What makes a snowmobiler outstanding? In a word: volunteering.
“If people ask for something, I’m here to do it,” said Mark Zimmerman, Snoman Inc.’s 2018 Outstanding Snowmobiler of the Year. “I step forward when they need a hand.”
At 71, Zimmerman has over three decades of volunteering experience. The savvy sledding veteran has been snowmobiling since 1965, trekking nearly every trail in Manitoba during that time.
“Our area is the Interlake,” he said. “I ride here a lot with the Interlake Snow Trackers. We go across the lake, too. We ride in the Lee River area, Whiteshell, Lake Winnipeg, into the northern states, Minnesota—we go all over the place.”
Wherever Zimmerman goes, he leaves things in better shape than when he arrived.
“I help out with the trails here,” said Zimmerman. “My set of trails here is on the lake, through the marsh. I make a path through the bulrushes on a lagoon section of my trail. I just try to make it easier for the (snowmobile groomer) operator to get in there. I enjoy doing the trails.”
Zimmerman is also quite the handyman. Of the six warm-up shelters in the Interlake region, Zimmerman has helped build two of them and maintained two others.
“If they need a hand building a shack or whatever, I like to get in with them,” he said. “I’m a volunteer. I don’t mind volunteering. I enjoy it.”
Back in the day
In Zimmerman’s heyday, he used to race sleds across the province.
“I used to race in the old days, back in the ’70s,” said Zimmerman. “It was tough in those days compared to now. I’m still riding now because the sleds have matured, too.”
When it comes down to it, the reason Zimmerman has stuck with snowmobiling for all these years is the same reason William Wallace fought for Scotland: freedom.
“You’re free to do what you want,” he said. “I love being free.”