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January 2017

Formerly Snow Grooming

Well Lit Ultra-Tech Lighting looked to the past for an illuminating solution that works for the future

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January 2017 | Vol. 4 | No. 1


COVER STORY Well Lit Ultra-Tech Lighting looked to the past for an illuminating solution that works for the future


CLUB PROFILE Sled Golden Go westward for mountain snowmobiling




SNOWMOBILE SAFETY Ride safe and have fun!

SNOWMOBILE SAFETY Where Are Your Volunteers?

International Snowmobile Safety Week is Jan. 21 to 29, 2017

Focus on retaining your current crew



INDUSTRY PROFILE Good Times Adventures

COMPANY PROFILE Zuidberg on Track with Track System

Snowmobile and dog-sledding tour company offers a great deal of fun

Getting good traction in North America




A new web-based solution for managing snowmobile clubs has a lot to offer

With Track N Go, you can transform your truck or SUV into an on-snow vehicle in less than 15 minutes, without having to take the tires off




January 2017 |


January 2017 | Vol 4. | No. 1

Published by

140 Broadway, 46th Floor New York, NY 10005 Toll-free Phone: 866-953-2189 Toll-free Fax: 877-565-8557 President, Jeff Lester Publisher, Jill Harris EDITORIAL Editor, Andrew Harris ADVERTISING Quinn Bogusky, Brian Saunders DESIGN & LAYOUT Art Director, Myles O’Reilly John Lyttle DIGITAL MEDIA Gayl Punzalan, Jenina Bondoc DISTRIBUTION Office Manager, Nikki Manalo © 2017 Lester Publications, LLC All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the publisher. Publication Mail Agreement #40606022. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: 701 Henry Ave., Winnipeg, MB  R3E 1T9

Welcome to SnowOps!


t’s a brand new year, and our magazine officially has a brand new name! Welcome to the first-ever edition of SnowOps; we’re so excited to bring this change to you. In working on Snow Grooming for the past year or so, our team consistently received feedback that while people enjoyed the magazine, it was sometimes just too niche for them. They wanted more information than what we were able to bring under the previous format. In SnowOps, you’ll read about more than snow grooming (although there will also be a healthy dose of groomingrelated articles, as that still remains the core of the publication); you’ll also find content more relevant to general resort and trail snow operations, like this issue’s cover feature on Ultra-Tech Lighting. Ultra-Tech Lighting looked to inventions from the past in order to manufacture lighting solutions for the future that are more efficient and sustainable. You’ll also find articles in this issue about how to run your snowmobile club more smoothly, such as by implementing software like SmarterTrails or by shifting your focus from recruiting

volunteers to engaging and retaining the ones you already have. Of course, we’re still including industry profiles; you can read about Sled Golden of Golden, B.C. and Good Times Adventure Tours of Breckenridge, Colo. However, these profiles in SnowOps now include more in-depth looks into general operations, like how to obtain club sponsors, operational challenges and added revenue opportunities in addition to the grooming practices and requirements for these organizations. As always, please give me a call or send me an email with your thoughts and feedback; if you’re ever interested in having an article in SnowOps, you know how to reach me. We’ll see you again in April with the annual buyers’ guide issue! Happy reading,

Jill Harris 866-953-2182 


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the authors and/or editorial sources contained in Snow Grooming magazine are those of the respective parties and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the publisher. Printed in Canada. Please recycle where facilities exist. ISSN 2369-3886 | SnowOps


Well Lit


January 2017 |


Ultra-Tech Lighting looked to the past for an illuminating solution that works for the future By Kelly Gray


Snow King in Jackson Hole, Campgaw, Mount Peter and many more. In fact, the brand new, private “All-Out” race training and event venue at Werner Mountain features Snow-Bright™ illumination. The launch of “All-Out” is featured on YouTube. Snow-Bright™ lighting solves several critical problems mountain ops is experiencing with light emitting diode fixtures (LEDs) that include snow and ice build-up, flicker, humming ballasts, narrow beam and extreme glare. That’s because Snow-Bright™ uses magnetic induction bulbs that were actually in-


ecently introduced SnowBright™ slope lighting promises and delivers perfect visual clarity on snow using 85 percent less electricity than conventional lamps and lasts 600 percent longer. That’s a big deal for operations managers who need to increase the bottom line while improving customers’ night skiing and riding experiences. With low capital costs and high returns, Snow-Bright™ technology has already been adopted by popular areas like Steamboat Springs, Powder Mountain, Blue Hill, Windham Mountain, | SnowOps



“Snow-Bright™ is opening up entirely new business models for ski areas. Unlike daytime skiing, night skiing under Snow-Bright™ is consistent; light never goes flat or changes angle with variations in clouds or sun angle.” vented by world-renowned scientist Nikola Tesla – the man after whom the Tesla electric car company is named. Philip Gotthelf, founder and managing director of Ultra-Tech™ Lighting, which manufacturers and distributes SnowBright™ as well as other specialty lighting, looked back to cutting edge technology from the 1800s to recreate the “Forever Bulb,” as it was named by Tesla, because there are no parts that can burn out. For mountain ops, it means a fixture that has a rated lifecycle exceeding 100,000 hours; that’s 11 years burning 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For ski areas that are closed in the summer, Snow-Bright™ technology can last more than half a century with literally no significant maintenance. An added benefit is that they are lightweight. Typically, a 300-watt Snow-Bright™ fixture weighing 23 pounds (10.5 kg) can replace a 1,000-watt metal halide fixture weighing up to 90 pounds (40.8 kg).


