January 2012 Newsletter
January 2012 Newsletter
Canadian Snowmobile Safety Week Jan 15-21
While you are enjoying Snoman designated trails this season, please drive responsibly.
Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations
Hello Manitoba Snowmobilers
It's time for all of us to complete our snow dance. We've had many days of cold weather then a major break with warming temperatures and freezing rain! Remember, just a couple of degrees colder this would have been the "Winter Gold" that we all wish would settle in so that we could groom and open the trails and begin our playtime. Watch the video on the snow dance and please dance along:
http://www.snowmobile.org/snowdance.asp - now all together......
We always get asked the question - Why would I want to be member of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations? The short answer is - strength in numbers - by working together and creating one voice for organized snowmobiling we CAN make a difference. The small players win big as the best business practices from all over Canada can be easily duplicated. The larger snowmobile organizations have put programs into practice, have worked out the bugs and after tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of staff and volunteer input have implemented a program that can easily be duplicated. Of course not every program will apply to your organization or stage of development but... as Jack Welsh the CEO for General Electric used to encourage his management team to "steal an idea" and put it to work for YOU! The concept is to replicate what has already been invented and put into use, as a team you look at the potential, work out the strengths and weaknesses then put it into practice for you.
Grooming trails and operating a club today is a lot more work than 20 years ago. Now with the cost of the resources from groomers, to fuel, to volunteer time - everything is so valuable that each and every one of the resources need to be carefully managed. Volunteers give freely of their time and most of the reward that they look for is a simple thank you, perhaps a hot breakfast with friends and the camaraderie where snowmobilers always seem to be having so much fun. For most the winter is a time to hide and wait for it to pass. For the avid snowmobiler, winters are just too short as we try to fit so much into so few days. Yes "winter is just too short" to revisit where I have been before or to expand to new areas to meet new friends and have new adventures.
So as we fit in our adventures we also volunteer our time to make the trails magically appear each and every year. Please remember to thank each other for a job well done.
As a reward for being involved in the sport the CCSO has also developed some national member benefits. Programs that put real dollars back into your pocket to help pay for that trail permit. Who could not use a few extra dollars these days! Visit the CCSO web site at http://www.ccso-ccom.ca/index.htm and go to the member benefits section at http://www.ccso-ccom.ca/ccsobenefits.html. Each of these individually offer small discounts but if we get all of the motorsports team together the overall savings is huge!
Visit today and make sure that you make it a favourite and visit often as we add new discount opportunities in the coming months and years ahead.
From the Program Benefits to the Partnership Benefits to the Information Sharing - a team working together can move a mountain and make a difference - as Donnie O'Keefe in Newfoundland always states "Many hands make light work"
So the question - Who is the CCSO?
The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations is the national body for organized snowmobiling in Canada. With a mission statement of "Dedicated to providing leadership and support of safe, organized and environmentally responsible snowmobiling in Canada", the CCSO/CCOM serves as the umbrella group for all the snowmobile associations and federations in Canada. The CCSO/CCOM envisions a continuing, sustainable legacy connecting snowmobile trail systems across Canada that exists in harmony with our environment for now and for our future generations to enjoy.
The membership of the CCSO/CCOM Board consists of the 12 provincial and territorial associations. Each member organization has two representatives that constitute the Board of Directors with one vote per province/territory. These dedicated volunteers are usually the presidents or executive officers of each of their own federations. They meet three times per year to exchange ideas, identify and prioritize national issues and provide the CCSO/CCOM with mid to long-term objectives.
The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO/CCOM) is dedicated to providing leadership and support to organized snowmobiling in Canada. It is a not-for-profit entity formed in 1974 to serve as the umbrella group for organized recreational snowmobile associations in Canada. The CCSO/CCOM Board of Directors consist of representatives of the 12 provincial and territorial organized snowmobile associations. They meet three times a year to exchange ideas, identify and prioritize national issues and provide the CCSO/CCOM with mid to long term planning.
