RUMFORD — After Thursday's much-ballyhooed blizzard, River Valley roads bristled Friday with vehicles towing snowmobile trailers.
Many headed north off Route 2 in Mexico and onto Route 17 toward Roxbury, Byron and Rangeley.
Verna Holman of the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce said Friday that people have been calling and asking about snow and trail conditions.
"It's very busy today in town," she said. "And I've got a snowmobiler in front of me right now and he says, 'It's very good (riding).'"
Rangeley's trails are groomed, Holman said. However, she warned people to stay off the lakes, which do not yet have thick ice. Additionally, Thursday's and Saturday's snowfall will delay freezing.
Holman said Thursday's storm dumped 18 inches on Rangeley. In the woods, she said there's even more snow from December's earlier storms.
"It's great up here," she said. "The snow is good and the riding is terrific."
She urged riders to check for local trail conditions with the Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club, which lists updates on its website at www.rangeleysnowmobile.com/conditions.htm#report and its Facebook site.
According to the website, most of the club's trails are packed and open, and in early-season conditions. Grooming on all trails, which began Thursday night, was expected to be completed by Saturday morning.
All routes between Rangeley and Oquossoc and Bosebuck and New Hampshire are plowed, with heavy logging traffic, according to the website. ITS 84 to Bosebuck Camps and to New Hampshire is partially closed due to logging. The work should end by Jan. 5. "Do NOT ride on the plowed road."
Another message reiterates what Holman is telling riders.
"The big lakes just froze over on Christmas Day," it states. "Do not walk or attempt to ride on the lakes. The new snow will unfortunately slow the freezing process."
In Bethel, Chamber of Commerce employees were fielding calls from snowmobilers seeking information on where to buy sled licenses and where to rent snowmobiles.
In Rumford, members of the Rumford Polar Bears Snowmobile Club were out Friday packing snow on the trails.
According to Friday's trail report on the club's website, Tom Reed and Gene Knox used the Tucker groomer to pack snow on ITS 82.
"There are still a few water holes, washouts, rocks and stumps, but we were able to fill most of them and now have a very good base," Reed said. "After the next decent storm we will be able to groom with the drag, which should make for some very good riding. In the meantime, riders need to exercise caution as there are still some obstacles, washouts, and some standing water on the trails."
The two men also packed Trail 12 from ITS 82 to Rumford Center and the Black Mountain/Swain Pond Trail.
Members Bob Milligan, Carroll York and Ralph Thurston groomed the Hanover Trail and Trail 12 from Rumford Center to the Hanover Trail, according to the site.
However, other trails, including Trail 12 from Rumford Point to Whippoorwill Road and the High School and Porter Avenue trails couldn't be groomed because more snow is needed.
Bob Stickney said there is still running water in gullies crossing the latter two trails in several spots. He urged caution.
The word is out that Rangeley has the snow, Gammon said.
She said many people were stopping by the Yamaha dealership on Friday to get ready to head to the Rangeley area and points north for snowmobiling.
Norway bureau reporter Leslie Dixon contributed to this story.