January 2014 Newsletter

January 2014 Newsletter

International Snowmobiling Safety Week

January 18th to 26th is International Snowmobile Safety Week. The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada) have collaborated on a zero tolerance campaign that promotes driving sober.

The following news release can be found on the MADD Canada website:

If you're hitting the trails this snowmobile season, the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations and MADD Canada are urging you to drive sober.

"Zero Tolerance I Say Until I Am Done For The Day" is the approach CCSO and MADD Canada are asking snowmobilers to adopt when they are on the trails. Alcohol is a major factor in snowmobiling fatalities and injuries. In 2006, 52% of fatally injured snowmobile operators had been drinking. Further, alcohol was a factor in 49% of severe trauma admissions resulting from snowmobiling.

"For several years, we have endorsed the position that mixing alcohol and snowmobiling is a dangerous, potentially deadly activity" said CCSO Executive Director Dennis Burns. "We want snowmobilers to leave the drinking until they're done riding for the day - Make the Smart Choice. The deaths and injuries that occur as a result of impaired snowmobilers are completely preventable if everyone rides sober."

The CCSO is mobilizing its provincial and territorial associations to enlist participation from Canada's 744 snowmobile clubs.

MADD Canada, with the support of its sponsor Allstate Insurance, is appealing to its local Chapters and Community Leaders across Canada and to media to raise awareness about the dangers of snowmobiling while impaired.

"Alcohol affects judgment, reflexes and reaction times," said Wanda Kristensen, Director of Programs for MADD Canada. "People need to understand that operating a snowmobile while impaired is just as dangerous as driving a car."

"Enjoy yourself on the trails this winter but do it safely and ride sober," agreed Burns and Kristensen.

Dennis Burns Executive Director CCSO/CCOM (807) 345-5299

Wanda Kristensen Director of Programs MADD Canada (905) 829-8805/1-800-665-6233, ext. 229

Why Were the Trails Not Open?

Why were the trails not open? Since Christmas the office has been asked this question either by email or by phone at least 5 to 6 times a day. Compared to last season when most trails were open by mid December, this season is running about a month behind and of course everyone wants to know: why? If you remember two years ago, a large portion of southern and western Manitoba never opened a trail at all. This was simply because there wasn't enough snow. A similar situation occurred this year, as on December 1 there was very little snow anywhere. According to Environment Canada, on December 1 most of Manitoba only had approximately 2 to 5 cm (.8 to 2 inches) of snow on the ground and by the end of December there was between 8 to 10 cm (3.2 to 4 inches). By January 12 there was between 15 to 32 cm (6 to 12.8 inches).

In addition to the lack of snow, in December we had 13 days of below minus 25C temperatures. In the first twelve days of January, we have had seven days of below minus 30C temperatures. We can all appreciate that equipment does not operate very well in these extreme temperatures.

Unfortunately, at this time there are still clubs in the western part of the province lacking snow that are unable to open trails. They simply need more snow!

For anyone to suggest that the clubs are not doing their best to open trails- nothing could be farther from the truth. Many clubs tried to groom during the cold weather only to have their equipment fail. In trying to open a trail, one club actually sank their groomer in a water hole. Clubs are doing their utmost to try and open trails as soon possible. If you recall last season when there was an early snow fall, clubs jumped to the opportunity and open trails earlier than usual. In looking back a number of years, it appears that on an average year trails open between the last week of December and the first week of January.

Please be patient. The clubs are doing an excellent job, but unfortunately they cannot control the weather. Remember that to adequately groom a trail there needs to be a sufficient snow base to permit the groomer to process the snow and ensure a good trail base. Clubs are currently opening trails on a daily basis and within the next week (if weather permits) the majority of clubs will have trails open.

If you are not already a member of a club, please join a club and help make a difference.

Alan Butler

Take a Friend Snowmobiling

Take a Friend Snowmobiling week is coming up next month, and officially runs for ten days from February 8th to17th. Take a Friend Snowmobiling is an ISMA initiative that encourages seasoned riders to introduce newcomers to the sport in a fun and organized way- and gives clubs the opportunity to earn a cheque for $5,000! ISMA has a great information package available online that helps organizers plan and execute a successful Take a Friend Snowmobiling ride.

In order to qualify for the $5,000 prize, all you have to do is hold a Take a Friend Snowmobiling ride anytime before March 31 2014, then submit a completed contest entry to ISMA. Your ride does not have to take place during Take a Friend Snowmobiling week. This is simply a time to put special emphasis on the initiative with support from ISMA's media contacts and its sponsors.

As explained by ISMA, "Research shows that people WANT to go snowmobiling but don't know HOW to get started. By planning a ride, we take the guess work out of it or those that might not try it any other way". A Take a Friend Snowmobiling ride is not only a chance to have fun and get out for a great ride, but also provides a fantastic opportunity to help local clubs increase their membership. ISMA has stated that "if we can show people how to get started properly, they might be more inclined to join us in our clubs, associations, and on the trails".

For a full description of the initiative, visit http://www.snowmobile.org/ and click on the Take a Friend Snowmobiling link. The campaign manual offers tips for forming a committee, organizing the ride, planning your timeline, gaining publicity, involving partners, being a spokesperson, what to do on the day of the ride, and more. It also contains the printable entry form for the $5,000 prize.

If you don't have time to organize your Take a Friend Snowmobiling ride this year, it's never too early to start planning for 2015!

Kids' Colouring Contest

The colouring contest is back this season, with another great prize for young sledding enthusiasts! Once again, creative winter enthusiasts can win an r/c snowmobile provided by Snoman Inc.

Check out Snoman's colouring pages in the Kids Zone section of our website. Print off your favourite colouring page and get creative. You can then scan and email your masterpiece to Caitlin at adminassist@snoman.mb.ca or mail it in to our office at 2121 Henderson Highway, Winnipeg MB, R2G 1P8. Just make sure it gets to us by the deadline - February 28 2014.

Please do not to put your full name, address, or personal information on the front of your colouring page. Write a separate note telling us your name, age, and a phone number or email address so that we can contact you if you are chosen as the winner! If you wish, you may put your first name and age on your colouring page.