MONTPELIER, Vt. — The snowmobile season across northern New England is finally kicking into gear thanks to last week’s snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow in parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Cindy Locke of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, the organization that oversees snowmobiling in the state, said snowmobilers had been waiting for enough snow to open most of the trails after the season opened in mid-December. Before the storm, riding in Vermont was limited.
“For the most part, everybody was patient because they know there’s really nothing we can do because we’re just driven by Mother Nature,” Locke said Friday. Her organization oversees about 4,700 miles of trails and has about 20,000 members.
Snowmobiling pumps tens of millions of dollars into the economies of the three states as residents and visitors spend money on equipment, lodging and other activities while they ride the trails.
Some years the snow will come early and then it will melt during a period of warm weather. Now, even though it’s mid-January, riding are being warned to be careful because there still isn’t that much snow.
“A lot of people are out [snowmobiling] and we’re thankful we just got the big storm we did and we hope for more,” she said.
In Maine, businesses that cater to snowmobilers have reported a brisk business in the far northern part of the state. But there was only a light covering of snow in some other parts of the state.
In Rangeley, there was enough snow Saturday for snowmobile racing, a snowmobile parade and fireworks for the annual “Snodeo” weekend.
Dan Gould, executive director of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association, said there haven’t been many snowstorms this season, but the most recent one covered a large part of the state.
He said out-of-state tourists have been calling for weeks asking if there’s enough snow. He was driving back to his office in Tilton from northern New Hampshire earlier this week and said he saw lots of trailers carrying snowmobiles heading north.
“It was every quarter or mile or so, one after another,” he said.