January 2017 |

Snow-Bright™ fixtures range in power from 60 watts to 400 watts and are direct replacements for conventional lighting like high-pressure sodium or metal halide from 200 watts to 1,500 watts. This remarkable energy savings is accomplished by eliminating wasteful heat and portions of the spectrum in the ultraviolet and infrared range that may be measured on a light meter, but cannot be seen by the human eye. For Snow-Bright™ lamps, the spectrum is specifically tuned to the refractive properties of snow. Rather than directly bouncing off the snow surface, Snow-Bright™ light travels from crystal to crystal to create a glow that resolves all the surface features. Gotthelf has trademarked his technology as LumenTec®. Snow-Bright™ fixtures have gone through an extensive vetting process that included the U.S. National Forest Service, Jackson Hole’s Environmental

Commission, the Steamboat Springs Town Council and even the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory. Critical features for today’s “Sustainability Movement” include rapid light dispersion and dissipation to comply with dark sky guidelines and dead silent ballasts to avoid disturbing bats and canine species. Unlike high intensity LEDs, Snow-Bright™ employs nonharmful light radiation that does not damage the human eye or interfere with wildlife circadian rhythms. Too often, technology is deployed only to discover that it conflicts with new environmental standards or may have health risks. That is why Snow-Bright™ was carefully designed to meet all the needs of snow sports venues. From race slopes to beginner areas and tubing parks and even parking lots where black ice can be a problem, SnowBright™ has developed a solution. Magnetic induction lighting has an interesting and provocative history. Back in the late 1800s, physicists were scrambling to invent artificial lighting to replace old gas lamps that were unreliable, dangerous and poor light sources. Top among these scientist engineers were names such as Tesla, Edison and Thompson. While Edison’s incandescent bulb made him famous, industrialist and competitor Nicola Tesla patented (in 1894) a new lamp using a magnetic induction field that creates ions that excite atoms to fluoresce onto a phosphorus coating inside the bulb. Since electric lighting was just getting started, Edison thought a Forever Bulb was a terrible business model, even if it was substantially more efficient because you would only sell a bulb once. Today’s new drive toward


sustainability makes Tesla the winner in the end. Gotthelf saw the need to improve lighting at locations such as ski hills, ports, gas bars and parking lots as well as other sites using lighting that goes beyond what was currently available. “We developed a modern approach to induction lighting that we fine-

tune for each application,” he said, and points to examples such as lighting that can sterilize a hospital operating room, a light that is perfect for jewelers to display gems or Snow-Bright™. Snow-Bright™ is opening up entirely new business models for ski areas. Unlike daytime skiing, night skiing under Snow-Bright™ is consistent; light never

goes flat or changes angle with variations in clouds or sun angle. This makes nighttime skiing safer and more productive for race and freestyle training as well as events. By using nighttime hours for training and events rather than the day, more of the mountain can be used by recreational customers during normal hours.


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According to Gotthelf, there are added benefits because magnetic induction lights don’t flicker like LEDs, fluorescents or aging, high-pressure sodium lamps. “This is an important consideration for site security where cameras are used,” he said. “Flickering light can interfere with video recording and may distort the action in playback due to poor light quality and strobe effect.” Ultra-Tech’s lighting also aids snow resort workers. Their Work-Bright™ line emits a high contrast spectrum that re-

duces eye strain and makes it easier to find things like dropped tools, screws and nails on job sites. “Workers at Steamboat were mentioning it would take 10 minutes to find small items in the shop. With WorkBright™, everything is clearer, saving time and improving productivity. “We are comparably priced with LED, maybe even a little cheaper, but our lights do so much more and they do it better in wavelengths that are more comfortable for both people and nature. Payback is typically reported

The Industry Standard for Slope Lighting

as ROI in two to three years. However, some resorts have told us they have seen a return in as little as one month because there is minimal ‘in-rush’ current – the amount of power required to start the fixtures. “We may have looked to the past for ideas for Ultra-Tech’s cutting edge light solutions, but there is nothing old about saving time and money with a product that just works better in our environment. Now, with more types of lighting on the market, it pays to do your homework,” said Gotthelf. 

The Industry Standard for Slope Lighting

The Industry Standard for Slope Lighting

The Industry Standard for Slope Lighting

• Save up to 85% in operating electricity • Reduce “In-Rush” current by up to 95% • Save up to 600% on maintenance • Increase visual acuity by over 100%

• Eliminate “Photobiological Hazards” like

Snow-Bright™ lighting is a mountain manager’s dream. Our lightweight 23lbs 300-Watt fixture can replace a 1000watt 90lbs metal halide or high pressure sodium fixture and last 100,000 hours. For ski areas that can be more than half a century! See how the unique and safe up-lighting eliminates forward shadowing, making skiing safer and more enjoyable. This is

critically important for race training and events. Snow-Bright™ fixtures won’t ice over or become snow-bound like LEDs that can’t generate enough heat at the surface. Available in 120V~277V or 310V~520V auto-sensing ballasts, Snow-Bright™ can be installed with any electrical infrastructure. With minimal “in-rush” current, payback for Snow-Bright™ can be as little as a few months because of reduced demand charges.

flicker and glare

• Won’t ice over like LEDs • Dark Sky compliant design

Find out more by visiting our website at and click on Snow-Bright™ or the “Products” tab.

• Save up to 85% in operating electricity • Eliminate “Photobiological Hazards” like flicker and glare • Reduce “In-Rush” current by up to 95% • Won’t ice over like LEDs • Save up to 600% on maintenance Sky compliant design by over 100% • Dark • Increase visual acuity PROUD TO BE AN NSAA GOLD SPONSOR!


Snow-Bright™ lighting is a mountain manager’s dream. critically important for race training and events. Snow-Bright™ (201) 784-1233 Our lightweight 23lbs 300-WattPO fixture can 566, replace Closter, a 1000- fixtures won’t ice over or become snow-bound like LEDs Box NJ 07624-0566 watt 90lbs metal halide or high pressure sodium fixture and that can’t generate enough heat at the surface. Available in last 100,000 hours. For ski areas that can be more than half 120V~277V or 310V~520V auto-sensing ballasts, Snow-Bright™ a century! can be installed with any electrical infrastructure. With minimal See how the unique and safe up-lighting eliminates forward “in-rush” current, payback for Snow-Bright™ can be as little as shadowing, making skiing safer and more enjoyable. This is a few months because of reduced demand charges.

January 2017 |

Find out more by visiting our website at and click on Snow-Bright™ or the “Products” tab.

