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HISTORY

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    The BCSF reviewed the draft Partnership Agreement and submitted our comments to Government see more

    The B.C. government, the federal government, West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations have been negotiating an Inter-Governmental Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Central Group of the Southern Mountain Caribou (“Partnership Agreement”). The draft Partnership Agreement applies to the Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou in the South Peace.

    The BCSF reviewed the draft agreement and submitted the attached comments to Government on behalf of BCSF Member Clubs.

    The top five key points of our response are:

    1. Term of Agreement should be five years-It is apparent in reading the Agreement that the proposed 30 year term does not match the actions laid out in the Agreement. The terms and schedules to the Agreement are short term or immediate in scope and much of the language is referencing items to be developed, possible projects to be considered, targets to be determined, temporary committees, interim measures and schedules that only apply to implementation of the Agreement of itself.  We think that the Parties need to embrace that this is new ground and instead use this agreement as the stepping stone to the creation of a long-term vision on caribou recovery with broad public support. 
    2. Managing motorized recreation– We are concerned the Agreements includes an action to implement the Central Group Caribou Motor-Vehicle Closure Engagement Plan. Our concern is based on that we have asked for a copy of this plan and have been told that the document has not been finalized nor can it be shared as of closing of this consultation period.  So we do not know what we agreeing to or commenting on.
    3. The Klinse-za Park expansion-  The current Klinse-za Park is listed as “Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) being prohibited in the existing park. ORVs include ATVs, off-road motorcycles, snowmobiles and side-by-sides.” The wording to expand the park without including this key piece of information makes it unclear to us and the public of the Parties intention to make zone B3 a non-motorized area. The expansion of this park effectively removes snowmobiling from two high value snowmobile areas to the community of Chetwynd and will not include the snowmobile sector in reviewing this action or its boundaries. 
    4. Habitat Restoration Projects –They are planning to undertake restoration projects but the list of projects has not been provided.  Habitat Restoration and lineal line removal can seriously impact snowmobile access but does not seem to have any requirement for consultation. By removing access to an area you do effectively close the area without a requirement to consult impacted users. This results in forcing the public onto unsafe access trails or can result in illegal trail building.
    5. Public Consultation-The agreement states that all consultation must be completed within four months of the initialing of this Agreement. We have been told that the Agreement was initialed on March 1, 2019 which makes the end of public engagement to be June 30th. With the public consultation sessions that were held in the Northeast scheduled only ten days after the agreement was released, we question the ability for the public to be properly informed or effectively participate in a consultation process. Also, the four month timeline also does not allow for the Parties to implement any of the feedback from the public or bring back a second draft for review. 

    To read the full response letter that was submitted please open the attached file.  

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Blair Lekstrom's report "the Path Forward to Recover the Caribou Plan in Northern BC" was released see more

    Blair Lekstrom's report "the Path Forward to Recover the Caribou Plan in Northern BC" was released today.  The BCSF submitted our comments to Mr. Lekstrom to help inform his report and we also submitted our recommendations to all proposed signatories on the Agreement at the end of May.  You can read our full list of recommendations here.  

    The recommendations Mr. Lekstrom has made are:

