Many snowmobile clubs in the Oxford Hills region have temporarily closed large sections of their trails after a Jan. 24 storm dumped more than 1.5 inches of rain across the state.

The rainstorm made a mess of most Oxford Hills trails, said Fran Chickering, trail master for the Otisfield Trail Blazers.

He had one word for his club’s trail conditions: “Horrible.”

“Everything that wasn’t washed out by the rain is really good, but the rest of it is just horrible,” he said.

Most of Otisfield’s trails were impossible to ride, Chickering said, and Saturday the conditions were so bad the club temporarily closed all of them.

“Some of the trails were OK, but we decided to just do a blanket shutdown of the trails,” he said.


After Tuesday night’s snowstorm, Chickering said the problematic sections were “finally starting to dry and freeze over.”

“We’re going to keep an eye on the water underneath the snow for now,” Chickering said. “We’re really hopeful that by Thursday or Friday, the trails will be dry, frozen over, and we’ll be able to reopen the trails.”

Todd Schmieks, president and co-trail master of the Oxford Rock-O-Dundee Riders, said his club “has gotten so much rain and it got so warm that there was a lot of water running under the snow that became ice.”

“It’s about 50/50 right now,” Schmieks said. “Last night, we got about 8 inches of snow, so I’m heading out to groom some of the trails. It was nice fluffy snow, so hopefully, it’ll settle in nice.”

Bruce Sweet, president of the Waterford Sno-Packers Snowmobile Club, said he and the club’s volunteers had “quite a battle with the wet snow.”

“We had trees laying in the trail and washed-out trails, but I got some reports this afternoon that things are looking pretty good,” Sweet said. “We filled the potholes and the water went down, so all of our trails are open.”


Sweet lauded the “small bunch of volunteers” with the Waterford club that did “a super job” and “put a lot of hours into cleaning out the mess.”

According to the South Paris Snowhoppers Snowmobile Club Facebook page, several riders have reported that the trails are “very hard” and that “there are water holes, just like the rest of the state.”

“If you go out, be careful,” the Facebook post added.

A snowmobile trail beside Harrison Road in Norway was flooded and impassible after last week’s rainstorm. Some snowmobile clubs in the Oxford Hills region closed sections of their trails because of flooding. (Submitted photo)

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