OPTA announces Snowmobile Raffle winners, awaits vital weather conditions to open trails
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
The Ojibway Power Toboggan Association (OPTA) continues to prepare local snowmobile trails for the season, while awaiting vital conditions to open. OPTA also declared the winners for this year’s Snowmobile Raffle on December 26 via Facebook live. The first place went to Tyrell Goretzki. Second place was Ian Ford and Helen Goodwin secured third place.
OPTA shared that having received such a great response and being sold out for this year’s draw, they may print a greater number of tickets for next year’s Snowmobile Raffle.
Local snowmobile trails, however, will remain closed until they have enough of a snow base to begin the grooming process. OPTA Vice President, Andrew Jarmain, shared with the Bulletin early last week, “Currently in Sioux Lookout there are no trails open at this time. We have begun to stake lakes to try and get our trails open to limited status.”
Jarmain shared, “Once there is 18 inches of ice, the club can start to run the groomer across the ice to access the trail network that is landlocked by lakes.” He added that another 8 to 12 inches of snow is required to form enough bases to start grooming the trails. Jarmain suggested, “Everyone should again be checking the interactive trail guide on the OFSC website for up to date trail status information.” The information can be accessed online at the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs’ (OFSC) website at https://ofsc.evtrails.com/#.
OPTA is working on getting all signage inspected. In a Facebook post by OPTA, they ask all snowmobilers to ride the stakes as much as possible to build ice. Jarmain shared, “The purpose for riding the stakes to build ice is to get enough ice to cross the lakes with the groomer. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature at this time, waiting for snow.”
The Owner of Slate Falls Airways, Matt Cairns asks fellow lake users to be cautious of some unmarked and additional snow banks on Pelican Lake that may be difficult to see, and to be considerate with the use of the shared space. Cairns said, “On the lake, it really does some damage to the ice strip when skidooers are using it. So, I just ask that if you are out there on a skidoo or a snowmobile to stay off the runway and also, whenever you’re out there, keep your eyes out for airplanes.”
Cairns said, “The runway is in the same spot that it always is. It’s just, right now there’s some piles of snow banks that are unmarked and difficult to see.” He added, “We’ve had a pretty awkward, a pretty bad freeze this year. There’s a lot of slush and not a lot of ice in some spots. So, that’s kind of delayed it. I would hope for sort of the first week in January at the latest, we’ll be out there and we’ll have our markers up so it’ll be easier to see.”