Midwest Rider Nov/Dec 2022

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NOV/DEC 2022

THE MIDWEST’S BEST OFF-ROAD & SNOWMOBILE ADVENTURE RESOURCE

Vol 2 No 3

OVER 100,000 RIDERS STRONG

ADVENTURE RIDING SLEDS DESIGNED TO LEAVE THE TRAIL

STAND UP SENSATION FIRST LOOK AT WIDESCAPE

CATALYST FIRST RIDE

DID IT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?

ROX GETS TACTICAL AMAZING STEALTH INSPIRED BUILD

bonus edition! 202

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Adventure North VISITKEWEENAW.COM

320 inches of snow last year!

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Nov/Dec 2022 3


NO PAPER TRAILS. JUST SCENIC ONES! Remember fun? Refresh your memory with hundreds of miles of great snowmobiling and ATVing in Superior and Douglas County, Wisconsin! Get a free trail map at TravelSuperior.org.

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Explore thousands of miles of interactive trails for snowmobiling, 4x4, SxS, ATV, and dirt bikes across the nation. Color-coded trails let you see which are open with just a glance. Tap on any trail to access details like difficulty rating, clearance level, duration, open and close dates, trail photos, and more. Your paper maps can’t do that. Nov/Dec 2022 5


CONTENTS

NOV/DEC 2022 / Vol. 2 No. 3

8 10

EDITOR NOTES

14 17

GO YOUR OWN WAY

25

MINNESOTA DESTINATIONS

50

INSIDE THE ROX BUILD

Change for the better

INDUSTRY NEWS A midwest look at industry events, must-have tools and new snow vehicles

The best sleds for on and off trail

FIRST RIDE Herfindahl reviews 2024 Arctic Cat CATALYST platform

Your guide to snowmobiling in Minnesota

Rox Speed FX builds incredibly cool custom with military stealth

From new products, to first rides, and Destinations in between, this issue of Midwest Rider explores everything powersports as we transition to the winter season. For the first time in our pages, we take an Inside Look at a complete custom snowmobile build by Rox Speed FX. This ride is stealthy, so don’t overlook it!

th

Anniversary

Photo Archives

Joel Mellenthin Paula Jones Kale Wainer Pat Bourgeois Corey Friesen Diane Voight Dwain Stadie C.J. Ramstad

ADVERTISING MSPN Phone: 952-473-7870 or 800-989-MSPN Fax: 952-473-7805 sales@mspninc.com mspnads.com

Contributions: Letters, manuscripts, stories, materials and photographs are welcome but cannot be returned unless sender provides a self-addressed stamped envelope. Midwest Rider and MSPN are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and drawings. Submission of articles and letters implies the right to edit and publish in all or part. Copyright © 2022 by MSPN. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without consent of the publisher. VOLUME 1 / NUMBER 2

6595 Edenvale Blvd Ste 180 Eden Prairie MN 55346 800-989-6776 / 952-473-7870 fax: 952-473-7805 info@mspninc.com

Publisher Associate Publisher Managing Editor Associate Editor Art Director Advertising Sales

midwestriders.com 6 Midwest Rider 2022


WYOMING SENDS IT

The Laramie area boasts some of the most consistent and fluffy powder in the American West, receiving over 300 inches of snow per year. A snowmobile is the perfect way to get acquainted with this vast playground. Explore over 200 miles of groomed trails and 120 miles of marked and ungroomed trails through the forested glens and alpine technical VISITLARAMIE.ORG · 307-745-4195 terrain of the Medicine Bow National Forest.

Nov/Dec 2022 7


change for the better You can feel it, change is in the air. While I love all the seasons, fall is likely my favorite — great weather, beautiful colors, and no bugs. Whether I’m hunting upland birds, taking one last trail ride, or getting ready for the snowmobile season, there’s always something to look forward to. When it comes to snowmobiling, one of my favorite fall activities is making a calendar of events I want to see, places I want to ride, and people I want to visit. More often than not, my completed list looks like a rinse and repeat from past seasons. Afterall, we are creatures of habit, and change is hard. But as of late, I’ve been making a concerted effort to try new things and go new places. This winter I want to take in a few events I’ve never been to before, ride a new area that’s completely foreign to me, and along the way meet new folks who have the same passion for riding as I do. Change might be hard, but it’s also the doorway to new experiences and new opportunities.

EDITOR’S NOTES

As we put the finishing touches on this issue of Midwest Rider, I realized there was plenty of change to be found within these very pages. A preview of the new standup Widescape snowmobile has the potential to change how we explore winter and could easily open the door to an entirely new generation of snowmobilers. Of course, the all-new Arctic Cat Catalyst platform is a change that Cat faithful have been wanting for quite some time and based on first ride impressions, which are found in this issue, it’s a change for the better. Also inside is our bonus edition of Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations, a full-color extra showcasing snowmobile riding areas across the state, making it easier than ever for you to try new trails this winter. So, here’s to a season of change — with new rides, new destinations, and new experiences we can’t wait to enjoy. Pat Bourgeois

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INDUSTRY NEWS

CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE IS IN STORE FOR RIDE WITH CHAMPS ATTENDEES he Snowmobile Hall of Fame (SHOF) and Museum in St. Germain, Wisconsin is poised to have one of their biggest and best induction celebrations in recent memory when the Ride with the Champs weekend hits the Northwoods this February 16-18, 2023. While this year’s class of inductees consisting of John Daniels, Tucker Hibbert, Randy Karpik, and Greg Spaulding is reason enough to attend this annual celebration, it’s the additional activities surrounding the Saturday evening induction ceremony and dinner that deliver the icing on the cake. It starts with Legends Laps at the famed ice oval track at the World Championship Derby Complex in Eagle River on Thursday where you can experience the thrill of the iconic track for yourself. Next up is a day of riding when just for fun poker runs allow you to explore the amazing trails of the area throughout the day on Friday followed by Snowmobile Hall of Fame open house. That evening you’ll want to attend the Friday Night Fish Fry where you’ll not only enjoy a classic Wisconsin feast, but also hear some amazing stories from snowmobile legends. This year’s guest

10 Midwest Rider 2022

speakers will be the Karpik brothers of Gerard, David, and Randy. You’ll even have an opportunity to ask questions during the open forum presentation. Lastly, the weekend culminates on Saturday with a day filled with activities. It starts with an early morning breakfast followed by your choice of organized trail rides or a heated bus shuttle to area attractions. At day’s end everyone will meet at the Whitetail Inn for social hour, autographs, and a silent and live auction. The day culminates with an amazing dinner and of course the induction of the 2023 class. To learn more and purchase your advanced tickets (by the way, this event will sell out), visit snowmobilehalloffame.com today.


INDUSTRY NEWS

HUBERT ROWLAND LEADS RIDE SAFE WISCONSIN EVENT hile COVID may have temporarily halted the momentum of the Ride Safe Foundation, it can’t be stopped. The non-profit organization was formed to help make personal action sports more safe and more fun, with a special focus on kids. A few years back the foundation hosted a tremendously successful event in Douglas County, Wisconsin where athletes including Hubert Rowland and Levi LaVallee spoke to more than 1,200 school age children about the importance of ATV and UTV safety. This past fall, the foundation returned to the area along with Hubert to host an organized trail ride and rekindle the momentum of Ride Safe and the important message it brings. Nearly 40 vehicles participated in the ride. The Ride Safe Foundation strives to provide more than just awareness, they also offer on-site programs and hands-on instruction. You can learn more about Ride Safe by visiting their website ridesafepowersports.org.

Nov/Dec 2022 11


INDUSTRY NEWS

BOXOUSA takes guesswork out of TOOL BAGS for off-roaders BOXOUSA.COM OXOusa line of tool bags and tool rolls are some of our new favorite must-haves. As adventure enthusiasts playing in the off-road world (snow & dirt), we’ve been piecing our tool kits together for years. BOXOusa gives you the luxury of removing any guesswork with their organized tool bags and rolls for your on-the-go projects and adventures. The bags and rolls are durable and are easy to stow making them perfect when space is limited in your ATV, UTV, OHV or snowmobile. All the tools are tailored to powersports use and are a quality professional grade backed by a limited lifetime warranty – all wins in our book!

WINTER WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WIDESCAPE.CO k, we have to share, the Widescape WS250 has our attention. Admittedly, we haven’t had the opportunity yet for an actual test ride (hopefully this winter), but after pouring over the specs, looking at photos and watching a variety of videos out there on YouTube, the idea of the Widescape’s compact, agile and quiet snow-going standup prowess has us intrigued.

SnoCaps TRAILER ENCLOSURES

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Made in the USA! 12 Midwest Rider 2022

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Our SnoCaps were originally developed to protect snowmobiles from the harsh chemicals on winter roads. They quickly spread into the rest of the off road vehicle industry and they are now used to protect everything from ATVs and UTVS to boats and airplanes. Get in touch with us today to get your order started!

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At a listed dry weight of 200 lbs and powered by a 242cc 4-stroke engine with EFI, the attractive power-to-weight ratio, compact design and agility are all things we value in a snow traveling exploration vehicle to reach the unchartered areas of our expansive private recreation land in northern Minnesota. We don’t see this as being a snowmobile replacement per se, but more of a way to enjoy the winter landscape via adventuring off-trail (legally) without focusing all “fun” on high-mileage rides.

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Experience the Best of Both Worlds with Sleds that Deliver On-Trail and Off here’s a transition taking place within our sport, especially here in the Midwest. One where traditional trail riding is meeting head-on with a new generation of rider who prefers to chart their own path. Fortunately, the manufacturers have been paying attention. The crossover segment has grown to become one of the most popular family of snowmobiles, and each member of this trio of sleds provides the perfect answer for both passions.

POLARIS SWITCHBACK SP Sure, there’s other models in the Polaris stable that serve up more bells and whistles, but the SP does it all for less, and we’re a sucker for a good deal. Built on the Matryx platform, this latest generation of sleds from Polaris continues to refine the rider forward design first introduced by the Ski-Doo REV way back in 2003. For us, we especially love how balanced the Matryx feels, especially in the longer track set-up found in Switchback. Whether you’re sitting or standing, control is very refined. Truth be told, when you go the Switchback route, trail manners will suffer as the uncoupled IGX 146” rear suspension won’t allow you to carve groomed trails with the same level of accuracy of Polaris trail only buggy. But a few suspension tweaks will get your real close. Where the Switchback really shines is off trail, especially with the 1.6” Cobra track, it has a nice balance

OCONTO COUNTY

If you’re someone who loves getting off the beaten path and exploring the natural world, Oconto County can’t be beat. With 500 miles of interconnected scenic riding, Oconto County is a true off-road playground. The trails here offer accessible, affordable and memorable fun for riders of all experience levels, with options to either rent or bring your own ATV/UTV.