• Save up to 85% in operating electricity • Reduce “In-Rush” current by up to 95% • Save up to 600% on maintenance • Increase visual acuity by over 100%

• Eliminate “Photobiological Hazards” like flicker and glare

• Won’t ice over like LEDs • Dark Sky compliant design

Snow-Bright™ lighting is a mountain manager’s dream.

critically important for race training and events. Snow-Bright™

watt 90lbs metal halide or high pressure sodium fixture and

that can’t generate enough heat at the surface. Available in

See how the unique and safe up-lighting eliminates forward

“in-rush” current, payback for Snow-Bright™ can be as little as • months Dark because Sky compliant design a few of reduced demand charges.

lightweight 23lbs 300-Watt fixture can replace a 1000- fixtures won’t ice over or become snow-bound like LEDs •OurSave up to 85% in operating electricity • Eliminate “Photobiological Hazards”

•lastReduce “In-Rush” current 95% likeorflicker and glare ballasts, Snow-Bright™ 100,000 hours. For ski areas that canby be up moretothan half 120V~277V 310V~520V auto-sensing a century! can be installed with any electrical • Save up to 600% on maintenance • Won’t ice over likeinfrastructure. LEDs With minimal •shadowing, Increase visual over 100% making skiing acuity safer andby more enjoyable. This is

Find out more by visiting our website at and click on Snow-Bright™ or the “Products” tab.



Snowmobile Safety Ride safe and have fun! By the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association


ow is the time for snowmobilers to keep snowmobile safety a top-of-mind awareness issue. Snowmobile safety is nothing new to organized snowmobiling. Snowmobile administrators, manufacturers, associations and clubs joined together years ago to develop the Safe Riders! You make snowmobiling safe™ safety campaign, which emphasized safe snowmobiling practices, training and enforcement. The campaign includes safety-related materials, such as decals, posters, the Safe Riders! DVD, public service announcements and more. Millions of Safe Riders! snowmobiling fact books, brochures and posters have been distributed throughout the world to safety trainers, clubs and associations – free of charge – from the manufacturers’ International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) office. The Safe Riders! campaign highlights key issues of importance for snowmobile safety. The position statements are concise and easy to understand. They include: 1. Snowmobiling and alcohol do not mix – don’t drink and ride 2. When night riding, slow down – expect the unexpected 3. Know before you go – always check local ice conditions 4. Cross all roads with care – don’t become road-kill 5. One is the loneliest number – never ride alone

6. Know the risks and be prepared – make every trip a round trip 7. Ride smart, ride right – stay in control 8. Smart riders are safe riders – always take snowmobile safety training Mountain riders need to be aware of their surroundings and snow conditions. The five key safety guidelines when riding in avalanche country are: 1. Get the gear: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe on their person and knows how to use them 2. Get the training: Take an avalanche course 3. Get the forecast: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast 4. Get the picture: If you see recent avalanche activity, unstable snow exists. Riding on or beneath slopes is dangerous. 5. Get out of harm’s way: Proceed one at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don’t go to help your stuck friend. Don’t group up in runout zones. This year’s International Snowmobile Safety Week is January 21 to 29, 2017. Visit for a guide on how to organize a Safety Week event in your area. | SnowOps




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January 2017 |




Where Are Your Volunteers? Focus on retaining your current crew By Donna Lockhart, The Rethink Group


ecruit, recruit, recruit … Why is everyone so focused on the recruitment of volunteers? It seems that every organization these days is focused on recruitment: • “If only we had more volunteers!” • “Our services have increased and our volunteers are decreasing!” • “Greater competition for volunteer resources means we have to be the best in recruitment!” • “Recruitment is our real issue; that’s why we are targeting youth and baby boomers!” • “Our retention issues will be solved when we can get enough volunteers recruited!”

for more than 43,000 km of snowmobile trails in Ontario. However, as Eric Saunter, the then-manager of volunteer development, said, “Recruiting new volunteers was very important, but we also informally tracked our retention rate. What we found was significant – 50 percent of our volunteers leave within the first five years of volunteering. We needed to carefully examine what is happening.” Many organizations like OFSC recognize that getting volunteers is one thing. Keeping them engaged is another. Now they can turn their attention to what keeps volunteers engaged in OFSC. Fischer and Shafer (1993), in Older Volunteers: A Guide to Research and Practice, make the statement: Volunteers who quit after a short time are costly. Typically, exvolunteers or almost-volunteers take away their acquired learning and leave little behind. Turnover,

especially high turnover, can create havoc in the administration and management of volunteer programs. Perhaps if organizations focused as much, if not more, time on keeping volunteers as they do on recruiting new ones, turnover might decrease. This would take the pressure off constant recruitment. This is not to say that recruitment should be abandoned at the expense of retention. But recruitment efforts may cost more in the long run. Human resources management has taught us that we invest a lot of time and effort into marketing and recruiting for new staff. The primary costs are upfront. Once staff is trained and begins work, costs decrease. This is the same for volunteers! It costs staff time to recruit, market, screen, place and train volunteers. The costs are upfront. If volunteers leave within the first few | SnowOps



Sound familiar? Recent studies indicate the number one issue for most non-profits is, in fact, recruitment of volunteers. I don’t want to suggest that organizations abandon this focus completely, but rather shift some attention to another aspect in volunteer management – retention. In 1988, MacKenzie and Moore developed the Volunteer Retention Cycle, a guide to understanding how volunteers are engaged in organizations. It has been modified and updated several times, but the message remains the same. There are steps in volunteer management that lead to engagement, involvement and retention of volunteers. The model was developed to assist those managing volunteers to do a better job. I’d like to share a couple of examples to illustrate the importance of shifting focus onto volunteer retention. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) consciously increased recruitment during the years 2000-2005. They increased the number of volunteers significantly, from 4,500 to 6,500 volunteers. This team of dedicated volunteers provides leadership, grooming and trail membership sales

VOLUNTEERS months, the organization is starting over. If they stay longer, costs decrease. There is an exciting “dynamic tension” that exists during a volunteer’s time with an organization. This tension starts when a volunteer says “yes” and continues throughout the time they volunteer. What happens during this journey affects retention. The motivation to join an organization can be very different from the motivation to stay. What brings a volunteer initially to your organization is one thing; what will keep them there is another. Often, mangers of volunteers are just happy that someone volunteered; they forget to keep “volunteer-centred.” This means building a relationship so that when motivations change, you can be proactive rather than reactive. Many organizations don’t recognize, let alone talk about, how volunteers and their perspectives change over time. If we did, it might signal some critical times to communicate with volunteers and redirect them into new areas. Volunteers often leave when the job becomes redundant, boring or their “term” of commitment is over. Building a relationship with volunteers helps detect when the volunteer could be redirected or reassigned. This is a win-win situation. There have been many reasons identified as strategies to retain volunteers. McCurley and Lynch developed a resource, Keeping Volunteers: A Guide to Retention, to assist us in thinking this through. The UPS Foundation conducted research to determine what keeps volunteers engaged. Reva Cooper conducted a workshop at a PAVR-O conference on “Retention Strategies for Today’s Volunteers.” The top ten strategies she identified are: 1. Understand and meet people’s needs 2. Be a matchmaker 3. Set people up for success 4. See volunteers as customers 5. Designate a volunteer resource professional 6. Maintain a positive organizational climate 7. Welcome diversity 8. Be flexible 9. Don’t burn people out 10. Recognize contributions


