Fall Special Edition 2017
WSSA delegates at ISCâ€” Pictured L-R, Helen Lampitt, Wayne & Florence Mohler, Pamela McConkey, Jim Kingman, Chris Mayer, Dean Meakin and Matt Meadâ€”Photo by Mary Anne Grabow
Inside: Coverage of the 2017 International Snowmobile Congress, Winnipeg, Manitoba
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
Table of Contents 2017 International Snowmobile Congress …………………………. 3 ACSA Meeting Highlights ………………………………. 7 Western Chapters Highlights ………………………… 9 ISTC & ISMC Meeting Highlights ………………….. 11 International Snowmobile Council Highlights ... 12 ISMA Update …………………...………………………... 13 Matt’s Misc. ……………………………………………….. 14 Associate Members …………………………………….. 15 Contacts & Clubs ………………………………………… 17
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 2
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
2017 International Snowmobile Congress Winnipeg? I’m not sure where that is… By Matt Mead, ISC Delegate It was really kind of funny. A couple of months before the kick-off of the International Snowmobile Congress in Winnipeg, I could never remember where the event was going to be held. Someone would ask, and I’d say, “Canada, one of the provinces in the middle”. For the life of me I couldn’t remember the city, and wasn’t really sure which province it was in or exactly where it was. Not sure why, other than I’d never been there before or even paid much attention to this region of Canada. I guess it is good I have Google Maps! And Google didn’t let me down! I gave myself three days to get there, although it is really a short two-day drive. Google said the best route was across southern Canada, but given my phone’s data plan, I decided to stay in the U.S. longer and enter Manitoba at the Hansboro/Cartright border crossing in North Dakota. The Canadian Customs agent at the sleepy border crossing seemed surprised to see me and asked why I was crossing there. I told him “I spent the night in Rugby, ND, and Google said this was the best way to get to Winnipeg from there.” He kept a straight face, but I know he was laughing on the inside.
The evening before ISC kicks off, snowmobilers mingle and get reacquainted. (Great hors d’oeuvres on hand this year.)
The FOSPAC fundraising event was gokart racing; really sorry I missed it! Photo by Mary Anne Grabow.) Bummer! I spent some time wandering the hotel and conference complex, orienting myself, and finding the registration booth and picking up my name tag, meal tickets and swag bag. I had plenty of time before the SnoMan (Snowmobilers of Manitoba, our hosts) Welcome Reception at 7pm, so I
my birthday, and the Washington delegation along a few others brought un-needed attention to our table by singing ‘happy birthday’ to me. A special thanks to Florence Mohler and Pamela McConkey for the fancy donut from a nearby French bakery. (Lit birthday candle included!) Thursday, June 8th Seven in the morning seems awfully early for breakfast, especially if a person stayed late at the previous evening’s gathering, but this is the norm for ISC. The buffet featuring all the usual standard fare was well received. As the dining winded
It was best to check out the groomers a couple of days before the groomer reception on Friday. (It was storming then!) Driving towards Winnipeg… one never knows what they may find! My goal was to arrive at the hotel in the early afternoon on June 7th. I figured they would let me check in and I would have the chance to attend the FOSPAC (Friends of Snowmobiling Political Action Committee) fundraiser if I wanted, and for sure put me there in plenty of time for the evening’s meet and greet social. Since I arrived a few minutes after 2pm and the FOSPAC event was scheduled for 2pm, I figured it was a no-go this year and headed to my room. It turned out I made the wrong decision as the event ended up being pushed to 3pm and everyone who attended the gokart racing had a great (and sweaty) time. www.wssa.us
took the opportunity to step outside in the groomer parking area and snap a few pics of the latest trail makers in the perfect afternoon sun. Did you know the Winnipeg is the geographical center of North America? The evening get-together is a great time to reconnect with or meet snowmobilers from across the U.S. and Canada. If you are lucky, it is also dinner! Our SnoMan hosts did not disappoint! A couple of tables were set up with hors d'oeuvres for the doit-yourselfers and several from the hotel wait staff were gliding table to table offering up tasty treats. June 7th happens to be
down, the opening ceremonies kicked off with flags of the U.S. and Canada marched in and displayed for the duration of the Congress. Video Mike (Grant) supplied the morning news video which was a combo of silly TV weathermen, stupid stunts on snowmobiles, and video clips from the go– kart races and reception from the night before. (Morning news segments ran every morning of ISC, recapping the activity of the previous day.) A couple of guest speakers were on hand, including Manitoba’s mayor Brian Bowman and Shannon Martin, a member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly; both were very thankful snowmobilers had come to Winnipeg and encouraged us to spend more time in the Fall Special Edition 2017 · 3
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington years past the VIPs were treated to snacks, drinks and a special trinket or two. The off-site started with snowmobilers clambering onto school busses and riding over to Inkster Junction Station, the home of the Prairie Dog Central Railway. Riding
has performed all across Canada and on TV. Friday, June 9th On Friday morning we heard from University of Guelph Professor Dr. Jamie Burr and Master’s student Tania Pereira, speak-
The four snowmobile manufacturers are major sponsors of ISC. city and province. The meetings kicked off at 9:45am. Snowmobile administrators were headed off to attend day two of their meetings while most of the rest of us were going to the Western, Midwest or Northeast Chapter meetings. As you may have guessed, the Washington delegates went to the Western Chapter meeting. (You can read highlights of that meeting elsewhere in this Snoflyer.) Lunchtime is a break for most, but not me and the other International Snowmobile Media Council (ISMC) members. We purposely hold our meetings during lunch so we can attend all the other meetings during the rest of the day. This year we held our annual roundtable meeting which includes ISMC members; ISTC (International Snowmobile Tourism Council) members; snowmobile manufacturer representatives (this year from Yamaha, Polaris and Ski-Doo only); the president of ISMA, (International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, Ed Klim; and the Christine Jourdain, Executive Director of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA). This meeting can touch on just about any topic and is one of the most interesting at ISC. (You can read the highlights of the ISMC meeting elsewhere in this Snoflyer.) Winnipeg is covered in snow 132 days of the year. After lunch, most of the Americans are headed to the ACSA meeting for the afternoon. Canadians in turn head off to a similar meeting with the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO). The ACSA meeting spans two days much like the Chapter meetings and you can read the highlights elsewhere in this Snoflyer. The meetings wrapped up lateafternoon, leaving just enough time to get ready for the evening’s VIP Reception and traditional ‘off-site’ event. The ACSA hosts the VIP Reception, which is a fundraiser for their Legal Action Fund. The VIPs make a $50 donation and receive special treatment leading up to the off-site event. I didn’t attend this year, but in www.wssa.us
The Prairie Dog Special made for fun transportation to the off-site location. in turn-of-the-century passenger rail cars hooked to an ancient steam engine, we
The off-site event was held at Anderson’s Hitch ‘n Post Ranch where we enjoyed a ‘Pioneer Dinner’. slowly rolled through the local countryside. To add to the authenticity, we were even treated to a staged train robbery by a passel of beautiful young ladies. Our final destination was Anderson’s Hitch ‘n Post Ranch, where we were treated to a ‘Pioneer Dinner’ in a large rustic dining hall. EnThe off-site event was held at Anderson’s Hitch ‘n Post Ranch where we enjoyed a ‘Pioneer Dinner’ tertainment for the evening was a very funny guy calling himself Big Daddy Tazz, a local comedian out of Winnipeg, but who
ing on research they have been conducting relating to the health benefits of snowmobiling. Along with showing a video outlining their work, they noted snowmobilers riding in the mountains can receive a significant workout. (Like we didn’t already know this!... but now the world will too!) Next up was Ed Klim, giving his annual ISMA Update. Ed is a great speaker and trained economist and he has a great handle on the business of snowmobiling. His presentation is one not to be missed. Winnipeg was the first city in the world to develop the 911 emergency number.
