What you can do to help your sport

I ‘m going to change speed a bit this week and look at the season that will, with any luck, be upon us in a few weeks.

That’s right, snowmobile season. Now, before anyone sends out the lynch mobs since we’ve been enjoying summer and autumn, it won’t be long before there’s a blanket of snow covering the land. The joys of living in Northern Ontario!

So why am I bringing up snowmobiling in early November, you ask? Well, I do have my reasons, and they all centre around you, the snowmobiler. More specifically, they have to do with those who need you. Yes, my friends, you are a much-needed bunch.

The first group who needs you are the local snowmobile clubs. Many clubs are right now busy preparing for the winter season. In the 25 years I’ve been involved with organized snowmobiling, I have yet to come across a club not in need of volunteers. Clubs try everything from blackmailing to out-right begging for volunteer help. It’s something that won’t change in the near future, as volunteers are few and far between.

So, what can you offer your club? Why would they need your help? Well, let’s look first at the trails. We’ve had some crazy weather this summer, and you can well imagine how many trees and branches are right now blocking the trails. We all know how many kilo-metres of trails are groomed within the Sudbury Trail Plan (STP) borders, so think about how many trails are impassable. In the end, it takes dozens of volunteers armed with chainsaws and ATVs. You could be one of them.

Another way you can help your club is to help sell trail permits. This is the lifeline of the club, and they need people to sell permits. Most clubs need volunteers to help on weekends at dealerships, shopping malls and other places where they can meet the masses. Remember, the earlier the club takes in the permit dollars, the better.

Clubs also need people to grab the reins and steer the clubs into the future. All too often, the old boy’s clubs run the show, while the new, innovative ideas from the next generation of snowmobilers are not brought to the forefront. It’s not the fault of these long-time snowmobilers, especially if the younger groups don’t step up.

Ski-Doo offers free avalanche awareness seminars for all riders

Clubs are looking for people to take them up to the next level and generate more money than ever before. Volunteers with business or sales background are more invaluable to the clubs than ever before. With your help, organized snowmobiling can be more profitable and thus more enjoyable.

The next group who needs your help are the local dealers. These businesses rely on snowmobilers to buy the machines, clothing and accessories. And the bonus for all snowmobilers is the dealerships have some great deals on everything right now. If you haven’t visited your dealer, it’s in your best interest to see what they have and what’s hot. Snowmobiling isn’t the cheapest winter activity, however, manufacturers and dealers are doing everything they possibly can to get new snowmobilers involved and keep the current crop happy.

In the near future, dealers will be showcasing their new models at their open houses, local shows and other events. This is your opportunity to see what the other guys have available. Just because you’re loyal to one particular brand doesn’t mean you can’t see what the opposition has to offer. You might just see something on one of their sleds that would be nice on your ride. Hey, the sled manufacturers do it!

So, just because you don’t see the terra firma covered in snow doesn’t mean you can’t think ahead. The time to plan your holidays around your snowmobiling trips is indeed normal and planning those trips now is not only economical (there are tons of deals!), but helps keep the rides organized.