State College

Snowmobile enthusiasts take advantage of Tussey Mountain powder

Caleb Heitzenrater rides up the hill while practicing Sunday before the Snowmobile Hill Climb Racing Association event at Tussey Mountain.
Caleb Heitzenrater rides up the hill while practicing Sunday before the Snowmobile Hill Climb Racing Association event at Tussey Mountain. psheehan@centredaily.com

These are tough times to be a snowmobile aficionado.

Consider, for instance, the plight of Rolf Krupp, who has spent a relatively mild winter riding his Arctic Cat through empty fields full of pure-grade Ohio dirt.

“We haven’t had a rideable snow yet,” Krupp said.

You can almost understand why he would want to travel the four-and-a-half hours to Tussey Mountain. On Sunday, Boalsburg’s resident winter wonderland was host to a Snowmobile Hill Climb Racing Association event, a contest of speed and maneuverability that would hopefully give the Arctic Cat an opportunity to live up to its name.

We haven’t had a rideable snow yet.

Rolf Krupp

Krupp just seemed eager to get out on the snow.

“It’s my passion. It’s what I’ve done since I was a little kid,” Krupp said.

Apparently, he’s not alone. Aaron Weyman, Tussey’s director of marketing, has noticed an uptick in out-of-town traffic arriving at the foot of the mountain over the past few weeks as other winter destinations struggle to adapt to a land without powder.

Tussey typically cuts off its man-made snow production in March, but according to Weyman, an additional coating of white stuff was produced as recently as Saturday evening. Stepping on the toes of Mother Nature is never a decision that’s made lightly.

These last two winters are the worst I can remember.

Kyle Warner

“It costs a lot of money to make snow and you weigh all of that,” Weyman said.

Kyle Warner journeyed to Tussey on Sunday by way of Kane. He’s been riding snowmobiles for more than 20 years, long enough to know that sometimes the weather just refuses to cooperate.

“These last two winters are the worst I can remember,” Warner said.

This year, he and his wife had to journey to Yellowstone National Park in order to log some decent time on the snowmobile. Warner also beat the winter doldrums by showing his vintage Yamaha SS440 at different sled shows.

“That’s why I like snowmobiles. There’s so many things you can do,” Warner said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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