Talking Snowmobiling with Dick Decker

A member of the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, Dick Decker is one of the best known tour guides (along with his wife, Audrey) and racers in North America. A snowmobiler since the mid-1960s, Decker is a founding father of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River and the owner of Decker Sno-Venture Tours. Where is your favorite place to go snowmobiling in Wisconsin?

Dick Decker: Eagle River of course. Actually, I am familiar with the trails all over Wisconsin and can say that we have an excellent collection of groomed trails. I am especially fond of those in the northwestern portion of the state.

TW: What are some of the state’s top spots?

DD: Some cities that come to mind right away include Eagle River, St. Germain, Mercer and Hurley.

TW: Any suggestions for families looking to get into this sport?

DD: If they are new to the sport, I would suggest looking into joining a club. This is a great way to get acquainted with some snowmobilers and learn about the sport, the trails and all the opportunities to enjoy the sport throughout the state. Before you jump into buying a snowmobile, try renting one to make sure you like it, and find a good dealer.

TW: Any other considerations for newbies?

DD: Hook up with some experienced snowmobilers as you start to get the hang of it. You don’t want to have a bad experience your first time out. Get some good clothing because it can be cold out there in the winter. Learn how to read trail maps and, again, look into joining a club.

TW: How about for the seasoned snowmobiler?

DD: Get out of your backyard. That’s how I came to love the sport so much. You need to discover different locations to enjoy this sport. Most people stay in the same area and it gets a little stale for them. You need to get out and meet new people with a shared passion for the sport. And I can’t say it enough, join a club. It’s really sad that so many people that are actively involved in the sport miss out on the opportunities a club can offer.

TW: Any stories to share from your snowmobiling experiences in Wisconsin?

DD: I have been snowmobiling to a lot of places and I would have to say Wisconsin is the best. The state has over 22,000 miles of what I believe are the best riding trails in the world. Heck, Wisconsin is home to the only designated snowmobile capital in the world -- Eagle River. We have some of the best groomed trails and we get snow. You can pretty much plan on snow in Central Wisconsin up from December on.

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