Coast to coast: Snowmobilers celebrate in June

by Dennis Burns

Snowmobilers in Manitoba enjoy a sunny afternoon ride.
Snowmobilers in Manitoba enjoy a sunny afternoon ride.

At the International Snowmobile Congress (ISC) held June 5 to 9, 2019, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, visitors were pleasantly surprised to see the high level of interest in snowmobiling. People were “flying their colours” for their favourite ride—from mountain long tracks to trail sleds—and a multitude of stories were shared from deep powder rides, to favourite trails and “saddle bagging,” to great destinations and remote lodges. We heard that off season many attend grass drags or water oval racing to stay connected. Some tall tales were told that were hard to believe, but they were shared with the best intentions and always ended with “You should have seen it!”

On the bridge crossing to the Gerald Ford Museum, trail groomers were on display including a selection of snow graders. This machine takes our trail construction material—the snow— pulls it in, takes the air out and then pans it flat to harden it into a trail through Canada’s paradise.

Sledders shared photos and memories about locations that are just spectacular: a frozen waterfall, mountain vistas, sunsets, even an excellent snowstorm—yes, snowmobilers look forward to big storms that provide deep snow.

On Saturday evening the president’s gala event was held with awards presented to key volunteers and businesses who make trails and riding areas possible for all to share because of their hard work.

A special thank you goes out to all nominees—you all deserve to be recognized and to win. Congratulations to this year’s incredible list of winners. The CCSO Excellence Awards went to:

Dealer - Universe Satellite Sales Arctic Cat from Rocanville, SK; Snow-Related Company - Kimpex from Drummondville, QC; Groomer Operator - Don Matheson from Bruce Mines, ON; Club - Windermere Valley Snowmobile Society from Invermere, BC; Family - the Stevens Family - Randy, Yvonne, Kyle and Dylan from Wellington, NS; Snowmobiler - Martin Nicol from Saint-Magloire, QC; Tourism - VARDA (Valemount & Area Recreation Development Association), Valemount, BC; Youth - Alec Bruneau from Great Falls, MB.

The first snow show of the season is always a great benchmark to gauge the level and interest in snowmobiling. September Hay Days in Minnesota showed us again that there is not only some interest but a very high level of enthusiasm for what The Old Farmer’s Almanac has to say about this winter’s weather: “This winter will be remembered for big chills and strong storms bringing a steady roofbeat of heavy rain and sleet, not to mention piles of snow,” said Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, which was 80.5 per cent accurate in predicting last winter’s wild weather.

The many retailers who shared booths were buzzing and the buyers were plentiful. There were many great products with incredible pricing. The centre booth had refreshments along with ATV, motorcycle, UTV and snowmobile entertainment. Feedback overall was extremely positive. It’s going to be a fantastic season ahead!

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