Affordable North: Ski Traverse City's Vasa Trail Now

Traverse City’s Vasa Pathway is manicured to perfection for XC skiing–we strongly recommend you check it out.

The best snow in years, a snappy trail-grooming snowcat and an experienced, dedicated crew of groomers give Michigan’s cross-country skiers and XC skier wannabe’s a marvelous opportunity to enjoy Traverse City’s Vasa Pathway this winter.

A tip for the after glow—sweat and hat hair welcome—settle in at Mackinaw Brewing Co. for a handcrafted beer and burger. Find it downtown Traverse City at corner of Front and Cass Streets.

Here’s a short report from the folks at TART (Traverse Area Recreational Trails) that make the skiing perfect, including, understandably, a call for some dough to keep fuel in that grooming machine.

We are happy to report that trail grooming is up with the increased snowfall! Paul Tata regularly sets his alarm for 4:00 a.m., gets up and checks the weather report online to determine if he or his crew should go out and groom the cross-country ski trails on the Vasa Pathway. Tata is the head groomer for TART Trails. With record snowfalls this season, TART groomers have groomed the trails 20 times already! That’s over 500 miles and approximately 170 on-trail hours! Pretty impressive considering that technically winter just began a little over 2 weeks ago.

TART owns high-tech grooming equipment that is used throughout the grooming season to prepare the trails for skiing. The burly LMC snowcat grooms a 12-foot corridor that sets both a skating lane and classic tracks. TART also owns three snowmobiles with grooming drags and an ASV Track Truck. Typically, the Vasa Pathway is groomed three to four times a week. The Leelanau Trail is generally groomed once a week, usually on Friday.

With the added snowfall and increased grooming, we suspect that our operating costs will also be greater this year. To support the trail grooming program, that provides funding for trail grooming personnel, equipment, maintenance and program office support, donate online at www.traversetrails.org, or at the TART Trails office located in Old Town Traverse City. Grooming badge supporters will receive regular emailed grooming communications and a pin that supporters can display on their jacket or ski hat.

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