Found this outside the Hitch ‘n Post Ranch. Cool! Several seminars were scheduled for Friday morning and afternoon including ‘Potential of Youth’; ‘Avalanche Safety’; ‘Being Ice Smart’; ‘Survive Outside’; ‘Smarter Trails’; and ‘GPS Trails’. While a Fall Special Edition 2017 · 4
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington person couldn’t attend all of them, and some interfered with the Chapter meetings, I did manage to attend a couple.
Our hosts for the 49th annual International Snowmobile Congress were the Snowmobilers of Manitoba, or SnoMan. They did an excellent job. The first one I sat in on was the morning ‘Avalanche Safety’ led by Brent Strand, Outreach Coordinator for Avalanche Canada. It wasn’t a full-blown Avalanche awareness training, but more of an overview on the training goals and resources available. One thing stressed was ‘the big five’ – get the gear, get the training, get the forecast, get the picture, and get out of harms way! Other tips picked up included: There are several great transceivers on the market, just make sure you are using a newer digital one with three antennas. Did you know if you have to dig out someone buried in three feet of snow you will end up shoveling roughly 1,800 lbs of snow? (Use the ‘conveyer shoveling method’ for best efficiency.) A series of online videos, ‘Throttle Decisions’, are part of a snowmobilespecific avalanche awareness program. The afternoon avalanche seminar by Avalanche Canada actually covered a different topic than the first; kind of a follow-on. The main discussion focused on lessons learned from the recent ‘Renshaw’ avalanche. This avalanche included several different groups of riders who all ended up in the same place and were caught in an avalanche. Eighteen people were swept up with five fatalities. The ‘Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale’ (ATES) was talked about, noting avalanche terrain can be classified into the three groups of ‘simple’, ‘challenging’ and ‘complex’. Aerial maps were used with notations made, showing the terrain types and where each group and victim ended up. Fascinating stuff. I’d encourage anyone interested in ATES to Google ‘avalanche terrain exposure scale’ and read all about it. The LONGEST skating rink in the world – that freezes naturally – is found in Winnipeg. www.wssa.us
The other seminar I attended was called ‘Survive Outside’ and led by Randy Antonia, founder of the Winnipeg Search and Rescue Volunteer Association. The message was ‘adventure smart’, which also happens to be the name of a helpful website (www.adventuresmart.ca), with the idea of outdoor recreationists being smart and prepared before heading into the backcountry. A few things passed along include: The three ‘Ts’; trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. Kids/young adults should embrace the ‘hug a tree’ program which includes telling an adult where you are going, to ‘hug a tree’ and stay put if lost, pack to stay warm and dry, and don’t be afraid to ask for or yell out for help if you need it. Overall, outdoor recreationists are reminded to make informed decisions, reduce their risks, and change their behavior. Also, be aware who is responsible for search and rescue in the area you are in. (Or if you are the family member/friend of a lost person, you should know too.) Trip planning includes planning a route, knowing the terrain and conditions, checking the weather, and filling out a trip plan and leaving with a responsible person. (Their website can help with creating a trip plan.) Some of the essentials include a first-aid kit; fire starter; signaling device (whistle); space blanket; rescue transceiver (SPOT or similar); flashlight; navigation equipment likes maps, compass and a GPS; tools to meet your needs; weather protection; and food and water.
quet room is also where the trade show was set up for the duration of the Congress and this was a good evening to wander around and talk to the various sponsors of the ISC. (Just about every trade show sponsor has a little trinket to give away and I always wander around collecting pens, key chains, stickers and whatever else is free.) Friday evening is also the Iron Dog Brigade’s ‘invitation only’ banquet. Many Iron Dogs attend ISC and their dress-up night is one they look forward too. Iron Dogs can bring guests to their banquet and frequently do. Later that evening was a hospitality suite sponsored by Nova Scotia, the 2018 ISC hosts. I stepped in briefly, but was ready to head for bed.