    1. Government must not move the Partnership Agreement forward until full and proper engage- ment has occurred with Local Governments in the Peace Region, the District of Mackenzie, Industry, and Back Country user groups. Engagement must be done in a manner that is inclusive, transparent and be given the time to achieve public support. 
    2. Ensure proper consultation with and possible inclusion of both McLeod Lake Indian Band and Lheidli-T’enneh First Nation in the rebalanced Partnership Agreement. 
    3. A comprehensive Socio-Economic Impact Analysis must be completed in cooperation with the impacted areas of the Partnership Agreement prior to the agreement being finalized. 
    4. Recognizing that it will take time to rebalance the Partnership Agreement and ensure the document can be more fully accepted and supported by the region, impose a temporary moratorium on Zones A2 and B3 until a comprehensive engagement process is complete and all possible options are considered.
    5. The province needs to work with the Forest Industry to identify ways to mitigate any negative impact on volume from the deferral zones. Through discussion this may then ensure AAC is made available from adjacent units. 
    6. Moving forward remove zones B2 (Klinze-sa park expansion) and B5 (proposed West Moberly First Nations Woodland license) from the Partnership Agreement as both of these issues were agreed to prior to the development of the PA. If the province moves forward with a Woodlands license for West Moberly First Nations the requirement to harvest that timber must be actioned or the license should not proceed. 
    7. Ensure that moving forward that the rebalanced Partnership agreement include but not be limited to the following; 
      1. A clause that states it is not the intention of the agreement to impact negatively the industry which operates in the region and such a clause should reflect the view that supports the continued viability of industry (this clause can be discussed and developed by the parties engaged at the consultation table); 
      2. Ensure enhanced, fair and equitable representa- tion on both the Caribou Recovery Committee (section 8) and the Technical Working Group; 
      3. Develop the Central Group Caribou Motor- Vehicle Closure Plan in cooperation with user groups prior to the finalization of the Partnership Agreement and include it in the document (section 38); 
      4. Define the Indigenous Guardian Program and include it in the final Agreement (section 40 and 41); 
      5. Revisit the Dispute Resolution Process with a view to make it much clearer (sections 61 and 62); 
      6. Ensure the Mitigation and Offset program is developed and defined and included in the Agreement (section 35); 
      7. Ensure the development of the Managing Predation (section 39) is inclusive of those referred to in recommendations 1 and 2; and 
      8. Ensure each clause contained in the agreement is written in a clear and concise manner that can be easily understood. 
    8. Government continue to provide funding for the caribou maternal penning program which is seeing positive results in the growth of the number of caribou. 
    9. Government continue with funding provided for the caribou feeding program which is seeing positive results in the growth of the number of caribou. 
    10. Continue with the Wolf cull program in the Peace Region which is leading to a positive result in the number of caribou. 
    11. Pursue the possibility of implementing a captive breeding program for caribou. 
    12. Moving forward work with the Peace River Regional District and the District of Mackenzie to determine a possible overarching group that could be used as the lead table in discussions as they relate to these issues, as well as any future issues that may impact the region. This group should include all of those referenced in recommendation 1 as well as First Nations if they would agree to participate. This may be an option that government wishes to pursue in other regions as well, which could help alleviate ending up in a similar position to what we find ourselves in with regard to the Caribou agreements. 
    13. The Federal Government must accept responsibility for the costs associated with any mitigation measures which may be needed to offset any negative impacts the final agreements may have on communities, industry, back country user groups and individual workers who may be negatively impacted. This recommendation reflects the fact that it is the Federal Governments Species at Risk Act which has led to the development of both the Section 11 Bilateral Agreement and the Draft Partnership Agreement. 
    14. Although not within the jurisdiction of the prov- incial government, I would recommend that the Federal government incorporate the need for a full and comprehensive Socio-Economic Impact Analysis be part of all at risk species deliberations under the act and such a section be included in an amended Federal Species at Risk legislation. 

    A full copy of Mr. Lekstrom’s report is attached.

    From a press release made today made by Premier Horgan it is apparent that he plans to at least implement some of the recommendations:

    “Government is implementing an interim moratorium on new resource development in parts of northeastern British Columbia, while providing more time to protect jobs and support workers as it engages with affected communities and industries on long-term caribou protection strategies.”

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Shows a strong desire to recover caribou while maintaining quality opportunities for snowmobiling see more

    Caribou Recovery & Snowmobile Management in the South Peace

     

    Keremeos, BC (February 3rd 2021) -- The Central Group of Southern Mountain Caribou have been listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act. The Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, West Moberly First Nation and Saulteau First Nation developed and endorsed the Intergovernmental Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Central Group to the Southern Mountain Caribou (Partnership Agreement) on February 21, 2020. This agreement sets out the actions that the signatories will take to achieve the shared recovery objective of “immediately stabilizing and expeditiously growing the population of the Central Group to levels that are self-sustaining and support traditional aboriginal harvesting activities, consistent with existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights”.

    Many of the most popular snowmobiling areas in the South Peace overlap important caribou habitat. Though not the primary driver of caribou population decline, snowmobiling can create undesirable impacts on caribou by disturbing or displacing animals to lower quality habitat.  Recognizing this, the Partnership Agreement committed the province to Clause 37 which outlines the commitment for the consultation of technical experts, first nations, local governments and snowmobile clubs to inform the design and implementation of a winter motorized recreation management plan to mitigate disturbance and displacement of caribou. This clause created the South Peace Snowmobile Advisory Committee (SPSAC) and enabled it to be involved with the development of management options for winter motorized recreation access.

    The attached “Caribou Recovery & Snowmobile Management in the South Peace” is the recommendations of the South Peace Snowmobile Advisory Committee (SPSAC) which included the BC Snowmobile Federation, the snowmobile clubs in the South Peace, local communities, and the Concerned Citizens for Caribou Recovery.  In total the committee members attended 13 meetings, which were a combination of in person and virtual meetings, and committee members dedicated more than 450 hours of volunteer time to this process.

    The BC Snowmobile Federation recognizes the importance of snowmobiling not only to the lifestyles of British Columbians but also the economies of rural communities. Areas within the scope of this report are no exception to this and are consistently rated as some of the best snowmobiling areas in Canada. The tourism potential of the region for winter recreation has yet to be realized.

    The BC Snowmobile Federation believes that the attached recommendations developed by the SPSAC show a strong desire to recover caribou while maintaining quality opportunities for snowmobiling in the South Peace.  The data reviewed during the creation of this report included current herd data and habitat usage for the last five years to ensure that recommendations were current and relevant.  The Committee felt strongly that Adaptive Management needed to be a core principle of any management plan going forward to ensure that changes in landscape, herd movement and snowmobile usage can all be reviewed regularly. 

    Now that the SPSAC report has been delivered to the decision makers we hope that our recommendations will be given weighted consideration in the development of the winter motorized recreation management plan for the region.  This plan is a small part of a much larger and complicated recovery plan needed to help the Government meet its objective of creating self-sustaining populations of caribou to support traditional aboriginal harvesting activities.  Managing snowmobiling alone will not achieve this objective but the BC Snowmobile Federation Clubs will continue to be leaders in caribou recovery and support the province in its efforts to restore Southern Mountain Caribou to self-sustaining populations across British Columbia. 

    The BC Snowmobile Federation is a non-profit society created in 1965 to establish, maintain and protect quality opportunities for organized snowmobiling in BC. The BCSF collectively represents 60 snowmobile clubs and 44,000 riders in the Province of BC.  On the ground, our member clubs are non-profit societies maintained by caring volunteers who promote safety, stewardship, and responsible backcountry snowmobile recreation.

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    The BCSF submits comments to the Province of BC in response to South Peace Draft Management Plan see more

    The BC Snowmobile Federation (BCSF) and our member clubs participated in developing the South Peace Snowmobile Advisory Committee (SPSAC) Recommendation Report that was delivered to the Province in February 2021.  This report was a culmination of over 400 hours of time and $20,000 in BCSF member funds.   We stand behind the recommendations of this report and are submitting this report in its entirety as our response to the draft management plan that is currently circulating.  We request that the Province refer to the maps in our report that provided for the protection of 92% of occupied habitat in the South Peace and allow the members of the SPSAC to be true partners with you in Caribou Recovery.    

    The SPSAC was tasked with finding a balanced approach that supported caribou recovery and continued snowmobile access.  The SPSAC focussed our recommendations on occupied habitat and included a core principle for Adaptive Management whereby public access is adjusted seasonally or temporarily when caribou are not present. This allowed for the communities to continue to grow snowmobile tourism without impacting caribou recovery.  Snowmobiling does not alter habitat, there has been no evidence of a snowmobile trail leading to a predation event in the South Peace, and today the collar data collected by the Province provides no evidence of habitat abandonment due to snowmobilers.  

    In addition to submitting our report in its entirety we are also submitting the following direct comments on areas that the Province has not addressed:

    1. Legal Establishment of Snowmobile Polygons:  The legal establishment of all snowmobile areas that remain open must be included as an immediate next step. These applications need to be fast-tracked as it is our understanding that Recreation Sites and Trails BC (RSTBC) is no longer considering new applications.  A typical application has been taking five to seven years to process which is not acceptable.  The clubs in this region that have been trying to get their trails established have continued to be pushed off until the caribou planning process was started.  We believe that if you can implement a closure in less than six months then the protection and clear definition of what remains open should also be able to occur in that timeframe.   

    These areas must be established as recreational polygons and include the access trails, the grandfathering of existing cabins, and approval for new shelters or parking infrastructure required as part of the enhancement funds.   The Province should then enter into Partnership Agreements with the snowmobile clubs in each community to ensure the continued management of these areas long-term for public benefit.   Without this establishment of the entire polygon there is no legal recognition on the landscape of our usage and we will see our remaining areas further eroded through other land planning processes.

    1. Industrial pressure requires additional FRPA Objectives to be set: The snowmobile closures proposed align directly with the boundaries of the Industrial Moratorium, as such, it would appear that this will lead to increased pressure on the remaining land base below 1200M.  This will put public recreation areas directly overlapping industrial work sites and roads.  Therefore the legal establishment of the recreation polygons should include site-level objectives requiring forest licensees to communicate with recreation stakeholders and define mitigation strategies for the protection of public recreation resources including:
      1. The alpine and coniferous forest features along recreation sites or trails will be retained to preserve the outdoor recreation experience and prevent early season melt on snowmobile trails.
      2. Forest planning will include safety considerations for recreational access during the winter months and after harvesting is complete.  This will include harvest planning consideration above and below a recreation site or trail to ensure that new exposures and avalanche paths are not created. Or that any new avalanche paths are mitigated by terrain modifications such as deflection berms.
      3. This recreation site or trail is part of the working forest, and as such, activities that are likely to impact access or the recreation experience need to be communicated with the Designated Partner on the trail at least six months in advance.  
    2. Access must be protected:  All access routes into areas that remain open must be protected and in most cases improved to allow safe access to what remains.   This will require a commitment from many decision-makers and budget considerations across departments.  We need a commitment that the Province will manage all the decisions and provide an adequate budget to ensure areas that remain open can be safely accessed by snowmobilers long term.  This includes:
      • Forestry Roads for access or part of trail networks will need to be established by the Province as a provincial responsibility and an adequate budget allocated to ensure that they are safe for winter passage including replacing bridges, repairing unstable slopes, water damage, etc must all be mitigated, repaired or replaced.  It is not ok to come back a year later and remove a road to an open snowmobile area because the Province does not have the budget to replace a bridge.  
      • All restoration work will need to be done in close consultation with the snowmobile clubs in the area with clear details and commitment/assurance provided in writing that restoration work is not further limiting access or removing active trails in areas that have remained open.  That is not enough to ensure that future restoration work that is contracted out or done by industry as part of their deactivation of roads or lineal lines will not further limit our access.  It needs to be a firm commitment that someone within Government will ensure that the snowmobile access will remain open across departments and Ministries.  The snowmobile clubs cannot be responsible to track and try to manage multiple consultations across Ministries.  Government knows we are there, has committed to keeping these areas open for the continued economic benefit of the communities in the region, and therefore needs to commit to managing all processes that could further limit snowmobiling in the region.
    3. Enhancement Budget Needs to be Confirmed: Increased traffic to these areas will be immediate and therefore any approvals and subsequent infrastructure development must be completed prior to December 1st of this year.  Enhancement funding needs to be confirmed immediately and amounts for the next five years shared with the snowmobile clubs.  Once known, the clubs should meet with the Province to prioritize projects and begin implementation of key tasks focused on managing capacity, economic benefit, and safety immediately

    The British Columbia Snowmobile Federation does not support the current plan as circulated with sentiment echoed by the eight thousand signatures collected by the public. The Province’s draft plan has taken the precautionary principle and used a long planning lens with no consideration of the secondary objective, which was for snowmobiling to remain viable.  The SPSAC focussed on creating a comprehensive plan reactive to where caribou are and adapting public access regularly to maintain separation as herds grow and habitat usage changes.  The Province’s plan, however, is to apply a blanket closure of lands to the public whether caribou are present or not, and use punitive means to gain compliance. What the Province’s plan fails to acknowledge is that, according to the science, snowmobiling is considered a low threat to the herds and should only be managed where access is considered pervasive.  In the South Peace, on today’s landscape, the number of riders is low and spread across the region which prevents snowmobiling from being considered pervasive in any one area.  With this plan that will change. 

    It is our position that the members of the South Peace Snowmobile Advisory Committee diligently completed the work that was requested of us in the Terms of Reference and now ask the Province to follow through and review that work to ensure that quality snowmobile opportunities remain.  Closing 1 million hectares completely to recreational snowmobiling in the South has not provided any improvements to the herds but has directly impacted the economy of many communities and provided much financial burden to snowmobile clubs that are now trying to manage a growing sport with much less available terrain.   

    This plan will not be successful without the support of the BC Snowmobile Federation, the snowmobile clubs, the riders, and the communities they support.  So we again ask the Province to follow due-process: review the recommendations forwarded in the SPSAC report, and implement the plan presented outlining the protection of  92% of occupied habitat with a strong adaptive management principle establishing the clubs as partners.  This collaborative effort will allow us to stand with you in support of your work and assist the province in the implementation of a successful caribou recovery initiative in the South Peace. 

     

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    No matter the technology advancements there is still the human factor to consider! see more

    As we reflect upon technology advancements, especially over the past decade, it is awe inspiring to see how far we have come. Get the gear, get the training, get the forecast....then you are good to go, right?  Wrong, for no matter the technology advancements there is still the human factor to consider.  

    Transceivers 

    The avalanche transceiver, which is sometimes referred to as an avalanche beacon, has evolved tremendously since the days of the analog single antennae models. While you should buy the latest and greatest it isn’t the only factor to consider when it comes to transceiver safety.

    1. Can you use it effectively?  Having a transceiver is totally pointless if you have no idea how to use it.  Practice with your equipment frequently to keep your skills sharp and be sure to perform a range test for effectiveness at least at the beginning of each season to ensure the transceiver is not compromised. You will become familiar with how to use your transceiver when you take your two day avalanche skills training level one class (AST1).  An AST1 is the bare minimum of training recommended for backcountry recreation in the mountains.  
    2. Did you turn it on?  You’d be surprised by how many forget to turn on their transceivers on at the beginning of a ride.  Here is a great video on doing a trailhead transceiver check.  It demonstrates a quick exercise that everyone in your group can do to make sure everyone is turned on, transmitting and ready to roll.
    3. Has it sustained an impact?  Perhaps while practicing your scorpion or superman on your last ride you may have landed on your transceiver.  Any nice solid whack to your transceiver could damage internal components of your transceiver rendering it ineffective. Doing you trailhead transceiver check every ride will help catch this.
    4. Do you have any electronics or magnets that could be interfering with your signal?  A minimum of 20 cm distance from any electronics is recommended to prevent electronic noise from compromising your transceivers effectiveness. 
    5. Are you using the wrong batteries?  Many are unaware that lithium batteries negatively affect transceivers and create interference. To read more about why you should not use lithium batteries and only alkaline batteries please read more.  
    6. Did you leave the batteries in it over the summer months resulting in corrosion?  After each season be sure to take your batteries out of your transceiver before you put your gear away for the season. 

    Read more about Transceivers here:  Essential Gear   


    Tethers 

    A tether is a cord between the snowmobile and its rider that acts as an engine kill switch in the event that the rider and machine should become separated.  It is an essential piece of safety gear and must be used at all times.  Skidoo is the only manufacturer that provides a tether from factory and for all other snowmobile manufacturers the tether must be purchased as an aftermarket option. 

    1. Is your tether attached to your person?  To have a tether installed and not have it attached will not shut your snowmobile off.  You should always attach your tether before you start your snowmobile.  Many riding gear companies have a D-ring on the bottom of your coat to attach your tether.  Why use a Tether 
    2. Was your tether professionally installed?  As was mentioned previously only one manufacturer offers a tether from factory.  So if you ride one of the other brands please order a tether and book an appointment to have it installed at your local snowmobile dealer.  

    Clothing  

    Your outerwear for backcountry riding isn’t simply a fashion statement, it is safety gear that could save your life should you spend the night in frigid temperatures.  It must include a waterproof and breathable outer shell paired with moisture wicking base and mid layers. 

    1. Is cotton one of your layers?  The saying is “cotton kills” and for good reason. Cotton absorbs moisture like a sponge and will hold it to your skin keeping you wet and cold which can cause hypothermia.  Only utilize breathable wicking fabrics for your internal layers including socks.  Read more here:  Dressed for Success
    2. Are your boots or gloves too tight?  Restricted circulation will make for cold hands or feet and could set you up for frostbite.  Make sure your boots and gloves fit well but leave enough room to facilitate circulation or perhaps accommodate a thicker set of socks on very cold days. 
    3. Are you dressed for the conditions?  Remember temperatures can fluctuate during the day as can your level of activity.  Ensure you dress in layers and have a dry place to store unused layers throughout the day. Over dressing results in excess perspiration and can cause your gear to get wet which is never a good scenario for backcountry survival. 

