Snoman (Snowmobilers of Manitoba) Inc. was incorporated and registered under the ‘Companies Act’ on November 13, 1975. Snoman Inc. was established to:
• Advance organized snowmobiling in Manitoba;
• Coordinate matters of mutual interest for organizations that relate to snowmobiling;
• Develop snowmobile trails and associated facilities;
• Promote snowmobile safety;
• Consult with representatives from the public sector, private sector and other provincial snowmobile associations across Canada;
• Assist with protecting the environment; and
• Perform desirable and lawful functions in the general public interest.
In 1994, Snoman Inc. and the Province of Manitoba entered into an agreement that enacted the Snopass, under the Crown Lands Act, Provincial Snowmobile Trail Regulation. The Snopass provides clubs with revenue to maintain designated snowmobile trails. Designated snowmobile trails provide:
• The safest alternative for riders to enjoy snowmobiling;
• Trails that help reduce trespassing on private property;
• Winter travel links to communities throughout rural and northern Manitoba;
• Dollars to businesses reliant on winter tourism;
• Tax revenue for both the federal and provincial governments;
• Increased revenue to snowmobiling related industries; and
• Economic benefit of more than three hundred million dollars annually to the Manitoba economy.
The Snopass system was created to provide a user pay system. It ensured that riders who use the trail system were helping to fund its on-going operating costs by paying into it. It provided Snoman Inc., its Regional Snowmobile Associations, and its member clubs a more stabilized funding base to help finance the operations and administration associated with snowmobile trail maintenance.
It took many volunteers and volunteer hours to execute and distribute Snopasses under the former system. In 2008, in an attempt to refocus volunteers to prioritize their time to provide an environmentally friendly designated snowmobile trail network, Snoman Inc. requested that the Province of Manitoba allow Manitoba Public Insurance to sell Snopasses on behalf of Snoman Inc. and its member clubs.
On November 1, 2009, Manitoba Public Insurance vendors commenced Snopass sales with a manual program throughout Manitoba. This manual collection program ended on April 30, 2010, to allow sufficient time to develop an electronic Snopass sales system.
On November 29, 2010, Manitoba Public Insurance incorporated an electronic system for the sale of Snopasses on a permanent basis. This system provided for deferred payment plans, implementation of a Waiver of Liability & Indemnity, and Snoman Trail Gift Vouchers, incorporated with annual renewals of snowmobile registrations. The funds acquired from the sale of Snopasses are remitted to Snoman Inc. on a monthly basis.
In October 2011, Snoman held its 1st Annual Snoman Congress and Awards Banquet. The event was a complete success with 86% of the clubs attending. As a result of the success of the 2012 Congress, the Congress is now planned to be an annual event.
In November 2011, a new membership/benefits program was launched. Under the program, all club members become members of Snoman as well. Member benefits were enhanced and identified on a Snoman membership card which all members receive. Members now have a card to claim benefits which replaces the old SnoPass card. The benefits program was enhanced in 2014 when Snoman became a member of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, granting club members access to the MCC’s programs. In addition, Snoman entered into an agreement with Strata Benefits to offer more benefits to members.
During the 2012-2013 year, Snoman introduced and implemented a provincial trail numbering system. In the same year, an online trail signing course was developed, implemented and made available to all club members.
During the 2013-2014 season, Snoman further enhanced the provincial trail numbering system and as a result, has received many positive comments from riders. In an effort to further enhance Snoman’s safety programs and to help ensure the safe operation of a snowmobile, Snoman in conjunction with Fresh Air Educators developed and implemented an online Snowmobile Operators Safety Course. This course is available to club members and the general snowmobiling public. In March of 2014, Snoman hired Yvonne Rideout as their Executive Director. In August of 2014, a new Corporate Partnership Program was launched giving businesses with a vested interest in rural Manitoba the ability to support the snowmobiling industry.
