Snowmobiling, snow sledding in Maine, where you get lots of varied riding on plenty of well marked groomed trails.
The trail maps change as new routes to explore open up the winter adventure. Maine is five times bigger than the other New England states. Parked on the Canadian border with the New Brunswick and Quebec provinces so so handy. That location factor does not hurt either for the two nation snow sledding vacation option.
(You have to join a Canadian snowmobiling club. Or get a special Provincial pass to squeeze the throttle. To go over hill and dale on Canadian snow sledding trails eh?)
Snowmobiling in Maine.
The further north, east and well up into Maine, the more friendly and less crowded the snow sled trails. Scenery increases, the cost for your winter wonderland trip on your own snow machine or the one you rent goes way down too. Snowmobiling in Maine is a big industry. This blog post on snow sledding, snowmobiling in Maine serves as a guide to plan your winter trip into Maine wearing mittens or gloves and those felt lined toasty snow puffy boots.
Maine can boast what not many places can… snow flakes starting as early as October and lasting well into April.
Over 280 snow sledding clubs and right around 14,000 miles of trails for your snowmobile get you places to forget it with a car. There is nothing like being on a bluff scenic turnout to stare and detach from your daily grind. Gawking, silently taking in the snow capped scenery of Mt Katahdin, a frozen lake like Moosehead or East Grand.
You can get your sea legs if new to trail riding by renting a Northern Outdoors snowmobiles in The Forks, Maine.
Birch Point Campground snowmobile sled rentals at Pleasant Lake in Northern Maine provides machines by the hour too Here’s a helpful list of all the snowmobile rentals in Maine options to pick from with super trails to go with them.
The local snow sled clubs has updated trail maps and tips of where to ride to get the most our of your
visit to their special corner of Maine. Here’s the state of Maine snowmobile trail maps link to know before you ride. Another snow sledding resource to check out… more snowmobile trail maps in Maine to study. Regional and local snowmobiling trail maps for 2019 / 2020 ITS sled riding.
Forget your sunscreen, zip up and add a neck warmer or scarf snowmobiling.
And instead of watermelon it’s lobster chowder and baked beans, red hot dogs, potato salad, brown bread to cure the sledding trail hunger. Being outdoors all day and into the night riding on your snow sled with your family and friends works up a hearty appetite from all that fresh crisp clean air and white, blue, green and brown scenery.
Over 2100 Maine businesses support snowmobiling in one way or another. MOOERS REALTY is proud to be one on the list. Looking for snowmobiling lodging in Maine on the sled trails? I’m a sponsor of the Maine snowmobile association and local sled clubs each year too. More on snowmobile dining in Maine choices when you could eat a horse hungry.
The Maine tourism people claim snowmobiling pumps upwards for 350 million dollars into the local economy each winter.
Sales of snow machines and fuel, payments, insurance, repair of the trail groomers is big business. The lodging, entertainment, sales and service surrounding the sport of snow sledding in Maine happens during a traditionally slower time in Vacationland’s tourism.
That’s why everyone is an ambassador that should be here to roll out the red carpet.
For winter options along with down hill, cross country skiing, ice fishing, hockey. For the fun that traditional cruise ship tourists or summer vacation travelers flock to Maine to enjoy.
What’s that, I hear whispering. Something hush hush about freezing a part of your anatomy off in Maine perched on a snow sled heading down a well marked trail? If you are cold, you are not dressed right.
Don’t think Maine sandals and LL Bean short sleeve hiking garb.
Snowmobiling, snow sledding in Maine to explore in the winter months. It’s not the time to squeeze into biking shorts with the padded butt. Slip on the bib ski pants, the Gor-tex snow sledding coat instead. Thick comfy wool or thin silk stockings that don’t bunch up.. just like down hill and cross country skiers tug on. That ice fisherman dress their feet in when crunching the snow around the shanty on the frozen thick sheet of lake water.
Insulated gloves with liners help but remember snowmobile machines have advanced considerably.
Since the days of the 7 horsepower Polaris, 8 horsepower Ski-Doo or 12.7 horsepower Sno-Jet
snowmobile. I lived outdoors to snow sled the country setting like all my cousins and friends growing up in Maine. One uncle sold Sno-jets sleds, another brother of my Mom’s peddled Polaris and Evinrude snowmobiles.