Objectives of the CCSO/CCOM:
- To promote, foster and encourage by any and all proper and lawful means the welfare and betterment of the snowmobile recreational activities.
- To provide a medium of coordination on matters of mutual interests for all organizations and persons concerned with any aspect of snowmobile recreation and to cooperate with other industries organizations, the general public and the Provincial and Federal officials on matters affecting the user of snowmobiles.
- To coordinate legislative activities regarding snowmobile groups with the Federal and/or Provincial governments and to provide user groups with necessary information regarding the way of obtaining governmental support and grants.
- To provide user groups with necessary information and support regarding the means to obtaining governmental support and funding.
- To act as a liaison agent and representative of snowmobile organizations in Canada at the Federal and Provincial government levels.
- To act as information agent from members or member organizations involved in snowmobiling in Canada.
- To be the public relation agency among all Canadian citizens regarding the advertising and promotion of safety programs in practise.
- To promote a code of ethics applicable to the practice of snowmobiling
- To the conservation of Canada's natural environment and to preserving organized snowmobile trails and designated riding areas for future generations to enjoy.
January 15 - 21, 2012 is International Safety Week, a celebration and awareness of all the good work by snowmobile volunteers and organizations all across Canada and the USA. Jan 15th is Alcohol Awareness Day where we ask all of the riders to congratulate each other by "Making the Smart Choice" by leaving the alcohol until they are done riding for the day. Snowmobiling is an off road experience where you have an opportunity to enjoy the day with family and friends. Also remember that "Permits Power Groomers" so get that permit early and show your volunteers that you care and appreciate their hard work and efforts.
Have a safe ride and talk soon
Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations
Fire Extinguisher Care & Use
Over the last few years I have donated quite a few fire extinguishers to various Manitoba snowmobile clubs. Most of them have ended up in the warm-up shacks as was the original intention of the extinguishers, however some have also been mounted in groomers, and club houses. With the snowmobile season well underway I thought it might be timely to discuss maintenance, and usage.
Maintenance is the easy discussion so I will cover it first. Extinguishers mounted in buildings should be inspected monthly. This is a quick visual check to ensure they will operate when needed. You have to take a look at the gauge to ensure it is in the green this confirms proper pressure levels inside the cylinder. Then visually check the discharge hose to make sure there are no obstructions, and you have to look the extinguisher over for any damage. These checks should be performed every time the groomer goes out on the trail.
Usage is a little more involved and while I hope this article is helpful it will never replace a full fire extinguisher training course. We teach P.A.S.S. which stands for Pull Aim Squeeze Sweep.
Pull- The first step is to pull the pin that prevents the handle from being squeezed.
Aim- The second step is to aim the attached hose nozzle, at the fire. Aim low at the base of the fire.
Squeeze- The third step is to squeeze the handle to spray the contents. Remember a standard fire-extinguisher has less than 30 seconds of spray time.
Sweep- The final step is to sweep back and forth as you spray the base of the fire.
Following these steps will increase your chances of extinguishing the fire. The smaller the fire the better the chances of extinguishment as a fire grows the heat increases, and makes putting it out more difficult with each second. Once an extinguisher has been used even if it is still feels full, and there is pressure showing on the gauge it will need to be recharged. Dry Chemical has now coated the internal valve allowing the nitrogen expellant to leak past.
Bison Fire Protection offers a full fire extinguisher training course. The difference between panic and action is training. For more information visit our web site http://www.bisonfire.com/fire-extinguisher-training.htm
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If you already carry the BMO Snowmobilers of Manitoba MasterCard, thank you for your support
Apply Today at bmo.com/snoman!
Groomer Of The Year
My name is Glen Ell and I am one of the only founding members left of the Springfield Pathfinders. I have sat on many positions through out the years and have being helping with grooming and signing of the trails for the club for the last 17 years. Our first groomer was a 1978 Alpine with a 4' drag modified to expand to a 6'.
We were only grooming around 29 Klm. of trail that went from Oakbank south about two miles then west to the Floodway, then north of Oakbank to Birds Hill Park snowmobile entrance.