14 Midwest Rider 2022

Sure the 850 looks good on the side of the hood, but when you embarrass a few big bore riders with the sweet running nature of the 650, you’ll walk a little taller at the next tavern.

of traction for any snow type. For power, we’d opt for the 650 Patriot, not because we don’t like the added grunt of the 850, but this motor is a sweetheart and always appears to be happy and on point. Oh, and aside from running open lakes, the 650 will never let an 850 out of its sight, it’s that good.


new sleds

SKI-DOO BACKCOUNTRY X-RS

One of the added benefits of a crossover buggy is the added tunnel space – the perfect place for some LINQ luggage to carry the day’s supplies.

By and large, Ski-Doo is responsible for developing the crossover category. While Quebec is the stomping grounds for the SkiDoo company, and is known for an incredible wide, smooth, super-highway trail system, there’s also some amazing off-trail riding opportunities as well. As a point of reference, the Gaspe Peninsula is one of the most amazing places to ride both ontrail and off, and quite possibly played a significant role in the development of the Backcountry. While much of the Ski-Doo lineup for 2023 continues to make the transition over to the Gen5 platform, the Backcountry remains in the very much proven and robust Gen4 trim. When you opt for the X-RS package you are rewarded with all the good stuff, mostly importantly some very strong performing and adjustable KYB shocks along with reinforced running boards. Those shocks help to control the cMotion rear suspension and a new RAS X front suspension. Both attempt to provide the perfect combination of trail manners and off-trail lift, however it is a compromise. If running trails is more your thing, you should select the Renegade instead. As the name implies, the Backcountry is way more off-trail than it is on. You can choose from either a 146” with 1.6” paddle track for a more go-between ride; or go all in with a 16”x154” with a 2” paddle for true off-trail performance.

PRINOTH TRAIL GROOMING

TAME THE TRAIL

DELIVERING UNRIVALLED RESULTS IN THE MIDWEST Reliable and efficient, PRINOTH’s HUSKY trail groomer is the ultimate work tool to take care of the Midwest’s snowmobile trails. With it’s narrow width, light weight, low fuel consumption and optimal comfort, it delivers results like no other option. Contact our local offices so your club can get the most out of its trail system. PRINOTH Trail Grooming Sales, Bob Wolf 612-251-4094

prinoth.com Nov/Dec 2022 15


new sleds

YAMAHA SIDEWINDER X-TX SE 146

2 Brothers Powersports Onalaska WI w 608-781-3360 2brotherspowersports.com

Let’s just get this out of the way right from the get-go. If you haven’t yet ridden or squeezed the trigger on a Sidewinder, here’s a bit of advice. First, you better hold on. Second, get your wallet out, this one is hard to walk away from. No matter the trim, gearing, or track, the Sidewinder is nothing short of a blistering rocket ship. In fact, we find it amazing that they can sell these things to just anybody (but are glad they can). Truth is, that crazy power and instant track speed is what helps the Sidewinder X-TX overcome the added weight penalty of its four-cylinder four-stroke versus two-strokes in this class — or any other for that matter. Frankly, we don’t care. Squeezing the throttle on the Sidewinder X-TX with the added bite of the 146” track with 2” paddles is reason enough to love this sled. Of course, there’s more to the Sidewinder crossover entry than just an incredible motor. The Viper chassis is a proven commodity that is stable, comfortable, and very easy to ride. Some may call it long in the tooth, we call it refined perfection. With a chassis and steering post taken from the SR-M series mountain sleds along with wider mountain skis, the XTX has true off-trail roots. But, with a stable 40-inch stance and the easy adjustability of the Fox Zero QS3 shocks combined with the smooth and oh-so-predictable Genesis Turbo engine, it delivers surprising trail manners as well.

Century Power Sports Stillwater MN w 651-439-2035 centurypower.com Davis Motorsports Delano MN w 763-972-5045 davismotorsportsdelano.com

SNOW

Johnson Sales Inc Arlington WI w 608-635-7381 johnsonsalesinc.com

YAMAHA SNOWMOBILES Memories Motor in the making, trail at a time. Sportsone of Willmar Family I Friends I Memories

Willmar MN w 320-235-2351 motorsportsofwillmar.com

Ray’s Sport & Cycle Grand Rapids MN w 218-326-9355 rayssportandcycle.com St. Boni Motor Sports St. Bonifacius MN w 952-446-1554 stboni.com AIRTEC SPORTS 1714 FREITAG DR MENOMONIE, WI AIRTECSPORTS.COM ANTIGO YAMAHA 919 S SUPERIOR ST ANTIGO, WI ANTIGOYAMAHA.COM

Sette Sports Center Owatonna MN w 507-451-6922 settesportscenter.com HAUCK POWER SPORTS 2072 19TH ST RICE LAKE, WI HAUCKPOWERSPORT.COM

HOLZHAUER’S PRO MOTOR SPORTS 17933 HOLZHAUER AUTOMALL DR NASHVILLE, IL HOLZHAUERPROMOTORSPORTS.COM

MILLER SUPPLY N9804 US HIGHWAY 45 CLINTONVILLE, WI

MILWAUKEE POWERSPORTS 7221 S 13TH ST OAK CREEK, WI MILWAUKEEPS.COM

POWERSPORTS 1 3000 SPIRIT CT APPLETON, WI POWERSPORTS1.COM

T.A. MOTORSPORTS 525 AMERICAN DR FRANCIS CREEK, WI TAMOTORSPORTS.COM

POWERSPORTS OF ABRAMS 2667 E FRONTAGE RD ABRAMS, WI POWERSPORTSABRAMS.COM

TEAM MOTORSPORTS 1890 MID VALLEY DR DE PERE, WI TEAM-MOTORSPORTS.COM

RECREATION PLUS 614 RINK AVE # 879 TWIN LAKES, WI

VETESNIK POWERSPORTS SUPER STORE 540 W GRAND AVE PORT WASHINGTON, WI PORTYAMAHA.COM

TA Motorsports Francis Creek WI w 920-682-1284 tamotorsports.com MUKWONAGO YAMAHA 970 GREENWALD CT MUKWONAGO, WI MUKWONAGOYAMAHA.COM

DONAHUE SUPER SPORTS 6821 PLOVER RD WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI DONAHUESUPERSPORTS.COM

JC POWERSPORTS 404 N US HIGHWAY 141 CRIVITZ, WI JCPOWERSPORTSONLINE.COM

ECKLUND MOTORSPORTS & MARINE 325 N MALL DR APPLETON, WI FOXVALLEYPOWERSPORTS.COM

JOHNSON SALES N1255 US HIGHWAY 51 ARLINGTON, WI JOHNSONSALESINC.COM

NIELSEN ENTERPRISES 130 S MILWAUKEE AVE LAKE VILLA, IL NIELSENS.COM

RICHS YAMAHA 14354 ARCHER AVE LOCKPORT, IL RICHSYAMAHA.COM

FUEL POWERSPORTS 4196 N WOODCREST RIDGE DR WEST BEND, WI FUELPOWERSPORTS.COM

LANG EQUIPMENT 541 S 8TH ST MEDFORD, WI LANGEQUIPMENTLLC.COM

NORTH COUNTRY YAMAHA N10932 COUNTY ROAD A TOMAHAWK, WI ANTIGOYAMAHA.COM

ROCK RIVER POWERSPORTS 400 N WATERTOWN ST JOHNSON CREEK, WI ROCKRIVERPOWERSPORTS.COM

HAMMER TIME SPORTS 2252 ANDERSON DR BELVIDERE, IL HAMMERTIMESPORTS.COM

MAY’S SPORT CENTER 75 W MAPLE ST STURGEON BAY, WI MAYSSPORTCENTER.COM

PLANET POWERSPORTS 905 OAK AVE S ONALASKA, WI PLANETPOWERSPORT.COM

RYDEN MARINE 9724 STATE HIGHWAY 70 MINOCQUA, WI RYDENSMARINE.COM

HANKSTER’S MOTORSPORTS 6319 S US HIGHWAY 51 JANESVILLE, WI HANKSTERSMOTORSPORTS.COM

MILLER IMPLEMENT & PRO MTS 86 N ROLLING MEADOWS DR FOND DU LAC, WI MILLERIMPLEMENT.COM

POWER PAC 3802 S CENTRAL AVE MARSHFIELD, WI POWERPACEQUIPMENT.COM

ST. CROIX POWER SPORTS 1075 N 4TH ST NEW RICHMOND, WI STCROIXPOWERSPORTS.COM

WILD RIVER SPORT AND MARINE N7023 US HIGHWAY 53 TREGO, WI WILDRIVERSPORT.COM YAMAHA OF PORT WASHINGTON 540 W GRAND AVE PORT WASHINGTON, WI PORTYAMAHA.COM

Yamaha of Port Washington Inc Port Washington WI w 262-284-5995 portyamaha.com

With 2” paddles and more than 200-ponies under the cowl, the Sidewinder X-TX 146 can pulverize powder, hardpack, heck even gravel, and reward you with dangling skis every time.

YAMAHASNOWMOBILES.COM

©2022 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved. Product and specifications subject to change without notice. Professional rider on closed course under controlled conditions. Model shown with optional accessories. Always wear an approved helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. Ride responsibly and always ride within your capabilities, allowing time and distance for maneuvering, and respect others around you. Know the conditions. Observe all state and local laws. Don’t drink and ride.

