We have been working hard both on the trails and behind the scenes to make this the best winter season in the 9 year history of WinMan Trails. Let’s take a moment to recap what we’ve accomplished and deliver some news about a few projects we’re putting the final touches on.
NEW 1.6k Beginner Ski Loop
At the heart of what we do is provide amazing trails so everyone can get outside, connect with nature, and create your own unique adventure along the way.
We’ve had requests from first timers, to competitive skiers, to build a short trail closer to the chalet that everyone can use. Allowing skiers of all abilities a place to get better, a chance to practice skills, warm-up, test their wax or cool down while waiting for friends and family to return to the chalet.
Thanks to the ideas and hard work from our Ski Committee, we were able to reconfigure our trail system to add a 1.6k Beginner Ski Loop. We are excited this trail has finally come to fruition and hope you enjoy.
NEW Backcountry Ski Trail
Did you know WinMan Trails offers backcountry skiing?
Thanks to the DNR we flagged a 1.7k trail on land just south of our Papoose Trailhead parking lot. This year, we added another 1.2k loop and installed maps and directional information on the trail. So, while you enjoy the serenity of the backcountry, you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
Don’t have backcountry skis? No problem.
Coontail located in Boulder Junction and Arbor Vitae offers Trekker Skis. With a binding that allows you to wear a normal winter boot, these skis allow you to glide smoothly through the woods even in the deepest of snow. These things are a blast and certainly worth a try if you get a chance.
BONUS: Annual members of WinMan Trails receive 10% off all rentals at Coontail
Be sure to check out our updated cross-country ski maps (groomed and backcountry) for this winter.
NEW Fat Tire Bike Trail
We were also able to add an additional trail to our winter fat biking system thanks to the work of our Bike Committee.
Front Hub Return will be groomed this winter giving you even more options when out on the trails. Combine that with what we were able to add last year, and we now have over 10 miles of fat bike trails for you to enjoy!
Don’t have a fat bike? No problem.
River’s Edge in Manitowish Waters offers fat tire bike rentals and will even deliver and pick-up the bike from WinMan – for free! If you haven’t given fat biking a chance, make this the winter you do.
BONUS: Annual members of WinMan Trails receive 10% off all rentals at River’s Edge
Check out our updated fat tire bike maps for this winter.
Huge Improvements to Our Winter Grooming Communications
It’s a little ridiculous how excited I am about our new communication strategies this year.
Let’s start with the most exciting.
We have partnered with Nordic Pulse to provide live GPS updates of our grooming operations. Their software accurately processes GPS data points sent from our groomers, marking each trail with the precise date and time that it was last groomed. This information is then broadcast directly on their website for you to view.
We are still working on the final phases of mapping and implementation but bookmark this page now so you are ready once the trails are open.
In addition to live grooming information, we will have a live video feed of the trailhead (link coming soon). This way you can see what the conditions are on the ground, 24 hours a day. Couple that with information from our weather station and you’ll know exactly what to expect before arriving at the trailhead.
If all this technology is making your head spin, know that we’ve also made improvements and helped clarify our manual reporting of trail conditions too.
First, we have moved the grooming reports board that was previously located inside the chalet, outside. This allows you to quickly and easily see which trails were groomed, and when, without needing to detour inside.
Second, we have divided up our 7k and 10k loops into “North” and “South” trails.
To be efficient, we groom trails in a region, not a specific trail itself. This year we analyzed our routine and made some tweaks to our trails to allow our groomers to follow new routes. This will allow us infinite possibilities of how to groom the trails based on the weather and other factors, while still effectively communicating to you what we have done.
Again, huge thanks to our Ski Committee who provided the feedback and insights to help make these improvements a reality. You can find all this information, including links to everything I just discussed, by visiting the trail conditions page on our website. This page will be your go to resource all season long for trail conditions and grooming reports at WinMan.
Additional Grooming Staff Thanks to Your Donations
In addition to improved groomed communications, your donations in 2022 allowed us to add an additional part-time member to our grooming team.
A professional trail builder for over 10 years, Jeremy was added to the staff this Fall. He helped us finish a few projects, one of which your will get to ride this Spring. In addition to his diverse skill set as a trail builder, he is a mechanic and machine operator. We are incredibly happy that our budget allows him to stay on through the winter months.
His addition to our winter crew will allow us more capacity in our grooming (like when it dumps 10 inches and we need all hands on deck). He’ll give us more flexibility in our grooming schedule. Taking the burden of grooming 22k of ski trails and 10 miles of fat bike trails off the shoulders of just Joel and Brad. Finally, he’ll be another hand in the shop when the inevitable mechanical repair needs to be done to keep our machines running all winter long.
New Ski Policy: Give Ski Trails 1-Hour to Set-Up After Groomers Finish
Did you know that ski trails need 1-2 hours to set-up after they are groomed? Not to get too deep into the physics of grooming, but let’s just say there are a ton of variables that go into the results we are able to deliver.
However, one variable that can be controlled is how soon a user skis on a trail after it is freshly groomed.
While fresh corduroy make look beautiful, it is relatively soft immediately after it is groomed. Giving the snow a period of time to set-up allows for firmer conditions, reduces damage to trails, and provides an improved experience for everyone.
With our updated grooming reporting, including live GPS tracking of where our groomers are, you can know where they are, and when they finished a section of trail. We ask that you please wait at least an hour (preferably two) before skiing freshly groomed trails.
Are the trails being groomed but you want to squeeze in some exercise before work? We recommend hitting up the snowshoe or the fat bike trails. Those will continue to remain open, 24 hours a day.
New Amenities at WinMan for the Whole Family
We’ve made some great additions both on the trails and at the trailhead to improve your experience at WinMan.
Thanks to the help of about a dozen volunteers and our Ski Committee, we constructed a warming shelter which is now located at Post J on the ski trails. Inside is a table and benches (thanks for the idea Cheryl). Outside we have a wood box (stocked with everything needed to start a fire) and a Breeo fire pit. Make plans to take a pit stop this winter and enjoy lunch with friends, or make some new ones.
We’ve added LED lights to WinMan Park which will automatically turn on every night at sunset. With a fire pit and wood box (noticing a theme), benches, and tables for you to use ,we hope to see this area in full use every afternoon.
While you get the fire going (and maybe cracking open a drink from the WinMan Bar) your kids can spend the afternoon sledding to their heart’s content. The redesigned sledding hill will offer plenty of thrills and excitement for kids of all ages to enjoy 🙂
Improved Signage Makes Navigation More Intuitive
If you had a chance to visit us this summer, you experienced our updated signage first hand. The same concept continues this winter.
Our updated trail signage is larger and more clear. We also tweaked the positioning of about 1/2 our posts to give you better visibility as you enter an intersection. Along with improvements to our map, and larger 11×17 maps posted on the trails, navigation at WinMan should be easier than ever before.
Final Preparations Underway
- The log splitter has been working overtime the last few weeks.
- The staff has the Gator tracks off the shelf and are servicing them this week.
- Final brushing of ski and snowshoe trails is scheduled for next week.
- Maps and kiosk signage are being produced as I type this.
As we finalize our preparations, we hope you all are preparing for an amazing winter at WinMan Trails.
All that’s left is to Come Out and Get Better!
See you soon.