Slow start to LORDA syrup production
LANSDOWNE – Jim Crawford holds out a cup filled with a clear liquid. It doesn’t look like much – in fact it just looks like water.
NEW GLASGOW – While some drivers are less than impressed with this season’s already heavy winter, others couldn’t be more excited. Snowmobile owners have been hitting the trails earlier than normal, including Pictou County’s groomed runs that extend more than 300 kilometres.
“This is probably one of the earliest starts in 10 to 12 years,” Kevin Crawford, general manager of Adventure Motors and avid snowmobiler, said.
Adventure Motors has been running out of New Glasgow since 1992. They specialize in a variety of recreational vehicles including snowmobiles, RVs, ATVs, cars, trucks and watercrafts.
Crawford is a member of both snowmobiling clubs in the county, Pictou County Sno-Riders Snowmobile Club and the Dalhousie Mountain Snowmobile Club, and has been since he was a teenager.
The 44-year-old remembers being placed on a snowmobile when he was only three years old. He has been hitting the trails ever since.
His parents and his own family are all fans of the winter activity. He’s already been out for several runs.
“I’ve put on 300 to 400 miles already,” he said.
Crawford says they’ve increased their sales at the store for this part of the season.
It’s been steady leading up to winter, but as soon as the snow starting coming a month ago, people started piling in.
“We’re looking to have a sellout year for sure.”
He says early snow helps the economy in many ways.
Businesses that sell shovels, snow blowers, sleds and salt are feeling the benefits.
Although the snow has been positive, the rain and ice have put the brakes on the groomers.
Jeff Giles, president of the Sno Riders club, said the freezing rain got in their way for clearing the trails.
There are still trees hanging down in some areas, making it difficult to get them ready.
“The ice storm wreaked havoc everywhere.”
He’s hoping the mild weather the county has received recently will melt some of the ice and get them out of the way.
All of the snow came as a bit of a surprise as well.
“It’s a blessing to get snow early, but we weren’t ready for it.”
Normally, they wouldn’t be able to get out until January, with the official opening on the 15th.
He noted that he’s received complaints about trails that weren’t ready. He said with the weather and all of their groomers only working as volunteers, it’s been tough to keep up.
It takes time, he said, but it’s worth it.
“As long as they enjoy it and appreciate it, we’re happy.”
Giles has put 16 hours in grooming the trails, and approximately four hours on his snowmobile so far this season.
Five trails are fully open, and they’re still working on some of the side roads. He says some are passable with caution.
They’re always looking for new members and volunteers. The club meets at the New Glasgow Legion from 7 until 9 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month from October until April.
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda