Here are a few ways we can up our safety game in the backcountry. see more
Each time Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers are called out for a rescue there is stress on the system, people and medical staff required to respond. During times of a pandemic it is imperative that we ride responsibly to try to reduce the number of callouts required by these volunteers who come to help should a snowmobiler become, lost, injured or involved in an avalanche. Here are a few ways we can up our safety game in the backcountry.
- Ensure you have the right gear.
- Every mountain rider should have a triple antenna avalanche transceiver, quality shovel and probe. Your shovel and probe should be in your backpack, with your transceiver on your person. This way if you become separated from your snowmobile you still have your essentials with you. https://www.avalanche.ca/gear
- Communication devices such as radios to talk between riders plus also an external communication device like a Zoleo or inReach. This way should you need assistance you’ll be able to call for help even if cell service is unavailable.
- Wilderness First aid kit
- Survival gear that include everything you need to stay warm and dry overnight is a must. You never know why you may end up spending a night on the mountain could be due to injury, weather, disorientation or mechanical failure, you will need to survive the cold temperatures of winter nights. Which means you will need a fire, so be sure to have multiple ways to start a fire, including fire starters, saw, waterproof matches, a lighter, or a flint stick. Extra food and additional layers including a dry pair of gloves will also make that night more comfortable. Having a way to melt snow for hydration in the form of a cup or aluminium water bottle are also solid ideas for survival. If you are on medication, be sure to have that medication on hand, be it insulin, heart meds or other meds that require a daily dose.
- Here is a great video of what the youth of the Kelowna Snowmobile Club have with them and there are more great ideas from our friends at Snoriders West magazine.
- Get the Training- What good is having the avy gear if you don’t know how to use it? Take at least an AST level 1 class and practice often with your equipment to be efficient and effective. Implement transceiver checks before leaving the staging area for the day. Before you leave staging do a simple transceiver check to ensure everyone has their transceivers turned on and they are functioning properly.
- Get the Forecast. This is a critical component of planning your day, so please check the avalanche forecast and weather focus before heading out. Your avalanche forecast can be found at www.avalanche.ca
- Create a Pre-Trip Plan. With information gleaned from the avalanche and weather forecast, and after a conversation with your ride crew create a trip plan which will allow those not riding to know where you are planning on riding, where you are staging, how many are in your crew and when they can expect you home. Here is a great app from our friends at BC Adventure Smart to help you plan. Trip Planner
- Know before you go. Trail navigation is a very important aspect of staying safe in the backcountry. If you are riding new terrain it is helpful to either hire a guide or ride with a local who will have intimate knowledge of the terrain. Not only will you sled safer, you may end up riding secret honey holes while others are concrete surfing. Apps such as Never Lost Trails can be helpful as well, helping you navigate and lending valuable info such as terrain recommendations, warm up shelters and key points of interest.
- Use your words. When choosing your route please discuss the adventure with your group and who is going to be watching who. Every person in the group should have a wingman(woman). Keep open communication throughout the day and should you feel uncomfortable use your words to convey your feelings to the group. No one wants to be deemed the “fun police” but that is better than the alternative should you ignore your intuition and be in a dangerous situation
- Never ride alone. Anything can happen in the winter backcountry including mechanical failure, injuries, disorientation and the possibility of an avalanche. Please never ride alone. Join a local snowmobile club to meet other riders or there are several ride groups on Facebook or search Never Ride Alone for regional groups.
- Keep your eyes on your Wingman(woman). It is imperative that riders use the buddy system and you should always be in sight or radio contact with your buddy. One wrong turn or stuck can be caught in minutes if you are always watching for them but if you get all the way to the parking lot and it has been 40 km's since you last saw the person it makes for a large search grid and increases the likelihood of them spending a night out alone. If you have not seen your wingman in the last five minutes it is a good time to stop and listen, hit the call button on your radio or to go back to where you last saw them to track them down.
- Ride within your skillset. While it’s great to push yourself to increase your skill set, it is important to exercise respect and caution when navigating terrain. Should one ride far beyond their ability injury can occur requiring a SAR call out. Always ride terrain geared towards the weakest rider in your group to prevent mishap and injury. Do not take unnecessary risks. During the COVID-19 Pandemic hospitals and medical staff are stressed to the max. Now is not the time to hit the biggest air or drop of your life. Ride conservatively so as not to create a scenario that requires a SAR callout.
- Head back to staging during daylight hours. Even if you have limited time on the snow due to work or family obligations and want to burn as much gas as you can, please head out to staging well before dark. Again, anything can happen including mechanical failure or disorientation and any rescue effort will be hampered by darkness on your way out. Heading back in the light is a considerate way to support Search and Rescue volunteers in British Columbia.
Remember that Search and Rescue is always free and that if you are in need of help the sooner you call the easier it is for the Clubs and SAR Members to respond. But if each riders takse the above extra precautions we can lower the number of search and rescue callouts and everyone will have a great season!
- Ensure you have the right gear.
Each year the BCSF recognizes individuals, families and businesses . Here are the winners! see more
Each year the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation recognizes individuals, families and businesses who go above and beyond to support the sport of snowmobiling in BC. Normally these awards are presented in the spring at the Annual General Meeting, but due to the Corona Virus Pandemic, the awards were presented in October via a Facebook Live Event. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the winners of the 2019/2020 BCSF Excellence awards:
Outstanding Snowmobile Dealership
The nominations for Outstanding Dealership are as follows:
- Greater Vancouver Powersports out of Chilliwack/Langley, BC
- Forest Powersports from Prince George, BC
- Cycle Works West from Acheson, Alberta
- M & M Performance from Kelowna, BC
The winner of the 2020 Excellence Award is Greater Vancouver Powersports.
Outstanding Snowmobile Related Company
The nominees for Outstanding Snowmobile related Company were
- Acumen Machine from Kamloops, BC
- Never Lost Trails App who provide trail mapping throughout British Columbia.