16 Midwest Rider 2022

smb02222_sep_wi_snowmobile_news_1c.indd 1

9/12/22 10:42 AM


ZACH HERFINDAHL SHARES THOUGHTS ON NEW ARCTIC CAT PLATFORM AND XC RACING

FIRST RIDE

he Friday before the official start of Hay Days in September, Arctic Cat hosted all the media at an on-site press event to outline some of the tech details on the all-new CATALYST platform. Standing amongst the Arctic Cat Engineering and Marketing staff was Team Arctic’s multi-time cross-country Pro champ, Zach Herfindahl who hails from Eagle River, Wisconsin. The great news for Arctic Cat fans interested in the new CATALYST platform, is knowing the company has been using Zach and other Pro cross country and mountain riders as part of the platform’s development process. In an interview with Zach, he shares ride impressions on the all-new Arctic Cat CATALYST platform and what’s happening for him this cross-country race season. WSN: I’m excited to share this conversation with everyone who reads Wisconsin Snowmobile News and appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. Zach: Absolutely! Call me biased or whatever, but I’ve got to plug the Eagle River area – we’ve got some of the best trails in the state and welcome snowmobilers from all over – it’s quite a haven for snowmobiling! (Laughing) WSN: I was happy to see you at Hay Days during the Arctic Cat CATALYST event. What are your thoughts? Zach: First off, Hay Days was incredible! There were a lot of excited snowmobilers on the grounds all weekend and I’ve never witnessed a release like Arctic Cat had on Saturday with the sheer volume of people packed in to see the new platform. WSN: Since you mention it, I’ve seen some of your quotes on Arctic Cat’s website regarding the new platform, and you relayed a story at the media event about a recent test trip aboard it. Can you tell us about that trip again? Zach: Shortly after we (Team Arctic) wrapped up our Cross Country race season and transitioned into spring, engineering planned to run multiple test trips on CATALYST that would include some outside notes and initial thoughts on what could be the production calibration packages from racers like myself, David Brown and Ben Langaas. The initial test trip was a week in Idaho comparing our current ZR6000R XC (2022) to the Nov/Dec 2022 17


FIRST RIDE new CATALYST RXC. (M and RIOT versions of CATALYST were there too.) Trip number two is where the magic happened, and the story I shared at the media event. Dan Johnson (Director of Engineering) and Ben Langaas (Engineering Manager and Team Arctic Cross Country Racer) proposed a 1,500 mile durability test at race pace on a short 5 mile track, which would consist of some high speed chop and 3-5` holes throughout the course. The purpose of this was to perform an accelerated high intensity test to push the new CATALYST platform to its limits. The thought – if CATALYST could handle 1,500 miles of pure race abuse, it would validate the capabilities of the new lightweight chassis (RXC, RIOT and M) while continuing to maintain the durability Arctic Cat has been known for. WSN: The million dollar question, How does CATALYST compare to PROCROSS? Zach: I’ll start off by saying I’ve always felt Arctic Cat’s PROCROSS platforms have been outstanding, but then I rode CATALYST – it takes everything a PROCROSS did well and goes far beyond. This is a rider active snowmobile inspiring rider confidence, and like nothing else I have ever ridden, meaning, when you move your body to adjust the sled, CATALYST magnifies this input compared to the PROCROSS. This result is a combination of far better rider ergonomics and engineering’s focus on shedding physical platform weight (10% lighter). I get asked what a Confidence Inspiring Ride means. The CATALYST platform allows the rider to be comfortable and confident with the snowmobile’s capabilities from the first time you throw a leg over it. I rode CATALYST on day one into the gnarliest terrain I could find and, man, that sled (RXC) works through big low-speed holes, it tracks straight through high speed trail chop and high speed 1-2` bumps, it handles tight twisty trails on rails and the chassis has a solid foundation limiting flex and feedback. Personally, I really pay attention to chassis flex and rigidity and can feel when a chassis gets “loose and broke in” through my feet. I prefer a sled with a rigid feeling on the race track and on the trails when pleasure riding. Our current platform slowly loosens up to the point where you lose some of that rigidity and the chassis begins to start acting less predictable, meaning, instead of just your suspension moving, the entire sled is flexing and moving. After our 1,500 mile abuse test aboard CATALYST, it still felt like brand new. Engineering employed composite materials to shed weight and add durability. The composite running boards are so much stiffer than aluminum and are a key player in the success of that rigid feeling.

18 Midwest Rider 2022

Simply stated, the CATALYST platform outperforms the PROCROSS for the better and comparing them is difficult. WSN: What’s your plan this year for cross country racing? I saw a press release about you and the All Finish Racing team. Can you clarify that relationship for me and others? Zach: I’m fired up for race season! Our plan is to go cross country racing (corpowersports.com) as always, competing for a championship in both Pro Stock and Open classes as well as trying to notch our fifth I-500 victory which would be wild. The Pro competition is outstanding for all brands. Dan Revering (Polaris) and I had some amazing battles, and like Aaron Christensen (Polaris) or Wes Selby (Ski-Doo), Dan is a very respectable guy on the track which makes battling that much better. This group is going to give cross-country fans an entertaining season. All Finish Racing and our Factory Arctic Cat Cross country team are working together for this upcoming season. All Finish has come on board as a sponsor and helping in multiple ways. All Finish offers resources we don’t have, and we offer resources they might not have, so it will be an exciting partnership. WSN: I can’t thank you enough for your time Zach. I look forward to watching you race this winter and thanks for continuing to keep Wisconsin as the home of championship winning racers. Zach: Always my pleasure to talk to snowmobilers! Don’t forget to ride the Eagle River areas this winter! (Laughs)


BOR N F ROM R ACING BR ED F OR T HE T R A IL Ray’s Sport & Cycle Leos South Ollie’s Service Inc. 2 Brothers Powersports Grand Rapids MN Lakeville MN Alexandria MN Onalaska WI The new 2023 MXZ Blizzard is the race-inspired ride320-763-4455 you’ve been waiting for. Get precision handling 218-326-9355 952-435-5371 608-781-3360 rayssportandcycle.com leossouth.com olliesservice.com 2brotherspowersports.com

BOR N FF ROM RR ACING BOR N ROM ACING BOR N F ROM R ACING BR ED FF OR TT HE TT RR A IL BR ED OR HE A BR ED F OR T HE T R AIL IL

and agility with maximum comfort thanks to the all-new REV Gen5 platform and a performance

Performance Olson Rotax Power &850 Equipment Hayward Power Sports shock package.Minneapolis Plus, withMotor your Sports choice of powerful E-TEC engines,Rob’s you can be Motorsports LLC Minneapolis MN North Branch MN Hayward WI Johnson Creek WI 651-674-4494 715-462-3674 sure 763-634-0244 no matter what winter throws at you, this sled’s got it handled. 920-699-3288 mplsmotor.com olsonpower.com haywardpowersports.com robsperformance.com new 2023 MXZ Blizzard the race-inspired ridePower you’ve been waiting for. Get precision handling Monroe is Powersports Inc Lodge Jay’s PowerThe Center you’veMN been waiting for. Get precision handling St. Boni Motor Sports Monroe is WIthe race-inspired rideOnamia Reedsburg The WI new 2023 MXZ Blizzard and agility with maximum comfort thanks to the all-new REV Gen5 platform and a performance is the race-inspired ride320-532-3860 you’ve been waiting for. Get precision handling St. Bonifacius MN 608-325-5056 608-768-3297The new 2023 MXZ Blizzard and agility with maximum comfort thanks to the all-new REV Gen5 platform and a performance 952-446-1554/877-385-0339 mpsskidoo.com jayspowercenter.com powerlodge.com package. Plus, with your choice Rotax E-TEC engines, you can be DISCOVER MORE AT SKI-DOO.COM andshock agility with maximum comfort thanks of to powerful the all-new REV850 Gen5 platform andstboni.com a performance shock package. Plus, with your choice of powerful Rotax 850 E-TEC engines, you can be sure no matter what winter throws at you,Rotax this sled’s got itengines, handled.you can be Motor Sports of Willmar Power Lodge Len Ebert & Sons shock package. Plus, with your choice of powerful 850 E-TEC sure no matter you, this Tomahawk Sports Center Willmar MN what winter throws at Ramsey MN sled’s got it handled. Clintonville WI © 2022 Bombardier Recreational Products All rights reserved. ®, TM and thethrows BRP logo are of BRP or its affiliates. sureInc.320-235-2351 no(BRP). matter what winter attrademarks you, this sled’s got it handled. Tomahawk WI 763-576-1706 715-752-4428 Products in the United States (U.S.) are distributed by BRP US Inc. Always ride responsibly and safely. 715-453-5373 motorsportsofwillmar.com powerlodge.com lenebert.com tomahawksportscenter.com * Red listings denote electronic link to dealer website in digital edition of Midwest Rider. Visit mspninc.com

DISCOVER MORE AT SKI-DOO.COM DISCOVER MORE AT SKI-DOO.COM DISCOVER MORE AT SKI-DOO.COM SKI-MY23-Endemic-FALL-MidwestSnowmobiles-MXZ-Bzd-PRINT-7,75x10,125.indd

SKI-MY23-Endemic-FALL-MidwestSnowmobiles-MXZ-Bzd-PRINT-7,75x10,125.indd 1

© 2022 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, TM and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. Products in the United States (U.S.) are distributed by BRP US Inc. Always ride responsibly and safely. © 2022 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, TM and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. BRP Ski-Doo Endemic Print Ads - Midwest Snowmobiles Products in the United States (U.S.) are distributed by BRP US Inc. Always ride responsibly and safely. © 2022 Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). All rights reserved. ®, TM and the BRP logo are trademarks of BRP or its affiliates. Products in the United States (U.S.) are distributed by BRP US Inc. Always ride responsibly and safely.

MY23 MXZ-Blizzard

SKI-MY23-Endemic-FALL-MidwestSnowmobiles-MXZ-Bzd-PRINT-7,75x10,125.indd 1

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Nov/Dec 2022 19 03/10/22 16:52


SEE WINTER WILDLIFE AT THIS REMOTE STATE PARK IN THE NORTH WOODS By Brian Fanelli

Photo by Mark Nicholson

Beautiful Trails. Extended Season.

EXPLORE 370+ MILES OF GROOMED TRAILS Free Trail Maps by Request info@explorealex.com

ExploreAlex.com 20 Midwest Rider 2022

tm

Explore hundreds of miles of groomed trails,


There are endless places to view winter wildlife in Minnesota, but my personal favorite is Bear Head Lake State Park. Secluded in the vast North Woods near Ely, it’s the perfect destination to view the eagles, wolves and moose that call northern Minnesota home.

SPOT MORE MINNESOTA WILDLIFE

From wildlife centers to the great outdoors, Minnesota is a wonderful destination for wildlife viewing. Whether you want to meet Minnesota’s purebred bison herds, experience fall migration on the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail or see elk in northwest Minnesota, you’ll find plenty of places for birding and wildlife viewing in Minnesota.

WILDLIFE VIEWING AT BEAR HEAD LAKE STATE PARK

Almost as far north as you can go without hitting Canada, Bear Head Lake State Park epitomizes the “Up North” vibe: Pristine frozen lakes in every direction, @VisitFairmontMN dense pine forests, rolling hills and skies so blue they look like a postcard. For the best wildlife viewing, strap on your snowshoes and venture into the untouched winter wilderness before the sun is up. While freely swiveling your head, move quietly and slowly through the park, paying special attention to look for mammal tracks in the snow. The northern forest is home to white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, wolves and many smaller mammals; if you stay quiet and keep your eyes peeled, you’re practically guaranteed to glimpse a few of these majestic creatures.