In 1997 we upgraded to a BR 60with an 8' Drag. Our club then expanded our trail to connect up with Anola. In 1998 our club had developed a 5 year plan to expand our trail east to hook up with the SnoPals trail near Elma and north of Birds Hill Park to run 206 hwy north to 44 hwy to hook up with the Springhill Trailblazers east of 206 hwy and the west to hookup with the Brokenhead Trailblazers. This gave the Club a total of 140klms of trail to groom. We then purchased an 8' Mogul Master Drag around the year 2000. Now the BR 60 was too small for the ditches and hydro line trails that we were grooming because of the deep snow we would get that blew in with big drifts. We had to upgrade to a bigger unit.
In 2004 our Club purchased a MP Plus which had 275 Hp.
We ran our 8' drag with this unit until around 2008 at which time we purchased a new Mogul Master 10' Drag, that we are currently using now. This unit is a pleasure to drive compared to our last two units, you never have to worry about getting stuck. This unit will go through anything.
During the summer of 2011 My Wife and I were invited to attend the 1st Annual Snoman Congress. There I was awarded with the "Groomer of The Year for 2010" for which I was much honored. Grooming the trails is not like work for me. I enjoy grooming the trails (sometime more then sledding) and getting the thumbs up as the sledders pass you on the trail. Something that they shouldn't be doing on a freshly groomed trail but it still feels good when they do that.
I start off every year with helping the groomer mechanic with the per season maintenance that takes about 60 man hrs sometimes more. Then I work with all the trail captains for getting their signs up on the trails. This takes a total of about 50 to 75 man hrs. to put up signs. Then once the signs are up, I am usually the first one along with one other operator (my brother John) to go and pack the trails. It takes about 30- 35 hrs to pack and groom our trail system. Now that the trails are packed and have a bit of a base the time for grooming is a little faster only about 25-30 hrs to groom our complete trail system
Once the grooming starts I'm up at 3:00AM to groom the east trail, I'm on the trail by 4:00AM and groom until 8:00AM and two other operators take over, then I head to my regular job for 8 hrs. of work. These two operators groom until 4:30 PM then they switch off with one other operator (my brother John who worked all day) who finishes off and parks the unit back in the shed at around 11:00 PM.
The next morning I am back on the trail by 8:00 AM and run the trail north down 44 hwy and south to the floodway then back at the shed by 10:00 PM. One thing that I dislike about grooming is when you are finish grooming for the day and its 11:00PM, you have to clean as much snow and ice off the groomer and drag as you can, then fuel it up before you park it in the shed. With temp of -30 this can take up to another 1.5 hrs . You're tired and you want to go home to bed but this has to be done or you end up with a big snowball covered groomer the next time you take it out.
The worst part of our trail system to groom is north of Oakbank to 44 hwy, this is one of the trails I always groom. There are tons of driveways to go over and it slows you down quite a bit trying not to leave any snow on the driveways. Sometime you do drop snow on the driveway and you either have to backup and scrape it off or turn around and repair the driveway. This all takes extra time. Going from driveway to driveway the trail gets pounded out a lot, so you have extra work on these parts of the trail. It is not a trail to put a beginner on because the club would get complaints from the sledder. Its best to train new operators on a flat trail then once they are familiar with all the controls of the groomer and where all the rocks on the trail are they are ready to move on to more difficult trail.
There is a lot to know about the groomer and grooming trails, everyone thinks it is easy when they are in the passenger seat, but put them behind the controls and they are all over the place and confused as to what to do next. It takes a couple of seasons of steady grooming for one operator to learn all the controls and how the trail reacts to you. You also have to learn how the snow works in the drag when grooming, it should be constantly turning in the drag. You don't just drop the drag to the ground and go, you have to pay attention to what is happening in the drag and either lower or lift the drag to control the amount of snow that you have. You have to be always looking at the trail ahead and behind you while grooming.