The winner is Acumen Machine.
Outstanding Snowmobile Family
The nominees for Outstanding Snowmobile Family were
- The Schubert family from the Hunters Range Snowmobile Association
- The Eller family from the Vernon Snowmobile Association
- The Salzmann family from the Kokanee Country Snowmobile Club
The winner for Outstanding Snowmobile Family is the Eller family with the Vernon Snowmobile Association.
Outstanding Youth Contribution
The nominees for Outstanding Youth Contribution are as follows.
- Brody Biluk from the Hunters Range Snowmobile Association
- Mason Kenyon from the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club
Congratulations to Brody Biluk from the Hunters Range Snowmobile Association!
Outstanding Snowmobile Club
The nominees for 2020’s Outstanding Snowmobile Club are
- Coquihalla Summit Snowmobile Club,
- Kakwa Park Snowmobile Club,
- Hunters Range Snowmobile Association,
- Fort Nelson Snowmobile Club,
- Kamloops snowmobile Association.
And the Winner for the BCSF club of the year is the Kamloops Snowmobile Association.
Groomer of the Year
The nominees for the BCSF Groomer of the year were as follows:
- James Campbell from the Fort Nelson Snowmobile Club
- Leo Samson from the Kamloops Snowmobile Association
- Kent Clarke from the Hunters Range Snowmobile Association
- Dennis Cole from the Summit Seekers Snowmobile Club.
Congratulations Leo Samson, the 2020 BCSF groomer of the year from the Kamloops Snowmobile Association!
Pat Whiteway award for Outstanding Snowmobiler
The nominees for outstanding snowmobiler are as follows:
- Katie Squair from the Lumby-Mabel Lake Snowmobile Association
- John Wren from the Williams Lake Powder Kings
- Kevin Hillier who belongs to multiple snowmobile clubs including the Vernon Snowmobile Association, Hunters Range Snowmobile Association, & Lumby-Mabel Lake Snowmobile Association
The recipient of the 2020 BCSF award for Outstanding Snowmobiler is Katie Squair from the Lumby-Mabel Lake Snowmobile Association!
The British Columbia Snowmobile Federation’s President’s Award
The recipient of the 2020 BCSF President’s award is Kevin Hillier from the Vernon Snowmobile Association, Hunters Range Snowmobile Association and the Lumby-Mabel Lake Snowmobile Association.
Thank you to everyone nominated for your outstanding efforts. Your contributions to the sport of snowmobiling in British Columbia are invaluable.
We will be delivering these awards in person when we can and until then we will keep the presentation video up from the Facebook Live Event!
Why do you enjoy snowmobiling so much?. That is a difficult question to answer..but we will try! see more
The sport of snowmobiling is many things for different individuals. Quite often we are asked “why do you enjoy snowmobiling so much?”. That is a difficult question to answer in just one sentence for there are a multitude of ways to answer this question.
In the depths of winter, nothing is quite as breathtaking as the snow-covered views from up top. When you are high atop a mountain you can see for miles around. Beautiful valleys, picturesque lake views, and meandering rivers are sure to inspire. Meandering through coniferous forests on groomed trails is such a great way to decompress while enjoying the beauty around. Winter snowscapes are ever changing even within the same week. Scenery is at the top of the list for many riders in the province.
In an article published by the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations the findings proved what most riders know. Snowmobiling is great exercise!
“Researchers found that on average, riding a snowmobile used 5.6 METs. This means that a snowmobile rider is using 5.6 times as much energy while riding than if they were sitting at home watching TV. The 5.6 METS used during a typical ride is similar to the amount of energy used during downhill skiing or snow shoveling and categorizes snowmobiling as moderate intensity physical activity. It is recommended that people do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intense physical activity (at least 3 METs) per week to maximize health benefits and to prevent a variety of health risks (Tremblay et al., 2011). Therefore, a snowmobile ride can contribute to this weekly recommendation, which will reduce the risk of developing a variety of diseases.” Read the full publication here
The bond developed between riders who are in a dedicated sled crew is unlike none other. Sure, there is laughter, antics and zingers flying constantly throughout the day of adventure, but there is also something much deeper than that. Your life is in the hands of your sled crew, and theirs in yours. The level of trust and communication while managing terrain together in the backcountry is intense. Even outside of the winter season, that lasting bond exists. Your sled crew will always have your back no matter what.
Snowmobiling can be as intense or as laid back as you want it to be. Each ride is different, with a variety of unique challenges presenting at any given moment. Do you want to learn how to nail a re-entry? Practice makes perfect! It may take several rides to execute technical moves, but the feeling of satisfaction when you finally get it is incredible! Each ride your muscles become more toned, and you become more in-tune with your ride. Confidence grows each time you face your nemesis, which may be side hilling on the throttle side of your machine, or holding a technical line in the trees. The possibilities to grow are endless.
Unique Wildlife Viewing
Many would be amazed by the abundance of wildlife active in the winter months. It can be so exciting to experience the diversity. Sitting amongst the trees with the machines turned off and suddenly flying squirrels start gliding overhead. The ptarmigan nestled in the snow blending in so perfectly. Wolves, cats and sometimes even grizzly bears who have emerged from their winter slumber can get your heart pumping. It’s important to respect wildlife, and give all animals ample space. To learn more of what to do when you encounter wildlife while out snowmobiling in the British Columbia Backcountry please visit this article from our friends at Let’s Ride BC.
Sharing the sport with others
No matter if your teaching youth how to ride, or introducing an adult into the sport of snowmobiling, mentoring is a rewarding experience. It can be especially exciting to introduce those who perhaps may have never even considered snowmobiling, but ironically find that they are hooked after only one ride out. When you share the sport you grow it in a healthy way especially if you include a safety focus implemented in the outreach.
Families that play together, stay together. Couples that ride together, stay together. There is something solidifying in the bond created while sharing backcountry adventure together. Suddenly kids feel that hey, Mom and Dad are actually pretty cool to hang out with and will beg to be included in the next sled-venture planned. Snowmobiling is epic family time.
Good for your mind
Let’s face it, the winter months can get a bit dreary at times. Low cloud cover, and reduced daylight hours can lead to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A debilitating condition for many which can be treated with vitamin D. What better way to get some vitamin D than from mother nature herself? Riding high above the clouds under bluebird skies while getting some endorphins flowing is the perfect prescription for SAD. When the valley bottom is muted by cloud cover you’ll be high above the doom and gloom basking in the sun. Your mind will feel clear.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the motivating factors for snowmobilers. We’d love to hear from you! Why do you ride?
Snowmobile Clubs across BC have been working hard all summer to open their trails. see more
Our snowmobile clubs have had to adapt their operations this season for the safety of their community, staff, volunteers and riders due to COVID-19. We are also asking our riders to help us by following and sharing a few key messages this season.
Travel: This is a great season to #ExploreBCLocal and enjoy your local snowmobile trails. When planning to snowmobile in other areas please check the Provincial Health Office information for advisories and recommendations related to travel.
Group Size: Please follow the Provincial Health Officers recommendations on group size. A general guide is to keep your ride group small and preferably to family or people in your household. It is important to ride with the same people as much as possible this season. In the snowmobile world this is fairly easy as most of us have a tight riding group and our wingman(woman) does not often change. But if you are new to snowmobiling or get invited out with a new group please maintain your physical distance and try to limit the number of riders in the group for the day.
Physical Distancing: Ensure you are able to maintain at least 6’ (or a short track sled) of personal distance from people. Some shelters may be closed this season and all will have occupancy restrictions on them. Please try to use the shelters for emergencies only and if you need to use them respect occupancy limits while keeping it to people in your group. It is a great year to learn some new muffpott recipes and find a great lookout to have lunch.
Wash Your Hands: It is hard to wash your hands while snowmobiling but if you have to use a high touch point such as an outhouse or door handle please wear your snowmobile gloves or a hand sanitizer. Remember that alcohol sanitizer does not freeze but the cold temperatures does impact their effectiveness.
If sick, stay home, no exceptions: Seems like a no-brainer right? Please do not come to the trailhead if you are not well. An outbreak at any club has the potential to make other riders sick and impact all club operations in the Province. So if you are not feeling well please stay home and self isolate even if you think it is just a cold.
Pack it in....Pack it out: This should always be the norm for snowmobilers but this year we are asking for extra effort. Snowmobile Club volunteers do not want to be handling other people's garbage including cans, water bottles, or other discarded items. There is no magic garbage truck that comes to the shelters and picks this stuff up. The groomer operator or a volunteer has to haul out all the garbage in or on their machine. So please if you took it in...pack it back out.
Low risk decision making: It is important that all snowmobilers use more conservative decision making this winter. This is not the year to venture into new terrain, drop into unfamiliar drainages, or to push the avalanche conditions. Availability of Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers and their response times may be impacted by COVID-19. In the event of an incident or accident we all know that fellow riders will also respond which puts other riders and yourself at risk while they work to help you. Conservative decision making with a clear trip plan will ensure that no one has to put themselves at risk to help you.
Patience: Depending on setup at the trailhead some Clubs may have to change the flow or cash handling process. Please have patience with trailhead staff and provide yourself a little extra time to get out on the trail this winter. A membership for your local snowmobile club that includes a seasons pass will be the quickest way to get out on the trails and help trail staff.
User Fees: Please try to have the exact change so that trailhead staff can limit cash handling. If you are riding with a group please send one person up to purchase the passes for the entire group. Some clubs will also be offering online day pass sales so please check your clubs website to see if these are available.
Snowmobile Clubs across BC have been working hard all summer to ensure we are ready for the coming season and able to open our trails for our riders. We are now asking you the rider to help us by managing your own risks. Snowmobiling is the best way to get outside this winter and enjoy what BC has to offer.
What are some alternatives to sandwiches? Here are some ideas! see more
Packing a lunch and high energy snacks is an important part of backcountry snowmobiling. Let’s face it though, we are all pretty much over the whole soggy sandwich that gets squished amongst the contents of our tunnel bag or backpack. So, what are some alternatives to sandwiches? Here are some ideas!
Muff Pot/Hot Dogger
These unique gadgets attach to your exhaust system, and warm meals for you while you ride. You certainly can go with the smokie/hot dog route with these, but some have gotten a little more creative.
Garlic/Rosemary Baby Potatoes with Shrimp: Utilizing canned baby potatoes, or pre boiled potatoes, season with your favorite herbs. Use pre-cooked shrimp for food safety precautions, as these cookers warm not necessarily cook meat to a safe temperature from raw.
Perogies topped with cheese- From the frozen food aisle choose your favorite perogy. We put a tablespoon of broth or water in the bottom to steam them somewhat. You can top with bacon or get fancy with taco seasoned beef or elk.
Meatballs: Meatballs are a go to for many riders. For a little extra nutrition, some will forego breadcrumbs as the binder using rice instead. Filling and nutritious meatballs will get you through the day with a great protein boost.
Leftovers such as spaghetti, lasagna or your roast beef dinner- This is a great way to utilize leftovers and have a great hot meal on the hill. You can freeze leftovers in your muffpot, then store in a airtight container until you’re ready to use.
It is important to note that these cookers will warm food but will not cook a large raw slab of meat to a safe internal temperature. Check out the frozen food section of your local grocery store and you will find the possibilities are endless.
