THE WINTER THAT WASN’T

MARCH 12, 2018

Snowfall at Ranch Rudolf, Dec. 30, 2018To say this has been a strange winter is an understatement! We have had record breaking low temperatures, highs in the 50’s, sun, snow, ice and rain…and sometimes all in the same week.

We kept thinking this was the winter we hadbeen waiting for. Snow came in December, and even lasted the holiday week between Christmas and New Year, which has been almost non-existent the past few years.
Snow accumulation on Ranch Rudolf Snowmobile Trails on January 6, 2018Snowmobile trails were top notch, groomer drivers and Grand Traverse Area Snowmobile Club Members had been working around the clock to ensure trails were at their best. The snowmobilers were thrilled. Our team of Belgian draft horses was pulling the sleigh, not the wagon. Skiers and snowshoers alike were happy. Great for Christmas atmosphere, great for snowmobilers, great for business, and then, it came to a screeching halt.

The Michigan Snowmobile Association urged sledders to stay off the trails during the January warm up and rain to help maintain the base as best as possible. Unfortunately, some wheeled vehicles did damage to some of the trails which is never easy to see.No snow in the pasture at Ranch Rudolf January 29 It is amazing how the work of one or two sets of wheels can literally undue hours and hours of hard work-hard work that volunteers put in grooming and maintaining snowmobile trails.

We muddled through the January thaw only to get more snow and lost it again in February. By February 11th we had horses starting to shed out their winter coats. By late February it was almost all grass and phone calls turned from checking the status of trail conditions to making camping reservations and signing children up for summer horse camps. People were in summer mode, winter was too unpredictable and practically non-existent.

only grass at Ranch Rudolf February 27, 2018Here we are in mid-March and snow covered again. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too late in the season for us. Although snowmobile trails are open until March 31st, generally people are starting to lose interest in the cold weather by the time Spring Break rolls around. This year in particular customers at large seem to be over this guessing game if winter will be here or gone from one day to the next. As for us, this weekend is our last weekend of operation for the winter season. We will now turn to the spring and summer transition-bid our snowmobile friends farewell until next year and get ready to enjoy all that the next seasons bring to the Ranch.