FIND MORE

For more travel ideas and inspiration for your next winter getaway, visit

LAND IN A

For an especially rustic experience, try to stay at one of the park’s five camper cabins. Named after some of the park’s more prominent trees (Aspen, Red Pine, White Pine, Cedar and Birch), they’re the perfect home base for a couple days of winter adventures.

FRESH BED

ExploreMinnesota.com

TRESTLE INN Full Menu Restaurant & Saloon

FIND LOCAL LODGING AT

@VisitFairmontMN

VisitFairmontMN.com 800-657-3280

Planning Winter Adventures?

Stay in Owatonna! Owatonna is centrally located in southern Minnesota off I-35 and Hwy 14.

LAND IN A

FRESH BED FIND LOCAL LODGING AT

VisitFairmontMN.com 507-235-8585 FIND LOCAL LODGING AT

VisitFairmontMN.com

Scan code for lodging options

Over 500 guest rooms with various rates and amenities to meet your needs.

visitowatonna.org

Located Right On the Tomahawk Trail

Unique and rustic construction, built from 1920’s railroad trestle

218.830.0523 • Finland, MN

LARGE INVENTORY OF USED SNOWMOBILES & PARTS FOR SALE Sno Accewmobile ssor ies

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Sales & Service Inc. Chippewa Falls WI

715-723-9377 e 715-723-9344 snomosalvage@gmail.com

snowmobilesalvageparts.com

e Buy, Sell, Trade e Top dollar for snowmobiles & salvage e Cranks & Cylinders (Rebuilt & Used) e Engines (Rebuilt & Used) e Electrical e Hoods e Suspension We Service ALL e Tracks (New & Used) Makes & Models e Ship parts worldwide WE CAN SHIP HOODS/TUNNELS/FRAMES AT AFFORDABLE RATES Nov/Dec 2022 21


d l i W r o F Winter s e r u t n e Adv Wander and wonder at the quiet magic

of the forests and ever changing moods of Lake Superior. Take a journey by Nordic ski, snowshoe or fat-tire bike: the trails are groomed and ready. Fire up the sled and ride like a kid—or bring the kids—for the quintessential snowmobiling experience in Lake County.

Visit us online!

So much snow, so many twists and turns, so many memories. Stoke a fire by a lodge. Let your light shine bright in the dark cold night under infinite starry skies.

22 Midwest Rider 2022

Lovi nLakeCo unt y.com

Beaver Bay • Fall Lake • Finland/Isabella • Knife River • Silver Bay • Two Harbors


Cook County, MN

Pelican Rapids, MN

READY. SET.

Experience snowmobiling in the lakes country and stay in a retro motel; the Pelican Motel, a newly renovated, small boutique style motel, offers single, double rooms, and suites with fireplace, high speed internet, contactless check-in & check-out, and space for snowmobiles and trailers. Pet friendly.

RIDE. Download trail maps and plan your next trip at

VisitCookCounty.com

Book online at

www.PelicanRapidsMotelMN.com or call (218) 863-STAY

WILDERNESS SNOWMOBILING ON THE GUNFLINT TRAIL It’s a wild place here. You could see moose, wolves, fox and deer...but not too many other people. Trails start just outside your cabin door. All services, food and lounge within a mile. Lakeside units available for large or small groups. Groomed trail system, connects to state trails and the Lake Superior loop.

218-388-2252 • WWW.NORWESTERLODGE.COM • 1-800-992-4386

A Place For All Seasons

On Mille Lacs Lake

Snowmobile & ATV Guides and Rentals Easy access to over 300 miles of well groomed and maintained trails Ice Fishing LODGING: 5 BEDROOM CONDOS – 2 BEDROOM CABINS - HOTEL ROOMS 800-862-3535 • www.mcquoidsinn.com

Nov/Dec 2022 23


Raffle ke Karao s Prize

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Spectacular Sledding All lodging is accessible by snowmobile • Full Service Community

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ANNUA 2022

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Antique and Classic Snowmobile Race

12-5pm • Saturday • March 12th Call/Email for map or additional info. 1 844 GO RAINY cvb@rainylake.org

International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau 301 2nd Avenue International Falls, MN 56649

www.rainylake.org rainylake.org e 218-283-9401

Subscribe emailnewsletter newsletter&&get get Trail Trail Conditions Subscribe to to ourouremail ConditionsReports Reportshere! here!

Trophies & Prizes / Food and Drink Specials! Medals for Kids 15 and under Karaoke / All Day Raffle for Juvenile Diabetes - Lots of prizes!

Elephant Lake Lodge / Melgeorge’s Resort

PO Box 185, Orr, MN 55771 218-374-3621 • 800-205-9001 • www.melgeorges.com

THUNDERBIRD LODGE On Beautiful Rainy Lake

A SNOWMOBILE DESTINATION Excellent Winter Rate Cabins Perfect for Large Groups Legendary Bar & Restaurant Open Everyday, All Day Gas & Oil Onsite With Helpful Attendants Connected to 100’s of Trails Snowmobile Rental & Guided Tours Available

CALL TODAY TO BOOK 2182863151

WWW.THUNDERBIRDRAINYLAKE.COM 24 Midwest Rider 2022

S


2 0 2 2-2023 MIN N E SO TA SN O W MO B I L I N G

Discover Winter on a Snowmobile Trail

ADVENTURE AWAITS YOU OVER 22,000 MILES OF TRAILS


Trails wind through forests and glide over lake surfaces throughout Voyageurs National Park. The gateway communities of Crane Lake, Orr, Ash River, Kabetogama, International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake provide bases for your excursions into the National Park. You will find near pristine wilderness cloaked in the stillness of winter. Voyageurs was established because of the spectacular scenery, rich natural resources and vibrant history of this important piece of the north American waterways. You will not be disappointed. Each gateway community will have options for food, fuel and lodging. The trails will be clearly marked and well-groomed with staked trails to mark the lake surface portions. Any of the communities would be glad to send you a map. They appear in the advertising adjacent.

2 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations


Spectacular Sledding All lodging is accessible by snowmobile • Full Service Community

Call/Email for map or additional info. 1 844 GO RAINY cvb@rainylake.org

International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau 301 2nd Avenue International Falls, MN 56649

www.rainylake.org rainylake.org e 218-283-9401

Subscribe emailnewsletter newsletter&&get get Trail Trail Conditions Subscribe to to ourouremail ConditionsReports Reportshere! here!

THUNDERBIRD LODGE On Beautiful Rainy Lake

A SNOWMOBILE DESTINATION Excellent Winter Rate Cabins Perfect for Large Groups Legendary Bar & Restaurant Open Everyday, All Day Gas & Oil Onsite With Helpful Attendants Connected to 100’s of Trails Snowmobile Rental & Guided Tours Available

CALL TODAY TO BOOK 2182863151

WWW.THUNDERBIRDRAINYLAKE.COM Winter 2022-23 3


4 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations


MINNESOTA SNOWMOBILING

Minnesota Snowmobiling DESTINATIONS is published annually by Midwest Sports Publishing Network 6595 Edenvale Blvd Ste 180 Eden Prairie MN 55346 (952) 473-7870 • (800) 989-6776 Volume 2021-2022 Winter Season MSPN Staff Joel Mellenthin President Pat Bourgeois, Kale Wainer Editors Corey Friesen Art Director Paula Jones Copy Editor Joel Mellenthin Diane Voight Dwain Stadie Sales Associates C.J. Ramstad Photo Archives All contents are copyright ©2021 by MSPN Reproduction of any part or whole of this publication in any form or by any mechanical or electronic means, including information and data retrieval systems, is prohibited except by written consent of the Publisher. All advertising materials are published subject to Publisher’s approval but the Publisher makes no claim for the accuracy or suitability of products or services advertised herein. Articles, photographs and manuscripts are encouraged, but the Publisher suggests a query be sent prior to sending materials. Unsolicited articles and photographs are accepted and should be addressed to: Minnesota Snowmobiling DESTINATIONS

6595 Edenvale Blvd Ste 180 Eden Prairie MN 55346

All materials will be handled with reasonable care; however, the Publisher assumes no responsibility for return or safety of artwork, photographs, or manuscripts. Materials not accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope cannot be returned.

Advertising copy: Send all advertising materials to: Ad Department Minnesota Snowmobiling DESTINATIONS 6595 Edenvale Blvd Ste 180 Eden Prairie MN 55346 Printed in U.S.A.

exploreminnesota.com 888-VISITMN (847-4866)

2022-2023 Minnesota Destinations 6 Ride Minnesota: Your Guide

Veteran rider, or new to the sport, the information found here is your perfect guide to enjoying 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Minnesota.

8 Northeast: Voyageurs National Park

A trip here will have you feeling as if you were in another country - a spectacle of lakes, waterways and rock outcroppings erupting from the border waters.

9 Northeast: The Iron Range

A great hub to explore - from Grand Rapids to Ely, snowmobile-friendly communities will welcome you with old world charm.

11 Northeast: North Shore

The CJ Ramstad North Shore Trail is where snowmobiling is defined - use it to explore the Arrowhead.

13 Northwest Minnesota

This area bread the intrepid visionaries who invented the first snowmobiles in the towns of Roseau and Thief River Falls. Keep your eyes open, you may get a glimpse at a future product.

14 North-Central Minnesota

Ride in the land of tall, tall trees where pines scrape the sky and trails interconnect state forests.

17 Central-East Minnesota

The best rides always start and end here. With varied terrain, a group of incredibly passionate clubs and some of the best kept trails in the state and businesses who Northwest welcome sledders with open arms. Pg 13

19 Central-West Minnesota

This area is an offering of a wide variety of snowmobile riding environments: rolling hills, heavy woods, lakes and prairies.

Voyageurs Pg 8

North Central Pg 14

North Shore Pg 11

Iron Range Pg 9

20 South-Minnesota

It’s all about the drifts in Southern Minnesota, whether it’s the unglaciated driftless region or the monster drifts on prairie trails.

West Pg 19

Central Pg 17

22 Metro

One doesn’t have to go too far out of the glow of city lights to have a true snowmobile experience.

Metro Pg 22 South Pg 20

AREA LOCATOR Winter 2022-23 5


RIDE MINNESOTA GUIDE

MINNESOTA MAKES IT EASY TO FIND A TRAIL

V

eteran rider, or new to the sport, the information found in this issue of Destinations is your perfect guide to enjoying the 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Minnesota.