For easy clean up use parchment paper or oven bags to line your cooker. Tinfoil tends to blacken them making clean up a bit messy. Here is more information on muff pots and hot doggers from our friends at Mountain Sledder Magazine: Muffpot Cookbook tips
If you do not have a Muff Pot or Hot Dogger
Hard Boiled Eggs are another great choice for a backcountry snack. They are an excellent source of high-quality protein and rich in B vitamins, zinc, calcium and other important nutrients and antioxidants like choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Use a Ziploc type container to store the eggs to prevent them from getting crushed in your storage bag.
Jerky and Pepperoni sticks: Another easy snack that packs well and provides a solid source of protein. Bonus points if it is your own wild harvest meats such as elk, goose, deer or bear.
Crackers and Cheese: A great addition to pepperoni sticks and jerky.
Trail Mix: Trail mix is a great snack that will help keep you fueled as you ride.
Protein Bars and Granola Bars: Again, extremely easy to pack and access, protein bars are an excellent choice for a snack, or for emergency rations should you become delayed in the backcountry.
Salads: Quinoa, Pasta, and potato salads are all easy meals that are easy to pack in a Ziplock type storage container. Be sure to pack utensils.
It’s also important to remember hydration. For those who are not a fan of commercial electrolyte drinks, some options include bone broth, tea and some high-quality H2O. (Yes, that was a Water boy Bobby Boucher reference)
While in the past, some may have opted for cooking meals in warm up shelters located in many of our BCSF club riding areas. The pandemic has changed the way that we should be utilizing our shelters. We want to remind everyone to limit their stay in these shelters along with the number of people in each shelter following the protocol recommended by the Provincial Health Officer. Please respect one another, maintain social distancing and obey occupancy limits posted. Please be prepared to manage your own risks if you go to the shelter and even better save the shelters for emergency use only.
Instead eat your lunch, on the back of your snowmobile, at any of the many beautiful lookouts we have in BC. Take a picture and tag #letsridebc to show the world what they could be enjoying while out riding a snowmobile in beautiful British Columbia.
We are looking for a Project Manager for a Snowmobile Mapping Project planned for this season. see more
BCSF Mapping Project (Phase 1)
Request for Expressions of Interest
for a Project Manager (PM)
Scope of Work
The BCSF represents 60 snowmobile clubs in the Province of BC. With this project the BCSF is looking to capture, record and upload all BCSF Club snowmobile trail data in BC to create a single data source in EvTrails. This will be Phase 1 of this project and and we hope to collect data from ½ the clubs (30) in the Federation this season. The club’s themselves will be doing the GPS capture but the Project Manager (PM) will be responsible for initial setup and training for the EvTrails platform, drafting of club communication plan, ongoing club individual follow ups, and technical support for this project in its entirety.
Once the club trail data is received the Project Manager will upload the data to our EvTrails Data Warehouse and provide previews back to the club so that they can suggest edits or changes. Once trail data is submitted and deemed complete by the Project Manager and the club the PM will submit a payment request on behalf of the club to the BCSF for their honorarium for completing this work.
Ability to work with volunteers and support their efforts
High personal organization and experience working from a home office and unsupervised.
Familiarity with snowmobiling in BC and/or trail management.
BCSF Snowmobile Club director or member would be preferred.
Manage a large project remotely using technology such as provided zoom accounts, BCSF Project Management Software and Google drive.
High level of personal organization and demonstrated experience working from a home office unsupervised.
You will be required to utilize BCSF project management software to collaborate/track project progress with other team members. So a willingness to learn the platform TeamWork.
Ability to provide technical support to non technical people on the operation of a GPS devices, data formatting and other GIS data information such as points of interest.
Willing to attend EVTrails learning sessions to become a power user of the platform and share that knowledge with other platform users.
Advanced computer skills in:
Microsoft Office or Google Suite
Strong technical background in database management would be an asset.
Understanding of mapping and ability to work with shape files and GPS downloads.
Must have your own office space, computer/laptop, telephone and high speed internet. All software needed will be provided.
Key Project Deliverables
Attend EVTrails training sessions and utilize the platform to a power user level that can provide technical support to club volunteers.
Work with the EvTrails software team to establish categories, layers, and the visual representation for our new BCSF map platform.
Ensure that all data uploaded is clean and consistent with Project outcomes.
Be able to create and use mapping layers that are relevant to snowmobiling in BC.
Development of Club messaging, materials and help documents to assist the snowmobile clubs capture their trail data and points of interest.
Our goal for Phase 1 is to have at least 30 different BCSF snowmobile club’s complete trail data in EVTrails. Complete means that they have submitted the data, that the Project Manager has reviewed and uploaded the data into EvTrails, the club has reviewed the uploaded data, and signed off that it is complete and been paid their honorarium.
Ensure that all publicly available data from Government around snowmobile management is uploaded including BC Parks, Wildlife Closures or management areas.
Expected Time Commitment
We are estimating that the Project Manager will work about 100-125 hours on Phase 1 of this project.
Candidate selected by January 1, 2021
Project to commence January 15th. 2021
Phase 1 substantial completion by May 31, 2021
How to apply
Please send a resume, a cover letter outlining your experience as it relates to this project specifically and your price estimate to:
BC Snowmobile Federation
Send via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you should receive a confirmation email from us that it was received.
Deadline for application is December 18, 2020.
When the relationship ends who gets to keep the "sled crew"? see more
Riding with your significant other can be a great experience but when the relationship ends there is always one question on both individuals’ minds. Who gets to keep the sled crew? Normally men do not have a problem finding a new crew, and more often than not, they stay with the original group. But at the BCSF we often get requests for help connecting to new ride groups from women. This is because for the woman it can be a lot more complicated. When seeking out her new ride crew she runs into wives that do not want their husbands riding with a newly single woman or having to prove to she can hold her own and won't be a downer on their day. This makes it very hard for the woman to find a new ride crew which can often can result in her giving up her passion for snowmobiling and looking out the window with tears in her eyes as her snowmobile goes to its new home.
