Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cruisin’ through the Snow


If you think that winter in Oswego County only draws sports looking to fish the Salmon and Oswego Rivers--the two most productive coldwater streams in the Lower 48--and Oneida Lake--the world’s most famous walleye spot--you’re sorely mistaken.

Framing the southeastern corner of Lake Ontario, we’re nestled in that snow-lovers’ nirvana some call lake effect country, an area known for getting over 200 inches of snow annually—and that’s in years of mild temperatures.

I’m here to tell ya, however, this year has been exceptional. We’ve been slammed with so much powder this season, it looks like winter 2010 is headed for the record books. If you don’t believe me, just drive down one of our highways and you’ll think you’re on a toboggan run.

Well, snow that’s deep enough to send average Americans into a state of deep anxiety spurs average Oswego residents into pulling their winter toys out of warm storage and dusting ‘em off for action. Whatever their cold weather inclination, from cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to dog-sledding and snowmobiling, you can bet your pocket warmers they’ll be out in the county’s big backyard dashing through the snow.

All because these rugged individuals refuse to let a little thing like Arctic conditions bog them down. To the majority, the white stuff is a blessing, opening a whole new world of natural beauty to anyone willing to just go out and take a peek.

Around here, that’s easy; primarily because of the efforts of the Oswego County Snowmobile Association. This group builds, signs and grooms the fabulous 360-mile web of trails running through the place, reaching into every nook and cranny of the Tug Hill Plateau (birthplace of the term “lake effect”), the Adirondack Mountain Park, and every other point on the compass.

But there’s more: a secondary network of trails strikes off through the winter landscape, reaching into some of most peaceful and beautiful scenery imaginable.

What’s more, “all snowmobile trails lead to Oswego County,” boasts cousin Staash, a guy who’s been sledding since the early days when the machines were so skinny they’d tip over on you when you stopped. “If you can’t reach your favorite destination from here…and I’m talking any spot in the whole country known for snow…it doesn’t exist,” he continues.

In fact, Oswego County’s contribution to snowmobiling in New York’s great white north is so important, we’ll be one of four counties (Lewis, Oneida, and Herkimer, too) to be featured in a snowmobiling series, Snow Country (w.t), scheduled to air next year by WPBS-DT, the Public Broadcasting station in Watertown. In addition, we’ll appear in two episodes of the national series Snow Trails TV, a snowmobile reality television and web series airing on 30 PBS stations across the United States and Canada.

But don’t go waiting for the shows to see what Oswego County’s above average snowfall has to offer. Instead, grab an Official Trail Map of the Oswego County Snowmobile Association ( or call 315-599-7762) and head out on an adventure of your own.

For more information about Snow Trails TV, Season 8 is airing on WPBS-DT Saturday mornings at 8:30am and Thursday evenings at 7:30pm.

For current trail conditions, fishing conditions and visitor information in Oswego County, go to

Lots of parking

Snowmobile in flight

Trail to the sun