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COLFAX — After a winter of very little snow but too much rain — and ice — it only takes one good snowstorm to open the Dunn County snowmobile trails.
Following a polar vortex that dropped temperatures to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, with windchills in the minus 60 range, the last week in January, a surprise snowstorm on Tuesday, February 5, unloaded about 10 inches of snow around the area.
Only three or four inches had been predicted.
Then, a day later, another snowstorm left another 10 inches.
According to the Dunn County Snowmobile Association’s website, as of 7:12 a.m. February 6, the snowmobile trails were open, and their condition was listed as “good.”
All together, according to the website, Dunn County has 14 snowmobile clubs, including the Colfax Sno-drifters, the Boyceville Sno-jammers, the Tainter Trail Tamers and the Knapp Valley Riders.
Mike Buchner, president of the Colfax Sno-drifters, noted that the snowmobile trails in Dunn County were only open for about two weeks last year.
“We should be able to snowmobile a little bit longer than that this year,” he said.
Buchner said he and his son were planning to go out snowmobiling on Saturday “when the weather is a little warmer.”
Following the second snowstorm, temperatures quickly grew colder, and the day after the storm, although it was sunny, the high temperature hovered around zero with a windchill of 25 to 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
After a predicted low Friday night in the minus 20 degree range, the predicted high for Saturday was nine degrees.
Buchner said he would be attending the Colfax Village Board meeting the evening of February 11 for the village board’s review of the snowmobile ordinance.
Last year, the Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion granting permission for snowmobiles to go from a residence to a trail by the shortest route and to use a designated trail to the school district. The other routes designated in the village are Dunn Street to Railroad Avenue.
Buchner attended a February of 2018 village board meeting to point out that in the past, snowmobiles were allowed to take the shortest distance from a residence to the marked trails and to get fuel as long as the snowmobiles did not drive on state Highway 40/Main Street.
Buchner said he had heard so many stories, he was not sure what was true, but that the upshot was someone had complained about snowmobiles to the Colfax Police Department, and snowmobile club members had been informed that the way the village’s ordinances read last year, snowmobiles were not allowed to be operated on any street.
In 1973, the Colfax Village Board had accepted a designated snowmobile trail within the boundaries of the Village of Colfax as presented and requested by the Sno-Drifters Snowmobile Club.
No one seemed to know what had happened to the original ordinance and when, or if, the ordinance had been repealed.