Snowmobile Trail Business Owners Ready For Riders

Snowmobile enthusiast aren’t the only ones eagerly anticipating a huge snowfall and cold temperatures.

Business owners along the snowmobile trails also want snowy conditions to return so riders visit them during their winter adventures. Peter Harkay, Snow Ridge Motel owner, with his wife, Maggie, said a typical Western New York winter would be a ”lifesaver.”

”The snowmobile riders are almost 20 percent of our gross yearly income,” he said.

The Snow Ridge Motel is located at 6023 Portage Road, Mayville. The motel offers rooms with two full-sized beds each, decorated with handmade quilts. A luxury suite with a decorative fireplace, king-sized canopy bed, heart-shaped Jacuzzi, living room, kitchen and private deck is also available.

”I’m looking forward to it,” Harkay said about the winter snowmobile season. ”The winter weather is good for our business.”

For thousands of Chautauqua County citizens and tourists, the winter is the best time of the year because it is the return of snowmobile season. The county features more than 600 miles of trails and an average annual snowfall of more than 200 inches. Trails are generally open from mid-December to late March or April.

Lonnie Pound, Pine Junction owner, said the normal snowmobile season lasts eight to 10 weeks. He said if a normal winter returns that will be great for business.

”Snow is a huge benefit for us. It is a huge increment in our sales from the snowmobilers coming in,” he said. ”I’m right on the main trail. You come right through the woods and you come right up on us.”

Pound, who runs the business with his wife, Shirlee, said last year was difficult, with snowmobile trails only officially opened for two days. Pine Junction, 9757 Bailey Hill Road, Findley Lake, has a wide assortment of dishes to suit all appetites.

”Last year was brutal for us,” he said. ”We have a staff of 24 to 25 people, and it was difficult to try and maintain them and keep them going in the winter. It would be awesome if we had a normal winter. In that eight to 10 weeks, it makes up better than a third of our yearly income.”

Dawn Raynor, Mayville Diner owner, said even though her business isn’t located along the snowmobile trails, they receive more business when the tourists visit the area to ride.

”We get a lot of people from Ohio and they come up from Webb’s or the (Chautauqua) Suites,” she said. ”They will drive up and eat here, once they know we are here.”

The Mayville Diner, which is located at 7 Chautauqua St., Mayville, serves breakfast all day on Sunday, has a Friday fish fry and is the home of ”Dawn’s gigantic homemade sweet rolls.” Raynor said last year’s winter was bad for business, with the rainy and warmer temperatures keeping snowmobilers from pursuing their passion.

”Last year was bad, so it would be great if it returns to normal,” she said about the region’s usual snowfall amount. ”We also get business during the Ice Castle Festival in February. That is the busiest time of the year.”

Lori Zandrowicz, Grandma’s Family Kitchen owner, said last year’s poor winter weather was the worst she has seen in 18 years.

”We missed all the snowmobilers desperately last year,” she said.

Grandma’s Family Kitchen, which is located at 8026 Route 60, Cassadaga, offers fresh-baked breads and pies, and hometown cooking. Zandrowicz said the snowmobile riders are vital to her business’s success.

”They double my business when we have snow,” she said. ”So they are pretty important.”

On Monday, a lake effect snow warning was announced for all of Chautauqua County, which could dump 1 to 2 feet of snow in the region, the National Weather Service is reporting. The winter warning is through 7 p.m. today, while a wind chill advisory remains in effect through 9 a.m. today.