Saturday, June 10th Our final breakfast was a bust! I have no clue what SnoMan and the hotel were thinking but there was no real food! By this I mean no eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausage, biscuits and gravy, French toast, ham or waffles. Instead there was fruit. FRUIT! And bagels. Muffins. Assorted pastries. I wasn’t the only one shaking my head in disbelief! Oh well, it wasn’t like we were going to starve; just really odd though as I don’t think I’ve ever attended an ISC breakfast where there wasn’t a hearty hot meal. Our keynote speaker this day was Troy The character of Winnie-the-Pooh Bert, was inspired by a black bear named voted Winnie, who was named after Manitothe 2016 ba’s capital city, Winnipeg. Troy Bert, our morning keyNorth After the business concluded on Friday, it America’s note speaker on Saturday, shared a gripping tale of how Top was time for the Groomers’ Reception. Snowmo- he went from no pulse at a While Wednesday and Thursday had been motorcycle accident scene to biler. beautiful days in Winnipeg, not so for FriNorth America’s Top SnowWhat day. Luckily we were inside the big banmobiler in 2016. makes quet hall as the pelting rain and claps of thunder were keeping the groomers compa- this interesting is Troy is an amputee who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident nearly 10 ny out in the parking lot. There were sevyears ago. It started off worse since he had no pulse at the accident site, spent five weeks in a medically-induced coma, and had a broken neck. Originally the doctors told Troy he would never walk again but he beat the odds. His story was inspirational and he has gone on to start a company called ‘5 Toes Riding’ where $5 from every sale goes to help Maybe the fanciest Groomer Reception held at an people in situations similar to ISC! Buffet-style, but fancy tables and linen. what he worked through. Following Troy was a bit of improv delivered by TOTE, or ‘Theater on eral games being played for prizes at this the Edge’. It was a funny portrayal of event and dinner was provided. The banFall Special Edition 2017 · 5
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington snowmobiling in the ‘70s, ‘80s and current time. Done along the lines of ‘whose line is it anyway’, a couple of gentleman from the audience were used on stage as props. Funny stuff! The rest of the day was filled with meetings; for me the conclusion of the ACSA meeting in the morning, ISMC at noon, and then the meeting of the International SnowA mugging at ISC? No, part mobile of a skit put on by TOTE during Saturday’s breakfast. Council in the afternoon. (Highlights from the Council meeting are elsewhere in this Snoflyer.) The ‘happy hour’ before the banquet started at 5pm and this was the perfect time to visit the Silent Auction. While the ACSA’s auction had been going on since Thursday morning, there was really no use to bid until near the end. Time was running out as 6pm was the close!
George Eisenhuth Distinguished Service Award. Congratulations to Marlys Knutson and Ross Antworth, both deserving individuals. (Please check out their contributions to snowmobiling by visiting www.snowmobilemedia.org and clicking on the press release detailing their awards.) Both received standing ovations. Music legend Neil Young is from Manitoba.
Marlys Knutson and Joann Smith addressing the crowd on behalf of the Thirsty Dogs during Saturday evening’s banquet. came up on stage to pose for a picture with a fake check.)
Curling is big in Winnipeg – so big it might be the curling capital of Canada. The Saturday night banquet brought a close to ISC. It always starts off with dinner, and this one ranked right up near the top. A tasty tomato basil soup was followed by a lackluster salad but a delicious main course of half stuffed potatoes and Manitoba chicken made for a great rebound. The blueberry swirl cheesecake was excellent, and this is coming from a guy who hates cheesecake. The SnoMan group was on a mission to keep the rest of the evening’s events short and to the point. Some might say a bit too short, but after sitting through these for 10+ years, this was a welcome change! Raffle and prize winners were chosen offstage and quickly announced on stage; these mostly consisted of scholarship fundraisers for the Northeast, Midwest and Western Chapters. A few people went home with some great prizes and cash amounts. I wasn’t one of them… The Thirsty Dogs came on stage and presented donation checks to both the ACSA and the CCSO so they can continue to work on behalf of snowmobilers in the U.S. and Canada. Next up was my presentation on behalf of the International Snowmobile Media Council; we announced Lynsey Burzinski from Wisconsin as the winner of our C.J. Ramstad Memorial Scholarship. (A surprised Lynsey was in the audience and she www.wssa.us
A surprised Lynsey Burzinski, the C.J. Ramstad Memorial Scholarship winner, receiving her fake check. Lynsey hails from Wisconsin and is a member of K.A.O.S. (Kids and Adults on Snow). The Iron Dog Brigade took the stage next and announced the winners of the
This was followed by the CCSO announcing their awards and as usual, they had a lot of them, but the presentations went by quickly. Following was the ACSA awards. Dealer of the Year went to J & K Snowmobiles in Esterville, IA; Youth of the Year went to Emma Grange of Tomo, WI; Family of the Year was earned by the Irwin Family of Argyle, NY; and the Snowmobiler of the Year was Kirk Polhill from Lena, IL. Which award is missing?... Oh yeah, the Club of the Year award. This one went to our very own Cascade Drift Skippers! Outstanding! (Club President, Christopher Mayer, was on hand to accept the award.) After a few more quick announcements and presentations, the closing remarks came, followed by the closing ceremony where the flags were collected, folded, and passed to Nova Scotia for the 2018 International Snowmobile Congress. In looking at the time, it was only 9:30pm. Wow! Well, this was good news for the Thirsty Dogs! Although ISC might have been over ‘officially’, unofficially it wouldn’t end until the Thirsty Dogs inducted their new ‘pups’ later that evening! Do you have plans for next June 13th – th 16 ? If not… or even if you do… plan on joining snowmobilers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the 50th International Snowmobile Congress. Rumor has it this will be one for the history books! WSSA thanks the 2017 ISC Committee and the Snowmobilers of Manitoba for hosting a very successful event. This was one smooth running Congress!
Chris Mayer, Cascade Drift Skippers President, accepts the ACSA Club of the Year Award from ACSA President Bob Kirchner. Fall Special Edition 2017 · 6
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
ACSA Meeting Highlights from ISC 2017 By Matt Mead, ISC Delegate The American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) meets over two days at the International Snowmobile Congress. Topics of a national interest are discussed and some of the highlights are below. Board Reports - Reports were presented by the executive board members. • Executive Director Christine Jourdain: Christine asked the State Associations to be sure and include ACSA material in their pub lications, e-mails or other outreach materials whenever possible. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) project continues to fund snowmobile safety and access projects; $100K per year for five years. She said working with the new U.S. Congress is improved, but the Federal Government still has hundreds of unfilled positions. The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) continues and there is a push to go after more of the fuel tax money that supports it. The President’s Administration still plans to review National Monuments and possibly rescind some of the Executive Orders signed by the previous President. Christine stressed the importance of tapping the FOSPAC (Friends of Snowmobiling Political Action Committee) money available for meeting with candi dates for Congress. • President Bob Kirchner (from Pennsylvania): He thanked everyone for their support during his term and asked them to keep up the good fight. • Vice President Greg Hiles (from South Dakota): Greg thanked Bob for his hard work and presented him with a thank-you gift. • Secretary/Treasurer Dean Meakin (from Washington): Dean thanked his fellow board members for their help and support for the past year. • Past President Duane Sutton (from South Dakota): Duane thanked everyone for his being allowed to serve. Please contact him for ACSA decals. It was also noted the website had ACSA merchandise for sale. • Northeast Chapter Chair Gary Broderick (from New York): Gary said his goal continues to be bringing the missing Northeast members back into ACSA. He also encouraged Associations to use the one-page ACSA PDF drop-ins they were providing. • Midwest Chapter Chair Bob King (from Iowa): Bob announced there will be a new member from Illinois replacing him. • Western Chapter Chair Scott Herzog (from Montana): Scott thanked ACSA and the state organizations for supporting him and in vited everyone to the Western Summit in West Yellowstone, February 23rd to 25th. Legal Defense Fund – ACSA has grown their Legal Defense Fund. States can seek up to $5K in a legal defense grant, and this grant can be renewed. Fundraising – ACSA has an Amazon Smile account; by using it, you will be making a small contribution with each Amazon purchase. (It doesn’t cost the purchaser; the money comes from Amazon.) ACSA would prefer to not ask for donations directly, but to use other sources. ACSA has partnered with Grizzly Coolers, (the maker of the Yeti cooler), and you can purchase one with the ACSA logo for the same price you’d pay at the store for a plain one, but ACSA will receive 30% of the sale price. A good value for the buyer and a great funding source for ACSA. (If you are interested, visit www.snowmobilers.org/docs/grizzly-cooler-flyer-2017.pdf. No sales tax and shipping is paid by Grizzly too!) ACSA Calendar – The calendar fundraiser is continuing to raise money and will continue for 2018. The price of the 2017 calendar is now reduced to $10 for remaining calendars. Still plenty of opportunity to win cash prizes for the rest of the year. Land access - Timber lands are being sold and new owners are not necessarily snowmobile-friendly; land users must work closely with new land owners. Regarding the Over Snow Vehicles (OSV) planning rule, watch what the Forest Service proposes. This is an opportunity for our foes to challenge access. Just including trails in the plans is not enough; we need to ensure other roads, trails and off-trail areas are included. Clean Snowmobile Challenge – Jay Meldrum of the Clean Snowmobile Challenge thanked all the state associations and the ACSA for their support. He noted the 2017 event was a tough one due to really frigid weather and tough snow conditions. He said going forward the electric snowmobile category was being eliminated but the diesel category would continue. Winnipeg Proposal – The ACSA President noted there was some confusion on the draft proposal to bring back the NE chapter members who had left the ACSA several years ago over complaints of the dues structure vs. votes and Executive Board transparency. He acknowledged most thought the proposal was actually the final plan to be voted on, but it was only a draft being used to seek input. It wasn’t meant to be an action item at this Congress. (The proposal addressed creating an equal dues structure of $1250 for every state, not based on membership numbers; keeping one vote for each state; and moving Ohio and Indiana from the Midwest Chapter into the Northeast The ACSA meeting was held over the course of two day. Here Jay Meldrum (standing) Chapter.) is giving an update on the Clean Snowmobile Challenge. ISMA Grants – States were rewww.wssa.us
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 7
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington minded the $4,000 grants are available from the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA). Applications had been sent to the states and the due date is October 2nd. The grants can be used for land-use issues, tourism, economic impact studies, SnowTrails TV projects and many more. Promote ACSA – The States were asked to talk to their publication editors and publishers with the goal of including more ACSAgenerated content, including public service announcements and membership forms. ACSA has created PDF drop-ins which make for easy filler. Forest Service - We heard from representatives from the Forest Service about the creation of an ‘Over Snow Vehicle Operations and Management Guidebook’, expected to be completed by the end of 2017. With the new requirement for Over Snow Vehicle Travel Planning and implementation, along with Over Snow Vehicle Use Maps (OSVUM), this guide will help provide consistency and flexibility at the District level. (If you have questions on this guidebook, please contact Penny K Wu, Travel Management Program Manager for the U.S. Forest Service, at firstname.lastname@example.org or  275-5168.) Elections – Elections were held for the ACSA President, Vice President and Secretary Treasurer positions. Bob Kirchner was stepping down as President and as nobody was running against Greg Hiles to replace him, a unanimous ballot was cast to elect him. Dean Meakin ran unopposed for the Secretary/Treasurer position and was reelected via unanimous ballot as well. Two were running for the Vice President position, Scott Herzog and Suzy Giese (from Illinois). A secret ballot led to Scott becoming the next VP. Congrats to the new ACSA Board!
