updated on: April 25, 2016
ATVing in the Winter?
Grooming Trails for Colder Temps in Nation Valley, North Dundas
This Eastern Ontario community takes its winter ATVing seriously! Here's how they prep the trails to keep them going all winter long.
Located just south of Ottawa, the Nation Valley ATV Club is an incorporated body that represents the interests of ATV enthusiasts in District 1 of Eastern Ontario, with trails in North Dundas. Offering over 100 km of mixed trails, the club is a welcome place for ATVers of all experience levels. Traversing thick wooded fence rows, new-growth forests, creek-side and along farmland, the trails are varied and spectacular.
With the cooler temperatures creeping up on us, it means a special time for the ATV clubs across the province of Ontario. While many people are putting their ATVs away for the winter and getting the moth balls off of their snowmobiles, clubs in Ontario are preparing their trails and ATVs for winter grooming and riding.
A slightly different dynamic than the wider, straighter snowmobile trails, ATV trails are generally 6-10 feet wide, in twisty dense bush, where large groomers cannot fit. The ATV trails are groomed with Arctic Cat 700 cc. TBX ATVs (equipped with tracks), towing grooming drags. This is a heavy burden on the ATVs, so they go for their winter maintenance to ensure that they're in top-notch condition, and the tracks are installed. The drags are gone over to ensure that they are ready for action, that winches are working, no welds are bent or damaged.
Volunteers hit the trails to fix any last-minute hazards that will soon be hidden by a blanket of snow (stumps, debris, and overhanging branches). Volunteers look at the trails in a whole new light, as the grooming is done by ATVs with tracks on them. The tracks raise the ATV by about 12”; plus, being on packed-down snow, you are raised even further. Overhanging branches must be looked at with more scrutiny as to where they will be when the snow hits, as they will be lower as well when laden with snow and ice. Loose and missing boards are repaired on bridges, so groomers do not catch on them.
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in ensuring the trails are groomed and in fabulous condition through the winter months, but as anyone who has ridden any of Ontario's plentiful ATV trails in the wintertime can attest, it's worth it.