Unlike today where it is slim pickings for brands of snow sleds, the take your selection from lots of models but only so many makers like Arctic Cat, Polaris, Skidoo and Yamaha.
Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s there were fifty flavors of snowmobiles in Maine.
You used your hand to wipe off helmet shield fog or ice not plugged it in for defrost. Those early snowmobiles took patience to enjoy. Many too heavy, no trails to ride on and sank out of sight out in bottomless powder light snow conditions. Those were the tinker for two hours and ride for one days. Where a kid really learned about mechanics.
The no maps for sled trails and what was out there not so well established for serious snowmobiliers.
You rode standing up, kneeling on one knee and leaning into corners. Because ski stance was narrow like the tracks riding on bogey wheels not slide suspension. To smooth out the bumpy not so well groomed sled trails without nitrogen shocks or sophisticated suspensions.
Gauges for speed, to monitor temperatures or fuel consumption or your mileage, what is going on with the power plant all missing in the earlier snow sleds. No cool red or blue LED lighted dash pods.
No tether for a kill button response when the driver left the machine. Batteries, for accessory power ports or to start the two or four cycle machines. Pull the rope unless it stopped retracting from the cold or plain wore out. None of those needed today. It was jets, not fuel injection and you played around with the sizes depending on the temperatures in the earlier days of snowmobiling in Maine..
Make sure your scarf did not get caught in the snow machine’s clutch.
Everything out in the open in your lap without covers or a bunch of plastic shielding. Get too close to the carburetor and everything stops choked for air. Snowmobile modifications were a short list. Use airplane octane fuel and that little red bottle of activator. Switch over to a straight pipe, hotter plug, bigger carb and thin down that head gasket. The blat of a tuned exhaust pipe came later along with changing your helix and other hush hush top secret modifications. To not void your warranty and because you just wanted the advantage lake racing your ice rocket.
I bought a Polaris Storm back in 1993 from County Sports in Caribou, ME.
Lucky to find one of the limited snow checked machines a guy in Alaska threw back in the sled pools. How it was set up I never knew because the mechanic just smiles. Said nothing.
But the Maine snow sled dealer was very keen to learn how the three cylinder 750 cc motor was running up against the other snow sleds in the pack. In the back and forth on Hay Lake near the north entrance to Baxter State Park over in the Shin Pond area of snowmobiling.
Widen those snowmobile skis so you can sit for a spell on the trail and steer without the up on pretty much one knee as your cruised.
Tinkering with the clutch weights and springs could help top end speed or low end power which ever you are after. Lake racing or trail riding ahead to prepare for in the work shop every early snowmobilers spent a lot of time in. Maybe we should play around with a different size sprocket with more or less teeth to the jack shaft before the Friday night ride Jim? How to go faster, keep the sled running longer.
Metal gas tanks rusted and clogged the fuel line on my blue Sno Jet.
Early snowmobiles did not have plastic fuel tanks which made more sense a million miles from help in the Great North woods when your snow sled engine died. This was before cell phones and if you broke down, better hope you were not alone on the trail. That Mr Goodwrench had a tow strap to haul your carcass back to a road crossing on the trail where you could load up the sick snow sled.
New devices like LED driving and tail lights, cat scratchers to create some crushed ice to lubricate the slides and track picks, carbide ski skags.
And electric thumb warmers, handlebars too not an option on the build sheets when they unpacked the crates down at the early Maine snowmobile sled dealers. No hot water radiation under your feet warming the pigs. Beneath the running boards or traveling in lines below the seat tunnel either.
Snowmobiling, snow sledding in Maine.
These early snowmobiles were small horsepower air cooled engines from Sachs, Rotax, Hirth, JLO. And you did not venture out so far from a bigger tool box than the plug wrench and two screwdrivers. That was pretty all she wrote from the factory. Besides extra spark plugs and dry gas you added to go with the universal one size fits all wrench in the rear seat compartment plastic pouch.
Sometimes round and round the field behind your Maine home towing a flying saucer was the majority of your riding.
Close to where you lived because break downs are easier to handle on your own back forty acres of
Maine land when you need to call for help. Or hauled out to a snow sled ice fishing shack to just run company and supplies back and forth from the Maine lake landing where you parked the pick up. The snowmobile on the back of a pick up truck, no elaborate covered three door trailers with ramps to venture further for longer snow sled trail jaunts.
