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Best Places to Snowmobile You Should Experience at Least Once

Best Places to Snowmobile You Should Experience at Least Once

AMSOIL INC. is located in the heart of snowmobile country – Wisconsin, so we know a thing or two about the best places to snowmobile.

Did you know the snowmobile was invented in Wisconsin? Carl Eliason brought to life his idea of a “motor toboggan” in 1924. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the upper Midwest is a mecca for devoted sledheads and casual snowmobile enthusiasts alike.

No matter the destination, thousands of miles await sledders eager to hit the snowy terrain. We put together a list of the best places to snowmobile across the Midwest. Read on for more.

Best places to snowmobile in Wisconsin

Eagle River

Known as the “Snowmobile Capital of the World,” Eagle River is home to a 500-mile trail network that is meticulously maintained by local snowmobile clubs and volunteers.

There is breathtaking scenery and an endless supply of local hospitality. There’s a reason it’s been ranked several times as ‘Best of’ in various categories from national publications.

It’s also home to the World Championship Snowmobile Derby that draws thousands of spectators to the region each year.

Before you go, find a full list of area trails here and check out current conditions here.

St. Germain

Connected to Eagle River trails, St. Germain is a natural segue for snow travelers hopscotching throughout the region.

With groomed trails stretching hundreds of miles and a local snowmobile-club-sponsored Trail Patrol, St. Germain offers excellent riding conditions that draw thousands of travelers each year.

Find helpful links on resorts, rentals and trail conditions here.

Cable

Home to one of the largest trail systems in the nation, Cable offers more than 1,200 miles of interconnecting snowmobile routes that weave throughout the Chequamegon National Forest.

It’s known for its quiet and solitude among nature’s best scenery.

Find everything you need to know about this route here.

Iron County

Just along the Michigan border, you’ll find a place that sees an average of 200 inches of snowfall per year, more than 500 groomed trails and 175,000 acres of off-trail forest land.

Along the way you can catch views of 200 lakes within a 30-mile radius among fellow snowmobilers making their way through old mining towns in the region.

Find more info on what Iron County has to offer here.

Best places to snowmobile in Michigan

Upper Peninsula

The U.P. of Michigan has earned legendary status among snowmobile enthusiasts from all over.

With more than 3,000 miles of groomed trails, it’s been voted “Most Scenic,” “Best Powder Riding,” “Best Trail Riding” and “Best Overall Snowmobiling Area” by readers of Snow Goer Magazine.

For those looking to put their skills to the test, it also holds the title of “Most Challenging” for its technical trail offerings.

You can find all things related to planning the perfect Michigan U.P. trip here.

Lake Gogebic

Some call this snowmobile district the best-kept secret in Michigan.

Located in the western U.P., it features hundreds of miles of groomed trails that weave throughout the forest and offer access to scenic overlooks. The route possibilities are endless, whether riders are looking for a day trip or an overnight adventure.

Check out this website for everything you need to know about this picturesque snowmobiling region.

Gaylord

Located in the lower peninsula, Gaylord averages more than 180 inches of snowfall each year and offers more than 300 miles of groomed trails.

It’s also home to the annual Michigan Snowmobile Festival, where fellow enthusiasts unite over runs, music and good family fun.

You can plan your entire trip, including trail maps and live snow cams, right here.

Best places to snowmobile in Minnesota

Brainerd

A starting point of the legendary Paul Bunyan Trail, Brainerd Lakes is a hub to snowmobilers descending on Minnesota looking for a great route.

Covering approximately 120 miles, the Paul Bunyan Trail leads north past the Bemidji, Minn., region with well-groomed trails and several snowmobile-friendly stops along the way.

Find maps, trail markers and all the stops you need to plan for here.

Bemidji

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Bemidji.

Situated at a crossroads for two of the state’s largest trail-system routes, Bemidji trails can lead riders anywhere in the state they wish to go. There are lakes, streams, bogs and rolling hills that offer beautiful scenery in any terrain.

Plan your route here.

North Shore

Minnesota’s North Shore is well-known for its scenic landscape no matter which method of transportation you’re using.

Snowmobiles are no exception, with well-groomed trails spanning from Duluth to Grand Marais amidst the backdrop of mighty Lake Superior.

Numerous local trails connect to the main state trail so riders can veer off and explore the hidden wonders of backwoods Minnesota.

Right here is where you can find everything you need to start planning a scenic ride through northern Minnesota.

Best places to snowmobile in North and South Dakota

South Dakota Badlands and Black Hills

A little farther West is an up-and-coming snowmobile hub in the state of South Dakota amidst the scenic Badlands and Black Hills region.

More than 350 miles of marked and groomed trails await travelers seeking a journey through canyons, caves, forests and summit overlooks. Plenty of meadows for ideal powder riding surround the beaten path, with snowmobile-friendly pit stops scattered throughout.