I put in about 175hrs on the groomer every year and another 325 hr for signing, trail & groomer maintenance and was the club treasurer for the last 3 years. I have sat at many other seats in the club over the years even as clubs Pres. I've been on the Eastern Region Snowmobile Assoc. since 1994 as an alternate Director as the treasurer for the last 4 years. I'm also one of a few original members to sit on the ERSA table since then.
I'm married to the most wonderful women that allows me do all this and not complain. Maybe she should have received an award for "Wife of the groomer of the year". That is what she keeps telling me anyway.
Snowmobile Industry Growing in Manitoba and throughout Canada
The snowmobile community continues to expand and thrive throughout Canada and in particular in the beautiful province of Manitoba. Registrations and permit sales in Manitoba continues to increase, coinciding with the improvement to and management of the trail system throughout the province.
In 2011, new sled sales in Canada showed a slight in increase from the previous year. Over 40,878 new snowmobiles were sold in Canada with an average sales price of $9,360.50. Sales of new 2012 sleds are progressing. Initial sales in Canada showed strong growth with sales in Manitoba also showing growth early in the season.
2012 is a very important year for the snowmobile community throughout Canada with the Canadian adoption of the international snowmobile emission regulation by Environment Canada. The strict emission standard was adopted in its entirety in April 2011 with full certification under the regulation achieved on January 1, 2012.
The manufacturers have been working diligently to achieve the internationally recognized standard which now allows snowmobilers to enjoy fuel efficient, exceptionally low emission products.
Updated reports from Consumer Insights - an internationally recognized research firm, reports the interest in riding a snowmobile continues to be high by a vast majority of Canadians. When asked to rate their level of desire to go snowmobiling, the majority of Canadians give it a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest level of enthusiasm.) This high level of interest and desire to go snowmobiling indicates a positive future for the entire snowmobile community.
Growth of snowmobiling, realized by the manufacturers is being enjoyed by snowmobile suppliers who are realizing solid growth as snowmobilers continue to update and improve non-current, slightly used snowmobiles and refreshing their riding wardrobe.
The snowmobile community is proud of their strong partnership with government agencies at the provincial and federal level. Snowmobiling is recognized as an important part of the Winter Economic Engine throughout Canada and is now receiving recognition and strong support from the federal government in Ottawa. Key Ministries and Agencies important to snowmobiling access and snowmobiling growth are aware of the major technological improvements that have been made to snowmobiles and the fact that snowmobiles now meet the most rigid international emission standard.
Snowmobiling is an important part of the Canadian culture and that culture is recognized worldwide. International travelers are finding that snowmobiling in Canada presents a unique vacation getaway and offers an exhilarating, breathtaking experience that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world. The growth in International Travel to Canada to enjoy snowmobiling is assured with the continued improvement of the trail system, and the supporting services and facilities serving snowmobilers and snowmobiling tourists. The high quality and dependability of today's snowmobiles will continue to attract new enthusiasts, new tourists and new business to Manitoba and all of Canada.
The Quest To Ride
It is January 5th, 2012 as I write this column and the radio just stated it is going to be +7 today! My assumption is that this weather is beloved by the majority of the Manitoba population, but I can tell you that is despised by all of snowmobile riders and especially by the dealers. We have lost two months of riding this 2011-2012 year vs last year and the long range forecast does not look good. I keep telling myself that "it's Manitoba; we are due for the big one"!
For the past 2 weeks my phone has been going off constantly. From texts to phone calls, it is from the group of guys I ride with asking "does anyone know where the snow is?" I realized I was not the only one looking at the Weather Network daily and hoping for that big dump of snow on the long range forecast. The 14 day trend only shows 2 days with possible snow. The Snoman website only shows groomed trails 6 hours north of here. Out of frustration two of my riding buddies have packed it up and headed to Revelstoke, BC for a week. That is an 18 hour drive one way! Based on the pictures they have sent back to me, it was worth it!