January 2017 |

Imagine yourself in a volunteer position – “This was exciting when I came, but I am just not enjoying my work any more.” The manager of volunteers approaches you and talks about your role. She knows that you love to do developmental work and a new project is in the conception stages, and asks if you would like to join the team to help build and define this project. Excited, you are shifted from one volunteer role into another. Your role has been altered and a new opportunity waits. Instead of the potential of losing a volunteer due to boredom, a volunteer has been revitalized into a new direction. Is that volunteer likely to be happier and will they stay longer? Likely, the answer is yes. During my time as director of leadership development with United Way, I did exactly what was outlined above. I took three volunteers who had been training boards of directors for several years and asked them to use their experience designing materials for a new topic. They were thrilled to do something new and challenging and stayed with us longer than they might have had they continued as volunteer trainers. I’d like to think I understood changing motivations back then, but I really did not. What I was doing was giving existing volunteers new options without knowing that they were ready. I was also getting some new work done. In my own volunteer opportunities, I work hard to connect to the organization I am helping. I stepped out of a board position, as I wanted a smaller, focused task to do. I “volunteered” to chair a task group. I was thrilled and happy to do this. I kept connected to a cause I believed in and they got continued work done. Sometimes, volunteers offer to do smaller bits of work but organizations are not willing or ready to let them. How adaptable or flexible is your organization? How much are you listening? With the growing group of baby boomers as potential volunteers, organizations better listen and be prepared to respond to the ideas and suggestions for new work from this group. It takes a very perceptive and knowledgeable manager of volunteers to be able to recognize when a volunteer

might want something new and then be creative enough to do something about it. Volunteers redirected or reassigned may be happier and ultimately stay longer. They may be forging stronger relationships with the organization. Those who are very passionate about the cause of the organization have a harder time leaving. When this happens, increased and improved retention of volunteers occurs. When retention improves, we increase the skill level of the organization and also reduce (not eliminate) the need for recruitment. This dynamic between recruitment and retention hinges in part on the relationship developed between the volunteer and the organization. This working relationship needs to be many things (meaningful, rewarding, productive, respectful) as well as supportive from a good volunteer management perspective. Over the past ten years, I think our focus has been more on the work that volunteers do, rather than fulfilling the needs of the volunteers. The times call for a better balance. If we meet the needs of volunteers, I believe retention will increase. And when volunteers are satisfied, production levels and accomplishments should increase – the work of the organization gets accomplished. And, we increase the possibility that volunteers will become true believers in the cause. By focusing on what keeps volunteers, organizations should increase their retention rates and “potential” volunteers should be attracted to them, therefore making recruitment easier. What goes around comes around!  Donna Lockhart is a trainer and consultant with The RETHINK Group. Her focus is on “Building Best Practices in Volunteer Management.” She designed the CharityVillage Campus course, Building a Great Volunteer Program. Lockhart conducts workshops on many topics in volunteer management, including recruitment, retention and engaging baby boomers as volunteers. For more information, visit: This article was originally written for Charity Village ( and is republished with permission from the author.



Go westward for mountain snowmobiling


n these recent years of snowless Novembers, especially on the Canadian prairies, it’s not a bad idea for an avid snowmobiler to look west to a place like Golden, B.C. “It’s a little warmer than it’s been the last couple years to start, but that’s okay,” said Golden Snowmobile Club secretary, Aaron Bernasconi. “It’s been snowing since October, so we’re dealing with a 140-centimetre snowpack right now, which is pretty good for November. We’re on par for last year’s snowpacks.”

“We get a lot of Saskatchewan plates in town and I think that’s been pretty important to our industry,” said Magi Scallion, the club’s newly installed executive director. “It’s a long drive for them, but we’re closer than some other areas and every year we’re building our reputation as an excellent snowmobiling destination.” Golden lies an hour inside of the B.C. border on the Trans-Canada Highway, alongside the Columbia River and is, not surprisingly, surrounded by mountains. The town itself is not a big com-

munity, with an immediate population of about 4,000, and another 4,000 in the surrounding district. “It’s a small area, but we’re only three hours from Calgary and a lot of visitors take advantage of that,” said Scallion. “I think we are seeing bigger numbers coming from further out east,” said Bernasconi. “But I think as the years go on, the club’s doing a pretty good job marketing towards tourism. We’ve increased every year for the last five or six years, last year being the biggest of all.” | SnowOps



By Jim Chliboyko


“We try and tell it how it is. If it’s good, we say it’s good and if it’s not good, we say where it can be good or what places you should avoid.” – Aaron Bernasconi, Secretary, Golden Snowmobile Club


January 2017 |

For snowmobilers, the area’s main sledding organization is run under “Sled Golden,” an amalgamation of two organizations, both of which have the same board members: the membership-based Golden Snowmobile Club (320 members) and the Golden Snowmobile Trail Society. “It started out as just a club,” said Bernasconi, who has been with the organization for about a decade, he estimates. “There were a few local business owners who were quite heavily involved – Randy and Dawn Baun, they used to own a dealership here in town and they were heavily involved in the whole development and progression through the years. They were big advocates of getting the whole grooming program started. “Members back then were mostly volunteers and it was like a recreational group who did club rides together and treated it more as what most people would consider a club of days gone by; they’d throw out a message that they were riding on [a particular] day and then all the members would show

up and ride together. As the years went on, it sort of changed into the introduction of grooming the trails. And once it went from a club-type vibe to a more commercial-type vibe, they developed a new identity called the Golden Snowmobile Trails Society, and that group was in charge of income and expenditures, versus the club, which is more focused on volunteering.” The group also manages an impressively long list of sponsors. “Tourism Golden produces maps, and they were producing the snowmobile trail maps, which is great,” said Scallion. “And the club negotiated with them two years ago because they would sell advertising on the map to their members. We negotiated so that we could sell that advertising as sponsorship and I think that’s where the sponsorship program really took a big turn because we could sell all those spots on the map; 5,000 copies of the map are distributed, we take them to trade shows. We have them at all of our trailheads. So that’s a big value to our sponsors and it’s really made a change.”


Today, it’s quite a vast area that Sled Golden oversees. “We have tenure on the four primary areas: Quartz Creek, Gorman Lake, Silent Pass and Westbench Trail,” said Scallion. “Those four areas, we hold a Section 57 tenure agreement on. And

as for the other eight areas, as shown on our website, we do not hold tenure on them so we cannot do maintenance on those, but they are commonly used areas and are great riding, too! Altogether, we groom 165 kilometres of trail.”

Scallion estimates that the organization has less than a half dozen employees (most of them are for collecting day fees) and about 20 volunteers. They contract out the trail grooming, as well. “We hire a contracting company to do it,” she said. “So, unlike a whole lot of

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CLUB PROFILE other clubs, we don’t own the groomer machines and we don’t pay for the maintenance on them; we just subcontract that out to Kelly [Bushman].” But the high-demand area combined with the amazing landscape and small local population provides some logistical challenges for the club, says Scallion. “We have quite a high percentage of members from out of town, which also leads us to a lack of club events. Because we don’t have a lot of locals, it’s not as easy to get them involved.” The beautiful location also has pros and cons of its own. “I think [the landscape] is to our benefit and also to our detriment a little bit,” said Scallion, regarding the local terrain. “Speaking to our board members, I think our weakness is that we don’t have a ton of beginner riding areas. And places like Gorman Lake, it’s spectacularly beautiful. It’s a hiking area in the summer and it’s just gorgeous. But it’s also big mountains and avalanche paths and all the rest. It’s a beautiful place to go but it’s also quite

intimidating. Revelstoke is just down the road from us, and they have a lot of riding areas that have both beginner opportunities and also more advanced stuff. And so that’s something we’re looking to improve.” Another challenge the terrain presents has received a lot more attention in recent years. “Obviously, we’re a mountain-based community and we take the whole avalanche program very seriously,” said Bernasconi. “We’re in the process of completing what’s called an avalanche safety plan. That’s something that’s been a big part of the last couple years, the progression and development of it. That’s going to affect when and where we can groom and how high, elevationwise. It’s changing the way we groom trails; we’re trying to make sure our groomers are staying safe.” Developing the avalanche safety plan has involved ongoing research during the past several winter seasons. “A lot of it, the last couple years, has been information gathering, starting to track the number of snowfalls and the

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frequency of the avalanche paths,” he said. “I think we have a pretty solid plan and it’s going to be one of those things we utilize on a daily basis.” One of the club’s particular strengths is their approach to communications; Sled Golden has active social media accounts and is quick to upload new information. “It’s something that we’ve emphasized right from the beginning; we’re definitely focused on marketing but we also don’t try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes,” said Bernasconi, on reporting about conditions. “We try and tell it how it is. If it’s good, we say it’s good and if it’s not good, we say where it can be good or what places you should avoid.” Bernasconi is one of the crewmembers who monitors the snowpack and if there is a weekend trip planned, there will be evidence of it online later that day. “It looks like we’re supposed to get another 30 centimetres [of snow] this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow morning – it looks like it’s going to be a good snowmobile day.” 

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With 40 seasonal employees and 160 sled dogs, this snowmobile and dog-sledding tour company offers a great deal of fun each winter By Lisa Kopochinski


“We are very Mother Nature dependent,” he said. “She’s been kind to us this year.” With 40 seasonal employees, and about 160 dogs – mostly Siberian Huskies – Holt says dog sledding comprises about one-third of his business, with snowmobile tours comprising the other two-thirds. Possessing the largest purebred kennel in the lower 48 states, he is extremely proud of the breeding program that Good Times Adventures has.

Snowmobile tours comprise two-thirds of Good Times Adventures’ business. The company did 20,000 snowmobile tours last year.


og sledding could very well be one of those things you must do before you visit the Pearly Gates in the sky. Just ask Brian Holt, owner of Good Times Adventures in Breckenridge, Colorado. “Yes, dog sledding is very much a bucket list item,” he confirms. “We get clientele from all over the world. Last year we did about 11,000 dog sled tours.” Not bad considering that Good Times Adventures is only open 100 days a year – from Dec. 1 to April 1. | SnowOps



Brian Holt, owner of Good Times Adventures, holds a certificate showing that he is the proud owner of a PRINOTH Tier 4 Final snow groomer. The snowcat grooms 40 miles of trails every night.

“We bring in outside males and female dogs,” he said. “And it’s not all that difficult to train the dogs. It’s instinctive to them – similar to a Labrador fetching a stick or ball. These dogs are bred for generations to run and pull. For the lead dogs, the guides will take them home as pups and socialize them and get them to be more attentive to commands. The lead dogs are doing most of the turning. We use the same commands as in the horse world.” Running three dog sledding teams hourly, seven hours a day, Good Times Adventures has 10 guides who take six people per dog sled team in a relay tour.

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“One guest is mushing the team, one guest is sitting as a passenger in the dogsled, and the other four are sitting on a passenger sleigh (which essentially looks like two church pews on skiis) pulled by a snowmobile that our guide drives,” explains Holt.

Good business decision Although he is not a snowmobiler or dog sledder himself, Holt bought Good Times Adventures in 1997 because he saw it as a very good business opportunity. Originally from Evergreen, Colo., he also owns nine warehouses across the U.S.,

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INDUSTRY PROFILE but never a business like this one. When asked what he likes most about Good Times Adventures, he says it’s the people. “I like seeing people have a good time. No one shows up here without wanting to be here and that helps a tremendous amount.” The company’s mission has also helped it to be the success it is. Said Holt, “Do it right the first time with the best employees and the best gear. Don’t be a candy store. We do snowmobile tours and dog sled tours and that’s it.” And boy, do they ever. Last year, the company had just under 37,000 customers in the 97 days it was open. This year, he anticipates the same. “We did 20,000 snowmobile tours last year. We have four of the largest ski resorts within a half-hour drive of Breckenridge, so we’re getting our clientele who are here on ski vacations and want to take a day off to do something else.” With 12 snowmobile guides, the company has the capacity to run 36 snowmobiles per hour for seven tours daily. With all this business, the trails require a lot of upkeep. “We have one PRINOTH snowcat and snowmobiles with small pull-behind groomers,” Holt explains. “We groom 40 miles of trail every night with the large cat, and all day long with the small pull behind.” The company also replaces its fleet of snowmobiles each year with new ones, which he says results in less breakdowns and a more enjoyable and safe ride for guests. Typically booked a month in advance, he says 90 percent of his snowmobile and dog sledding guides are “snow recyclers.”