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 8
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
Western Chapter Highlights from ISC 2017 By Matt Mead, ISC Delegate The Western Chapter consists of member states and provinces from the western part of North America. The Western Chapter actually consists of two components, a U.S.-only group and the all encompassing one including Canada. This can make running the meeting(s) tricky some years based on the agenda items, but it wasn’t an issue The Western Chapter meeting was held over two days and from this this year. Western Chapter met over two days and spectator’s perspective, lacking in content. WSSA Vice President Dean covered a broad range of topics, many of which are Meakin is standing on the end, with WSSA President Jim Kingman sitoutlined below. I did have some concerns with the meeting, and those too can be found below. Western Chapter fundraiser – Western Chapter was raffling off three Visa gift cards during ISC. Tickets were $10 each and the gift card values were $250, $500 and $1,000. (Sadly none of the WSSA members in attendance won.) ACSA Board elections - Those running for the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) Board positions came through and made their pitch. These included Greg Hiles from South Dakota running for President, Scott Herzog from Montana (Western Chapter Chair) running for Vice President, and Washington’s own Dean Meakin running for another term as Secretary/Treasurer. Western Chapter Scholarship - The $2,000 Scholarship was won by Kenda Morrison from Wyoming. Seven applications were received. The new topic for 2018 will be on trespassing. SOPs – A housekeeping issue included revising the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to include reimbursement rules/ authorization for travel to the Western Chapter Summit, ACSA’s D.C. Fly-In, and to ISC. While there is now procedure to pay for travel, the budget wasn’t amended to actually cover it. Land Use – Much of the land use talk was included in the state/province updates. One item mentioned was in regard to National Monuments; it was noted National Monuments didn’t need to be as restrictive as Wilderness; each one is a blank sheet of paper and these areas can include motorized use. SnoGoer – The magazine will again offer the $49 club/association promotion in their magazine (and on their website) for the upcoming season. The club/association’s information will run in two issues and the magazine will promote organized snowmobiling via the editorial. (WSSA will make sure this info gets out to the clubs this summer.) SnowTrails TV - Video Mike (Grant) talked about SnowTrails TV. This will be the 14th broadcast season and last year the show reached over a million viewers. Last season the show highlighted areas in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, as well as covering Minnesota’s Hay Days. Mike received feedback suggesting he focus more on online content vs. TV due to the cost and the fact more and more people are turning to the web for entertainment. (SnowTrails TV isn’t on YouTube but is available on Vimeo.) Trespassing - A new push by IASA (International Association of Snowmobile Administrators), ACSA and ISMA (International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association) is in regards to trespassing. Trespassing means different things to snowmobilers based on where they ride and the goal is to target the right riders with the right message. Riders in the West don’t deal so much with private property trespassing, but do have areas off-limits such as Wilderness, winter wildlife habitat, ski resort boundaries and others. Those riding in the Midwest and East may not know of the Western challenges, but are certainly aware of private property trespass and the possibility of losing trails when landowners say “enough is enough”. New posters and public service announcements are being released. State/Province Updates – I was disappointed in many of the State Representatives’ responses when they started off by saying something to the effect of “nothing has really changed since my update at the D.C. Fly-In”. I suppose if the representatives are only
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 9
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington talking to other representatives, that would be fine, but since most (all?) of us in the audience didn’t attend the Fly-In, we have no idea of what the original report included. Some states provided no verbal reports because of this. • Idaho: Claiming both a victory and loss in the Clearwater Forest in regards to the way Recommended Wilderness Areas (RWA) are managed. They are floating the balloon of the President creating an Executive Order requiring RWAs to be managed as multiple-use until actual Wilderness designation happens. (Congress is under no obligation to act on RWAs so this land can remain in limbo for decades.) Idaho relayed the story of a local club being asked by the Forest Service to pay $250,000, an arbitrary value, for a ‘historic building’, accidentally burned by stranded snowmobilers. The club had previously asked to fix up/upgrade the building building and the Forest Service had told them no. The club offered the Forest Service $3,000 or nothing and the issue hadn’t yet been settled. They are working on a new economic impact study with the last one being done in 2005. The Wolverine Study is winding down and findings to be released soon. Rumor is “snowmobilers will like it!” Legislation requiring ALL trail users to have a trail sticker is being consid ered. This would include fat bikes, snow bikes, skiers, mushers and anyone else using a groomed snowmobile trail in the winter. (It should be noted Sandra Mitchell from Idaho is a wealth of information and a great advocate for their snowmobile association.) • Saskatchewan: Claims about 6,300 miles of trails. Early snows damaged southern trails. They claim 800+ 12-16 year olds received snowmobile safety training online this past season. • Wyoming: Had about 32,000 registered sleds last year and non-resident registrations were on the increase. Several Winter Travel Management Plans are underway and seem to be going well. Wyoming snowmobilers raised $102,000 for charities. • Utah: Also working on an economic impact study to show the contributions of snowmo bilers to the economy. It is due out in the fall; the last one done was in 98/99. • Oregon: Groomed more than 32,000 trail miles last season and is seeking RTP (Recreational Trails Program) funding for trail maintenance and is finding the process difficult. • Alberta: Noted it was a bad/low snow winter for them. And cold. • Washington: President Jim Kingman provided an update on Washington, with the highlight being some were still riding in the higher elevations! • Montana: Reported membership was flat in their association. They are currently involved in three land-use lawsuits. Their maps are now online and can be accessed with Trail Tracker, Venza, or other apps. The Montana Legislature passed a resolution calling for no new Wilderness in the state along with releasing some of the Wilderness Study Areas back to traditional uses/management. A couple of items from the meeting disappointed and concerned me. As mentioned above, the lack of oral reports, or complete oral reports was one of them. What is the incentive as an observer to attend the Western Chapter Meeting if detailed reports aren’t going to be given? A couple of bigger issues also came up. There has been friction between ACSA and the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) for several years and now it appears the Western Chapter has jumped into the fray. There seems to be some concern regarding the ‘BRC/Wilderness Society Joint Recommendations on Minimization’ presented to the Bureau of Land Management this past spring and it was a big enough controversy that BRC felt they needed to have their law firm send a letter to the Western Chapter to clarify. (BRC Representative Jack Welch was on-hand and wanted to pass a copy of this letter out to those in attendance and was denied by the Western Chapter Chair.) I’ve read the information from the BRC on this issue, but haven’t seen the Western Chapter’s position/response and am disappointed this info wasn’t readily available. Another disappointment during the Western Chapter meeting was what was called the ‘Winnipeg Proposal’. Going back several years, a few eastern states left the American Council of Snowmobile Associations due to complaints of how much they had to pay in dues and how that related to the voting power. (The more members a state has, the higher the dues, but each state only has one vote when conducting ACSA business.) ACSA leadership and members in the Northeast Chapter have been working hard trying to find a solution and bring these states back in. The Winnipeg Proposal would have set dues to $1,250 per state, regardless of the number of members, and then kept the traditional ‘one member/one vote’. Also part of the proposal would be to move Ohio and Indiana from the Midwest Chapter into the Northeast Chapter. This item was added to the agenda and was quickly brought up and voted down with no discussion during the meeting. I’m not sure if there was talk among Western Chapter voting members outside of the meeting, but from an observer’s point of view, there was little transparency and we were left wondering what had just happened and why. (In talking to a representative from the Northeast Chapter, a personality conflict may be partially to blame.) We later learned at the ACSA meeting this was only a draft proposal and wasn’t meant to be an action item during this Congress. The Western Chapter Winter Meeting/Summit will be in West Yellowstone, February 23rd to 25th, next winter and everyone is invited. WSSA will share meeting details as they become available. www.wssa.us
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 10
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
ISTC and ISMC Meeting Highlights June 7-10, 2017, Winnipeg, Manitoba By Florence Mohler, WSSA Tourism Chair
The International Snowmobile Tourism Council (ISTC) met jointly with the International Snowmobile Media Council (ISM) for three sessions. We started our first session on Thursday with Judy King, American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) Public Relations Committee Chair. ACSA is going to more social media and getting away from TV. They are going to do an editorial about ACSA in several snowmobiling magazines. Judy reminded us the Committee will have pictures on the ACSA website which ISMA and ISTC can use for our publications… www.snowmobileinfo.org. A good article to start with in our publications is “What is ACSA?” There are also other articles associations can use. The PR Committee would like all the associations to put an ACSA membership application in our publications.
next year’s bench. Getting the bench in and out of Canada for raffles during the International Snowmobile Congress (ISC) would be problematic. Another raffle item was donated by Keri Wanner, owner of Driven. She offered a trip of two days of riding; one day with instructor Bret Rasmussen and the second day of avalanche training with Back Country Access. It will be an online raffle for $10 a ticket. 500 tickets will be sold. If you win, you will be able to pick your location between Seeley Lake and, most likely, someplace in Wyoming. The winner should bring their own snowmobile and gear. Hotel and travel is on the winner also. This great raffle will be advertised in our Snoflyer so watch for it. A joint project with the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators (IASA) will have articles on the ISMC website for state publication editors to tweak and publish for their state. Topics: Rider Responsibility, Social Media Responsibility, Sound Management, Grooming Operations, and IASA’s position statements.
We met with the manufacturer’s representatives and Ed Klim, President of Interna- The Media Council meets during lunch at ISC. Our goal is to help promote snowmobiling in a positive light and help share the message of tional Snowmobile Manufacturer’s Association (ISMA). Ed organized snowmobiling. We heard from Richard reported the Safe Rider video Bothwell with AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and is being updated and redone in small segments. They will be shown Education). They teach decision making in avalanche terrain. at next year’s ISC in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ed also said new poster messages will be coming out to appeal to 16 and 17 year old riders. And, Jack Welch with Blue Ribbon Coalition did an update on YelISMA grants are due October 2, 2017. lowstone Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Program. Watch for this info in an upcoming Snoflyer. We always have a discussion with the manufacturers on producing affordable snowmobiles. Yamaha responded that they are going In Saturday’s session we finished the discussions and talked to promote sleds for beginning riders. Each manufacturer has picabout a media ride. Jack Welch will research putting one together. tures we can use. Snowmobile Safety Week is January 20-28, 2018 and Take A Friend Ride week is February 10-19, 2018. The Friday session was devoted to the ISMC C.J. Ramstad Scholarship fund. The garden bench raffle tickets will be sold at the South Dakota State Snowmobile Association’s convention as will
A couple of interesting facts on the tourism side of snowmobiling: Outdoor recreation generates $887 BILLION in consumer spending annually and 7.6 million American jobs for the economy. I also attended Western Chapter, ACSA and ISC meetings.
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 11
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
International Snowmobile Council Highlights from ISC 2017 By Matt Mead, ISC Delegate The all-encompassing event we attend is the ‘International Snowmobile Congress’, abbreviated to ISC. What is confusing is there is also a meeting of the ISC at ISC; it means the International Snowmobile Council is meeting at the International Snowmobile Congress. Clear as mud, right? The International Snowmobile Council is the organization above the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA), Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO), International Association of Snowmobile Administrators (IASA), International Snowmobile Media Council (ISMC), International Snowmobile Tourism Council (ISTC), and others. It should be noted the Council doesn’t hold any sway over these other organizations, but offers an umbrella for everyone and an opportunity to cross-feed information. Below are some of the highlights. ACSA – ACSA attends as many snow shows and annual meetings as they can get to. The 18th annual D.C. Fly-In, where snowmobilers meet with their federal legislators, occurred this past spring. The cooperative agreement with the Federal Highway Administration continues; $100K a year for five years. The Friends of Snowmobiling Political Action Committee (FOSPAC) was established in 2003 and is used by snowmobilers to attend local campaign events for Federal legislators. Challenges and opportunities include keeping/increasing access to public lands and rolling back or even creating National Monuments and Executive Orders for the betterment of snowmobilers. Trespassing is an issue receiving extra attention and ACSA is committed to work with snowmobilers to curb it and explain the consequences. CCSO – The CCSO has a focus on grant sourcing at the Federal level for such things as groomer replacements and trail infrastructure improvements. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change is a consideration, but they can also be used to help when talking groomer replacement (due to better emissions of new machines). A health study on snowmobiling, as outlined by Dr. Jamie Burr and Tania Pereira during the morning’s breakfast, showed how riding out West can be beneficial from a cardio point of view. Canada has 112,000 kilometers (69,594 miles) of managed snowmobile trails and 712 volunteer snowmobile clubs. IASA – IASA provides reports/studies/data, programs/initiatives, guidelines/standards, policies/positions, governance, accountability, and best practices for snowmobile programs across the U.S. and Canada. Projects in 2017 include working with the Clean Snowmobile Challenge on developing a report on noise levels from aftermarket exhaust systems, and a partnership with ISMC to promote responsible rider press releases. ISMC – (A report was provided, but I encourage you to read the ISMC Update elsewhere in this Snoflyer.) ISTC – No real report given; the chair acknowledged he had fallen down on the job with his organization. He promised to do better next year. Iron Dog Brigade – New pups for 2017 include Gary Broderick (NY), Ron Potter (MN), and Greg Sorenson (MN). Upcoming in 2018 is a Winter Ride in Babbitt, MN, February 25th – March 1st. The Iron Dogs are honored with a display at the World Snowmobile Headquarters in Eagle River, WI; over 30,000 have visited the museum. Charity Report – A charity report outlining the generosity of all the States