We want all women to know that there are options though and want to encourage all women who enjoy snowmobiling to hold on to their passion for the sport! So here’s a few ideas we regularly share:
Join a Club- Your local snowmobile club is a great place to start looking for a new crew. Like minded safety conscious riders are abundant in the many snowmobile clubs across the province. They support the sport and will support a lone rider find a new crew.
Ladies Rides- There are many women specific ladies rides that happen throughout the province and believe it or not many single women participate. You can build a new crew that is all women if you choose. No boys allowed can be incredibly fun, without the pressure of feeling like “that girl”.
Ladies Clinics- This is another great option for meeting like minded she-shredders. You will gain skills, make great friends who quite often end up feeling like true sled sisters. Your confidence and skill set will soar when you attend an accredited ladies clinic. Ask around there is often a lady in your club that can share some tips with you or even better check out the pros:
Social media female specific snowmobiling pages- This is a fantastic way to meet new people and perhaps even plan a few sled-cations! Facebook especially has an abundance of groups that are active and welcoming. Cycle Works West Women Shredders, Women’s Snowmobile Focus Group, Throttle Chicks, or the Braab Babes are just a few of the options available.
Share your crew- Some splits can be amicable. If you can negotiate the terms of custody for sharing of your sled peeps that is a bonus. You’ll already have the trust and familiarity down pat, so all you need to think about is the braap.
Have fun and shred on ladies. You are an important part of the sport of snowmobiling and we want you to see you out on the snow!
BCSF and our Member Clubs continue to work to secure access to public land for all. see more
The BC Snowmobile Federation received information on August 2020 about a new proposed project in the Elk Valley area called the Elk Valley Cumulative Effects Management Framework. (EVCEMF) This project intends to restore industrial roads in the Elk Valley that will restrict public access to areas for the protection of habitat for Grizzly Bears, Big Horn Sheep, and Westslope Cutthroat Trout.
Road restoration is not the same as road deactivation and includes the pulling down of the banks to re-slope the road and new trees are then planted to completely restore the area. This type of restoration has the potential to completely remove snowmobile access and it was clear that access to several snowmobile areas in the Elk Valley could be lost due to this project. In fact, almost all of our snowmobile areas are listed as priority watersheds for their work going forward.
Therefore, the BCSF quickly created a project team with the Fernie Snowmobile Association and the Elkford Snowmobile Association to ensure that the snowmobile sector would have a voice on this project. We requested an immediate stop work and asked for the opportunity to participate in the road selection process for this year. This resulted in us being provided two weeks to review their proposed work and submit a written letter with our concerns. At the same time we were also successful in setting up a virtual meeting with the Provincial Project Lead to ensure that our concerns were heard. The BCSF and our member clubs attended the meeting and we were successful in having the Ptolemy trail and the Heartbreak trail removed from this year's work plan.
As a result of this work, we also have been successful in obtaining a snowmobile sector seat on the EVCEMF Working Group going forward so that we can better support their work while also representing the interests of the snowmobiling public. We anticipate this work will be ongoing over the next five years and that the Fernie Snowmobile Association and the Elkford Snowmobile Association will continue to provide strong representation for snowmobilers on this project locally.
This is a prime example of why you should join a snowmobile club. It is not just about groomed trails. The BCSF and our member clubs are dedicated to safety, the growth of the sport, protection of the environment, and securing access to public lands for all. Trails that are groomed are legally established and rarely challenged. It is snowmobile access trails that are not legally established that often are threatened and where the BCSF spends the bulk of our time and resources.
The BCSF will continue to support the clubs in the Elk Valley on this project while also working with the Cumulative Effects Management Framework Provincially. We need to better understand the implications to snowmobile access across BC, projects they have planned and ensure we have a voice. We have expanded our Provincial Team on this file to include our partners at ATV BC and BC Off Road Motorcycles Association (BCORMA) to provide a unified voice for all motorized recreation. Please support your local club!
The off season isn't the time off for snowmobile clubs that people think! see more
While the most exciting time of the year for snowmobilers is in the winter months, the off season isn't the time off for snowmobile clubs that people think. There are so many administrative and infrastructure obligations to address along with meetings especially in relation to land access issues during the summer months. Once the riders have parked their sleds for the season the clubs kick it into high gear!
Trail Maintenance and Brushing
Spring, Summer and Fall are all busy times on the trails for the clubs. In the spring before the final thaw many clubs have to go out and remove temporary snow bridges, clean out culverts, pick up pallets, pull up stakes, and remove any trees from creeks that have the potential to dam up water above our trails. They may have to close gates or install signs informing summer users that the area is closed. Through the summer many clubs run brushing programs to remove willow trees and widen trails for the groomer to get though. They also clean out ditches to stop erosion, re-slope trail surface if needed, and remove deadfall or danger trees near our trails and shelters.
Warm up shelter Construction and Maintenance
If you see a project happening on the ground this year you can be sure that new shelter or parking lot has been at least three years in the planning. Clubs must complete full project proposals with budgets, create engineered drawings, complete environmental and/or archeological assessments, submit applications to Government for permission and finally work to secure the necessary funds to complete the project. Of course when you build something new it comes with ongoing responsibility for the Club to properly maintain this asset long term. That is why the process is long and only strong clubs that can demonstrate long term stewardship are successful. Part of that ongoing commitment is ensuring that all shelters, new or old, have routine maintenance completed each season. This work can include painting, replacing stairs, clearing away fire hazards, repairing chimneys, fixing solar power, stocking firewood, and rodent proofing to prevent pack rats, porcupines, pine martins, and squirrels from calling the club’s shelter their home. Outhouses may have to be addressed, repaired and maintained, along with basic upkeep for existing structures. With many of these projects being volunteer driven, recruiting multiple hands to help is necessary to complete work in the short window of time the summer lends.