A Hotbed of History in Breckenridge Good Times Adventures is located about 9.5 miles from downtown Breckenridge, a town of about 4,600 situated in Summit County, Colo. Conveniently located an easy drive from four major ski resorts in the central Rockies, Breckenridge was a hotbed of gold mining activity in the mid-1800s and well into the 1900s. With most of the gold production coming out of the Swan River Valley and surrounding hills, these same trails that prospectors and trappers once traveled are alive today with the sound of snowmobiles, happy guests and, of course, howling sled dogs. While these mining towns no longer exist above ground, some of the gold camps definitely remain buried by the rocky rubble that the mining itself produced. | SnowOps


INDUSTRY PROFILE “They are all river rafting guys in the summer and they do this in the winter, so they have guide and people experience.” While most guests choose the one-hour snowmobile tour, for those looking for more excitement, there are are longer Continental Divide tours to Georgia Pass and the back country at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet. However, due to the time spent, it is not recommended that children go on these longer tours. Holt advises that for anyone taking either a dog sledding or snowmobile tour, they dress in layers, just as they would on a day at the slopes. Skiwear and winter boots are perfect and, if needed, Good Times Adventures also has adult-sized snowsuits and boots available at no extra cost. “We also provide open-faced helmets, which are required for our snowmobilers. You may bring your own DOT-approved helmet if you like, but ski helmets are not suitable for snowmobiling. And guests should also bring their own gloves, hats, neck warmers, goggles and sunglasses for all activities with us.”

The future The company has seen a lot of growth in the past years. When Holt brought Good Times Adventures in 1997, there were only 20 dogs. While business has been good, the journey has not been without its challenges. In April 2008, the company experienced a big setback when snow slid off the roof and tore the propane regulator off of the building.

Good Times Adventures has 160 dogs, mainly Siberian huskies

“This filled the building with gas until it reached the pilot light on the heaters and blew up,” said Holt. “The building had to be completely rebuilt.” Fortunately, there have been many happy moments, but when it comes to further growth at this point, Holt says there may not be too much more, largely due to environmental regulations in the area. “I own 50 acres of land and our trail system is on the national forest land. I have a special use permit for the White River National Forest, but am capped at a certain amount of people per season we can take onto the trail system due to the environmental impact and trail impact. So the business is what it is right now. And it has been for the past couple of years.” Still, Holt loves the business and will continue to do what he normally does. “I pray for snow,” he laughed. 

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January 2017 |


Zuidberg on Track with Tracks System Getting good traction in North America


By Jim Timlick


uidberg North America opened for business in 2014, but this winter is serving as something of a “coming out” party for the Cedar Falls, Iowa-based company. While its three-point front hitch and front power take-off (PTO) systems for tractors have already established Zuidberg as a major player in the agricultural sector, the company is poised to make major inroads into the snow grooming industry this season thanks to the introduction of its innovative Zuidberg Tracks system. Two Midwest snow grooming clubs – the White Thunder Riders in northern Wisconsin and the Cadillac Winter Promotions in Michigan – have adopted the Zuidberg track

conversion system while Lulich Implement in Mason, Wis. is demoing the system for area clubs. “We’re finally getting our tracks in the snow and a lot of clubs are really excited about it,” said Ryan Holden, an area sales manager and acting marketing director for Zuidberg North America. The Zuidberg track system allows users to attach a rubber track to virtually any type of tractor and make it more manoeuvrable in almost any kind of winter conditions. What makes the system different from other similar conversion systems is its oil-filled bearing hub. The clear glass hub allows operators to easily check bearing fluid levels and quickly refill the hub if the levels are low. | SnowOps


COMPANY PROFILE “[With other systems] you literally have to get in there before you go out every morning at 5 o’clock when it’s cold and freezing and you have to push lube into it,” said Holden. “And when you are manually putting grease into those bearings, you are kind of doing it blindly. You don’t really see where it’s going or how much is in there. With our system, you don’t have to do all that. The bearings are inside of a wet oil bath where they are constantly being lubricated, [and] you see exactly the level and the colour of the fluid. It’s very convenient.” Shawn Marcus, a sales rep for Bader and Sons, a Michiganbased John Deere dealership that sold the Zuidberg Tracks system to Cadillac Winter Promotions, is a big believer in the product. “We had thought for a long time that the track industry needed some competition because competition drives product improvement,” said Marcus. “We were very excited to hear what Zuidberg was bringing to market because it met requests we had from our customers … namely oil bath bearings. We were also impressed with the installation of the system. It went very smooth, especially considering it was one of the first sets in North America.” Zuidberg Tracks can be adapted for use with any type of tractor and comes in a variety of widths ranging from 30 to 92 cm. It features a unique bogie suspension system designed to virtually eliminate cab vibrations. The system features axels that oscillate three dimensionally on top of a vibrationdampening piece of rubber and bear the weight of the tractor. “One of the challenges with a snow grooming tractor is the vibrations in the cab that come from the tread of the track on the ground. It really makes for a hard user experience,” said Holden. “[Our system] is very quiet and very smooth. It’s because of the three-dimensional oscillation of those bogie axels. Visually you can see how smooth the ride is. The cab’s not jerking around. The feedback we’ve gotten from people is they like it.” Unlike other systems that must be assembled by the end user, Zuidberg Tracks come fully assembled, which Holden says is a distinct selling point of the system. “When our pieces go out, there are essentially the four tracks, a sub-frame and the hardware. It’s pretty simple and straightforward,” he said. “Groomers don’t need any extra

