Grooming Program

Skier 3

photo by Joel Gaff Jr.

TART Trails’ dedicated grooming team maintains the Vasa Pathway and Leelanau Trail for skate and classic cross-country skiing; providing you with the ultimate cross-country skiing conditions on both sides of the bay.

Grooming is primarily supported by the Grooming Badge program, in which users donate $100 for an adult and $50 for those 18 and under to help provide world-class trail conditions.  Grooming Badge supporters receive the emailed grooming reports and a high-vis zipper pull to show their support while out on the trail.

Additional Grooming Info:

  • The Vasa Pathway is groomed regularly as conditions permit from December through March, providing 3k, 5k, 10k & 25k trail loops that feature rolling hills and a few challenging climbs.
  • The Leelanau Trail is groomed once a week by volunteers as conditions permit from the Cherry Bend trailhead to 4th St. just south of Suttons Bay.
  • Grooming reports are emailed to badge holders. They are also made available within 24 hours via the grooming reports link.
  • In case of emergency on the trail, dial 911. If you encounter a personal safety incident or trail maintenance issue of a non-urgent nature, please complete our online Trail Incident Reporting Form. We read and respond as appropriate to all reports, but will only follow-up with you if needed
  • The grooming crew has a variety of equipment to use depending on the type and amount of snow, ambient air temperature, etc. Learn more about the grooming equipment here.
  • There is yearly fluctuation due to weather, fuel costs, insurance, equipment and maintenance issues, and other factors, but we budget approximately $40,000 annually for grooming the Vasa Pathway and Leelanau Trail. The Michigan DNR provides some expense reimbursement for grooming on the Vasa Pathway, but more than 75% of funding comes from badge donors. Click here for the 2012-2013 Grooming Income and Expenses Summary.
  • Each year, funding dependent, we set aside funds in a Snowy Day Fund, which is restricted for the purchase of grooming equipment.
  • Grooming badge donations are 100% tax deductible.

Special Note: If you notice any unauthorized vehicles on the Vasa Pathway, please try to get a license number and call the Sheriff’s Department at 231-995-5000 to report the incident.

If Leelanau Trail users see snowmobiles using the trail, please try to get a registration number and call Leelanau County Dispatch at 231-256-8800, or 911.

The Vasa Pathway has always been a multi-use trail open to all non-motorized users year-round. Over the years, bikers have been very respectful of staying off the trail during ski season. 

Over the past few years there has been an increase in fatbike owners locally and nationally. In response to the growing user group and interest in a fatbike race, the North American Vasa is hosting a Fatbike Race on the Vasa Pathway in conjunction with the 2014 Vasa Festival of Ski Races on February 8th. The DNR, who owns the Vasa Pathway, and TART Trails, who manages the grooming program, have also heard a lot from the fatbike community about their desire to ride the Vasa Pathway. Fatbikes are currently allowed on the Vasa Pathway by DNR policy. To help ensure a safe and enjoyable trail experience for skiers and bikers, the North American Vasa, Vasa Ski Club, Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association, DNR and TART Trails are working together on a solution. The DNR is not considering banning fatbikes from the Vasa.


Must-read info for skiers and fatbikers: