Feb 15, 2023 | By: Charlie Yaeger

Northwoods Experience: Train Bell Resort in Merrifield Lets Visitors Go Ice Karting

The Train Bell Resort, located on North Long Lake in Merrifield, is taking winter fun to the next level. They have taken go-karting, a familiar activity, and added a unique twist to it by building the track on the ice.

Pete and Jane Yarmon, the owners of the Train Bell Resort, call it ice karting. Pete remembers go-karting with his children on a wet track where they were able to drift. He said he put it in the back of his mind until one day he saw an ad for ice karting in Aspen, CO. With no one in the Brainerd area doing something like it, he thought it might be a something fun to try.

Cue Eric Vansteenwyk, who helped make the dream a reality. Vansteenwyk was charged with finding the karts to use, setting up the track, and most importantly, figuring out how to get the karts to move in a forward direction. Regular tires didn’t have the grip necessary to gain traction, so he came up with the idea of attaching studs to a Hoosier wet tire. After some trial and error, he found a combo of washers, tar, and screws that got the job done. The rear tires have 96 studs in them, while the front tires have 72 each.

The carts were bought second-hand from a go-karting charity race at the Indy 500. They have Crate, Briggs, and Stratton spec cart racing motors that run on gas. The karts go up to 35 mph on the straightaways and are nimble enough to drift around the sharp turns.

The result has been a fun and exciting experience for guests of the resort. Many are return customers who couldn’t get enough of this unique activity. Some even coming back as many as seven or eight times. Although the future of the ice karts is dictated by the weather and safety of the ice, the Yarmons hope to keep it open at least through March and then re-open in the fall when North Long Lake freezes once again.

More info regarding Train Bell Resort’s ice karting can be found at their website.

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