In the 2014-2015 year, we received a Snopass increase to $150 and an increase to the 7-day pass to $75.50. This will allow for more funds to go back to the clubs. During the 2014 Congress, we launched our children’s story book “Brrrt Shivers Learns Safe Sledding” and our Snoman specialty license plate. We also learned that we were awarded our bid to host the ISC2017. Our rally took place in Powerview/Pine Falls and was a great success despite the cold temperatures. With the rebranding of the industry as “Healthy Living through Recreation” we’ve received a lot of publicity from both snowmobiling and non-snowmobiling partners. We’ve had articles appear in numerous publications and continue with our weekly radio ads during snow season.
In 2014, we were awarded funding through the National Trails Coalition and the Provincial Government to carry out 11 projects including our signage project, which focuses on safety on the trail system.
During the 2015–2016 season, MPI and Snoman introduced the orange Snoplate to replace the Snopass sticker. The very visible plate will aid in enforcement. All clubs completed their NTC projects and total project costs were $350,000. Negotiations were completed to allow for the opening of a snowmobile trail on the east side of the floodway for the 2016-2017 season. Two new clubs were formed and joined Snoman: Red River Grooming Association and the Lundar Sports Riders.
In February 2016, coinciding with Louis Riel Day, Snoman hosted its first “Sled without Borders” – Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Free Ride Weekend. As an avenue to promote our trail system, non-Snopass holders from Manitoba and neighboring jurisdictions could access a temporary weekend pass. We had riders from Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta on our trails. Two of our clubs hosted free wiener roasts and pop at their shelters. Thank you to the Tourism Development Fund through Manitoba Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection for providing funding assistance.
During the fall of 2016, with joint funding from Manitoba Public Insurance, Snoman launched its family zone campaign by placing laminated posters in all of the shelters on the trail system. This was a result of complaints following the last year’s free ride weekend. After the free ride weekend in 2017, no complaints of this nature were received. It is hoped that through continued promotion of this nature that it will change riders’ attitudes to make snowmobiling a family activity.
On February 17, 2017, Snoman hosted its first annual “Making Tracks” snowmobile ride for Manitoba MLAs and other guests. The ride was approximately 55 kilometers and included a stop at a shelter for lunch. The riders were joined by two RCMP officers to ensure safety crossing roadways and a professional photographer, Lance Thomson, to capture many images for the riders to use on social media. The weather was great that day and all of the riders thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It gave Snoman the opportunity to showcase some of our trails, including a portion of the new trail on the eastside of the floodway. A month after the ride, Snoman was acknowledged by Shannon Martin, MLA for Morris, in a Private Members Statement at the Manitoba Legislature. An excerpt from that acknowledgement: “Manitoba is truly a four season destination and for many people winter is the primary draw. And thanks to the efforts of Snoman, more and more people are having that opportunity.”
In June 2017, Snoman hosted the 49th Annual International Snowmobile Congress (ISC) at the Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre. The event saw participants from the snow states, provinces, territories, and Norway. The opening ceremonies on Thursday, June 8 at 8:00 am included a flag ceremony, singing of the national anthems and greetings from MLA Shannon Martin, Province of Manitoba and Mayor Brian Bowman, City of Winnipeg. During the event participants heard from Ed Klim, President of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, and keynote speaker Troy Burt, an amputee who was voted North America’s Top Snowmobiler in 2016. Over 300 delegates had the opportunity to attend many educational workshops including youth engagement, ice safety, survive outside, and avalanche safety.
Due to the increase in fatalities in 2017-18 season, Snoman introduced its “Speed Kills” poster in 2018 which was erected in shelters throughout the trail system. There was also a workshop at the 2018 Congress with STARS and RCMP highlighting the impacts of speed.
The new interactive map hosted by Mapgears was introduced for the 2018-19 season which allows snowmobilers to plan their trips online. The technology allows for automatic colour-coded updates for trails groomed.
President Alan Butler participated with the STARS Rescue on the Island during this past year. Rescue on the Island is the flagship fundraising event for STARS in Manitoba and with the generous support of snowmobile clubs, colleagues, businesses, friends and family, the participants have helped to raise several millions of dollars to support the work of STARS.