    Helmets and Goggles  

    There are several factors to consider when it comes to helmets and goggles. 

    1. Do you have the right lens for winter riding?  Summer moto goggles are normally a single lens with foam that isn’t nearly as thick as winter goggles.  Winter goggles are a double lens and usually have an anti-fog treatment. They also come in many different lens colours with each offering a different advantage.  Colours like amber, rose and blue tend to enhance terrain features on flat light days, while mirror lens options give you a bit of respite from the sun and glare off of the snow. Read more on choosing your goggle and lens 
    2. Do your goggles fit your face and your helmet?  That is a huge part of goggle performance.  You’ll want to take your helmet with you when picking out new goggles to be certain that they fit both on your face without allowing for gaping holes, and they fit inside of your helmet comfortably. 
    3. Does your helmet fit comfortably?  A helmet that is too tight will cause headaches.  A helmet that is too big will create strain on muscles being utilized to prop the helmet back into position plus compromise your vision.  
    4. Is it time to retire your helmet?  Should there be any significant impact on a helmet, it should be thrown into the garbage immediately to ensure it will never be in circulation again.  Helmets, over time, do deteriorate.  Glues and resins will become compromised and foam will compact losing the ability to protect.  Be sure to replace your helmet every three to five years or immediately if it has sustained impact.  More:  When to upgrade your snowmobile helmet
    5. Are you considering buying used gear?  We do not recommend buying used helmets.  You cannot tell just by looking at a helmet if it has taken a hit or is compromised.  You are better to buy a new helmet and look to other areas of your gear to save money by buying used. 

    Stay tuned for part two of the human factor of safety gear failures.  Owning the gear is simply not enough.  You must be able to use the gear proficiently to be safe in the backcountry.  

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    the best way to experience unfamiliar terrain is to hire a professional guide see more

    Often, we are contacted at the BCSF by riders looking for trail information or where to stage.  What we rarely get contacted for is to recommend a guide for their group.  We believe that the best way to experience unfamiliar terrain is to attend an organized club event or to hire a professional guide.   This is because mountain riding in BC almost always occurs in the open backcountry and not on a clearly marked trail.  This makes it easy for a group to get lost in unfamiliar terrain or to expose themselves to risks they may not be aware of.  It really brings to light the importance of hiring a professional guide when riding new areas and some of those reasons to hire a guide may surprise you!  

    Here are ten great reasons to hire a professional guide:

    1. A ride day customized for you: You’ll be guided into terrain that matches your personal skillset.  Upon orientation with your guide, you’ll be asked to fill out several forms including one that asks questions pertaining to your skill level.  Your guide will take you into terrain that provides ample fun while avoiding areas that could be too complex for your skillset.  It’s important to be honest and humble when evaluating your skill level, to ensure safety and enjoyment. 
    2. Find terrain that matches your snowmobile: Your guide will also want to know what machine you will be riding on your adventure to make sure both you and your machine are capable of navigating specific terrain in the area.  This is an important factor to consider, for trail-specific snowmobiles and mountain-specific snowmobiles differ greatly in set up and the terrain they are meant to navigate.  If your machine isn’t capable of performing in the mountains safely and effectively, your guide may be able to provide a rental or point you in the right sled-rental direction. This is especially relevant for our friends who live in the prairies.  
    3. Local knowledge brings the goods: Secret stashes of snow, and treasured honey holes in particular.  Your guide will have the inside scoop and can take you to untouched fresh snow, even when there are drought-like conditions.
    4. Invest in your ride skills: You should consider that hiring a professional guide is a good investment because while out riding with them you will learn new skills and knowledge that can be applied everywhere you ride. Let’s face it, this is your guide’s day job and they will most certainly be advanced in skillset, so don’t hesitate to ask for tips and pointers. 
    5. Spend more time riding: You’ll spend less time trying to find the areas to ride, and more time riding!  This includes staging areas, because you know that if you’re new to an area the staging areas may not always be easily found. 
    6. Ability to change the plan: If you’re thirst for adventure changes mid-ride, your guide can adapt, and find you those tight trees, or mellow meadows quicker and safer than blindly trying to find additional snow to use up.   
    7. Your personal safety: Your guide knows potential hazards that have caused other unsuspecting riders to become lost or stranded, and will not only keep you safe, but make you aware of these hazards. This deep insight into the area’s terrain management will help keep you safe should there be a time you ride the zone without a guide.  The guide you hire today could make all the difference for the trips you take in the future. 
    8. Ability to handle the unexpected: Your guide is highly trained and certified professional prepared for many situations.  Your snowmobile guide should have in-depth wilderness first aid, avalanche skills training, and hands-on machine operation training to facilitate your safe and fulfilling adventure.  Your guide should also be a legally tenured professional that ensures they have a safety/rescue plan in place and will have appropriate insurance for their operations. With the abundance of self-proclaimed guides out there lacking in appropriate credentials do not be afraid to ask to see your guides credentials and insurance. 
    9. Peace of mind for you family: The peace of mind not only for the riders, but family members waiting at home is another great reason to hire a guide.  No one likes to worry, and with any adventure sport, risks are ever-present.  Hiring a guide will help to mitigate these risks allowing you to come home safe and sound at the end of the day which makes everyone happy. 
    10. Affordable:  Hiring a guide is affordable when split between your ride crew.  Splitting the cost of a guide between four or five riders makes hiring a guide very affordable. 