Groomer and Equipment Maintenance
Each season, each club goes over their equipment and completes routine maintenance or sends their groomer out for necessary repairs. Many sledders may not know that the average cost of a groomer is over $100,000 and that repair bills can be in the ten's of thousands of dollars especially if equipment is not properly maintained. In the spring most groomers are moved down to a members shop for storage where most maintenance is done to the groomers or drags with a final once over in the fall before being moved back up into position. Clubs can often get in the vicious circle where they are spending so much to maintain old equipment that they cannot save enough to replace the equipment. Then if the equipment is broke down riders get frustrated and further reduce the clubs budgets by not buying memberships. So help your club break the cycle by helping where you can or supporting them through memberships. Someone who is mechanically inclined is always appreciated and nothing depletes a clubs bank account quicker then their groomer.
Grant Sourcing and Writing
Several funding initiatives surface during the spring and summer months, including many tourism and government funding opportunities. If your club has someone proficient in grant writing consider yourself fortunate, for there are a lot of dollars out there that could greatly improve your club’s operations. But the application processes require detailed planning, execution and followup. There are few grants out there that will completely fund a project so often in conjunction with grants the clubs will need to coordinate fundraising campaigns or apply to several grants at once. If you are a technical person that is good at writing proposals and planning projects please consider helping your club with grant applications. Nothing feels better than helping your local club pull all the pieces together and complete a new shelter that will be there for all sledders to enjoy for generations to come.
Fundraising Events and Membership Drives
No snow, no problem, sometimes the off season, is the perfect time for a fundraising event or membership drive...especially in the fall. Riders are so eager to get back out on the snow that attendance can be high. All sledders are eager to get started and are looking for ways to reconnect with their riding group or meet new people. The BCSF also runs their annual #BCSFEarlyRenewalContest each season so that all members that support their BCSF Club before November 30th get entered for a chance at some great prizes.
Often during the summer months there seems to be a focus on the sport of snowmobiling for consultation processes. There are often meetings with Government around wildlife, new government policies and often written submissions required on each of these. Clubs are attending the BCSF Annual General Meeting, the BCSF Annual Club Congress, actively recruiting volunteers for their work bees, recruiting new Board Members, updating websites, filing annual reports with Societies BC, creating operation plans for the coming season and reports on last season for Government, plus reviewing industrial plans for the coming season to try to mitigate impacts to our trails..
By the time snow flies Clubs have booked and attended most of the Western Canada Snowmobile Shows and worked with their local tourism partners to create new maps, advertising packages, and to secure great snowmobile offers for their riders for the coming season. The BCSF is no exception as we work hard each summer to ensure that our #memberbenefit program is bigger and better each year. Many clubs set the meeting schedule and plan all their events with dates at the first meeting of the season. Many members want events but when they are actually planned fail to attend. It is disheartening to volunteers to spend time planning something and have no one show up. So attend your club meetings and help them plan events on dates that work for many of the members.
So as you can see the business of snowmobiling never stops. It is not all just work though, each of these club activities is also a great opportunity to get outside, meet new friends and an opportunity to invest your time into a sport you love. Supporting your local club ensures that when your track touches snow this winter that the trails will be open, the trail is groomed, the shelters are warm, and that your snowmobile club will still be there to ensure it all happens again next year!
Volunteers getting it done with the Fernie Snowmobile Association
Your child could win themselves a $100 Visa Gift Card! see more
Contest closed! Have a look at the great entries we received and our winner!
Here is a fun activity to keep the kids busy during social distancing and give them a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card from the BCSF. All you need to do is download one of the great colouring pages from our partners at the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association website, get your child to colour it, and take a clear picture of your child’s artwork.
Then to enter the contest:
- Post a picture of your entry to Facebook by tagging @British Columbia Snowmobile Federation – BCSF and include your child’s name, community and age in your post.
- Or, Post a picture of your entry to Instagram by tagging @BCSnowmobileFederation and include your child’s name, community and age
- Or, Send us your entry via email to email@example.com and include your child’s name, community and age
By participating in this contest the person or child’s legal parent/guardian is agreeing to the contest rules as outlined below.
- By entering the contest, you agree to let British Columbia Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) post your child’s artwork on social media and/or the (BCSF) website (personal information will not be displayed).
- The contest is open to Canadian residents only.
- The contest is open to Canadian children aged 12 and under.
- One entry per child.
The colouring contest begins April 1, 2020 and closes at midnight (PST) on April 30th, 2020. The winner will be chosen at random by the BCSF.
The BC Snowmobile Federation photo contest is not sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook or Instagram.
Summer is coming...time to think about storing your gear! see more
Along with summerizing your snowmobile for storage, it is a good idea to prepare your equipment and gear as well. This can save you from future headaches and keep your gear in pristine condition. Here are some suggestions:
Avalanche Transceiver: Remove your batteries in preparation for storage. Over the summer months, batteries can leak inside your device corroding vital components. When removing the batteries, be sure to inspect the unit for signs of damage or wear. This is also a great time to update the firmware on your device, if applicable, keeping you up to speed with the latest features and technology.
Avalanche Bag: Remove all contents and inspect zippers and other components for integrity. Pay close attention to all the nooks and crannies inside your bag along with that ½ eaten stick of beef jerky can get rather rank throughout the heat of the summer months. You can deploy the bag at this time in preparation for storage, or do a preseason blow off before next season commences early in the fall. It is important to test the functionality of your avalanche airbag before each season by blowing off the bag.
Shovels and Probes: This doesn’t take a lot of time, but do take the time to inspect your shovel and probe for signs of wear, damage or malfunctioning parts. Fully extend your probe to ensure the internal cord is still at optimum function, and do a feel test on your shovel blade to see if there are any burs that may need a gentle sanding. These jagged burs can damage your avalanche bag over time by catching on the fabric of the bag potentially ripping and tearing it reducing it’s life-span.
Radios: Remove batteries from the compartments to prevent corrosion of internal components over the summer. Inspect for any broken or damaged components.
Outerwear: This is an excellent time to wash your gear so it’s ready to roll for next winter. Tech type washes such as Nixwax are great for reviving your gear’s waterproofing, where traditional laundry detergents do not offer the same bonus feature. Inspect zippers and arrange for repair now rather than later when you want to use it.
Boots and Gloves: Inspect for signs of deterioration and wear. If you’ve had issues with water penetrating your boots, be sure to thoroughly dry the inside of the boots, and if they smell musty they may be in need of a good odor-absorbing puck or antibacterial spray to remove the stink. To reactivate waterproofing, many opt for a silicon-based spray such as this one offered from FXR Racing. Hydrx Silicone Water Guard
Helmet: Inspect helmet for signs of wear, particularly in the inside foam and adhesives. If you are seeing internal deterioration, it’s a good time to invest in a new lid or if your helmet is over 4 years of age. Summer is the perfect time to save for a new snowmobile helmet, and you will find some smoking deals on non-current products.
Tunnel Bag: Again, inspect and remove contents especially food products. Rodents will try to gain access by chewing through the bag if it is composed of fabric. Make sure all of your zippers are functioning properly and give your tunnel bag a good cleaning.
If you are in the need of an upgrade, the summer months tend to be an excellent time to find great deals on noncurrent gear and equipment. Check out your local dealership for your next gear upgrade. This is a great way to support those who support the sport and to keep your local economy alive.
Here is a deeper look into the sport of snowmobiling, with a little history lesson along the way. see more
They say knowledge is power. How about horsepower? Here is a deeper look into the sport of snowmobiling, with a little history lesson along the way. Be prepared to see these trivia facts on our next BCSF Quiz. Enjoy!
- Snowmobiling generates over $8 billion in annual spending across Canada and is responsible for over 100,000 full time jobs in North America
- Early in the winter of 1922, fifteen year old J. Armand Bombardier designed a wind driven sleigh with a Model T engine. This was to be the first of many snowmobiles designed by Bombardier.
- One of the most amazing snowmobiles was hand built in 1924 in Sayner, Wisconsin by Carl Eliason. It was called a "motor toboggan".
- In the 1940s, J. Armand Bombardier opened his snowmobile manufacturing company, the aptly named Bombardier. It was a success, acting as one of the leader’s in snowmobile innovation throughout the 20th century.
- The 1950s saw the creation of the first Canadian single-track snowmobile. Designed by Allister and George Ingham, it would spur on the establishment of Saskatchewan’s Ingham Motor Toboggan, a company which would last from 1950 to 1963.
- Polaris was founded in 1954 in Roseau, Minn. Edgar Heteen, David Johnson and Edgar’s brother Allan were the original partners in Polaris.
- After a controversial promotional tour across Alaska, Ed Heteen left Polaris in 1960 and founded Arctic Enterprises, which would eventually become one of Polaris' major rivals, Arctic Cat.
- Yamaha first bought a snowmobile made by the Canadian company Bombardier as a sample and initiated development after thoroughly disassembling and studying it. The company completed a prototype of the YX15 in the summer of 1965.
- In 1972, Arctic Cat released the first kids’ snowmobile, the Kitty Cat.
- A Wyoming study (Ward 1980) fitted elk with heart rate monitors and determined that ‘elk responded most strongly to sonic booms, gunshots, and people on foot. Elk seldom reacted when approached by an OSV.’
- The BC Snowmobile Federation was formed in 1965 by a small group of snowmobile racers. The original purposes as set out in the BCSF constitution was to develop an organization that was dedicated to safety, the growth of the sport, protection of the environment and securing access to public lands for all.
- Although Snowbike popularity went though the roof in 2010, you could say that the first snow-bike was created in 2001, with the SnowHawk
We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into snowmobile history! Thank you to the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations, and our fabulous four manufacturers for this great lesson in history. To learn more about snowmobile history you can visit the links below.
So what is it that we will miss the most? Sometimes it’s the little things. see more
Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic has been eye opening, especially for those who enjoy backcountry recreation. Initially, many thought that getting out for a good snowmobile ride during self-isolation would be a good thing, but it became painfully clear quickly that was not always the case. There was still risk of exposure to riders in parking lots, collection huts, and in our backcountry shelters. It also became apparent that in order to get to the hill we still had to purchase fuel at gas stations, travel through communities and interact with the public. According to BC's top Dr. self-isolation means staying home if we want to flatten the curve. Not only does staying home prevent the possibility of infecting you or others with the virus but it also ensures that snowmobilers are not adding any pressure to the medical system.
So what is it that we will miss the most? Sometimes it’s the little things.
Disconnection from society
For many snowmobiling is our downtime and we use riding our snowmobiles to decompress after a stressful work week. That feeling of being unplugged from obligations and plugged into nature, in all its glory, really does feed our souls.
Camaraderie and friendship.
There really is something special about the bond formed with your riding crew. Your life is in their hands and theirs in yours. This creates a bond through a level of trust most will never experience in their life. It also leads to many coveted awards and ride titles like “bent rim”, “creek diver”, “where’s Waldo” or “the fearless leader”. Sled friends are best friends.
The secret world of winter wildlife
On your snowmobile you may get to enjoy some unique winter wildlife. We likely all have seen a ptarmigan along an alpine slope and have it pop under the snow. We often see rabbits, lynx, flying squirrels or pine martins that are always interested in the visitors to their backyard. Most mountains have a following of stellar jays or whiskey jacks that are sure to come check out what you have for lunch.
Many people don’t know this, but snowmobilers often get more sunshine in the winter than other people. Even though the valley may be socked in with low cloud or dense fog, due to temperature inversions it is usually blue bird on the hill. This creates an opportunity for snowmobilers to get above the gloom and soak up some much needed vitamin D.
Snowmobiling absolutely does a body good!
Snowmobiling is excellent exercise for your body, helping to build muscles and especially core strength. Contrary to those who believe snowmobilers just sit and cruise around all day, snowmobiling is a wonderful way to keep your body healthy and strong. Here is a great write up from SnoRiders West Magazine. Snowmobiling is good for you
The excitement and challenge
The sport of snowmobiling can really boost your battery box. It’s impossible to think of work, duties, bills and everyday stressors, when you’re trying to nail down that re-entry, picking your line, digging yourself out or getting your sled on edge for the first time. That excitement you feel when nailing down a new move is ridiculously intoxicating and flat out exciting no matter what level of skill you possess.
There is something special about the meals we eat on the mountain. Many hours go into planning our Muff Pot recipes and the smell of sweet and sour meatballs, chicken wings, potstickers and casseroles are common. Or we all know that Subway sandwich artist that really is an artist because they know how to keep the mayo from making your sandwich soggy and packs it perfect with the tomatoes on the outside. Fresh air, great views and a great meal, does it get any better than that?
After Sledding Bevy time
We will all miss our time spent after the ride enjoying a beverage together and replaying the day. It usually is filled with laughs, encouragement, exaggerations and sometimes includes a silly prize. We have seen hats, pins, and ribbons given out for the best stuck, the best dangle, or the “that guy award”.
Sometimes snowmobiling is the only social interaction we have during our busy winter months filled with work, hockey practice, and dance lessons for the kids. It’s ok to feel down that it ended early, in fact, it’s healthy to acknowledge those emotions. It’s ok to not feel ok, and it’s ok to miss the world of snowmobiling. Thankfully the mountains are not going anywhere and next season it will be on like Donkey Kong.
Some suggestions to help get your snowmobile-fix during self-isolation
Watch for online podcasts such as Living Large with John Ferrian, or Driven with Scott Spero. These guys interview other interesting people in the snowmobile industry and bring forth current events or issues the sport of snowmobiling face such as land access concerns. They’re wildly entertaining and the passion they share for the sport is absolutely contagious.
Check out the videos of other riders like you. Do a quick search of snowmobiling, mountain snowmobiling, or snowmobiling in BC. There are many little-known riders that have great videos showcasing mind blowing talent. How have these riders not been discovered? There are so many videos that is hard to get noticed. So if you find a good one give them a follow and a share to help them get to the top!
If you’re going to be confined to your home, how about feed your brain with online educational resources from Avalanche Canada? They offer a wide assortment of resources and online instruction to help keep your skills sharp and ready to roll.
Together, we will get through this Pandemic, and although this season may have ended early, next year promises even more greatness. It’s important to keep in mind your local dealerships and clubs will be feeling the financial effects of COVID-19. When you are able to please be sure to spend your dollars locally where they count the most.
Your support will become more important than ever!
Multiple access points put pressure on groomed trails and increase fees see more
Sitting by the fire speaking with fellow riders can really give you a deeper understanding of who we truly are as a user group. Thousands of riders come from out of province and out of country each year, to experience the incredible snowmobiling, snowbiking and sled-skiing we have in British Columbia. Snowmobiling injects a staggering amount of prosperity to our province every year, to the tune of 299 million dollars, so why are our clubs struggling for memberships and funding to perform basic club operations?
It’s tough out there for our snowmobile clubs, especially when some of their trails have multiple entrance points which are separate from the main staging areas where fees are collected. These multiple access points put pressure on groomed trails and leave the costs to operate the trails on the users that are supporting. This gate avoidance equates to a huge loss in revenue for the clubs, raise rates for people that are paying, and sets a very bad example for other riders who may decide to save a few bucks the next time they head out riding. But by trying to save a few bucks you are:
- Harming the club and the BCSF that is fighting to preserve your access to snowmobile areas
- Limiting the clubs ability to create new or improved trails and snowmobile infrastructure for you to enjoy
- Burning out volunteers that are trying to keep it all going with not enough resources
- Limiting funding available for grooming and operations.
If you truly value the snowmobiling in British Columbia you wouldn’t hesitate to buy a membership and/or trail pass every time you ride.
We recently heard from one of our clubs that their groomer is temporarily out of service, not due to mechanical issues, but because they do not have enough funds to put fuel in the groomer. That is the reality when people consciously choose to not support their local club.
While some may think it’s no big deal, the fact remains that your membership and trail pass are absolutely vital for your riding areas existence. Snowmobile Clubs have many expenses to operate each season such as:
- Funding, repairing and maintaining a groomer
- Insurance both liability and structural insurance for warm up shelters cabins and equipment
- Trail preparation and maintenance
- Administrative costs for club operations
- Event funding
- Travel costs associated with meetings and lobbying
It is important to note that many of these costs occur every year no matter how much snow we get!
We want to thank all of our hard-working volunteers and club members for supporting the sport. There is hope on the horizon, for we are now seeing very high-profile riders urging everyone to buy their memberships and trail passes. To purchase a membership in a BCSF Member Club you can visit www.bcsf.org/clubs .
Your support through membership and day passes truly does matter.
We are looking for passionate skilled people to step up and assist the Federation see more
The BCSF is a non-profit organization led by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is elected from the Membership, by the Membership, to provide governance, oversight and leadership to the Federation overall. We are looking for passionate skilled people to step up and assist the Federation in achieving our strategic objectives and add to the strength of the Federations voice.
Elections will be held on April 4th in Fernie, BC at the BCSF Annual General Meeting. We have six positions up for election this year:
BCSF positions up for election at the 2020 Annual General Meeting will be:
- President (2 year term)
- Secretary (2 year term)
- Provincial Director #2 (2 year term)
- Provincial Director #4 (2 year term)
- Provincial Director #5 (1 year term)
- Provincial Director #6 (2 year term)
Nomination packages can be found attached below. Deadline for nominations is March 15th, 2020. If you would like to ask questions about the positions or the duties required you are welcome to contact the Board President, Peter Doyle, or the Nominations Committee Chair, Pamela Cole.