Snowmobilers across the southeast are excited about the snowfall last week and colder temperatures are bringing out the groomers.

President of the South East Sno-Riders says they are optimistic about a good riding season and the trails.

“They've drastically improved with all the snow that we got, though we could use more, but we are starting, this week, grooming some of our trails.”

Mitch Gobeil says, “We have a groomer that's out today, and it will be going today, tomorrow, and I believe Thursday. I don't have the list in front of me, but we are grooming the trails that we can do, because it's not just a matter of the snow, we've also got to make sure all our signage is correct and stuff as well.”

Gobeil adds trails between Woodridge and South Junction should be open by the end of today, but tomorrow for sure.

He tells us which trails they’ll be working on this week.

"The trail from Woodridge going through Marchand to La Broquerie, going down Friedensfeld Road up to the #12 Hwy, which connects with another clubs trail. And then also we're working on trying to open up the trail that goes from Woodridge, basically north to the Trans-Canada highway. There's a couple of, I'll call them, minor issues that we got to make sure are OK before we get that one completely done, but all of those should be done by the end of this week.”

Gobeil says the recent cold snap has been a benefit for them.

"It is, because we have a number of ice crossings, and when our biggest groomer, which has a total weight machine of over 18,000 lbs, you need lots of good ice to cross the trails over waterways, and so, we've got to do our ice checks at some of the various locations, but it's looking favorable.”

He notes in some places where they would use smaller equipment, they’ve checked the ice thickness and it’s 16” of ice.  

"But we still have to check some of the others before we take any equipment across. One of the major ones (waterways) that we go across is on our trail from Moose Lake Provincial Park to Buffalo Point First Nation, where we have to cross the Reed River. So, we've got to make sure that we've got good ice there, but we haven't had a chance to get in there and check that ice yet.”

Gobeil says the South East Sno-Riders Club looks after over 500 km of trails, though they groom approximately 952 km of trail every week, once all their trails are open. It’s along these trails that they have five shelters.

"What we decided this year was that we would upgrade our shelters. Some need more work than others. There are several that are on high ground where we can access them year-round, on those we have done renovations and clean up. We're doing stuff like putting fascia and soffits, repainting the interiors and better lighting inside. Of course, making sure that the batteries are all good, and that the solar panels are working like they should, things of that nature.”

Gobeil says they had a work crew at one of their more remote shelters a couple of weekends ago, painting the interior, bringing in firewood, and splitting it.

"Then the weekend before, we had 12 volunteers doing all of that working on the shelters, splitting the firewood, filling up the bins with firewood. You can hardly put another stick of firewood in it. The volunteers have done a tremendous job with that.”

He adds while some people cringe when they see the snow and cold in the forecast, their club is excited to get out on the trails.

“We want to get out there and ride the trails. Is it as much fun at 30 below as it is at, you know, 15 below? No, but hey, we live in Canada, and we live in Manitoba, and it gets cold, and it is what it is, we’ve got to enjoy the winter.”