super Bowl. Then we should be good to go for the week.

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Big M Weekend Forecast

The trail held up well through the different thaws over the last few weeks and as of last Sunday afternoon we still had about 99% snow coverage with a couple bare spots and some patches of grey ice. As of last night (Thursday), there was about 2″ of fresh snow on the trail. More snow is supposed to fall during the day Friday and we plan to groom the outer loop Friday evening. The little loop will likely be groomed Saturday morning.

It is supposed to snow 1-3″ during the day on Saturday. My guess is that the trail will stay ridden in and should be great riding. Depending on how much snow we get Saturday and how well it rides in we may groom Sunday morning. Either way, Sunday should be another day of great riding.

Expect trail conditions this weekend to be more towards the mid-winter end of the snow spectrum instead of the super fast and grippy spring snow we have had for the last few weeks.

Just a quick note: The crust riding has been superb. You basically can ride anywhere. Because of that you could ride other trails in addition to the groomed trails. There is a small window of opportunity to do this before we get so much new snow that it shuts down NCT and other trails.

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Ludington School Forest January 28, 2018

I went over the Ludington school forest trails with a variety of grooming apparati. When it freezes tonight it should be pretty good there are several spots that are glare ice, so studded tires, if you have them, would be a really good idea but you can probably ride around and dirt most of the icy spots. The trails will probably be open with the exception of Wednesday afternoon it’s supposed to warm up but we’re also supposed to get some snow after that it looks really good as far as being cold with occasional bouts of snowfall.

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Big M weekend forecast

Great primer on fat tire etiquette.

Starting mid day Friday through Saturday evening the forecast indicates the snow will be above freezing and very soft. Please do not ride during that window of time.

Sunday is looking like it should be superb with temperatures below freezing. As of last night (Wednesday night) the trails were 99.9% snow with some very small and very infrequent ice patches; studs are not needed. I anticipate that the trails will hold up very well over the next two days and should not change much between now and Sunday.

The trail is in great shape right now so I strongly encouraged people to get out and enjoy the great spring snow we have when the temps are below freezing!

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Tuesday 1/23 Big M Groomed

The little loop and big loop were groomed. Firetower loop was not groomed. 100% snow coverage and no ice! Riding should be great tomorrow. Snow pack should easily make it through this next warm patch. Sunday morning is looking awesome right now based on forecast. Saturday is iffy at best right now.

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