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MECCA Trails Winterfest returns as fresh snow and cold temperatures improve trail conditions across the Northwoods

Katie Thoresen

Trail conditions have gone through some whiplash this month.

Ski and snowshoe trails were off to a strong start with early season snow.

Then the unusual storm that brought warm temperatures and strong winds put some trail use on hold.

Now with fresh snow and frigid temps, trails are getting back on track.

“We’re back in business and the trails are in good condition,” said MECCA Trails President Mike Shouldice.

Like many trails that were able to open in early December, MECCA Trails snow base took a hit in the mid-December storm.

But more than seven inches of snow this week is putting all 21 kilometers of trail back on track.

“We’re strictly a volunteer organization the groomers typically go out in pairs. It will take two folks five hours or a total of 10 grooming hours to get the entire trail system groomed,” said Shouldice.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

If the fresh snow isn’t motivation enough for people to hit the trails, Shouldice hopes Winterfest will be.

The ski race and snowshoe tour is happening once again. The event is held in collaboration with the Gogebic Range Health Foundation.

Like last year, people can participate virtually by timing themselves on the marked trails.

“Better attended last year than either of the previous two years. People really enjoyed the virtual format,” he said.

This year, there will also be two live ski races on February 5th.

Skiers can race the Claire d’Loon 5k or Flowage 15k freestyle.

Money raised from MECCA Trails Winterfest supports trail maintenance and ski classes.

Shouldice also hopes it inspires a love of winter and the outdoors.

“It’s an important fundraiser but more importantly it showcases the beauty of the MECCA trail system and gets people outdoors, enjoying healthy sports,” he said.

You can register for the virtual or in-person races on MECCA Trails website.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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