    We cannot stress enough that it is important to do your research when hiring a guide.  There are some out there without certification, training, and the skills needed to guide a group safely and responsibly.  Ask for credentials from those you are looking at hiring.  If there is any hesitation to produce proof of training and certification, walk the other way, quickly.  

    For more information on hiring a guide you can visit the British Columbia Commercial Snowmobile Operators Association (BCCSOA)

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    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.   

    The sunshine

    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. 

    Sled food

    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

    Movies

    Several video producers offer streaming via iTunes and Google Play.  The Boondockers crew and Team Thunderstruck are great examples.  

    Magazine articles

    Check out the online version of our favorite magazines! SnoRiders West and Mountain Sledder Magazine have oodles of articles to enjoy. We have some pretty awesome articles on our BCSF page too!

    Podcasts 

    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.

    YouTube 

    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! 

    Education  

    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!

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    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. 

    CCSO Facts and Myths about Snowmobiling

    SnoRiders West Magazine Carving a timeline of Snowmobile History

    History of the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    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 office@bcsf.org and include your child’s name, community and age

    Contest rules

    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.

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    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.   

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Before you volunteer with your local snowmobile club this summer please read this! see more

    Before you volunteer with your local snowmobile club this summer please review the attached resource. 

     

     

  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    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.

    Administrative

    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..    

    Events

    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!

     Join a snowmobile today!

    Volunteers getting it done with the Fernie Snowmobile Association

     September 10, 2020
  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    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! 

     

     September 17, 2020
  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Sometimes we don’t even believe the words coming out of our mouths. see more

    Snowmobilers are a different breed of humans. Set apart somewhat from the general population by our passion for snow, when others are cursing it, try as we may, we simply don’t fit into the general population.  We try though.  We try to be logical, and responsible with our decision-making processes, but sometimes even we don’t believe the words coming out of our mouths.  Here are some examples.

    It’s just a road ride:  How many times have you heard this.  Knowing the plethora of landmines barely hidden beneath the shallow snowpack we know that this is not the time to drop a shoulder and lay down a carve.  We know that replacing A-arms can be expensive, not to mention more spendy parts that may need to be replaced should we hit a stump or a rock...yet each season a multitude of eager beavers will post carnage from early season riding.  Moral of the story, if you can’t trust yourself to stick to the road, don’t head out.  Your bank account will thank you.

    This brand new sled I just snow checked, will be the last snowmobile for me for at least five years:  You may actually mean it when you say it, but the snowmobile industry is a fast evolving industry with significant changes happening each and every season.  Each manufacturer brings their A game each season by creating ever so enticing chassis for riders to enjoy.  It can be very difficult to resist.  In order to prevent falling into the alure of new technology, close your eyes, plug your ears, and carry on.  The other alternative is to simply go for it, enjoying new advancements in technology and the warranty that comes with a brand-new machine.  BC Snowmobile Dealers

    I’m not going to buy any aftermarket accessories for this brand-new snowmobile: Yes you are.  Just face it.  Once you start see social media influencer postings of new accessories, or seeing them in action out in the backcountry you’ll probably choose to invest in these new gadgets.  It’s not all bad, for many of the aftermarket accessories offered can make your ride safer and more enjoyable.  Everything from customized handlebars, advanced storage options, and performance parts.  Accessorizing your new snowmobile can be a fun and rewarding experience.