SnoWest Magazine and SuperTrax International ranked the Black Hills snowmobile trail system as one of the top 10 places to ride.

Check out trail conditions and more here.

Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon is worthy of its own mention despite it being just north of the aforementioned Black Hills region.

In fact, sledders could easily make this their start or end point on a Black Hills tour.

This spot has produced loyal fans who return each year for the scenery, world-class lodging and a glimpse of the filming locations for the classic film “Dances with Wolves.”

In our research, Spearfish Canyon came up several times as the premier place in South Dakota to create your snowmobile adventure.

You’ll find what you need to start planning here.

North Dakota

North Dakota offers 13 trails of groomed terrain spanning more than 2,800 miles throughout the state.

You can also glimpse another piece of Hollywood history by stopping at the home of the original wood chipper from the cult-classic movie “Fargo.”

Check out a full trail list and riding conditions throughout the state here.

8 Important Checks for your Snowmobile

8 Ways to Prep Your Snowmobile

Ok, I’m late posting this one but February is our busiest month for snowmobile oil as our customers venture out west betwixt now and the end of March. Some great snow to play in at the moment!

Avid riders are already getting their snowmobiles ready for winter. Soon it’ll be time to hit the trails or take to the mountains for the first ride of the season. Nothing ruins a ride more than a breakdown, so we put together some tips to help you get your snowmobile ready for winter.

Check the spark plugs

Inspect spark-plug and wire condition. Ski-Doo E-TEC engines require indexing if removed or replaced, so be sure to check your owner’s manual for proper instructions. They must be set facing the right direction and depth. Replace plugs that appear excessively dirty or worn along with any worn or frayed wires.

Inspect clutches and suspension

Check clutches, the drive belt and suspension for wear and tear. Greasing (everyone always forgets!) and inspecting the suspension components and slides (hyfax) are a great idea. Slides typically have a small line across them indicating when they are worn out. If they are below the line at all, replace them.

Items to check in the suspension include loose or worn parts and missing or loose idler wheels. Inspecting and cleaning the clutches and belt are also a necessary maintenance item. Remove any belt dust or rubber from the clutch sheaves.

Adjust track and check skis

Check your track for proper tension and make sure bolts are tight. Look for worn or missing lugs.

Don’t be that guy (or gal) who everyone has to bail out of trouble at every apex.

 


On the skis, look for any gouges, cuts or corrosion and make sure the runners are straight and still have carbide on them. The carbide edge allows the skis to bite into the trail and turn better.

Let there be light

Make sure your electrical system is up to par. Inspect the ignition and look for any warning lights that can signal problems. Check high/low-beam headlights and brake lights to ensure the bulbs haven’t burnt out.

Check the oil and filter

If you’re riding a four-stroke and didn’t do it last spring, change the oil and filter.

On two-strokes, make sure to top-off the oil reservoir and use an oil with excellent cold-flow properties for best protection. Inspect the exhaust power valves and clean them if needed. If your power valves are sticking, switch to a high-quality two-stroke oil proven to prevent power-valve sticking, like AMSOIL INTERCEPTOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil.

If you’re not sure which AMSOIL synthetic snowmobile oil is right for you, check out our handy Snowmobile Product Guide.

Inspect the fuel system

Check the fuel tank along with the fuel and oil lines for cracks or leaks. Unless you used a stabilizer such as AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer, empty the fuel tank and replace with fresh fuel. Clean your carburetor and make sure it’s adjusted properly to prevent performance issues or breakdowns. AMSOIL Power Foam is excellent for cleaning carbs.

Change the chaincase oil

It’s best to change chaincase oil annually, preferably in spring after riding season is over. Chains and gears create metal particles that need to be removed from the fluid regularly lest they build-up and cause bigger problems down the trail. We have just the oil for this important step: AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil.

 


Get there and be prepared

If using a trailer, ensure everything is good to go. Before you load up, inspect the tires, bearings, hitch, safety chains, axle, springs, bed, cover, lights and electrical components.

Prepare for emergencies

Anything can happen, so be prepared. When getting your snowmobile ready for winter, it’s always a good idea to bring fire-starting materials, like a lighter, along with dry clothes, work gloves, water, an extra two strap, granola bars, lip balm and any other essentials you deem necessary to have on hand if you end up stranded.

Watch Scott Judnick Go Big – And Why We’re Into Snow

Watch Scott Judnick Go Big – And Why We’re Into Snow

At AMSOIL, we like to do things big. And when it comes to the world of Snocross, Scott Judnick of Judnick Motorsports likes to do things just as big. Check out his story below.

