January 2020 Newsletter
January 2020 Newsletter
A Message from Alan Butler, President
Finally we are getting some snow and clubs are now starting to open trails. To those concerned that trails are not opening quick enough, please remember that the clubs have your safety in mind, and are not going to open trails unit it is safe to do so. Please be patient.
If you are going off trail, please stay off farmers’ fields. There are at least 400,000 acres of unharvested crops in the province, and the last thing farmers need is snowmobilers damaging their unharvested crops. Please RESPECT OUR LANDOWNERS.
Tragically there have already been three snowmobile incidents that resulted in two fatalities and STARS airlifting another with serious injuries. Approximately 95 percent of all snowmobile fatalities can be attributed to excess speed and/or alcohol. Please remember to slow down, and don't drink and drive. Be sure you get home to your family.
Snowmobiling is a great recreational activity; it is good for your health, it can be a great time spent with the family, and it is just fun, so get out and enjoy our winter season! Hope to see you on the trail.
Snoman is encouraging snowmobile clubs to submit stories to be published in our monthly e-newsletters. We wish to thank the Log Cabin Riders and Lee River Snow Riders for their contributions to the January newsletter! We're confident you'll enjoy reading about what our snowmobile clubs have been up to!
Log Cabin Riders
By Jason Nickel
All things are well here, but they sure were not a month and a half ago. I want to take this opportunity to tell our club’s story. It started Thanksgiving weekend with the craziest storm we have ever seen. We were without power for ten days and sustained a pile of damage to all of our trails from broken and bent trees. Assessing the damage after the storm, it appeared as though we would never get some of our trails reopened! However, being the determined bunch that we are, we managed to pull it off. We rented 2 skid steers, bought 2 new chain saws and hired 2 dozers as well. One member also used his backhoe, and a couple places were done with farm tractors. It’s pretty amazing what a group can accomplish if they put their minds to it. There were times I was ready to give up, as I am sure other members were too, but the group kept everyone motivated. Our club has 220 km of trail of which only 40 km were okay, and the rest ranged from terrible to not so bad, the bulk of which was in the terrible category. I would like to thank everyone that helped; you know who you are. You are the real true snowmobilers because if we hadn’t done this we would have nowhere to ride. Hoping for snow now, happy trails!
Grooming skills a priority with Lee River Snow Riders
By Brian Ross
With safety of both operator and machine a priority, Lee River Snow Riders recently held its annual groomer workshop. Grooming Director Theo Vanderzwan put the operators through their paces, covering all aspects of operating a groomer and drag.
“You just don’t jump in the cab, turn the key and go,” Vanderzwan said with a laugh. “There’s skill involved. Expertise in running the machine. Knowing what to do if the machinery breaks down. Grooming is a very, undervalued skill.”
Vanderzwan, who was recently named 2019 Groomer of the Year by SNOMAN, said the one-day workshop was a refresher for many of the operators, but it was also a valuable eye opener for the newcomers, who were shown many procedures, including how to re-couple a hydraulic hose if such an event took place on the trails. Groomer operators were also shown the finer aspects of putting down a flat, nicely groomed trail.
“Safety is strongly emphasized,” said Vanderzwan. “I’ve broken down on the trail when it was minus 30. You have to know what to do. Proper preparation can prevent a potentially fatal situation. Operators are shown how to stow their winter clothing, in addition to other life-saving tips.”
With many of the Lee River Snow Riders’ trails on ice, operators must recognize when ice conditions are dangerous, i.e. hanging ice at a beaver dam.
Join a Club, Make a Difference
Are you interested in volunteering? Our snowmobile clubs are ALWAYS looking for volunteers. Whether it be trail grooming or signing, shelter or machinery maintenance, planning events or fundraising, everyone has a skill that could help out a snowmobile club. Gain experience, make some new friends, get out and enjoy your community. If you enjoy snowmobiling, we encourage you to get involved. Contact the Snoman office and we can connect you with a club, or contact a club directly. Join a club, make a difference!
“Snowmobilers expect safe, well groomed trails,” said Vanderzwan. “That can only be accomplished by properly trained operators.”
National Snowmobile Environment Month
February is National Snowmobiling Environment Month, which is the perfect opportunity to remind riders to keep nature beautiful, and to take personal responsibility for decisions and actions on the snow this winter.
Remember to always stay on the designated trail and respect sensitive areas, protect wildlife and don't trespass on private property. Enjoy the scenery but leave nothing behind but your tracks.
Embrace new technologies. Snowmobiles are continuously improving, thanks to oil injection, sound reduction measures, variable height exhaust valves, direct injection, on-board computers, and new 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine technologies that comply with EPA requirements. Snoman discourages the installation of after market pipes that increase noise and annoy others.
Keeping nature beautiful during each and every ride depends primarily on the personal decisions and actions of each rider, so choose to Snowmobile Responsibly this winter.
Always Check Local Ice Conditions
On January 9th, STARS Air Ambulance, the Lifesaving Society of Manitoba, and Snoman held a joint media conference focusing on snowmobile safety, particularly when you're out on the ice. It's recommended that snowmobilers take proper precautions and wear a floater coat, a flotation snowmobile suit, or wear your lifejacket when you’re on the ice. Always know the ice conditions. Here's a helpful guide to assist you in determining when it's safe to venture onto ice.