In addition to the 75K of ski trail Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) volunteers groom each winter, 20-plus miles of singletrack will be groomed for winter biking this season.
The decision to groom the NTN South Trails for snow biking highlights the commitment in the Marquette, Michigan, area to winter’s newest emerging sport. According to Marquette’s four bike shops, sales of fat bikes have exploded in the last two years, and their owners are looking for somewhere to ride.
“I did enjoy when it was groomed a little last year. Grooming would offer more rideable days,” Marquette rider Dave Grant said. “Ungroomed snow is not rideable. Frozen snow is not rideable, so grooming helps extend the (biking) season.”
Grant’s wife, Nicole Alexander, is also an avid bike rider. She said the snow allows her to ride more advanced trails.
“There is something really cool about utilizing (mountain bike) trails that you could only ride during some times of the year,” Alexander said. “The trail rides completely different without the roots and rocks. You ride stuff you wouldn’t ride in the summer. It’s like new trails.”
The 20 miles of groomed NTN South Trails will comprise sections of existing trails, weaving from the Benson Grade, up the Green Trail, way out into the wilderness, around the Greywalls Golf Course and more.
“I don’t want to give too much away. I want riders to come out and be surprised,” NTN Board Member and trail groomer Mike Brunet. “Throughout the season we’ll groom as often as we can to get the machine through certain sections.”
He suggested riders of fat bikes lower their tire pressure to two to three PSI (pounds per square inch) when they ride.
New hot pink signs will direct riders to the singletrack groomed for winter use. As with the blue trail signage, all the new hot pink signs are reflective, making it easier for riders to navigate at night with a headlamp.
Riders can support snow bike grooming this year by purchasing a “Support the Groom” card at Marquette bike shops and the NTN office, located on Fair Avenue. They are then encouraged to check out the NTN South Trails, where 100-plus man hours went into building nearly five miles of new trail.
Grooming of the NTN singletrack for snow biking was made possible by donations from Signs Unlimited, Marquette Golf and Country Club, City of Marquette, Marquette Township, Lakeshore Bike, Sports Rack, Downwind Sports, Quick Stop Bike Shop, Black Rocks, Ore Dock Brewing Company and others.
NTN builds and maintains trails for Nordic skiing, mountain biking, hiking and trail running. For more information, go to www.noquetrails.org/singletrack.