Grooming Report for Mid-Week March 21st

We have been out grooming the last 2 days, have done Jubilee Rd, Elk Trail, Skyline, Powerline, Owl Hoot Lane, McIntyre loop, Coyote loop, pole trail, up through Spout, to Woodland, to Andies Prairie out towards Ruckle, past 9 mile and back, Gordon Creek, Balloon Tree.  We have been leaving at 2-3 a.m. to get done by 9-10 when it warms up.  It is supposed to rain starting today through Thursday night with temperatures in the 40’s in the day and staying above freezing at night.  It looks like it might cool down by Saturday looking at the most recent forecast, with some new snow, 1-3 inches, coming.

We are reaching the end of the season with a reminder that April 1 is on a Sunday this year when the 4X4’s will be out on the trails.


Jess Thompson TTF grooming chairman

Grooming Report for March 8th


We have groomed Saturday night, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.  We have been down to the Chalet to McDougal and back, Coyote (3719 rd) and back pole trail from Spout, to Morning Creek Snow Park to the shed, store and back.  We have been out Jubilee Rd out Elk Trail, Gordon Trail to Skyline and back to Baldy, Powerline trail, to Target Meadows and around McIntyre Loop to the store.  We went up through Spout to Andies Prairie to 31 rd and back Gordon Creek trail and Balloon Tree loop trail.  The weather warmed up on us Wednesday afternoon and we have not done any more since.  It is supposed to get cold at night starting tonight, so we hope to groom to Bone Springs and back yet this week-end.  Spring weather is coming as this week-end through the middle of next week will be warm temperatures in the 40’s during the day, but cold at night.  We will be grooming in the early morning hours at the coldest time of the day if possible.  Watch for water holes as spring time weather is here.

Logging has resumed on the Shumway loop trail, so we will not be grooming in there. Cecil informed me today that the gates are shut and locked on that part of the trail.   To my knowledge logging continues on the Lugar Loop trail.


Jess Thompson TTF grooming chairman

The Groomer Guys Get a Kudos!

This email was sent by Crystal Lambert who owns a cabin down by the Chalet. Here is her letter to the groomers:

From Crystal Lambert:

“Just wanted to give a huge shout out to the groomers.  There is nothing better than hitting the trail home after a day of riding and having it nice and smooth.  Thank you for all your hard work!!”

Please pass this on to your team.  Coincidentally, when my group came back to our cabins after a day of riding out past Bone Springs, I noticed how well the lower trail had held up to the traffic from being groomed very early Sunday morning.  This made our day a little bit better.

Bob Smith recently made the statement “Make The Tollgate Trailfinders Great Again.”  While this may be stolen from President Trump’s campaign, it is worth thinking about and acting on doing things just a little bit better.  There’s been some good work that’s happened over the past couple years and we have to keep that momentum going.  I’m excited about the momentum we have playing in our favor.  The weather is finally cooperating, the Tollgate Store is back open with a friendly staff and great food, we have recently elected an executive team and board members that will be active in making the TTF great again!  Now, it’s up to us to make things even better.  It starts with positive communication and open minds.

Thanks for what your team is doing and have a wonderful week!



A Cautionary Tale

HI Snowmobile Friends,

Heading into the week of March 5th it’s looking like spring snowmobiling conditions may have arrived.  With our new club website it’s easy to check out the TTF Club webcam then scroll down to NOAA weather which is a web link to the National Weather Service. This weeks predictions call for lows to be in the low to mid 20’s with highs gradually warming to 40 degrees by Sunday. With the overnight temps remaining well below freezing it should keep the snow pack in good shape. There also appears to be light amounts of snow fall Wednesday night through Saturday and this should help to refresh the snow surface. This is the time of year when boondocking is at its best. Wait until the sun comes out to soften the upper snow surface and take to the trees. Tollgate is a paradise for off trail riding with moderate to challenging terrain. Many of the areas that would be difficult to ride earlier in the season because of the deep soft powder are great now. We have snow depths over 8 feet in the upper elevations and the shaded tree areas tend to prevent the snow from melting and becoming icy. This may be where the phrase “go anywhere” snow applies. Our fellow friend and TTF Board Member Glenn Warren took a snapshot of the snow gauge on the Bluewood side of the mountain.

That is a beautiful site!!! Winter isn’t over yet. At Saturday’s club meeting Jess Thompson reported the grooming department had groomed close to 800 miles of trails for the month of February and most of that would have been after the weekend of Feb.14th. Thanks guys!!!