Both paper maps and electronic apps are great sources to show trail routes and places to park. Snowmobilers should use both when riding, as they complement each other. Electronics can die quickly in cold temperatures. To get up-to-date paper trail maps, contact local chambers and tourism offices, service stations or local hospitality merchants. Smartphone mapping apps are available for snowmobile trails, including the Polaris app, Avenza, and an electronic map from the Minnesota DNR. 6 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

STAY ON TRAIL

Trails are considered the safest way to snowmobile, as local snowmobile clubs sign, groom and maintain the majority of them. The majority of Minnesota trails are on private property, and property owners give snowmobile clubs special permission to build and maintain a trail on their land. Respect this generosity by staying on the marked trail; don’t cut corners or trespass. Snowmobiles may operate in the roadway ditches of state and county roads, at the base of the ditch or along the outside slope of the rightof-way. Be especially alert for traffic, driveways and other hazards found in ditches, such as drainage culverts.

TRAIL ETIQUETTE

Treat the trails as you would the road. Stay to the right side of the trail; obey the signs and speed limits (max: 50 mph; slower on designated lakes); do not ride faster than you can handle; give proper distance between the sleds; do not stop in blind locations nor in the middle


of the trail; and give ample stopping distance. Ride alertly with the anticipation of unknown hazards or icy trail conditions. Never drink alcohol and drive a snowmobile — margins are tight when snowmobiling and impairment of any kind is a serious hazard to yourself and others. A DUI on a snowmobile will impact your driver’s license. Many snowmobilers use hand signals to indicate stopping, turns and to tell oncoming snowmobilers how many people to expect in their party. A raised hand is not just a friendly hello; it’s providing information. To learn about these and other snowmobile safety tips visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website and search for snowmobiling. WHAT TO KNOW FOR FIRST-TIME SNOWMOBILERS • Snowmobile Safety Course - All snowmobilers born after December 31, 1976, must have a safety training certificate. However, the course is informative and open to all snowmobilers. For more info: dnr.state. mn.us/safety/vehicle/snowmobile/ Saferiderssafetyawareness.org also offers an online snowmobile safety program. • Guided Rides - Resorts renting snowmobiles often provide guide services and rent other snowmobile gear, such as jackets, boots and helmets. This is a good way to become oriented to the snowmobile, its gear and trail system. • Call a Club - Members of snowmobile clubs are often willing to take new snowmobilers on a ride in their area. A good way to thank a club for this kind of help is to join it. Find a list of clubs, organized by county, at mnsnowmobiler.org.

Resources

For trail information, conditions and trip planning assistance: Explore Minnesota Tourism 888-VISITMN (847-4866) exploreminnesota.com Minnesota DNR 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 dnr.state.mn.us/snowmobiling Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) To find clubs and trail information 763-577-0185 mnsnowmobiler.org How to Register a Snowmobile mndnr.gov/regulations/snowmobile/index.html

Winter 2022-23 7


northeast-voyageurs national park POINT YOUR SKIS TOWARD VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/NORTHEAST-MINNESOTA

T

hanks to its size and location, Minnesota is one of those states able to serve up a variety of terrain, vegetation and wildlife running the full gamut. And then there’s the Voyageurs area. A trip here will have you feeling as if you were in another country, especially when you point your skis toward Voyageurs National Park. It’s here where the Canadian shield dips down to meet the border of Minnesota and in doing so creates a spectacle of lakes, waterways and rock outcroppings erupting from the border waters to create a landscape nothing short of breathtaking. The terrain is vast, the trails remote and the riding experience is like no other. Whether you’re running the single sled width of the Chain of Lakes Trail, the twists and turns of the Arrowhead Trail or the frozen waterways of the Voyageur Trail, you’ll most likely be retracing the steps of early timber prospectors and fur traders as they discovered this incredible place. With the snow crisp and the lakes frozen tight, a night ride on a clear night might serve up a free light show courtesy of the aurora borealis. The sky within the Voyageurs National Park is a theater for the stars, the moon and the dancing norther lights. Few places in the lower 48 offer a view of all three as good as this. With no light pollution and crystal-clear air, all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy. Voyageurs National Park is one of the few national parks in the country allowing snowmobile trails. Snowmobiling was such an institution in the area when the park was designated that ongoing snowmobile 8 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

usage is written directly into its charter, and it remains the best way to see the park when it’s wearing its winter coat. The park contains 26 small lakes and four main lakes, Kabetogama, Namekan, Sand Point and Rainy Lake, which covers about 360 square miles. Marked, groomed lake top trails allow snowmobilers easy access to the park, with some land bridges between lakes as portages. The trail markers are color-coded and reflective, making them visible even in blowing conditions. Pressure ridges are noted by two orange caution stakes. Riders need not stick to the trails, as the lake tops are open for snowmobile use — just pay attention to your location, ride at posted speeds (which are specific within the park) and give any wildlife a very large berth. No overland riding, though, unless on a designated trail. Also note areas of thin ice on the map and avoid those areas. A gem of the park is the 13-mile Chain of Lakes Trail. It’s a two-way trail as it runs along skinny finger lakes but turns into a one-way experience that can be challenging even for an experienced rider. The narrow, ungroomed trail harkens back to the early days of snowmobiling and the then new development of trails. Expect trees so close that you may wonder if you can thread the needle, and some steep ups-and-downs as you ride over the rocks. It starts on the northwest part of Lake Kabetogama and spits riders out on the southeast side.


northeast - iron range A GREAT HUB TO EXPLORE EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/NORTHEAST-MINNESOTA

N

orthern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range makes a great hub to explore points east, west and north from sun-up to sundown. Well-groomed and signed, their trails get you away from traffic and out into the woods where you don’t have to worry about crossing roads or driveways. Naturally, all trails lead back to comfortable lodging, with bars and restaurants close at hand. The Iron Range is centrally located to more than 2,000 miles of Minnesota snowmobile trails, including the legendary Arrowhead state snowmobile trail and the Taconite state snowmobile trail. Cruise through the Superior National Forest as you cover amazing terrain with all the straightaways, twist-n-turns, and hills-n-valleys you could want. Dedicated groomers do the job right and keep the snowmobile trails in top shape. Just to make things easy, for every Iron Range town, (that’s Hibbing, Chisholm, Mountain Iron, Buhl, Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik, Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, Embarrass and Meadowlands), there’s a spur. Get in and out of town on well-groomed, easy-to-find trails. Make the most of trailside bars, restaurants and hotels and get the most fun out of your trip!

If you’re not a sledder, take a look at Giants Ridge Recreation Area, with a top-notch ski school, plus 35 alpine runs, two terrain parks, a tubing hill and play areas for the kids. Around the region, we’ve got hundreds of miles of nordic trails to try. Onsite resorts make it easy to get to the mountain, and if you’ve really got some skills, bring the trailer and hit the snowmobile trails from Giants Ridge Recreation Area. Go any direction for great terrain, scenery and winter fun. Get your winter trip info – including maps – today! Minnesota’s Iron Range stretches about 175 miles southwest to northeast from Crosby to Ely and is comprised of three individual “ranges,” or ore-rich areas: the Cuyuna in the south, the Mesabi in the middle and the Vermilion in the north. The Mesabi Iron Range includes the communities of Hibbing, Chisholm, Mountain Iron, Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik, Aurora and Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. The Arrowhead and the Taconite state trails form the backbone of the region’s trail system. The Taconite Trail stretches 165 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely. This wide, multi-use route is most popular with

RIDE ON Thousands of miles of trails. Great places to eat and stay. Everything you need for winter fun is waiting on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. Visit IronRange.org to download or request trail maps to plan your trip.

VIRGINIA

MTN. IRON

HIBBING AURORA

BIWABIK

BIWABIK

EVELETH •

BUHL

CHISHOLM

EMBARRASS

BIWABIK •

EVELETH

GILBERT

HIBBING

HOYT LAKES

MOUNTAIN IRON

VIRGINIA

Winter 2022-23 9


northeast - iron range

snowmobilers and is shared by cross-country skiers, dogsledders, fattire bicyclists, and snowmobilers. The trail runs through remote bogs, scenic birch, aspen, and spruce forests, along frozen lakes, and across streams. On the south end, you’ll see classic Canadian Shield landscape, with hills encrusted by huge rocks. Eight trail waysides and picnic facilities provide ample opportunities for a lunch break or photo opportunity with dramatic wilderness viewpoints in the background. On the north end, the trail intersects with the David Dill — Arrowhead Trail, which runs 135 miles between International Falls and Tower, and

10 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

offers numerous trail shelters along the way. The 25- mile Aurora Trail runs between Biwabik and Hoyt Lakes and passes two mine pits and a former Civilian Conservation Corp camp. A northern offshoot runs to the deep snows of the Giants Ridge area, where increased elevations provide more challenging and rewarding terrain. If you prefer to ride the route less traveled, smaller grant-in-aid trails head into remote state forest territory or lead to welcoming range communities.


northeast - north shore

WHERE SNOWMOBILING IS DEFINED EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/NORTHEAST-MINNESOTA

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long this rugged stretch of shoreline reaching to the farthest ends of the state you’ll find 146-miles of quintessential Minnesota snowmobile experience. The C.J. Ramstad North Shore Trail defines snowmobiling in this state. Here, the snow comes early, stays late and is greeted by some of the most picturesque beauty found anywhere in the snowbelt.

The iconic North Shore Trail twists and weaves, following the northeasterly direction of the shoreline. The trail is as remote as it is beautiful, crossing few roads and interrupted more frequently by wildlife. While it’s certainly possible to ride the entire trail in one day, many choose to break it into sections and really feel the heartbeat of the Arrowhead region.

When winds blow off the always chilled waters of Superior, the lake-effect snow machine kicks into high gear, bringing substantial snowfall to the tree covered hills framing the northeastern border of Minnesota. Riding from the trail opening date of December 1, through the end of March is often the norm versus the exception.

Duluth to Silver Bay

There are 77 miles of North Shore Trail between Duluth and Silver Bay, but don’t let that limit you. There are plenty of legal areas to get off the main corridor and explore.