The quest to ride started on New Years Eve. My phone rang and Derrick asked me if I was ready to find snow? I looked out the window at the grass blades, laughed and said sure why not, I have a couple of days before I have to go back to work after the holidays. The next morning I was at Derrick's place at 6:00am and we loaded up the sleds on his 24 foot enclosed trailer. He hopped in my truck and said we have to pick up 2 more on the way. It was -9 C and a gusting wind from the north. We headed North West of Winnipeg, picked up Gary and Mike and after changing a blown out tire on route arrived at our destination about 5 hours later. I was amazed at how quickly we went from no snow to a line in Manitoba where all of a sudden there was SNOW!
Day 1. The moment we stopped the truck all the guys hopped out and unloaded their gear. We fired up the sleds, checked the oil and headed out. This was the first time I had ridden since last year and missed the feeling, and somewhat forgot it as well. We headed to a gas station and fueled up. After fueling, I said to Derrick " lead the way". There still wasn't a "ton" of snow, but there was enough to ride on. We went through some trees, over a few hills and then all of a sudden we found the snow. It had been blown up against to side of tree lines and the eastern side of hills. There was no trail system here, it was true back country riding. As the day went on, we crossed a few lakes and kept looking for that honey hole of powder. As it got darker the group was getting hungry and headed back to the cabin.
Day2. We finally got mobile at about 9:00am. All the guys were hungry and decided to go for breakfast at a local hotel. I was glad to hear I wasn't the only one feeling a bit of muscle soreness from the previous days ride. After breakfast we once again fueled up and headed out. It was a sunny day and about -15C. Perfect day for riding. We took a different route today, and it was well worth it. We found some great rolling hills between roads and the ditches were full of snow. The guys were diving in and out of the ditches and breaking new trail through the fields. The stubble held the snow very nicely. I was following Gary down a hill into a treed area and through the trees we came up on a lake. Looking across the lake was an opening to a field that had pristine snow on it. As we started crossing the lake we quickly realized that the ice was very thin. We were all breaking it up and leaving a long trail of slush behind us. When in doubt, gun it! Everyone crossed safely and played in the virgin snow in the field. After a few more lake crossings we still had no specific destination, just looking for that fresh snow. 6 hours later we finally arrived back at the cabin. Everyone seemed content to finally get a ride on the sleds. The whole ride home the discussion was based on the highlights of the ride and that we need more snow at home.
I have come to realize that snowmobilers will go to great lengths to get good use out of their sleds. I also realized die hard snowmobilers spend a lot of money to ride their sleds with no regret. It is a vital economic boost for small towns and local economies and I am proud to support this year after year and am willing to take another road trip if we don't see snow close to home soon.
Trapping Information for the Recreational Snowmobiler
Snowmobiling and trapping are two activities that occur at relatively the same time and in the same locations. We are providing information to help better understand each other's values.
Trapping is a highly regulated occupation practised by many people throughout the province. Prime trapping season for the various harvested species runs from November to March.
Much of the Snoman groomed trail system runs through prime trapping area where multiple uses of the trails may occur. In addition, many trappers have developed extensive access routes for trapping purposes. These trails may not be marked, and will not be maintained or have potential hazards identified, i.e., curves, obstructions, ice crossings, etc.
Traps are often set on and adjacent to these trails and an errant recreational rider may inadvertently disrupt or damage these sets. Under the Wildlife Act it is an offense to "remove, disturb, spring or in any way interfere with any traps set out lawfully by any other person for the purpose of taking furbearing animals"
Please respect the trappers' right to pursue his or her livelihood by not travelling on any marked trails.
Although Snopasses are required for all recreational riders utilizing the Snoman groomed trail systems, there are certain exceptions. Trappers within the Registered Trapline Areas do not require a Snopass.
Trappers actively trapping along a Snoman trail are urged to make their stops in the safest possible places and not obstruct the travel way for other riders. High visibility clothing, reflective markers on sleds and towed sleighs, and daylight operation are strongly recommended for trappers utilizing the Snoman trail system.
A reminder to all who travel and enjoy the outdoors in winter; it is also an offense to "chase, drive, flush, worry, harass, follow after or search for furbearers from a vehicle" This is especially important in winter when unnecessary stressing of wildlife could have drastic effects on their very survival.