Snowmobile trails open in Vilas County

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The Sno-Eagles snowmobile club spent hours grooming the trails Tuesday.

"Most of our trails have froze up pretty good, we have one or two spots we have gated that are still a little too wet for snowmobiles," Vilas County Parks and Recreation Administrator Dale Mayo said.

Mayo says recent snowfall is just enough to open the trails for riders on Wednesday, who are eager to feel the wintry air on an open sled.

But they'll still need to steer clear of certain areas.

"The big thing we're urging everybody, stay off all area lakes until the trails are marked. We still have lakes out there with open water," Mayo explained.

Mayo says tourism is off to a slow start in Vilas County. The previous lack of snow is largely to blame. That means the County is relying on a good winter season for riders to help make up for lost ground.

"We didn't have the snowmobile trails open, there were no ski trails open, so the winter tourism just wasn't happening in Vilas County over the Christmas," Mayo said.

The good news is that there are positive signs already.

Some businesses that depend on sleds, like the Hiawatha Inn and Lodge in Eagle River, are starting to get more calls.

"Now we're just over half booked which is not bad," owner Scott Frickson said.

Frickson says the riders are critical to his business.

"Just to keep it heated, you know, you need those snowmobilers to pay the bills."

While riders would still like to see more snow yet, for now, they'll take what mother nature has brought.

Trails in Vilas County opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday.