Over 12 inches of fresh snow made for an incredibly beautiful day on the trails in Washburn and Burnett Counties / Contributed photo
DNR Secretary, Cathy Stepp speaking via Facetime. / Contributed photo
A group of approximately 70 people, from all over the state, snowmobiled into Trego on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 for the First Annual Celebrate Wisconsin Snowmobiling VIP Ride presented by the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs. / Contributed photo
TREGO — Last week’s snowfall in Northwest Wisconsin was an inconvenience for most folks, but not for these outdoor enthusiasts.
A group of approximately 70 people, from all over the state, snowmobiled into Trego on Friday for the First Annual Celebrate Wisconsin Snowmobiling VIP Ride presented by the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs. Representatives from numerous clubs, business owners, Washburn and Burnett County Tourism, staff from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and Department of Natural Resources, and even Senator and Mrs. Dale Schultz, were among those who participated in the inaugural ride.
With over a foot of new snow on the freshly groomed trails, the ride which originated from Heartwood Conference Center & Retreat in Trego, included a stopover at Rosenthal’s Resort near Webb Lake, and returned to Heartwood, provided riders with a breathtaking view of the region.
Local snowmobile clubs maintain the trail system and were on hand to lead the groups on the ride and show them the beauty of the snowmobile trail system in Northwest Wisconsin. Snowmobiles were provided by Hayward Power Sports, The Main Store, and Runamuk Rides. Additional sponsors included AWSC, Washburn County Tourism, Burnett County Tourism, Heartwood Conference Center & Retreat, Wild River Sport & Marine, and Four Star Sports.
The event was organized to promote and highlight the importance that this sport has to local economies all across the state. Snowmobiling has become one of Wisconsin’s leading outdoor activities, contributing an estimated over $1 billion annually in tourism and retail revenue to state coffers. Volunteers throughout Wisconsin maintain more miles (25,000) of trail than any other state or province in North America.
The event kicked off Thursday night with a sport show which included booths from the DNR, Dept. of Tourism, local tourism destinations, resorts, and snowmobile dealers. Even with the snow falling heavily, the Fontaine race team and even a vintage snowmobile made it out for the show. You could just about feel the snowmobilers’ excitement in the air as they looked outside to see snow piling up everywhere.
AWSC President, Doug Johnson welcomed the crowd to Heartwood Conference Center & Retreat on Friday morning for the banquet. While the snow cancelled DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp’s plans to attend the event, technology saved the day and Secretary Stepp was able to welcome everyone via live stream on the big screen. Drew Nussbaum, Northwest Wisconsin Tourism Specialist with the Dept. of Tourism and Gary Eddy, Head Warden with the DNR also spoke at the event.
So, how much snow does it take to keep snowmobilers from having a great time? Obviously more than a foot! The event is scheduled again for February 2015 with the location rotating around the state to showcase trails throughout the state.