Winter 2022-23 11


northeast - north shore Literalists will want to park at the Martin Road lot on the northern edge of Duluth’s city limits to get the entire feel for the trail. Adventurists, however, can take advantage of other Duluth trails to reach this point, including the Duluth East club trail between the Lester River and Amity Creek that start close to the lakeshore and climb up to Skyline Parkway and beyond. Others could choose to start in Proctor, on the south side of Duluth, and use the Duluth West Trail through Hermantown to eventually link up to the North Shore Trail via the Reservoir Lakes Trail. The trails around Island Lake Reservoir are popular with local riders, and host some nice eating establishments and scenic bridges over the French and Cloquet rivers. Two Harbors is also a good place to start, with ample lodging, food and large parking areas. Save some miles on the tow vehicle, and put them on the sled instead. Two Harbors offers easy access to not only the North Shore Trail, but to the Pequaywan-Hoyt Lakes Trail, the Brimson Trail and the Yukon Trail. Each option makes a robust day loop with hearty lunch stops and warming shelters along the way. Silver Bay offers about 80 miles of twisty, scenic, well-maintained trails and they are a point of pride for the small community.

Silver Bay to Lutsen

Heading north, Silver Bay trails merge into the town of Finland. This friendly town is also another favorite drop in point for riders looking to squeeze in an early or late season ride. Located “up the hill” and further north, this “secret” snow stash features a small park and ride lot located on the edge of town near the Finland community center. The North Shore Trail in this section is particularly stunning as it works its way up the ridgeline. Several spur trails drop down to the shoreside communities, but not all of them have fuel or amenities. Plan accordingly. As in other sections of this trail, don’t be afraid to hop off and explore. The 85-mile Tomahawk Trail, which heads toward Ely, has a link to the

12 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

North Shore trail. There’s also a nice loop winding past inland lakes and Pat Bayle State Forest, which can be accessed near the iconic snowmobiler pitstop, the Trestle Inn.

Lutsen to Grand Marais…and beyond

Grand Marais may seem like the end of the trail, but it’s really just the beginning. Sure, a dip into town is nice for its food, lodging and atmosphere, but it’s not where the snowmobiling is at: continue the adventure up the Gunflint trails and on the forest road trails between the Gunflint and Grand Portage. While not within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the Gunflint and Gunflint Expressway trails give that BWCA vibe with the rocks, pine and lakes that make this area so special. These two trails offer more than 130 miles of Gunflint riding opportunity, and that’s just going one way. The forest road trails between Gunflint and Grand Portage are probably the most remote, most back-country trails in the state. Extra fuel is not a bad idea, as well as a good map, electronics and a riding partner. It’s easy to get turned around here so ride with all of your smarts.


northWEST A REGION RICH WITH SNOWMOBILING HISTORY EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/NORTHWEST-MINNESOTA

Locals enjoy family afternoons at Bemis Hill, where there’s a nice view of the surrounding countryside and children can sled. Hayes Lake State Park, on the northwestern boundary of Beltrami Island, also has a tight network of trails. The Northwest is what gave birth to Minnesota snowmobiling, as brothers Edgar and Allen Hetteen, and their friend, David Johnson, started to tinker at their hoist and

Being this far north, the weather systems that impact the area often go unnoticed in other parts of the state. The cold and snow come early and stay late. In fact, when other parts of the state are still waiting for rideable white, the northwest is busy grooming and riding this vast network of high-speed trails. If you want a place where you can rack on the miles with little to no traffic

and you’re always greeted with a smile, the northwest is your place.

RAPIDS

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From high-speed groomed ditches and expansive lake routes to some of the most remote and wooded trails in the state, you’ll find it all. You’ll also find plenty of welcoming businesses, hotels and resorts. If you want to mix in some true Minnesota style

More than ditches and lakes, the trails through Beltrami Island State Forest — the second-largest state forest in Minnesota, offer a completely different experience. The official map shows just a few trails in Beltrami Island, but many of the forest roads are open for motorized recreation to total 238 miles within its boundaries.

derrick shop in Roseau. Out of it came two things: a prototype snowmobile called the SnoTraveler and a company called Polaris. It was named after the north star as it was, at that time, the northern-most company in the U.S. Later, Edgar Hetteen also co-founded Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls. Both factories offer guided tours, and you can ride your sled right to the front doors. Call ahead to confirm a tour schedule and times.

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Snowmobiling is more than just a passion in these parts, it is a way of life. People ride for pleasure, for commuting, for work, in fact many kids ride their snowmobiles to school. So, it should come as no surprise the trails in the region are some of the best anywhere.

fishing while you are “up north," the frozen expanses of Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake offers some of the best ice fishing anywhere, and you’ll find scores of resorts and guides to help you catch your limit.

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rom the open prairies to the west, dense pine forests and expansive waters of Lake of the Woods to the north and the vast unknown of one of the largest bog swamps in the United States to the east, the northwest region is one of the most diverse in the state. It’s also the richest in terms of snowmobiling history. It was here that snowmobiling was born, and the communities of Thief River Falls and Roseau remain the active manufacturing hometowns to Arctic Cat and Polaris respectively.

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TAKE IT IN… • Enclosed and heated shelters. Snowmobilers are tough, but even the hardiest need to warm up every now and then. There are seven enclosed trail shelters in the Baudette area for any snowmobiler to use. • Take a factory tour. Both Arctic Cat and Polaris offer free factory tours. Call ahead to confirm times and availability. While you’re in Roseau make it a point to stop by the Polaris Experience Center, a 5,600-square-foot museum that chronicles the history of snowmobiling from the 1950s to today. Trails in this area are often the testing grounds for future snowmobiles and technology. If you see a machine that doesn’t quite look or sound like what you’re used to, it could be a prototype.

north-CENTRAL TALL TALL TREES AND THE HEARTLAND OF SNOWMOBILING EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/NORTHWEST-MINNESOTA

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ith multiple state forests and wooded tribal lands, the North central area of Minnesota features some of the tallest trees in the state. Minnesota’s largest red pine — 120 feet — was in Itasca State Park until winds took part of it down in 2008, but that’s just an indication of the size of the area’s trees. It is Paul Bunyan country, after all, and home to snowmobiling’s largest personality, Levi LaVallee, a Longville native. Itasca State Park is just one of this area’s must-experience locations. Snowmobilers can access the Mississippi headwaters parking lot by trail, and then it’s a short walk to that iconic sign that signals the start of the mighty Mississippi. Snowmobile trails wrap 31 miles around the park’s perimeter, with parking available at the visitor center, which is open year-round. Snowmobile trails cross other winter trails at various places in the park, so watch for other winter enthusiasts. There are also lodging options within the park.

14 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

Numerous trails radiate out from the park, leading into the White Earth, Paul Bunyan, Two Inlets, Welsh Lake, Bowstring, and Mississippi Headwaters state forests. Bemidji, Park Rapids and Walker are the towns of note in this area, but don’t count out the smaller locales. Most have some sort of restaurant


with a good burger — and they are great places to shoot the bull with other snowmobilers. You’ll know the popular spots based on the number of sleds parked outside. The snowmobile club in Bemidji has worked hard to widen and sign the trails that head northwest of town toward Leonard and Clearbrook, but they are still lesstraveled trails. If trails going other directions seem busy, try heading this way. Bemidji is a hub for major snowmobile trails. One end of the 115-mile Paul Bunyan Trail is in Bemidji (with the other end in Brainerd) and the Blue Ox follows Highway 71 up to International Falls, about 110 miles. If either of these trails start to feel a little flat and a little straight, there are add-on loops that will give a bit of diversity, such as the spur look between Turtle River and Tenstrike or a nice route between Walker and Hackensack through Foot Hills State Forest.

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On Beautiful Big Turtle Lake Another place for a bit of diversion off the rail trails happens in Walker, which provides an intersection of the Heartland and Paul Bunyan state trails. The four-mile segment of trail north of Walker, which serves as a connector between the two Heartland sections, is fun with rolling terrain. Meanwhile, the Paul Bunyan Trail diverts from the grade south of Walker for a rollicking nine miles of hills and curves before it joins the Heartland Trail through town. set Sun ss A luded i M nc er Nev nsetsi #su

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Walker is a gateway to Leech Lake and visitors who are not snowmobiling on the trails are likely snowmobiling to their ice house or somewhere else on the lake to drop a line. Someone who plans well can do both activities.

Bemidji, MN

A paved trail for summer use, the Heartland becomes a snowmobile artery in the winter with connections to many more miles of groomed trail in Hubbard County and beyond. There is a nice collection of forest road trails north of Nevis and Akeley in the Paul Bunyan State Forest, as well as another maze of trails north of Park Rapids.

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16 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

Walker is a half-way point between Park Rapids and Cass Lake on the Heartland State Trail. This 49-mile trail is among the first rail-to-trail conversions in the country. The trail offers water views — lakes, rivers, streams — and passes through forests of both hard and soft woods, including pine and spruce. Keep an eye out for large white pine.


CENTRAL-EAST

A HOMEBASE TO SNOWMOBILING EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/CENTRAL-MINNESOTA

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hen you choose to ride in a state with more miles of groomed snowmobile trail than any other, chances are you’ll find a new adventure every time you squeeze the throttle. What’s more, when you make the East Central region your home base, you’ll find yourself at the center of it all. With varied terrain, a group of incredibly passionate clubs, some of the best kept trails in the state and businesses who welcome sledders with open arms, the best rides always start and end here. There’s an exclusive, locals-only feel to the snowmobile trails in the mid-state area between Mille Lacs and the Wisconsin border. The area, often overlooked by people heading even farther north, offers pleasant surprises for those who want to stop and explore.

lake in the state, is a destination on its own for a snowmobile trip, or for those who like to both snowmobile and ice fish. While there are no snowmobile trails on the lake (most snowmobiles on the lake are used to access fishing spots), a nice day-ride is a circumnavigation, which is about 100 miles. A lap around the lake will include some trails close to the frozen water’s east side, but other trails

divert into other terrain. But the real gem — and local favorite — are the trails through Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. The trails flow through wooded hills, skirt Shakopee Lake and follow the first few miles of the Rum River as it begins its windy path to the Mississippi. Heading east toward Hinckley on the 114-mile-long Soo Line South Trail, divert onto a maze of logging trails called Red Top Trails

Terrain is fairly flat between Mille Lacs and Hinckley, but then something changes as riders near the St. Croix: hills become more dramatic, woods become a bit denser and farm fields give way to some surprisingly remote riding. The Nemadji State Forest area is a window into a different world. Be prepared with fuel and snacks: this is surprisingly remote territory.

Mille Lacs, the second-largest Winter 2022-23 17


TAKE IT IN… • The Annual SNOWfest film and vintage snowmobile event happens every December in Wahkon. Screen the newest snowmobile action films, watch some classic snowmobile flicks and walk through a vintage snowmobile show. • Put Hay Days on your list of must-experience events. Snowmobilers gather outside of North Branch the second weekend of each September for Hay Days – the world’s largest powersports festival.