March 1st  Wallow Avalanche Centers Advisory.


Heavy snow, possibly over 2 feet and moderate to strong winds out of the south over the next 24 hours is forecast for the mountains of northeast Oregon. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely, careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding and conservative decision making essential. Wind slabs forming on north, northwest, northeast, and east aspects at and above tree line on ridge tops. Areas receiving over a foot of new snow may experience storm slabs on terrain over 30 degrees, especially within the first 24 hours of the storm.

Even though the Tollgate area didn’t receive this snow fall, if you travel around the Elkhorns and Halfway areas you might want to consider the advisory.

Have a great week everyone! Be safe and have fun!!

Tollgate Trail Finders

Hi Snowmobile Friends!

We are enjoying the best snowmobiling of the season and it just keeps getting better. With the cold temps the snow is light and fluffy. Powder over the hood in most places. The recent storms produced around 2’ of new snow over the weekend and with winds the snow field erased the tracks from the previous day. Several of our snow buds played all weekend and it was amazing!  There is great riding for everyone on the mountain right now. From untracked meadows and boon docking to hill climbing the snow is perfect!  So get out and enjoy!! According to NOAA weather the temps should remain below freezing so it should be a great week. Be safe and have fun. Be sure to check in with Wallowa Avalanche Center “And” wear your Avalanche beacons.  

Our thoughts and Prayers are with the families and friends of those caught in the Avalanche near Easton Wa.

Heres a few things to put on your calendar.

March 3rd at 9am – Advanced GPS Ride – Backcountry and GPS Skills focus for this ride. Led by Brandon Christensen. Note: for advanced riders only

March 3rd at 9:30 am – Family Ride to Ruckel Junction – led by Cecil Berry

March 3rd at 5pm – TTF Club meeting and Elections. 

March 3rd at 6pm – Annual Steakout. After the club meeting we will be BBQing your favorite steak or whatever you would like to put on the grill. It will be potluck style…Please bring a salad or dessert and the Club will furnish baked potatoes, bread rolls and all the toppings for the spuds. 

Grooming Report March 2nd

We groomed out to Bone Springs on Jubilee Rd, Skyline Road, Elk Trail, down to Timothy Guard Station, Timothy Short Cut to 6413 rd back to 11A, from 64 road down to Lugar intersection and back, from 204 to Baldy and back 3 times this week, been to the store and back 3 times, McIntyre Loop, into Target Meadows and back,  Coyote Loop, down to McDougal crossing past the Chalet and back, up through Spout Springs, Woodland, Andies, to 31 rd and back twice, to Ruckel and back, in and out of all snow parks twice Morning Creek 3 times. We are concerned about going around Baldy view point as it has drifted heavily and has a large cornice hanging over the east side, so we will discontinue grooming around that point and just use the back side. Everything is in really good shape with 6-10 inches of new snow on the trails and cold temperatures.  It should be a great week-end.  We did have one minor breakdown on the 08, a sprocket drive stud bolt broke off but we got it repaired Wednesday.  We have a part on order for the 98 but the hay wire is still working.


Jess Thompson TTF  grooming chairman

Grooming Report February 22nd 2018

Grooming Report For February 22nd

This week we have groomed out Jubilee Rd to Bone Springs, McIntyre Loop, to the store and back twice, out through Morning Creek Snow Park twice , Spout, Andies Prairie to Ruckel, and back Gordon Creek Loop, Balloon Tree loop.  We broke a steering component on the 08 and it is on order, won’t be here until Monday.  The 98 is still running with hay wire on the shut off valve on the engine until we can get a new solenoid.  We have most everything done for the week-end and in good shape.  It groomed really well this week due to cold temperatures and new snow.  The water holes are filled in again at Woodland Crossing and hopefully will hold with the cold temperatures.  The water hole at Spout and TenEyke are holding as well.  We have been in and out of all snow parks this week, some twice.