    Even if fresh snow is in the forecast, I promise we will be home Sunday Night: With many riders booking time off and traveling great distances to enjoy their snowmobile destinations it can be extremely difficult to pass up just one more day of riding.  We may use that sick day, or figure out some creative way to extend the trip, but most hardcore riders will take that extra day if possible to get the most out of their sled-cation.  So just book Monday off and enjoy your Sunday ride!

    I’m going to bed by 9 so I can be well rested riding:  We truly mean it when we say it, but enjoying conversations and adult beverages while reconnecting with fellow riders makes the time fly unbelievably fast.  Needless to say many may get a later start than they first anticipated, but the comradery will be worth it.  The social aspect of snowmobiling is as important as the ride itself.  

    All in all it’s all good.  While we may not be deemed “normal” by outsiders looking in, we know that we have an extended snowmobile family out there that completely understands our thoughts and actions.  They are our fellow riders. 

    Wishing everyone out there a fantastic 2020/2021 season!  

     September 30, 2020
  • Donegal Wilson posted an article
    Show support for your groomers by changing your riding habits to preserve their hard work. see more

    Snowmobile trail groomers are the unsung heroes of our sport and quite often the ones that do the most for our trails.  This is especially true for those who groom our vast network of snowmobile trails throughout British Columbia.  Here are some tips to show your support for the groomer operators work while also ensuring everyone has a smooth trail to ride:

    1. Keep to the trail and save playing for the multitude of backcountry boondocking opportunities away from the groomed trail network.  Quite often we will see sidehill lines cut into the banks adjacent to the trails.  While those sidehills do not damage the groomed trail, upon re-entry the riders that pop back up onto the trail often leave craters and ridiculous lumps of snow that only continue to deteriorate throughout the day or week in between grooming. 
    2. Keep a steady throttle to avoid creating uneven wear on the trail.  Yes, we know that it can be ever so inviting to go mach chicken on a corduroy smooth trail but fluctuations in your throttle and drifting will cause moguls. Slow down when entering a curve to avoid a drift bump on the outside or inside of the corner.
    3. If you stop on the trail do not just give it a blast of throttle when you start or you’ll cause a snow lump which quickly turns into a mogul.  Instead, use an even throttle and you will help keep the trail smooth for everyone.
    4. Do not jump the bumps and moguls that develop.  It is inevitable that bumps will start to appear and the last thing you should do is take this as an opportunity to catch some airtime.  Every single time a bump is jumped it becomes even bigger, creating more work for the groomer and increasing your clubs operating costs.  Get out there in the backcountry and build a booter if you want some air but please don’t "send it" on your groomed trail. 
    5. Put your scratchers down on the groomed trail to keep your sled cool.  Trying to get snow on your heat exchangers by zig zagging on the trail or constantly dipping into the fresh snow on the side of the trail creates trenches for the next rider and is hard for the grooming operator to repair.  
    6. Do not pass the groomer until the operator has seen you and signaled it is safe to pass.  There are many reasons that it may not be safe to pass yet so please have some patience and wait for the opertor to signal you to pass.  
    7. Once you have passed a groomer that’s just laid down a fresh track it is important to keep to the right to allow the trail time to set up.  This will absolutely help to preserve the trail.
    8. When approaching a groomer from the front at night please dim your lights!  Utilize the same principle you would if you were driving a car or truck at night.  Your groomer will appreciate this courtesy more than you know.
    9. If your groomer is stopped on the trail don’t just zoom by.  Your groomer operator is often working alone, in the middle of nowhere, and in freezing temperatures.  So be sure to stop to see if the groomer operator is in need of assistance before you cautiously navigate around the machine.
    10. Like driving a car or truck stay to the right.  When you ride the center of the trail it creates wear and moguls that are difficult to cut and increases your chances of encountering another oncoming rider.  Keep to the right and your hard-working trail groomer will appreciate it! 

    Grooming is the largest expense of your local snowmobile club.  It doesn't matter if the grooming program is run with volunteers or paid staff...grooming programs costs a lot of money in fuel, repairs and equipment needed.  If we can all work together to reduce the frequency of grooming required we will be saving the club money which will ulitimately save you money because theses costs get passed on to the riders through trail fees and memberships. 

    Be sure to thank your groomer operator everytime you see them!

     September 30, 2020