There is an enormous amount of work that our volunteers and crew do during the summer months that our winter users never get to see. Underneath all that beautiful snow are trails that need to be maintained and improved to allow our groomers to lay down the perfect skate lanes, classic ski tracks, and flowy fat tire biking trails in the winter.
Here is a map with a ton of information on it. It represents our entire ski trail system and highlights areas we have identified as areas for improvement. The bright blue areas are portions of the system we were able to make improvements on his summer.
This map serves as a planning and budgeting tool as we lay out our building schedule each summer. As you can see, there is no lack of things we plan to accomplish. It all just comes down to prioritizing. We combine user feedback, accounting for which projects would make the biggest impact for the most users, and of course which projects we can afford to do each year.
This year we focused on filling and leveling portions of our ski trails as well as continuing the seemingly endless task of removing protruding rocks from our trails. With the assistance of some rented heavy machinery and 248 tons of gravel we had trucked in, we were able to make a huge dent in some of the worst areas of our trail system.
You may be wondering, why does level ground matter if snow is just covering up anyway?
The primary reason is that it allows us to produce high quality skiing, with less snow. Flat and level terrain means relatively minimal snowfall early in the season is able to be packed down to establish our base. A solid base is necessary to allow for quality grooming once more snow starts to fall.
It may sound crazy, but an arrant rock sticking out just an inch or two above the snow can derail our grooming efforts. Same can be said for ground that has ruts in it, roads that are too crowned, or trails that have small pockets of low ground. Any major variations in the trail conditions mean that more snow needs to accumulate before a level base can be established.
Efforts to widen and level our existing ski trails also improves the quality for our skiers. By providing a more even and consistent surface, pole plants are more reliable and effective.
As you can see from our project map above, we have several more areas identified for improvement next summer. If you are interested in volunteering to help with ski trail projects, or are able to donate money to help with equipment rental and material costs, we would really appreciate it.
What does this all really mean for our users? All this unseen work results in our ability to open our trails earlier in the season, and keep them open later. It also means that we are capable of providing a high quality trail experience even if snow amounts are lower than normal throughout the season. The result, more opportunities for you to get outside and participate in the sport so many of you love.
Improvements to the Main Trailhead
One other major improvement to our ski trail system starts right from the main trailhead. In the past, we routed you around our pump track when heading north onto the trail system (clockwise). While it worked, it did lead to potential conflicts with fat tire bikers coming off Send It. It also led to confusion for some or our newer users.
This year, we built a new entryway onto the trail system that eliminates the need to navigate around the pump track. Another huge benefit is it gets you off to a fun and rolling start right from the start. We think you’re really going to enjoy it.
Winter Fat Tire Biking Improvements
If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you’ve seen images of the improvements we made on our mountain bike trails this summer. These improvements were made not only for the benefit of our summer users, but also for the winter.
Through improving the flow of our trails, and rerouting them in certain areas, it will allow us to have more miles of fat tire biking this winter than we have ever had before. We plan to groom 9 miles of fat tire biking! That is 2 more miles than last winter, and as you can see on our 2021/22 Fat Tire Biking Map, the system should look very familiar.
You may remember that in previous years we had “orange” and “blue” routes for our fat tire biking trails. This year, we are able to follow the same routes as you would in the summer. This will lead to improved navigation and increased options for our riders. As an example, you can now take our newly built Earn It trail up to the newly built Main Hub and you will have 5 downhill options to choose from: Send It, Twins, Roller Creek, WinMan One and Bridge.
Wait, did you say Bridge Trail? That’s right! Bridge Trail is returning to its original glory as a downhill trail starting this winter. Next summer we will be reworking the entire trail from top to bottom with new and improved berms and even more features to make this trail truly live up to its name. Interested in donating time or money to bring these features to life? Just click the buttons below to sign-up to be a volunteer or to donate to WinMan Trails.
Need a Rental Bike?
If you have been on the fence about trying fat biking at WinMan, this is the year. Need to rent a fat bike? Contact our partners over at River’s Edge and they can get you set-up with a rental. Chris and his team will even deliver and pick up your rental right from WinMan Trails. That means all you have to think about is which trails you’re going to ride this winter!
More Snowshoeing Options!
One could argue that the best winter activity at WinMan Trails is snowshoeing.
Our groomed, double wide trails allow you to walk side-by-side with family and friends. The groomed surface also makes it easier for dogs to come along on your adventure.
We also offer backcountry trails which allow for a more “traditional” snowshoe experience. These trails really allow you to embrace the beauty and serenity of the Northwoods.
In an effort to continue to expand options for our users, we have added Gene Machine to our backcountry snowshoeing system. We are excited to add this terrain, and this beautiful portion of forest, to our 2021/2022 Snowshoe trail system.
We Hope to See You This Winter
If you have never visited WinMan Trails during the winter, we invite you to do so. Whatever activity you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the stunning views of the maple, pine, and aspen forests. Rather just sit and relax while your family plays? Our heated chalet with wood burning fireplace is open daily from 7 AM – 9 PM.
Who’s ready for the snow to start to falling?