and Provinces was shown. (I’m trying to get my hands on a copy of it to share with WSSA members. It will be covered in a future Snoflyer if I do.) Norway at Congress – A small group of snowmobilers from Norway attended this Congress. Norway is in a unique position as their government has recently allowed the expansion of snowmobiling to the south of the country, opening the recreation to a larger portion of the population. With no established program, they were attending to learn so they can create one from a clean sheet of paper. AIARE – Richard Bothwell from AIARE (American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education) showed an awareness video developed to drive snowmobilers to attend three-day AIARE I avalanche awareness classes. Upon class completion, the goal is to be able to identify the terrain, develop a plan to travel through it, make smart decisions, and demonstrate the effectiveness of companion rescue. Hand signals – Maybe the most exciting aspect of this meeting was a motion and vote to endorse hand signal recommendations made by the IASA. The proposal was two parts: ‘Use of hand signals only when safe’ and the elimination of ‘number of sleds’ and instead only promote the ‘sleds following’ signal. The ACSA had recently endorsed keeping the ‘number of sleds’ but does recommend not using hand signals when dangerous. The CCSO favored the IASA recommendation. There was a lot of back and forth and a lot of reasons given. Most of the speakers were in opposition to the motion. In the end the motion failed in a Canada vs. U.S. vote. Elections – The only position up for election was for Secretary/Treasurer and Suzy Giese was reelected via a unanimous ballot. The International Snowmobile Council meets on the final day of ISC and is an opportunity for all the groups who attend ISC to update the delegates on their projects and accomplishments.
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 12
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
ISMA Update 2017 By Matt Mead, ISC Delegate Ed Klim, President of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), gave his annual ‘ISMA Update’ at breakfast on Friday at the International Snowmobile Congress in Winnipeg. Below are some of the highlights: • Sled sales in the U.S. last season were 50,659, down significantly from the 56,006 the previous season. While Maine sales held pretty steady, the rest of the Northeast saw a sales decline. There was also a dramatic decrease in sales in California. • Canada’s sled sales held steady at 44,161; 44,431 the previous season. • It should be noted 2014/15 sales were the best in recent history with the U.S. at 58,299 and Canadian at 50,752. • In the EU (European Union), Norway sales were 4,692, Sweden 9,778, Finland 3,032, and Russia 3,829. Norway, Sweden and Finland sales were steady, but Russia sales have plummeted from the 31,476 sold in 2014. (Politics and the economy are to blame.) Sales were up in Poland. • 2017 world-wide sales came in at 118,657, a decline of 5%. • Snowmobile registrations this past season were 1,262,270 in the U.S. and 611,524 in Canada. About the same in the U.S. as last year and down from 634,720 across the northern border. (The U.S. numbers are down about 100,000 from the three seasons preceding the last two.) • Ed talked about the ‘determinate of demand’. He noted while wealth is up to some degree, disposable income is flat. Some sales are lost due to the price and availability of substitutes, i.e., ATV/UTV purchases. Snow vs. no-snow plays a big part too; no snow equals no sales. • Talking about the generations in the U.S. and Canada combined, there are 30 million WWII and Swing (born 1945 and before) remaining. Boomers (born 1946-1964) come in at 82 million strong. Gen X (1965 to 1980) takes a big dip to 60 million. Millenials (1981 to 1987) are the big group at 84 million. Post-Millenials (1998 to 2015) are 74 million strong and the Echo’s are just being born now. • Diversity is increasing due to immigration. Urban populations are increasing; this presents a challenge to snowmobiling as it is typically done in non-urban settings. Businesses in rural areas are taking a hit and many closing up shop. • The average age of a typical snowmobiler has risen to 44. Most purchase their first sled used. Those polled claim to be snowmobile club or association members 55% of the time. (This doesn’t reflect reality though.) The average miles ridden has remained flat around 1,175. • What else do snowmobilers do? Camp (56%), boat (55%), fish (55%), ride ATVs (54%), hunt (47%), hike (30%), ride motorcycles (29%), golf (26%), ride PWCs (19%), and downhill ski (17%). • Outdoor recreation fuels the economy to the tune of $887 billion being spent annually! Accounts for 7.6 million American jobs. Outdoor recreation also provides $65.3 billion in Federal tax revenues and $59.2 billion in state and local taxes. • The ‘Go Snowmobiling!’ Facebook page has over 8,700 followers. • The ‘Safe Riders!’ program is being revamped and ISMA has teamed with Backcountry Ascender and reported users spent more than 2,000 hours on the website last season with over 13,000 active participants. • D.C. happenings? The Recreational Trails Program is being looked at; the program only received $85 million a year although users contribute $274 million through fuel purchases for off-highway uses. The use of Executive Orders by the last President are under review and we may see some go away, at least when it comes to the creation of many National Monuments. (Apparently Governor Angus King is Maine is VERY upset about the backroom deal made to create a Monument in his State.) Key issues driving the reviews are actual environmental impacts, social and cultural impacts, and economic impacts. (In many cases there wasn’t enough local input; decisions made to appease special interests groups.) An analysis of forestation across the nation concluded there are 96.5 billion trees five inches in diameter or larger; same as in 1910. • On the EU front, harmonization with North America continues with few hiccups regarding emissions and noise. New though is ‘inservice emissions measuring’. • During the last election season the Friends of Snowmobiling Action Committee (FOSPAC) supported 20 snowmobile-friendly candidates and 19 of them won.
