There's no doubt that this winter has been one of the best in recent memory; plenty of snow, some deep cold and early season trail openings (the Sault Trailblazers had a complete loop open December 4th) there's plenty of reasons to expect that not only will we be sledding well into April, but that March riding might just be the best time of year to get out. Will I be right about another late season?, I did call it back in September giving you plenty of warning (read about it here in my Winter 2014-2015 Forecast from September 2014) ... then read on for ten reasons why you should get out right now (or watch the video to get yourself psyched for what's left of this WINTER!)
10 - That March Sun
Average temperatures around the province start to rise in March, making the -20 and -30 temps we saw in Feb look like a distant memories. We expect to see temps between -10 and -5 for the rest of the month (with a few cold blasts in the earlier weeks) Maybe we will even get a march #blizzard.
9 - The Days are Now Longer
With spring right around the corner, days are officially getting longer, which means that your day of sledding no longer needs to end at 4 or 5pm - you can keep riding at least another hour. Late March and even April provide some of the best and longest riding opportunities in the northern parts of Ontario.
8 - The Trails Have a Great Base
Our pal Luc Levesque AKA The Groomer Guy said it best on the What a Ride Blog: It's all About That Base. "When you ride those pristine trails in the winter you don’t see what’s under that trail base, you would be very surprised to see what you are riding on. There are areas that you see in the summer where the terrain is so bad you couldn’t even take an ATV or a big tracked machine over them." Just because the roads are now bare doesn't mean the trails are, and although some trails will close many will remain in pristine condition. The layers of packed snow from each groomer pass has created a solid base for you to ride on.
7 - There's Less Traffic on the Trails
It’s been a great winter as of now yet for many of us March Break will our last last ride, it doesn't have to be this way you know... just take a look at the long term forecasting and we can tell you the opposite is true. If I was right like last year we're in for more winter; need proof check out the ice on the great lakes! Because so many of us pack in early there's generally less traffic on the trails. If you like a quiet trail, now's the time to get out there.
6 - Northern Ontario Trails are in Great Condition Well Into April
While the southern sections of the OFSC network typically start closing in March, Northern Ontario has trails systems open well into April, thanks to the base and the weather generally being colder, longer. In March and April its common to ride in plus Celsius conditions during the day, this is the perfect time to spend with younger family members, or introduce new prospects to the sport. With the warm spring sun and optimal trail conditions, this composition can create an incredibly pleasant experience. The spring sun eliminates snow dust and rarely do visors fog up, which can sometimes frustrate new riders. Track late season snow here!
5 - March Break Means Time for a Longer Trip
March break is one of the few times of year when many people get extended time away - so why wouldn't you take advantage of it and plan a longer trip, like the RAP tour, where you can expect 4 full days of riding. Or go further north like Shelby Mahon did earlier this winter - even though there's some trailering involved, it's more than worth it.
4 - You Need Another Good Excuse to Get Away for the Weekend
Unless you're an ATVer, you're probably gonna be spending a lot of time at home once that snow melts, so take advantage of the snow while it lasts! For the experienced and acclimatized ridership, late season snowmobiling offers a variation from the normal. From December to January, the daylight hours were short, with the sun rising around 8 am and setting just close to 5 pm. By late March, the equinox delivers over twelve hours of ‘day’, creating the opportunity for epic rides that would, earlier in the season, result in departing at dawn and returning back to your hotel in the dark.
3 - It's taken you three Months to Work All The Bugs Out of Your Sled and She's Finally Ready
Let's face it - dialing in all the optimum setting on suspension, timing and getting all your gear the way you like it takes a lot of time and patience; about three months. So by now, everything should be ship shape and ready for the best ride of your life!
2 - You've Only Been Able to Do 2 of the 8 Provincial Loops This Year
You've probably only crossed off two of the eight official provincial loops this year. It's time to get them all done. Call the boss and tell him you won't be in! Now is the perfect time to book a 3 or 4 day weekend adventure in Northern Ontario. While areas in the south of Ontario are losing trail connections due to melting fields, lakes and roadways, the trails in the north are in superb condition. The powder is still in abundance and even though all signs point that spring is around the corner, it’s amazing the difference a few hours north on the highway can make!
1- December 2015 is a long hot way away!
As you cut the grass this summer in the sticky humidity do you really want to be thinking about how you passed up on that one last sledding adventure? I'd rather be thinking about that awesome ride to one of these trail side destinations. Get out and ride!