ROXBURY — Ask Roland Patneaude of Roxbury how much snow is still out there on Western Maine trails and you get a smart-aleck response: “All of  it.”

He’s mostly right, because other than a few days this past week, temperatures haven’t risen above freezing much since the Jan. 27 blizzard.

Since then, several feet of snow have buried the landscape, much to the delight of snowmobile clubs and riders. Another 6 to 10 inches was forecast to fall across much of Western Maine on Saturday into Sunday.

“There’s just a few places where rocks are sticking up, but it’s perfect riding right now, especially with the weather right now,” Patneaude said of the 30-degree temperature and incoming snowstorm.

Patneaude is president of the Mexico Lions Club and captain of the Roxbury Fire Department. He was cooking spaghetti Saturday morning for snowmobile riders participating in the Roxbury Fire Relief Snowmobile Raffle Ride.

Twenty-six sledders came out for the 50-mile loop ride through Roxbury, Andover and Byron. Afterward, they all met back at the Roxbury Town Office for a spaghetti dinner.


Money raised from the ride and dinner will help the Fire Department with its public safety needs, said Gloria Patneaude, Roland’s wife. “We don’t make a heck of a lot, but we do a lot of functions in town.”

Snow pellets and a few flakes began to fall by 1:35 p.m. when a few snowmobilers made it back to the ride start area in the Town Office parking lot.

“The snowmobiling season has been good,” Matthew Patneaude of Roxbury said after getting off his Ski-Doo sled. “There’s plenty of snow out there and some big rocks still showing, but everybody’s still happy they’re riding. I saw a lot of riders out today and a lot of them were not participating in this ride.”

Matthew Patneaude is a member of the Snow Valley Sno-Goers Snowmobile Club of Andover and a trail groomer. He also helps with Roxbury trails.

He said he was grooming the Corridor 16 Trail that goes to Devil’s Den on Thursday night and came across a tree down on the trail. He got out, cut the tree up and moved it off the hard-packed trail, and sunk into deep snow nearly up to his waist.

Saturday was one of the few days he could ride his snowmobile and enjoy the season. Most days he grooms trail for others to enjoy. “We’ve got a good hard-pack out there on the trails,” he said.


Trail groomer Clyde Wardwell Jr. of Mexico said he didn’t think the Rumford and Mexico snowmobile trails had the sled traffic they usually have. He said snowmobiles cost between $12,000 and $15,000 now and figures that may have something to do with it.

Wardwell and fellow groomer Mike Worthley of Roxbury participated in Saturday’s ride but were mostly scouting out a possible new all-terrain vehicle trail from Black Bridge to Horseshoe Valley. The ATV season starts May 15.

Worthley said he has spent more time grooming trails than riding his sled on them, but when he did get some time to go for a snowmobile ride, his sled’s track broke apart. He said he reconnected it using a ratchet tie-down strap to limp to a small engine shop in Roxbury village to get it fixed.

“The trails are pretty decent for what we got for snow,” Worthley said. “We’ve lost a lot of snow, but the snow this season has been awesome for grooming. We’ll get more snow tonight that will help us out, but it ain’t going to take long for it to go.”

Worthley alerted riders earlier about logging in the area and asked them to be respectful of loggers and truckers using plowed roads in Byron and Roxbury.

Raffle winners were Elliot Knox of Mexico, first place; 7-year-old Emily Carver of Mexico, second place; Odie Fletcher of Weld, third place; and Roger Boucher of Byron, fourth place and the door prize. Co-organizer Ann Carver said they raised $275 for the Fire Department.

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