Vilas County opens nearly all snowmobile trails Submitted: 12/15/2017
EAGLE RIVER - The Vilas County snowmobile trails officially opened Friday at 5 p.m. But, the start of the snowmobile season isn't just exciting for those who plan to go out riding.

"We're ready for an opening today," said Brian Scheid, the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club Trail Master.

There was only a little left to do in the hours before Vilas County snowmobile trails officially opened Friday.

"We're just going around, opening a few more gates, checking a few more of our swamps to make sure they're safe and then we'll be good to go," said Scheid. 

The Sno-Eagles manage about 100 of the county's 600 miles of trails. 

"We're going to have great trails up here in Eagle River," said Sno-Eagles President Howard Wolf.
The start of the season isn't just exciting to snowmobile enthusiasts.

"Opening day is great for the businesses here," said Trackside Salesman Ryan Spitz.

Trackside, which sells and rents snowmobiles in Eagle River, says sales have already started to pick up.
"It brings a lot of people in, very excited to get in gear and ready for the season," said Spitz. 

Leif's Cafe owner Raul Torres has noticed more traffic, too. The restaurant sits right on a trail along Highway 45.

"I've seen a few trailers coming up into town already," said Torres. 

Torres says the snowfall this week was a welcome sight.

"We like to call it white gold up here," said Torres. 

The Sno Eagles say the snow did fall later than they would've liked, but it was enough to get the trails opened. 

"The trail conditions right now are very good for early riding conditions, we don't have a lot of snow we got six inches of snow, as you know, two days ago, and all the trails have been panned and packed down," said Wolf. 

Right now, there is only a couple inches of packed base on the trails.

"It's not as deep a base as we would like to see, but it'll come with some time... we'll get the snow here eventually," said Scheid. 

Eagle River business owners would like to see more snow come sooner rather than later.

"Hopefully Mother Nature will keep it coming and we can keep the trails for a nice long winter and have a good season for everybody," said Torres.

The Vilas County Parks and Recreation Department says the Phelps trails are not ready quite yet, but all other trail systems in the county are open.

The trails are in early season condition, so riders need to be careful.

Story By: Dakota Sherek

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