18 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations


CENTRAL-WEST A WIDE VARIETY OF RIDING ENVIRONMENTS EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/CENTRAL-MINNESOTA

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iew Snowmobiles Racing. Western Minnesota could be considered the heart of Minnesota’s competitive national snowmobile racing scene. Whether its grassroots racing for the young up-and-comers, the seven National snocross events smack dab in the heart of the Midwest snowbelt, or another nine National cross-country stops in Minnesota, it’s safe to say you’ll be able to catch the highflying action in this region. Western Minnesota offers a wide variety of snowmobile riding environments: rolling hills, heavy woods, lakes and prairies. While there are many snowmobile friendly communities, these are a few of the many spots to covet. Maplewood State Park is one such treasure. The 9,000-acre park, near Pelican Rapids, is made up of a series of high hills, which sit in stark contrast to the surrounding farmlands. The highest point is at about 1,600 feet; a 300-foot change from the farms below. The land under the park was created in the last ice age and it’s on the edge of the Red River Valley and within the Alexandria Moraine.

There are 20 miles of snowmobile trails in the park, including a warming house. Trails connect to a greater system, including routes to Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes. Inspiration Peak, near Urbank, is another precious stone. Snowmobile to the top and see what inspired author F. Scott

Fitzgerald to describe more than 50 lakes below as “sequins fallen on an old paisley shawl.” The peak is one of the highest points in the state, and certainly the highest point in Otter Tail County at an elevation of 1,750 feet, about 400 feet above the surrounding land. The snowmobile hubs on the northern end are Alexandria and

Detroit Lakes, both towns with ample accommodations and amenities. The trail between the two towns can get busy, but there’s a section of Ottertail County that is less-traveled: the western part of the county, including the towns of Pelican Rapids, Elizabeth and Rothsay. In all, the county has about 500 miles of trail.

Winter 2022-23 19


SOUTHERN A RAPID CHANGING LANDSCAPE @VisitFairmontMN EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/SOUTHERN-MINNESOTA

W

hen the snow storms veer below the capital city of St. Paul, one of the most magical riding destinations in the state comes calling, and this winter you should answer it.

LAND IN A

With the meandering water of the Mississippi creating the eastern border, the southwestern region of Minnesota is one of the few areas in the state where the scraping forces of ancient glaciers never reached. What you’ll find are bluffs, rapidly rolling hills and hidden streams interspersed amongst the rich farmland.

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20 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

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This continuous and rapidly changing landscape is mirrored by the snowmobile trails that slice high and low. And when these trails are blessed with a fresh blanket of snow, a magical carpet ride awaits in one of the most beautiful areas found in the entire upper Midwest. The best way to enjoy t hese southern trails is to keep an eye on the forecast, keep your sleds loaded in the trailer, and remain very flexible to travel. Storm chasers (riders who follow fresh fallen snow in order to make

first tracks) often have Southern Minnesota atop their list, and for good reason. Minnesota’s southern snowmobile trails range from wide stretches of open prairie on the South Dakota border to rolling river valley ridges and bluffs on the Wisconsin border. Corridor trails, combined with routes maintained by local clubs, make it possible to ride across the state from border to border. It’s also possible to circle the Rochester metro area on a continuous loop of trails that provide 130-140 miles of changing scenery. That’s a good day ride in easy reach of amenities.

In the Rochester area, the Douglas State Trail is a 12.5-mile railroad grade route between Rochester and Pine Island that passes through pastures, woods, and open fields. Look for deer and partridge along the way. On the west side of the state, another rails-to-trails ride is the Casey Jones Trail, one of Minnesota’s first authorized state trails named for the legendary railroad engineer. The Blazing Star State Trail runs six miles from Albert Lea Lake in Albert Lea to Myre-Big Island State Park and eventually will link Albert Lea and Austin via Big Island State Park and Hayward.


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PARTS 43 Years of Visit www.northland300.org SALES PARTS or call Kathy (612) 840-9660 SALES SERVICE POLARIS.COM/SNOWMOBILES SERVICE 5839 W. Hwy 12 Maple Plain, MN 55359 55359

Offers valid on select new 2018-2020 Polaris snowmobiles purchased between May 1st, 2020 – July 31st, 2020. Minimum payments required. Offer may not be combined with certain other offers, is subject to change and may be extended or terminated without further notice. Model specifications subject to change. All rebates are paid to the dealer. The Promotional Limited Warranty consists of the standard 12-month factory warranty plus an additional 12 or 24 months of additional promotional limited warranty coverage for a total of 24 or 36 months of warranty coverage. See dealer for details. Any additional warranty coverage after the initial 12 month factory warranty is subject to a $50.00 deductible per visit. Valid at participating Polaris Snowmobile dealers only. Model & year exclusions apply. See your local dealer for details.

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Polaris recommends that all riders take a safety training course. Do not attempt maneuvers beyond your capability. Always wear a helmet and other safety apparel. Never drink and ride.

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Winter 2022-23 21


METRO RIDING THE BURBS EXPLOREMINNESOTA.COM/MINNEAPOLIS-ST-PAUL-AREA

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hile the skyline of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul doesn’t necessarily paint an idyllic winter landscape for snowmobiling, on the fringes resides a bustling community of riders. In fact, this metro region is home to the largest density of snowmobilers anywhere in the world. Proof of this happens each winter as the snow piles up, the trails on the suburban edge of the major metropolitan area come alive with riders looking to escape the big city lights in search of adventure. While most trails that lead outward from the suburban edge are maintained by area clubs, the trails managed by the Three Rivers Parks system serve up easy to find trail heads and scenic riding just minutes from the urban sprawl. Riding opportunities exists in nine of the regional parks and each make for a perfect place to take the family or first-time riders for an afternoon ride. Anoka is best known as the Halloween Capital of the World, but snowmobilers know that fall is just the gateway to winter. After a nice base of snow covers the city, it could also be called the capital of the metro area’s snowmobiling scene. On the northwestern edge of the Twin Cities, Anoka gives city riders easy access to trails close to home as well as destinations north. “The ability to connect to greater Minnesota from the metro area is quite remarkable,” said Peter Turok, President of the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce. “Riders can Historic Downtown access the entire network Historic Anoka is OPEN for of trails that cover the state Downtown beginning in Anoka. When snowmobilers Anoka is OPENvia conditions are favorable, they have the ability to ride thesnowmobilers upper Rum for the Rum River all the way to downtown Anoka to the River! via the upper various restaurants and GreatRiver! Shops and businesses.” Rum

Restaurants Great ShopsAwait! The Minnesota River and carves out some great country on the Restaurants www.anokaarea snowmobile southwestern side of the metro area, with dramatic Await! chamber.com 763-421-7130

anokaareachamber.com 763-421-7130 22 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations

cliffs, hardwood forests, and scenic water views. Take the Minnesota River Valley Trail from Shakopee to Belle Plaine to see the city turn to farm fields and forests all along the scenic riverbed.

In the east metro, Washington County trails give riders close to St. Paul the chance to ride after work or embark on a longer snowmobiling trip beginning in the city and heading outstate on a series of connected trails. A great example of this is the north-south Star Trail from south of Cottage Grove to north of Forest Lake, which means metro riders can take it to feeder trails that ultimately go anywhere in the state. That’s the beauty of riding in the cities — on one end of the trail you can find sporting events, the arts, music, and great food. On the other end is the great Minnesota wilderness. Ride just as much as you want.

RIDING AND RACING

Follow the mighty Mississippi River to the north and you’ll eventually find the river city of Elk River, home to ERX Motor Park, one of the biggest and best motorsports and events venues in the Midwest. This massive venue that totals over 400-acres is home to the Midwest Ride In – the world’s biggest and best antique, vintage and classic snowmobile event. Held the last weekend in January, the Ride In serves up vintage sled displays, trail riding, racing, swap meet, a banquet and socializing around giant outdoor bonfires. Competitive snowmobiling is alive and well in the metro region as well. The aforementioned ERX Motor Park is also home to countless snowmobile races throughout the winter, from grassroots family focused fun under the lights to regional competition and the national snocross tour. The south metro also gets a big dose of racing when the International Series of Champions (ISOC) national snocross tour visits Canterbury Park in Shakopee.


M

Wherever the trail leads, there’s an AmericInn nearby waiting to offer you, friendly service, a comfortable and quiet night’s sleep. And always a place to park your sled.

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Winter 2022-23 23



FEEDBACK

RIDE OFF TRAIL PREVIEW WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Wherever the trail leads, there’s an AmericInn nearby waiting to offer you friendly service and a comfortable and quiet night’s sleep. And always a place to park your sled.

We can almost feel the hackles stiffening on the necks of leaders of organized snowmobile organizations across the Midwest. As of late, it seems the mere mention of riding anywhere else other than a “designated trail” is grounds for extreme persecution and in some instances prosecution. If you’ve invested anytime within the ranks of organized snowmobiling, you know trespassing is “the” hot topic. We don’t disagree that snowmobile trespass is a serious issue, but we honestly haven’t seen much in the form of solutions to the problem outside of preaching and increasing penalties. While this “heavy handed” approach may curb the violations, it most certainly won’t curb the appetite for snowmobilers to ride off-trail. The allure of adventure riding outside of designated routes has long been a part of this sport. In fact, we know of individuals who are now leaders or past leaders within the organized rank and file of snowmobiling who have a deepseated passion for riding off-trail. Add to this, a new generation of riders who find trail riding boring – their words, not ours – and snowmobiles and marketing to support it, that are some of the most capable, and most fun off-trail snowmobiles the sport has ever seen and it’s not hard to see why riding off-trail is more than a passing fad. Last season, we told you that the crew here at Midwest Rider was working on an off-trail ride guide. A list of areas where off-trail riding is legal, and perhaps more importantly, what we as off-trail riding fanatics can do, to create more opportunities. That list is coming in the next issue, and in preparation we want to hear from you. What kind of off-trail riding interests you? Do you have a favorite legal Midwest off-trail destination you’d like to tell us about? Do you have suggestions or ideas on how to increase our off-trail riding opportunities? Should the off-trail community form a ride association so our voices can be heard? Let us know, and we’ll address or dig into as many of them as possible. Send your questions, ideas, and rants to pat@mspininc.com.