I remember local sled heads like Gerald Holmes, Gerald Dickinson going above and beyond in their snowmobiling trail riding.
Long planned out trips to the Gaspe Penisula in Quebec. Hearing about the breakdowns along the way from Maine across the border into Canada after everyone returned to their home base. How the trip unexpected surprises were handled one by one down at the corner grocery morning stops during grapevine coffee refueling.
Many folks with Maine snow sleds putter to the local trail side diners and back home. Small loops. Bigger circles when it’s the weekend. I remember a time when every Thursday night about twenty snow sledders would zing from ITS 83 due west to hit RT 11, in the Oxbow area and back. Logging operations always something to be eagle eyed about sledding. It’s slip and slide ice ice baby when the track you ride on is missing picks.
Keep the group together safe and just sit back at refreshment rest stops. Watching with amusement the two or three in the group vying for the trail master pin.
For bragging rights who is the Christopher Columbus most qualified to lead the sled pack. Debating who knows best as the boss of which trail to take ahead for the memorable winter sled ride. Just make sure when you stop and hit the kill switch. Not to park in the center of the trail to avoid being hit.
Pull over… way over but stay out of the pucker brush snow sled trail side ravine.
Those cavities of bottomless pits not so easy to just reach down. To get a hernia or suffer a heart attack. Pulling on a front ski loop or back bumper bar for all you’re worth. To pluck a 500 plus pound bulky snowmobile up and out once it slides to the bottom.
Have a couple riders who if the truth be known would rather be working on rather than riding the snow machine. Those guys can rush in to help when a sled dies for a mysterious reason to bring it back to life to get you home.
Snowmobiling in Maine. Trips to Rangley, Greenville, Dover Foxcroft or down around Washington County’s Downeast region.
Or maybe heading due north to the St John River Valley around Fort Kent, Van Buren and Madawaska Maine. Have done that last Northern Maine snowmobile trail ride a bunch of times. The trails around Madawaska are two individual lanes for less accidents but more work for the local club grooming and marking the divided snow highway lanes through the woods and fields.
When you saddle up and head out on a snow sledding trip in Maine it truly is like being inside a shook up snow globe adventure.
New fresh snow blazing a trail for others with crystal dust all around you like a dust storm. Or puttering along a groomed balsam fragrant trail by a Maine river or lake shore with a puff of snow released from an overhead loaded fir branch. The landscape around you explodes in snow and it sure beats hibernating on a couch watching the boob tube.
There is nothing like the silence in the Maine winter woods. Then you hear it above the wind vibrating the pine needles.
Shutting off the motors by a nearby waterfalls where everyone trudges over to snap a go pro image or cell phone photo with the group. Stumbling onto a couple deer, the kind that can’t fly or pull a present loaded sleigh. Moose, rabbits, wildlife tracks of all kinds spotted in every direction.
The fox or coyotes that cross your route on the way to refuel. The next pit stop for gas, a snack or real meal and to make a nature call. To connect with the people back home to let them know everything is going smooth and all is well.
If you are not part of a Maine snowmobile club, you have no idea of how much work and the amount of money poured into the local sled trail system.
New better bridges, clearing back brush on trails and getting grants for new routes. Working with land owners for the privilege not right to ride their personal properties is huge to expand the snowmobiling network of trails on the map this season. To enjoy a Maine winter wherever your snow machine takes you through the woods, across a field, a frozen Maine lake or river. Be safe, watch for black thin ice and don’t speed. You miss the beauty of Maine snowmobiling if everything is a blur side to side racing too fast.
I have a snowmobile marked trail smack dab on the map across a Maine family farm.
The trail groomer keeps it smooth and fun and local club members put up the markers in late fall. Been asked over and over, lots of times why do you allow total strangers on snowmobiles to criss cross your Maine farm land?
I am a sled head too and without other cooperation for snowmobiling trail use across private land owners, we all suffer.
It would get pretty darn boring just going round and round on your own patch of Maine real estate. With over 14,500 of snow sled trails on the ITS map to pick from, it is like being in a winter Disney land without all the people. In rural Maine is it not a small course that gets way over used.
You can snow sled a lifetime in Maine and never hit all the trails because Vacationland is so vast.
But tread lightly, stay on the trail and join a local Maine snowmobile club to help support the winter recreation fun. Snowmobiling, snow sledding in Maine, grab a trail map and plan the winter vacation for outdoor fun.