It’s About the People

Twenty-two years ago, Scott Judnick took his sons racing. Within just a few years he was running a rig across the country to race. His two sons developed into professional riders complete with mechanics and trailers set-up for the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series. Find Judnick anywhere on the track or in the pits and you are sure to be greeted with a smile and a “How are ya?”

For Judnick, it’s all about the people within the racing community. Fielding the dreams of the three young racers on his team is just a bonus.

Overcoming Adversity

Judnick went into the 2018-19 Snocross season with notable riders expected to dominate the Pro, Pro Lite and Sport classes. The season started on a high note with Sport rider Carson Alread taking the checkers to open the season in Duluth, Minn.

Noticeably absent from the Friday night DOMINATOR race was Pro Lite rider Nick Lorenz. A re-aggravated knee injury forced Lorenz to take it easy opening weekend. After further observation, he underwent surgery that ended his season before it started. Making matters worse for the team, a scary landing during practice in Canterbury, Minn., left Alread sidelined for the remainder of the season, too.

But that didn’t stop Judnick from continuing to compete. He signed Canadian standout RJ Roy, along with Pro rider Corin Todd. Roy has proven he can hang with the big boys, landing just short of the podium multiple rounds.

AMSOIL Products Keep Sleds Running Strong

Race sleds operate in extreme conditions. Judnick relies on AMSOIL DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil to keep his race sleds running in those extreme conditions.

“Our engines are tuned to run on the very edge and placed under extreme demands in extreme weather conditions,” said Judnick. “We’ve been using DOMINATOR since its inception and it has never let us down.”

DOMINATOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil

Buy DOMINATOR Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil

Not to be forgotten, the chaincases on these sleds also need attention. Judnick uses AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil to protect his sleds’ chaincases.

“The chain and sprockets on our race sleds take a beating from the harsh landings and constant changes in snow and track conditions. With just routine maintenance, AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil prevents us from having parts failures in these areas,” said Judnick.

chain case oil

Buy AMSOIL Synthetic Chaincase & Gear Oil

Another team favorite? Mudslinger. It provides a protective, non-stick layer of armor against the accumulation of snow.

Mudslinger®

Buy AMSOIL Mudslinger

Will Judnick go big this weekend? Be sure to watch his team live in action this weekend at the Seneca Allegany Snocross National in Salamanca, N.Y.

Watch Now: Experts Debate Controversial Snocross Rule Change

Watch Now: Experts Debate Controversial Snocross Rule Change

Race fans, be prepared for a little less “braap” this AMSOIL Championship Snocross race season.

My father taught me a lot about sports. Which collegiate hockey team was the best (it’s the UMD Bulldogs…sorry, Minnesota Golden Gophers), the numbering system for the positions in baseball (6-4-3 double play anyone?), how downs and yardage work in professional football (and that we will always love the Minnesota Vikings), among others.

One of the most important lessons he taught me came during a lackluster season for one of our favorite teams: “This is a rebuilding year. Things will come back around.”

That appears to be the case this season for AMSOIL Championship Snocross.

No more engine mods

As part of an effort to level the playing field in the Pro Class, International Snomobile Racing, Inc. (ISR) has implemented a new rule for the upcoming season that requires all race sleds to essentially be stock. That means teams can no longer modify the engine, pipes or chassis.

They can, however, modify the shocks, skis, handlebars and aftermarket silencers. The sled may also be reinforced and strengthened with added material.

We’ve seen this before in motorsports. In motocross, all competitors, both amateur and pro, compete with limited-build bikes within a few horsepower of each other. More recently, the TORC Series implemented new restrictions to its Pro 2wd class to increase the field of competitors.

That’s the same idea here. With two of the teams in the Pro Open class bowing out at the end of last season, the field was shrinking. This new rule change is designed to encourage more Pro Lite racers to move up to the Pro Open class to fill those gaps.

Yay or nay?

As with any change in sports, this move has its advocates and detractors. Proponents argue that this will open the door for more riders to move up and hopefully lessen the expense of snowmobile racing, in turn fueling its future. The sled manufacturers will also be encouraged to build better race sleds, which benefits riders in all classes.

Opponents argue that this will make the racing less interesting for fans, with the loudest (and may I mention my favorite) class being the little 120s. They also argue that it will stifle innovation in the sled industry.

Two big industry players at opposite ends of this issue include Steve Scheuring of Scheuring Speed Sports and Tom Rager Jr., Race Manager at Polaris.

We sat down with a few key players in this world to hear what they have to say. Hear their thoughts in the video above.

What are your thoughts? As with any change, it will take a year or so to see how everything shakes out. This could eventually be a turnaround for the world of snocross racing. Or maybe it won’t be.

The only way to find out is to drop the flag on the season and start racing. The AMSOIL Championship Snocross season kicks off Thanksgiving Weekend at Spirit Mt. in Duluth, Minn.

I hope to see you there!