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Comfortable, quieter rooms I Free hot, home-style breakfast Hotel-wide, high-speed Internet I Indoor pool and whirlpool Nov/Dec 2022 49


INSIDE

THE ROX SPEED FX

BUILD

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M51 TAC-CAT

“The plan fell in place when we started brainstorming in the Rox R&D facility in northern Minnesota to build something with military stealth defined for special operations.” – Chris Olin, Rox Speed FX ince 1999, Rox Speed FX has been turning heads with their promotional vehicle builds showcasing their premium products, other aftermarket partners and the major OEMs in the motorsports industry. When thoughts turned to building their 51st custom, owner Chris Olin and the Rox team, knew they wanted to step out of the box to launch their all-new Rox tunnel storage system, but also utilize their Arctic Cat Alpha One Mountain Cat 154 to show how much they appreciate the service and sacrifice of the law enforcement and military communities.

STRENGTH Arctic Cat Billet Pro Mountain running boards, Pro Mountain front bumper, TKI Alpha Rail brace, chain case/brake rotor guard, brake lever/res guard combo, 10” Billet wheels, Rox Speed FX custom rear tunnel brace and bumper, Rox Speed FX custom seat cover

The Rox team challenged themselves to create a serious entry into the world of covert Special Operations and SWAT builds with goals augmenting the snowmobile’s speed, strength, stealth, handling, tactical application and storage. Many hours and varying rounds of the tear-down and fitment process took place when powder coating and Cerakoting a multitude of components ensure the build turned out just right. The end product, dubbed the M51 Tac-Cat, is nothing short of exhilarating and the photos capture many of the new Rox Speed FX products including: Molle-Tec Tunnel Storage System, Handlebars, Bar Pad, E-Stop Relocation Kit and Flex-Tec Handguards.

50 Midwest Rider 2022

to

of

ADDITIONAL ACCESSORIES Rox removable snow flap kit, bar pad, new E-stop relocation kit, Arctic Cat Pro Mountain gas cap, SnoPro windshield, Billet recoil handle, GlowShift Digital 30 PSI Boost gauge and Design Engineer Exhaust pipe wrap kit


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STEALTH/TACTICAL APPLICATIONS Blown Concepts vinyl wrap with Multicam® Black Vinyl pattern, Cerakot Mil Spec O.D. green, Eastwood® Flat Black powdercoat, Mountain Fit Ascender Headlight Delete w/intake, Safariland® GLOCK holster, Picatinny Rail sections, Streamlight® ProTec Rail Mount HL-X 1000 Lumens, Xprite Red/Blue LED Hideaway Strobe Police Light Kit, MSR® 30oz Liquid Fuel Bottle, Pelican® 1400 Case, Pelican Storm iM2300 Case, QuickFist® Orignal and Super Clamps, RAM® Mounts 1” Ball w/ M8 Bolts, Double Socket Arm Medium, Composite round plate w/1” ball

HANDLING Starting Line Products (SLP) Mohawk Ski, Ski loop, saddles, runners/carbides, TKI CNC 36” Upper Arms and RIOT Spindles, Arctic Cat Ascender Pro Seat, Rox Speed FX new M30 handlebar, Premium BRX 2.25” risers, Custom Rox FlexTec Lite handguards, Rox Snowmobile grips

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STORAGE Rox Speed FX new 26” MolleTec Tunnel System is shown in the following Tactical platform, Photography storage platform and General use platform

52 Midwest Rider 2022


FIND THE SNOWMOBILE THAT FITS YOU No matter the experience level, location, or reason for riding, we’ve got the perfect sled for you. Answer a few quick questions, and we’ll take it from there. You’ll be on your dream snowmobile in no time.

SPEED AND PERFORMANCE Silber Turbo with ECU flash and 200+ hp and TKI Belt Drive

Adventure RV & Power Sports Hayward WI - 715-934-3273 adventurervandpowersports.com Century Power Sports Century Power Sports Stillwater MN - 651-439-2035 Stillwater MN centurypower.com 651-439-2035 centurypower.com Country Cat Sauk Centre MN - 320-352-3534 Country Cat countrycat.com Sauk Centre MN 320-352-3534 Day’s Power Sports countrycat.com Bloomer WI - 715-568-4755 dayspowersports.us MotoProz, Inc. MN Center Morse Mazeppa Power Sports Wisconsin507-843-2855 Dells WI - 608-254-8341 motoproz.com morsepowersports.com Inc. R &MotoProz, R Motorsports Hazelhurst WI Mazeppa MN - 507-843-2855 715-358-5349 motoproz.com rnr-rentals.com R & R Motorsports Hazelhurst WIand - 715-358-5349 Road, Track Trail LLC rnr-rentals.com Big Bend WI - 262-662-1500 roadtrackandtrail.com Road, Track and Trail LLC Big Bend - 262-662-1500 Sette Sports Center roadtrack andtrail.com Owatonna MN 507-451-6922 TA Motorsports settesportscenter.com Francis Creek WI - 920-682-1284 tamotorsports.com TA Motorsports Francis Creek WI Thomas Sno Sports 920-682-1284 Ogilvie MN - 320-556-3467 tamotorsports.com thomassnosports.com Yamaha Yamahaof ofPort PortWashington WashingtonInc Inc Port Washington WI Port Washington WI - 262-284-5995 262-284-5995 portyamaha.com portyamaha.com 2021 2022

Nov/Dec 2022 53


COMING EVENTS

best of winter MIDWEST RIDE IN – JANUARY 27-28 ERX Motor Park, Elk River, MN

While this event started out as a celebration of antique and vintage snowmobiles, it has morphed into so much more, especially after making the move to ERX Motor Park a few years ago. Now the event truly is a celebration of all things snowmobiling and everyone is welcome including every sled from modern to classic to rear-engine. While the focus is still on old sleds and the amazing people and memories associated with this sport, the welcome mat has now been rolled out to everyone who simply loves to snowmobile. Even if you don’t know the difference between a bogie wheel or a ferris wheel, we can guarantee you’ll have the best weekend of winter at Ride In. Long time participants take note, this year’s event is now Friday and Saturday only, with new activities in store. To learn more visit mwvss.com.

60TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SNOWMOBILE DERBY – JANUARY 19-22 World Championship Derby Complex, Eagle River, WI No other race has the history, the name recognition, or holds more memories for racers and fans alike than the famed World Championships in Eagle River, Wisconsin. If you only attend one snowmobile race this winter, this one should be at the top of your list. For over 50 years, the race has been held on a fully contained, half-mile banked oval track located in the heart of one of Wisconsin’s most popular resort areas, Eagle River. Oh, did we mention the community also comes alive with activities throughout the week including a parade and of course, incredible trail riding in the heart of snow country. To learn more visit derbycomplex.com.

MICHIGAN SNOWMOBILE FESTIVAL – FEBRUARY 2023 Gaylord, MI Dubbed Michigan’s richest snowmobile fun run, participants enjoy two days of scenic trail riding while stopping at area businesses in hopes of winning some incredible prizes. When the riding is done, things heat up even more with live music, incredible food, and cash prize drawings. Held in Gaylord, Michigan, a popular snowmobile destination that many enthusiasts call sledder heaven, you’ll find no shortage of trails or hospitality. This winter’s exact weekend of activity has yet to be confirmed as of this writing, but you can be the first to know by visiting gaylordmichigan.net. 54 Midwest Rider 2022


Comfort in Cold Weather

LIMITED A LIMITED AVAILABILITY. ENDS MARCH 24.

WANT A FORCED INDUCTION CROSSOVER? COOL AASPIRATED FORCED INDUCTION OR NATURALLY D CROSSOVER? COOL. WE’VE GOT BOTH. 2023 Polaris Engineered Accessories

Check out the all-new lineup of Polaris Engineered accessories for the 2023 riding season.

Chopper City

Jay’s Power Center

Motor Sports of Willmar

Fridley MN Reedsburg WI Willmar MN If you want one sled that can truly do it all, you 763-572-2100 608-768-3297 320-235-2351 choppercity.com jayspowercenter.com want a Switchback. New for 2023, the SnowCheck motorsportsofwillmar.com

Power Lodge Onamia MN

crew that built 320-532-3860 the RMK. We bu powerlodge.com exclusive Switchback Assault is available with the legendary 5 Davis Mittelstaedt Sports &built the e sled that canMotorsports truly do it all, you crew that world’s best mountain sled... Power Lodge Northland Sport Center the powerful OEM 2-stroke turbo, Delano MN world’s most Marine, Inc. Ramsey MN Eagle Bend MN and it’s become back. New for 2023, the SnowCheck the RMK. We built the Switchback 763-972-5045 LaValle WI or 850 Patriot engines. the Patriot Boost, 650 763-576-1706 218-738-2582 chback Assault is available with the legendary 50/50 crossover family. DavisMotorsportsDelano.com 608-985-7118 Knowing that it takes more thannorthlandsportsmn.com just an engine powerlodge.com ost powerful OEM 2-stroke turbo, mittelstaedtsports.com to build Hayward Power Sports the ultimate crossover, it features the ost, 650 or 850 Patriot engines. Ray’s Sport & Cycle Power Lodge Hayward WI Powersportswith Inc its proven IGX 146 rearMonroe suspension on and t takes more715-462-3674 than just an engine Grand Rapids MN Brainerd MN Monroe WI off-trail handling. Ride in an area that’s on trail haywardpowersports.com 218-326-9355 608-325-5056 218-822-3500 imate crossover, it features the only? No problem. The Switchbackpowerlodge.com has the trail mpsskidoo.com rayssportandcycle.com uspension with its proven on and See the new 20 manners of an INDY. Ride where you can get off ng. Ride in an area that’s on trail Tri-K Sports local Dealer, on trail? Perfect. em. The Switchback has the trail The Switchback is built by the same Maple Plain MN * Red listings denote electronic link to dealer website on digital edition of Midwest Rider. Visit mspninc.com See the new 2023 Matryx Switchbacks at your 763-479-3719 INDY. Ride where you can get off The Switchback is built by the same local Dealer, on the trail or running powerlines.tri-ksports.com

©2022 Polaris Industries Inc. Photographed using highly skilled professiona riders take a training course. Do not attempt maneuvers beyond your capabil

©2022 Polaris Industries Inc. Photographed using highly skilled professional operators under controlled conditions. Polaris recommends that all riders take a training course. Do not attempt maneuvers beyond your capability. Always wear a helmet and other safety apparel. Never drink and ride.

Y23-SWB-SC-MI-FP-Ad-Fnl.indd

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YAMAHASNOWMOBILES.COM

©2022 Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. All rights reserved. Product and specifications subject to change without notice. Professional rider on closed course under controlled conditions. Model shown with optional accessories. Always wear an approved helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. Ride responsibly and always ride within yourRider capabilities, allowing time and distance for maneuvering, and respect others around you. Know the conditions. Observe all state and local laws. Don’t drink and ride. 32 Midwest 2022