Snowmobiling the Flathead

Local club partners with app developer to help snowmobilers navigate the trails

By Tristan Scott
Robbie Holman plays in the fresh powder off the groomed snowmobile trails between the Canyon Creek Trail Head and Big Mountain. Beacon File Photo

Snowmobile enthusiasts can already smell the two-stroke smoke as the Dec. 1 sledding season prepares to get underway in the Flathead Valley, where a hub of world-class snowmobiling includes more than 200 miles of groomed trails and nearly 2,000 miles of Forest Service roads, which track along alpine ridges and through basins of deep powder.

This year, to help snowmobilers find their bearings and navigate the vast backcountry, the Flathead Snowmobile Association (FSA) has partnered with Trail Treker, a local Montana-based company, to provide its members with high-resolution, GPS-enabled trail maps for all three areas the club maintains.

Members purchase the Trail Treker app (Apple or Android) for $2 on the app store and receive a code from the FSA to download all three maps.

“It allows you to download a map on your smartphone that is not dependent on cell coverage, while GPS signals coordinate your location,” said David Covill, president of FSA.

Whether you’re a seasoned sledder or a first-time snowmobiler more comfortable with a trek on groomed trails, the app will help you negotiate the sprawling network of roads and trails.

FSA members groom 200 miles of trails in the Canyon Creek area on the back of Big Mountain, which extends into the upper Whitefish Range system near Olney, as well as on Desert Mountain near Glacier National Park and on Crane Mountain near Bigfork.

The club has support from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Recreational Trails Program to help fund the ongoing operation and trail grooming.

All over-the-snow vehicles, including fat bikes, are required to have a grooming pass, which costs $18 and are available through sporting goods stores and vendors like Super One.

The groomed trails are closed to all wheeled motorized vehicles from Dec. 1 through end of snowmobile season on April 15.

For more information visit FSA online at: http://www.flatheadsnowmobiler.com/index.html

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