work. And it’s less expensive, too. A lot of dealerships are charging an hourly rate to do installations.” Zuidberg’s parent company was established in the Netherlands in 1982. Five years ago, it purchased Westtrack, another Dutch manufacturer that specialized in track systems, as part of the company’s efforts to expand beyond the agricultural sector, where it was already an industry leader thanks in part to its front hitches for tractors. Despite a recent downturn in the agri-retail sector, Zuidberg’s overall market share in the U.S. has steadily increased over the past two years, according to Holden. He says the company sees a lot of room for growth in the North American snow grooming market and expects sales of its track conversion system to double over the next year. All of the company’s products continue to be manufactured at its plant in the Netherlands, which Holden says gives it a distinct advantage over many of its competitors. “We bring in raw steel and we do all of the design, engineering, processing, welding and manufacturing,” he said. “We can control that entire process from a cost standpoint and from a quality standpoint, which is kind of neat.” Holden expects the company to soon begin manufacturing products designed specifically for the North American snow grooming market. Some tractors are specifically designed for American and Canadian users, so it only makes sense to tailor the company’s products to those markets, he says. Zuidberg recently invested $8 million as part of a project to conduct its own rubber production in the Netherlands. As part of the project, the company will try to determine what compounds and tread patterns work best in different types of snow and Holden says that information could eventually be incorporated into new track designs. As part of its efforts to increase the company’s brand awareness in North America, Zuidberg will have a strong presence at several snow grooming trade shows this season. It will be represented at the Arrowhead Snowmobile Trailer Groomer Show Feb. 1 and 2 in St. Germain, Wis., where visitors will have a chance to test the Zuidberg Tracks system, as well as the Michigan Snowmobile Association Groomer Workshop, March 2 to 4 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. 

“Visually you can see how smooth the ride is. The cab’s not jerking around. The feedback we’ve gotten from people is they like it.” – Shawn Marcus, Sales Representative, Bader and Sons


January 2017 |



A new web-based solution for managing snowmobile clubs has a lot to offer By Mark Halsall


oftware and snowmobiling. These are two things that Andy Meyer is passionate about. The combination of these two passions has led to SmarterTrails – an innovative website and software solution that makes the job of managing snowmobile clubs a whole lot easier. “There’s nothing like it that I’ve found that is specifically for snowmobile organizations,” said Meyer, owner of Netkinetix, a software firm based in La Crosse, Wis. “It has a broader scope and it’s very specific to what they do.” SmarterTrails is designed to offer a top-notch website for attracting visitors, a robust platform for keeping members connected and the tools to manage every organizational aspect of a snowmobile club or an association made up of multiple clubs. The system enables visitors to see current trail conditions, the best locations to park, hotel suggestions and even snowmobile-friendly places to eat. Members benefit by being able to access the latest news, current events and meeting minutes pertaining to their club. “I’ve looked at hundreds of snowmobile clubs and county websites, and only about one percent of them look like they were designed within the last five years,” said Meyer. SmarterTrails offers an eye-catching, modern site, but the biggest benefit is what’s at the back end of the system. “Everything is data driven; it’s not just a WordPress website,” said Meyer, noting all the information in the system is integrated and easily searchable. “The data is in one place and accessible by everybody.” In addition to being user-friendly, SmarterTrails is designed to be easily administered. “I think people are scared of that, thinking they have to have someone who knows HTML or how to write code in order to get their website to look good and to get information out there,” said Meyer. “Because we’ve done everything [using] structured data, it’s as simple as filling out a form. Everything you need to do can be done by filling out a form, not editing HTML or writing code. Because these are all volunteer organizations, you want to make this as painless as possible.” With benefits like the online meeting minutes feature and unlimited document and content storage, SmarterTrails saves time and effort by cutting down on paperwork and administrative hassles, says Meyer. “Every club I’ve talked to is doing things differently and it usually consists of a spreadsheet or a notebook to keep track

Andy Meyer, Owner, Netkinetix

of their current members – did they pay or not, what’s their phone number, what’s their email, all this kind of stuff,” he said. According to Meyer, all the information is fully automated and structured in the SmarterTrails system, making administrative tasks like membership enrolment and renewals, dues collection and landowner tracking a snap to do online. Because generating revenue is usually a top priority for snowmobile clubs and associations, SmarterTrails was also designed to help users earn extra money. Local advertisers and sponsors have the ability to sign up online, and the system provides intuitive tools to help clubs manage their advertisers as well as website analytics features to help attract new ones.

Trail conditions feature Snowmobilers often journey hundreds of miles to find the best trails, so up-to-date information is obviously key. The trail conditions feature in SmarterTrails can be configured to update other sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even local visitor bureau sites. Members and visitors can also sign up for notifications when trail conditions are updated. In addition, the trail conditions feature enables users to attach photos to trail reports for the benefit of visitors and club members. | SnowOps



“There’s nothing like it that I’ve found that is specifically for snowmobile organizations.” Meyers says he had considered adding snow grooming information such as schedules and routes to the SmarterTrails system but was discouraged to do so by potential users. “Most associations don’t like the idea because they don’t like idea of groomer chasing,” he said. Meyer hatched the idea for SmarterTrails after rehauling a snowmobiling website for Munroe County in Wisconsin a few years ago, developing a number of tools he thought could be turned into a useful product for other snowmobile clubs and associations. Meyer launched SmarterTrails this past summer and his programming team at Netkinetix continues to implement new features and tweaks to enhance the system. “Hopefully it gets out there and with feedback from multiple organizations, we can continue to keep making it better and better,” he said. One of the new features is an app that Meyer plans to have ready for this snowmobiling season. “There will be a SmarterTrails app that goes along with the product. From this app, the public will be able to see up-todate trail conditions from any club or association that’s using


SmarterTrails,” he said. “Members of clubs or associations that are on SmarterTrails will be able to access all of their data from that app as well.” Meyer says the whole SmarterTrails system is designed to be mobile-friendly. As a result, club members can easily update trail conditions in real time with their portable devices, and anybody interested in this information can register to get text or email notifications when things change so they are always current. “That’s a big plus,” said Meyer, adding that for sites and apps of this nature, 90 percent of visitors are typically on a mobile device. “They’re not sitting down at their computers to see if a trail’s open. They’re grabbing their smartphone or they’re grabbing their tablet.” Meyer, who grew up snowmobiling around his home in Winona, Minn. and says he’s been enjoying the sport for 35 years, acknowledges he’s not likely to make boatloads of money with his new venture. But he says that’s not the point. “The reason I started this is that I love snowmobiling,” he said. “I want to help the sport – just really get it out there, help these associations and see our sport grow. That’s the ultimate goal.” 

