By: Mark Lester
I have to confess something. Anytime after the 15th of November I get obsessive-compulsive about the weather.
I’m constantly checking my sources for impending storms, cold fronts, moisture laden low pressure areas sweeping north from the southern US, all in an effort to glean potential snowfall information on my fave riding areas.
I’m not alone in this quest. I’ve had heart-to-heart conversations with other snowmobilers who also admit to similar tendencies. In more than 30 years of snowmobiling, my obsession with winter weather has not ebbed; actually, it has increased. Thankfully, therapy has become easier to access.
Complicating my condition is this: I actually experience weird head rushes (not chemically induced) every fall. Without warning, my mind goes to a place I love to ride. This is weird, yet enjoyable.
It’s not quite like I’m hallucinating, actually, it’s more like I’m snow-lucinating. As the calendar moves deeper into the year, this crazy passion for getting out and snowmobiling floods my synapses.
After all these years I still get excited about winter and that first snowfall. My best friend, wife Barb, capsules it this way: “You’re like a kid waiting for Christmas”.
Is there a cure? Not likely. However, as I said, treatment is available. The internet offers effective relief delivering updated weather information on a minute-by-minute scale.
Is there anything better than logging onto real-time weather radar at weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca? I think not! This site not only delivers great hourly forecasts, you can actually watch a storm or squall dumping snow on your trails.
This is superb therapy in my books! Note: If the POP number (probability of precipitation) goes above 60 percent, load your sled; above 70 percent, put your helmet on. Conversely, if POP drops below 50 percent, don’t bother topping up your injector oil.
There are other great sources for trail and weather info you should try this winter. How about the OFSC’s own site: ofsc.on.org – and then click through to Trail Reports?
This site gets ji-normous traffic and is particularly useful when planning a tour or multi-day trip. Generally, the OFSC site delivers current and accurate trail conditions, dead honest, if not slightly conservative in its ratings.
The OFSC’s Trail Conditions listings generate impressive web traffic, proving an increasing number of you are in need of trail condition rehab.
An interesting twist on the weather/trail conditions reporting concept comes from OFSC media sponsor, Skywords. Skywords is a syndicated radio broadcast producing accurate daily trail condition reports using its own network of OFSC reporters.
It’s a slick program aimed at delivering concise trail information to snowmobilers right up to and including when they arrive at the trailhead. Getting trail updates from the radio lets you continue annoying others with your weather/trail condition obsession while traveling.
Obviously, you can’t use your Blackberry driving so Skywords keeps trail data flowing while you’re driving, reducing the possibility of any sensible dialogue in the truck en route to your riding destination. Stations carrying Skywords Trail reports are listed in this issue of Go Snowmobiling Magazine. Try it, you’ll feel better.
Another great source for weather and trail conditions is weathernetwork.com. I personally enjoy this site’s 14-day outlook, using it to effectively calm anxiety during a mid-winter mild spell. There’s nothing more soothing than following the weather graph two weeks out as it predicts increasing cold and more snow. Think of it as long-range therapy.
While you’re hitting the web for weather info, you should bookmark accuweather.com too. There’s lots of forecast info here and a nice, easy-to-read long range forecast going out 15 days ahead. This site also offers some editorializing on current conditions, making for interesting reading when you’re suffering from low POP anxiety.
Face it, snowmobilers are weather addicts. This winter, learn how to manage the urge.