President’s Message – New Grooming Focus in 2018
For 2018 our volunteers and member clubs will be offered and participating in a new NBFSC voluntary Groomer Operator Training course. The course will focus on the correct operation and best principles of trail grooming. Our Clubs have approved and recognized the need for this education and awareness for the volunteer operators of the 50 clubs – 75 Trail Groomers and Drags. This new training is a major step forward for everyone who volunteers, grooms and snowmobiles.
You may recall we set up a “Committee of the Clubs” in the winter of 2017 to tackle some of the issues and complaints we had around trail grooming in the Province. This group was not the NBFSC Board of Directors but club volunteers who actually operate their home club’s groomers and drags or have served as a Club President. They have come forward with some very important observations’ and recommendations.
Largest “Committee” Observations; First – a snowmobile trail that is historically rough in the system is not because of the type, age or color of the Groomer and Drag. Trails that are not smooth are usually because of the frequency and time in a 24-hour cycle that the Groomer and Drag were on the trail…or not. Second – the time of day (when) that a trail is groomed and how (speed) that trail is groomed are the most important aspects of providing smooth groomed trails and ensuring that groomed trails last longer.
Biggest “Committee” Recommendations; First – create a financial fund at the NBFSC that allows for trail groomers – drags to be moved (floated by trucks/trailers) around the Province in the event of long term breakdowns. Second – create an Annual Groomer Operator Training Course for all member club’s volunteers and operators. (Note that Groomers can only be moved with each NBFSC Club’s permission, the NBFSC does not own any Groomers-Drags).
The training will be delivered by an industry expert, Mr. Ian Auger of Soucy Tracks. He will be supported and assisted by our NBFSC Trail Manager. We will draw upon Mr. Auger’s long history of trail grooming experience as well as materials and principles from the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators (IASA). The IASA in 2005-2006 developed an extensive training manual that will be part of the training.
Training in year one will be held in late November prior to the season officially opening in New Brunswick. Sessions will be held in Grand Falls, NB, Fredericton, NB, Bathurst, NB and Moncton NB for our Clubs.
Our 50 clubs groom a lot every season and it is the major cost of every club. Hours in recent seasons are an average of 23,098 hours per season (last 6 seasons).
- For 2012 it was 16,103 hours, then in 2013 was 19,637 hours
- Then in 2014 was 29,449 hours, then in 2015 was 30,500 hours
- Then in 2016 was 16,166 hours and in 2017 was 26,733 hours
As President I am pleased that our Board, our Clubs and our volunteers see that improving our trail grooming practices, and results is a new priority and new focus for them. We know it is a priority for our snowmobilers and tourists.
Brad Mann, President, NBFSC, “A Volunteer Organization”