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January 2017 |


– Andy Meyer, Owner, Netkinetix

The Track N Go system can be used on all pick-up trucks and SUVs that are true 4×4s with low range 4L


A New Way to Roll With Track N Go, you can transform your truck or SUV into an on-snow vehicle in less than 15 minutes, without having to take the tires off By Mark Halsall


rack N Go is a wheel-driven portable track system that’s unlike anything else on the market. It enables 4×4 pick-up trucks and SUVs to have tracks installed without removing the tires in under 15 minutes. And while the system was developed for use on snow, Track N Go-equipped vehicles can travel swiftly over sand, gravel, light mud and paved roads. “It’s a good and reliable product. People who have them really enjoy using them,” said Mike Fontaine, sales and marketing director for AD Boivin Design, the Quebec-based makers of the Track N Go system. According to Fontaine, Track N Go is really catching on among industrial users of trucks and SUVs. The unique product is sold not just in United States and Canada, but is available around the world including far-off places like Argentina, Turkey and Mongolia. The American military is even getting on board, proceeding with plans to test out the Track N Go system this winter and next. AD Boivin Design has been in the snow vehicle and equipment manufacturing business since 1995. The company, which employs up to 50 people during peak periods at its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Levis, Que., un-

veiled the SnowHawk, the first ever snow-bike, back in 2001. Other products it has developed include snowmobile suspension systems and track systems for ATVs and dirt bikes. “Our owner, Denis Boivin, was looking to manufacture a product that was meant to solve problems in the industrial market – the solution was Track N Go,” said Fontaine. Track N Go was introduced to the market in 2013, following five years of rigorous testing. Since then, Fontaine says, production has doubled every year. “When reinventing the wheel, there are always challenges and issues to overcome and those problems have to be solved,” he said. “This is why we put in five years of research and development before putting the Track N Go out on the market. We wanted to make sure that it was perfect when it launched.” Fontaine says most Track N Go customers are industrial users like oil, mining and utility companies. Emergency rescue services and law enforcement are other areas where the system is gaining popularity. “The tracks are universal and fit multiple vehicles. A lot of our customers have fleets, and the system allows them to use it on any of their vehicles,” said Fontaine. | SnowOps



The rugged Track N Go system is a popular choice with law enforcement organizations

Fontaine describes Track N Go as “indestructible.” Because many customers are businesses, governmental agencies and first respondents, the system was built to be rugged and easy to use, he says.

Snow grooming application There are also recreational customers who use the system to access their cabins in the winter. Fontaine sees the job of grooming snowmobile and cross-country ski trails as another area where Track N Go technology could prove valuable as a lower cost alternative to traditional grooming equipment. “It’s a lot less expensive than a snowcat,” he said. A Track N Go-equipped vehicle can also be used in fall and spring, Fontaine says, when there’s less snow on the ground and resulting conditions that could damage traditional grooming equipment. Fontaine believes what really represents the beauty of the Track N Go system is its versatility and ease of use. “You’d be surprised what the people who contact me here come up with,” he said. “I have customers right now who are looking to import this to Saudi Arabia for use on sand dunes. We have customers who use them to give Northern Lights tours, bring food and goods to remote villages and even to clean snow off solar panels. The possibilities are endless. “That’s really what Track N Go’s all about. It’s about going anywhere you want to go in snow, obviously, but with the ease of putting the tracks on and taking them off quickly. You can use the vehicle on its wheels in your day-to-day work and put the tracks on when you need them.” According to Fontaine, the tracks can be used on all pick-up trucks and SUVs that are true 4×4s with low range 4L. The list of compatible vehicles can be viewed on the Track N Go website. Because the tracks are mounted directly onto a vehicle’s wheel, this provides easy steering and a smoother ride on hard surfaces because the tire absorbs impacts. It also simplifies the number of components and increases mechanical reliability. On hard surfaces, the recommended speed of a Track N Go equipped vehicle is 40 mph but it can go much faster, Fontaine says. On snow, the recommended speed varies from 10 to 25 mph, depending on the thickness of the snow.


January 2017 |

The Track N Go system can be installed in less than 15 minutes

“You can use the vehicle on its wheels in your day-to-day work and put the tracks on when you need them.” – Mike Fontaine, AD Boivin Design

Fontaine says the tracks have excellent grip in very deep snow because of their large ground surface. “Tracks cannot be compared to tires. You get a lot more traction and flotation with these,” he said. “In testing, we went through pretty deep powder snow, up to six to 10 feet.” Plates mounted to the fronts of the units called anti-diving snow deflectors are part of the patented Track N Go design that help keep the tracks on top of the snow. There are also plates mounted to their sides of the track units, which improves visibility by reducing the amount of snow being sprayed and helps prevent vehicles from sliding downwards in side hilling conditions. Each unit in the Track N Go system weighs 375 pounds and is 136 inches long and 15 inches wide. According to Fontaine, one person can roll a track down a loading ramp fairly easily and then the tracks can be winched back up onto a truck flatbed two at a time using a standard ATV winch. AD Boivin Design offers hooks as well as specially designed shop dollies to help move the track units around. AD Boivin Design, which has Track N Go distributors in numerous locations around the world, sells the product directly to customers in North America, where people can order the system online or by phone. “In Canada and the U.S., we can have orders to the customer’s door usually within three to five business days,” said Fontaine. 

AN AFFORDABLE SOLUTION TO YOUR GROOMING NEEDS New to LiteTrax – The SnowTrax commercial series 1500 and 2000 models provide the comfort and flexibility of a large grooming vehicle as well as agility that is second to none. • Compact – 78” wide x 92” long x 84” high • Low ground pressure – .55 PSI • Powerful – 45HP Kubota Turbo Diesel (1500) and 74 HP Hatz Turbo Diesel (2000) • Comfortable – Our new 2017 models feature a roomy 68” heated hard cab • Reliable – Direct Drive Hydrostatic Transmission with no chains or sprockets • Functional – High visibility doors and windows • Versatile – 2 or 4 person models. 12-way blade and many other accessories available • Affordable – a fraction of the price of a full-size snow grooming vehicle

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SnowOps - January 2017  
SnowOps - January 2017