Snowmobile lovers can get ready to blaze those trails this holiday season.
The Snowmobile Clubs of Chautauqua County have been busy grooming and preparing trails for snowmobilers to enjoy during the winter season.
Cherry Creek Sno-Goers Club President Clyde Rodgers said, "It's huge" for the economy when asked about how snowmobiling benefits the economy.
Top and above: Chautauqua Coun-ty Snowmobile Club groomers get the trails ready for the fresh new season.
"The income generated from snowmobiling is phenomenal," he said. "People spend a lot of money on snowmoblies, and while on the trails, they spend a lot of money on gas."
The trails officially opened at all five clubs in the county Wednesday, but due to the rainy weather, the trails had to close down.
"By the middle of next week, we should have everything settled again," Rodgers said on Friday. "Our busiest time in the season is January and February."
Sunset Drifters President Mike Logan said when temperatures drop back down again, the trails will be back in business.
"We hope to get more people involved this year," Logan said. "We rely on Mother Nature to provide us with the right amount of snow for the trails."
Logan and Rodgers agree snowmobiling is a "great family sport" and look forward to it every year.
Rodgers said a lot of his members come out of state to use the Cherry Creek trails.
"Cherry Creek has done a fabulous job," Rodgers said. "Our club is second to none in the county."
Cherry Creek Sno-Goers has 450 miles worth of trails, about 700 members, and nine Class A groomers. Sunset Drifters shares with Cherry Creek Sno-Goers and has 112 members.
"All the work done on our trails are done by volunteers," Rodgers said. "We like to keep it safe, we use signs like on the regular roads to alert people."
Chautauqua County is the most well-known area in western New York for snowmobiling season.
The Snowmobile Clubs of Chautauqua County Presi-dent Ray Head said it takes input from all five clubs to make the trails work.
"The main mission is to provide you with the best snowmobiling experience possible," he said. "This only happens when everyone works together, and this is what our clubs do best."
Head said in Supertrax Magazine he is thankful to the landowners for opening their lands to snowmobiling.
"Snowmobiles, cross- country skiers, snowshoers, and even dog sledders share some of the same trails, so be advised that we all share and watch out for each other," he said. "Trail head parking for trucks and trailers is available in over a dozen areas, which have direct access to the trail system or, if you are staying at many of the local motels or bed and breakfasts, you can ride from your door!"
Head continued to talk of the benefits to snowmobiling in Chautauqua County.
"Snowmobiling in the county is very family friendly," he said. "There are rides and events all season long. The All Club Ride-In is regularly attended by 700 to 1,000 snowmobilers, with its 'A Taste Of Chautauqua' where local businesses bring their specialty dishes, plus the normal fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, coffee, pop, chips and pastries, all at no cost to all who come. Ice Castle Weekend has a castle built with ice cut from beautiful Chautauqua Lake, snowmobile rides in the park, a giant bonfire, flare ride and fireworks. Add dinner rides, safari rides, mystery rides, poker runs, memorial ride and bonfires, sled raffles, auctions, etc. With snow skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and other snow-related activities, there is always something to do.
"The clubs date back to the late 1960s. They have a saying 'Join where you ride ride Chautauqua County.' We are proud to have the largest snowmobile club in New York state with almost 2,100 memberships (not members). Over 75 percent of its memberships come from Ohio, Pennsylvania, or within New York state, but outside the county."
Trail conditions, including an interactive map, local lodging/restaurant information, webcams and other useful visitor information are available at the Snowmobile Clubs Of Chautauqua County website, individual club websites, and the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau website.
County snowmobile trail maps are available at many businesses. If you join one of the clubs, the map automatically comes with the membership. To ride in New York state, you must register in New York state. If you join a club, you get a discount voucher to save on your snowmobile registrations.