Do you own an antique snowmobile? Do you want to own an antique snowmobile? Maybe you are just interested in antique snowmobiles! Consider joining the Antique Snowmobile Club of America and start receiving their bi-monthly newsletter. Visit www.ascoa.org for details. www.wssa.us
WSSA is a member of the
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 13
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
Matt’s Misc. By Matt Mead, WSSA Historian What happened to the online-only Summer Snoflyer? If you thought you missed it, you didn’t. Technical difficulties conspired and WSSA hoped to get it out by late summer, but in the end it was abandoned as it became time to work on the October Snow Show print edition Snoflyer. The main focus of the summer issue is to bring you coverage of the International Snowmobile Congress… which is why WSSA decided to do this online-only Fall Special Edition. Polaris recall! About 6,000 2017 Polaris RMK, PRO-RMK, and SKS snowmobiles are being recalled because of potential faulty welds on the steering post, causing them to break. While no injuries have been reported, the company has received reports of 13 incidents. Polaris is contacting owners; to check your VIN, visit www.polaris.com. Ellensburg couple caught chopping snowmobiles. This from back in April. Seems a man and woman were trafficking in stolen property, including stealing and parting out snowmobiles. Cops found items valued at more than $35,000 linked to dozens of thefts over the past year. Deputies tracked the couple when a pair of sled tunnels were discovered on the side of Colockum Road with other trash. A receipt led them to the estranged husband of one of the suspects and he recognized some of garbage and pointed them in the right direction. Upon arriving at the home, the suspect wasn’t there, but her children were and ratted out Mom and her boyfriend. (The claim is they were doing it because the woman hadn’t been receiving child support payments.) I remember hearing about a couple of thefts in Kittitas County last winter; hope the area is now safer with these two caught. Ever hear of Rival Motorsports Inc.? If not, you probably will. Rob Powers, a longtime name at Yamaha in the snowmobile division, has recently been named the President of the startup Rival Motorsports. Their focus is on affordable, quality, entry-level machines for youth. They are trying to bring affordability back to motorsports. Yes, snowmobiles will be a part of this! The company has five key objectives: Build quality products without compromising price; know and serve the youth market better than any other motorsports brand; develop an aggressive product plan that takes advantage of manufacturing strengths; build a nationwide field staff and motorsports dealer network; build the best parts system in the industry. How will this company fare now that Yamaha and Arctic Cat have joined forces to bring an entry level machine back for 2018? Hard to say. Will the Rival Motorsports machines be Chinese www.wssa.us
imports? Rebadged or built from the ground up? Time will tell. Anything new in the market is exciting to me! Did you know? Twenty-three children went through the Safe Rider Course sponsored by State Parks here in Washington last year. What do you think of that? Personally, I’m disappointed. I just learned over 800 kids passed a similar (same content) online program in Saskatchewan, Canada, last season. What can we deduce from this? Well, I’d say we aren’t getting the word out to parents of the importance of this course for their kids. Right now State Parks is only offering two courses a season, one at the Puyallup Expo and another at the Spokane Snow Show. But the reason they are only offering two is because they are having problems filling these seats! Another course is taught at Lake Wenatchee, but it doesn’t get a whole lot of promotion. WSSA promotes the two State Parks-sponsored courses through our Snoflyer, Facebook page, and Expo flyers. Are the clubs helping disseminate this info? I’d guess yes, but maybe the clubs can do more; something to think about. Our problem is reaching outside our core group; the majority of snowmobilers in Washington do not belong to WSSA nor do they belong to your club. How do we reach them? (Have an idea, tell WSSA and/or State Parks!) A new snowmobile gift from Make-aWish! I hope you know WSSA’s chosen charity is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So this story is especially cool! Late this last winter, Jared Stevens, a teen from Cottonwood, MN, was presented with a new Arctic Cat ZR 6000 at his school in front of family, friends, students and staff. In addition, he received all new riding gear as well. Jared had undergone treatment for a brain cancer called pinoblastoma last summer and had been asked by Make-A-Wish volunteers what his deepest wish was. You can figure out his answer. His gift had been delayed until his doctors gave him the okay and as of his last checkup, he was cancer free. Electric snowmobiles, they are coming! Well, to Whistler, next winter. Canadian Wilderness Adventures and Whistler Blackcomb are set to incorporate electric-powered snowmobiles into their fleets next winter, after initially testing a prototype last season. Developed by Taiga Motors, a Quebec startup previously mentioned in this column, they claim the machines work similarly to a gaspowered sled, but with better handling, less noise and no emissions. Obviously the limitation is range, but in testing by tour operators, the machine routinely completed the tour route using approximately 30% of its battery
charge. Taiga will build 10 electric snowmobiles to try out next winter and they expect to get feedback from tour clients. Canadian province investing in snowmobile trails. And ATV/UTV trails as well. The province of Nova Scotia is offering $2 million to safely connect trails to nearby communities. This is being done by building a highway overpass to carry the new trail over a busy highway in one community (Baddeck), and building a tunnel that runs under a road in another (Oxford). The goal is to improve both road safety and increase the local economic impact with easier access to services. It should be noted some aren’t happy with the spending, noting the government should be focused on repairing the atrocious roads riddled with potholes instead. Off-highway vehicle users (sled and ATV/UTV) total more than 38,000 in the province with economic impact of $189 million. Proud father! Our family belongs to the Yakima Ski-Benders and my daughter Ryan and I try to get to as many meetings and functions as possible. At a meeting late last winter, Ryan was approached about becoming the Secretary of the Ski-Benders. I didn’t figure she’d be willing, but she was! And now she is the elected Secretary! How cool! Of course this means she has to make EVERY meeting going forward… State Parks snowmobile trail maps for your phone – inventory increasing! I just checked the State Parks Winter Recreation website and I see more mobile-friendly maps are appearing. They aren’t all there, but they are coming. Try them out and send your feedback to Jason Goldstein, State Parks Winter Recreation Operations Manager. Check them out at www.parks.state.wa.us/1061/ mobile-friendly-maps. Facebook and Twitter? Facebook ‘likes’ are over 1,980! We are on Twitter at @wssaus too! Snoflyer or website comments? Don’t hesitate to get Anyone else own a Manta? in touch if you have a concern or question with the Snoflyer, WSSA website or our Facebook site. Send an e-mail to email@example.com or call (509) 969-6799. Fall Special Edition 2017 · 14
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 15
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 16
WSSA—The voice of snowmobiling in Washington
Contacts & Clubs
Fall Special Edition 2017 · 17