Jess Thompson TTF grooming  chairman

TTF Newsletter February 2018


By Bob Smith – TTF Board Member

Hi Snowmobilers,

Presidents Day weekend is shaping up to be one of the best this season. As of the evening of the 14th Tollgate has received right at 12” of new snow. What a great Valentine’s Day present! Early this morning, the Milkshakes Snotel site reported 68” and by evening over 13” of snow had accumulated for a total of 81”. It should be a great weekend. NOAA weather forecasts cooler weather and continued snow falling for most of the week ending Sunday the 18th. Saturday the 17th may be a bit warmer but then drop down into the mid 20’s for a high. This is one of those years if you want to snowmobile you have to become a “Storm Chaser” or at least be ready when the snow falls. Several of us have followed storms around the NW and have had a great time playing in the powder. The old timers say March is typically the best snowmobile month of the year. We’ll pray the old timers are right and that it starts ramping up soon. Don’t forget to check in with the Wallowa Avalanche Center @ Be safe and have a great weekend.

What’s new on the Mountain.

The Tollgate Store is officially open and has been renamed the “Alpine Outpost”!! The new owners are busy remodeling but are serving meals most days of the week. I can personally vouch for the pizza and clubs, they are amazing and all served with a smile. It’s going to be a great addition to our mountain. We are now able to snowmobile all day and come in for a hot healthy meal before heading down the mountain or back to our cabin. We wish Victoria and Ren all the best as they open their new store and restaurant. You can find them on Facebook at Blue Mountain Outpost.

New Technology

Jeff Wagner, one of our new groomer drivers with help from Jess Thompson has created an Interactive map of the Tollgate Trail System.  By using the Avenza Map application on your smart phone it will pin point your precise location. This will be very helpful for newcomers as wells as those of us that tend to get turned around a bit. Just another safety tool to not only define where you are on the map but to let you friends and family know as well.  You probably will need cell service, however without endorsing a cell phone carrier, there are companies that have good cell reception on the mountain and the App is free. Thanks Jeff and Jess!

Listed below are the instructions on how to download it on your smart phone. 

1.  Load Avenza Map app on phone or tablet 

2.  Select the store button or the + icon in upper right corner

3.  Select “get a map from store”

4.  Type “Tollgate Trail Finders Snowmobile Map” in the “find maps” area

5.  Select the map file for the free download. 

User location should appear as a colored dot on map showing their current location. Pins can be placed on map for points of interest and notes.  This makes using our trail map as easy as using google maps.    It will show your current location on our map along with GPS coordinates. A person can now take a screenshot of app and text an image that shows location on map along with GPS info to anyone.   

Upcoming Activities

Organized club rides are on hold for the time being until the weather cooperates. We will update as conditions change on Facebook “Tollgate Trail Finders,” and our Club Website. 

March 3rd at 9am – Advanced GPS Ride – Backcountry and GPS Skills focus for this ride. Led by Brandon Christensen. Note: for advanced riders only

March 3rd at 9:30 am – Family Ride to Ruckel Junction – led by Cecil Berry

March 3rd at 5pm – TTF Club meeting and Elections. This will be our last meeting of the 2017-2018 season. 

March 3rd at 6pm – Annual Steakout. After the club meeting we will be BBQing your favorite steak or whatever you would like to put on the grill. It will be potluck style…Please bring a salad or dessert and the Club will furnish baked potatoes, bread rolls and all the toppings for the spuds. This is a great time to get together, laugh and reminisce about the past seasons activities and enjoy a night with your snow friends. 

March 24th – Vintage Snowmobile Weekend at Alpine Outpost! Bring your vintage sleds. BBQ at the Alpine Outpost. Come join the fun!



Our grooming chairman, Jess Thompson, has an in-depth groomers report posted on the TTF Website.

It includes conditions and possible hazards. The lack of snow and warmer weather has opened up water holes on some of the trails. Jess states that most of the trails are in good shape and with the weather cooling down this week they should be able to resume grooming the trails. 

Let’s all continue to think Snow and we look forward to seeing everyone March 3rd for the Steakout!!

Tollgate Trail Finders

The Store will be OPEN!!!




Hey All!

I have been asked to put this on the website by a few people, so I will oblige since this is an important piece of news for our community up here.

Well……. the store has been SOLD folks. Ren and Victoria, who run the Blue Mountain Outpost, have been the lucky buyers! They will be having a dinner Saturday night to host the folks at the Tollgate Trail Finders Snowmobile club with our monthly meeting. I know this is mostly for the TTF crowd but this news is just too long in the making not to share it.

They will open tomorrow evening and will host a dinner for the TTF Club. so no potluck this time!

For Sunday they will have the Football Game and festivities will start about 3pm.

I am so happy,, I just might be at the football game. (btw……I am not a fan of football…..sorry) BUT HEY !!!!! YOU ARE ! COME AND SUPPORT THE STORE!