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WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

_ President _ Sandy Sternod • (206) 915-3559

TABLE OF CONTENTS Upcoming Meetings & Events.......................................... 2 District Reports............................................................ 4 Club News.................................................................... 5 Charity....................................................................... 6 Scholarship................................................................. 7 Rendezvous Thanks...................................................... 7 Winter Rendezvous Report............................................. 8 State Parks Update..................................................... 10 Matt’s Misc................................................................ 11 Can You Hear Me Now – Safety..................................... 12 Know Before You Go.................................................... 12 Associate Members..................................................... 14 Contacts & Clubs........................................................ 16

PLEASE SUPPORT THE FOLLOWING ADVERTISERS Ski-Doo...................................................................... 3

March will bring us towards the end of our snowmobile season, and I for one am not ready for it to end just yet. We continue to have great snowfall, which of course puts a financial hardship on the cost of running the Snowmobile Program. This should also mean we can benefit from another year of increased sled registrations and grow our funding to help meet our continued program shortfalls which started way back in 2008. Now, for a minute, I want to look back on February, and say what an amazing time I had at this year’s Winter Rendezvous at the 12 Tribes Casino in Omak. The rooms and the food were fabulous and there was plenty of room for parking, although the meeting space was a little cramped. I want to give a special thanks to Greg Figg, Rendezvous Committee Chair, and Ron Alred, Marketing Committee Chair, for putting this year’s event together. Our attendance was over 100, and we had lots of great items to bid on in the silent auction. Our guest speaker, Christine Jourdain, from the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, gave a great presentation on the national perspective of our sport. I will have to admit however, the best time was riding for three days. I especially want to thank the Butte Busters for volunteering their time to guide everyone

around; Joe Berney, Ron, Stacy and Jesse. They really know their mountains and trails. Also during Rendezvous, elections were held for the 2017-18 and 2017-19 cycles. I am very pleased to announce Jim Kingman will be our next President; Dean Meakin, Vice President; Fred Pitzer, Treasurer; and Andrea Steinman, Recording Secretary. (The membership and publicity positions were not up for election during this cycle, however I will be taking over for Matt Mead effective March 2017.) It was very appropriate that Matt was nominated as the Snowmobiler of the Year – he has most certainly earned it! In closing, I want to thank my fellow board members, district representatives and committee chairs for all of the hard work and time they collectively volunteer on behalf of WSSA, our members and all snowmobilers statewide. Each and every one of you makes a difference in your own unique way, and I have enjoyed my time these past four years representing WSSA. I have great hope and expectations for our organization’s future as we work on getting youth involved through a new program, and continue to grow our membership. As always, check out our website at for future meeting details, and local, regional and national news. Keep on snowing and riding!

Hills Resort • 208-443-2551 ...........................................6 Premiere Polaris • 360-794-8669.................................... 7 Pierre’s Polaris • 425-488-8600.................................... 10 SK Northwest • 503-872-0000...................................... 13

Vice President Jim Kinghman • (509) 698-3658

208-782-0000 SnoFlyer is published monthly from Oct. - March Special Online Summer Issue (July)

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION Call Kathy at 208-782-0000 or email The WSSA Snoflyer is published by Graphic Productions under exclusive written agreement with the Washington State Snowmobile Association. Permission to reprint by other state snowmobile associations is given if the article is run in its entirety and full credit is given. Contents of the WSSA Snoflyer are not necessarily the viewpoint of Graphic Productions. 140 Wilson Ave. Blackfoot, ID 83221

2 • March 2017

I really don’t understand how the snowmobile season can fly by so fast because it seems like we just got started a few days ago and now it’s almost over. We should have some nice spring riding if the weather will hold for us. Even after the snow is long gone, we here at WSSA will still have many meetings and functions to attend throughout the summer months. It’s late February now and Rendezvous was just a few days ago in Omak. We had a pretty good turnout for both Friday and Saturday nights’ events. The Saturday ride I went on had 27 snowmobiles in just our half. Not sure how many was in the other group but assume it was close to the same. That’s just one of the four different rides for Saturday. Snow was pretty wet but at least we had snow and did get a ride of over 50 miles. On Saturday evening we all had a treat to hear Christine Jourdain, Executive Director of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations out of Michigan, speak to us about what’s going on at the national level. Elections for WSSA officers were held on Saturday and I will be stepping up to be your President again. I last served as president in 2009-2011 and am looking forward to keeping WSSA running on all cylinders. Dean Meakin will also be back in as Vice President for a second go round. Karlene Meakin decided to retire as Recording Secretary and Andrea Steinman will step into that position. Fred Pitzer will also remain our Treasurer for another couple of years. Thanks to all of you that support us and what we do.

I’m packing now to leave for West Yellowstone tomorrow for the Western Chapter Land Summit on Friday and hope I get time for a ride Saturday before I start home. The WSSA Budget Meting is coming up on March 18th at The Last Resort. Hope to see everyone there.

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

District Reports District 1 South

District 3

By Byron Fehler

By Greg Figg (425) 396-1033 (509) 534-3417

Greetings from District 1 South! I just returned from the WSSA Winter Rendezvous and must say it was an excellent time and I met some fun new people. This year’s location at the newly-opened 12 Tribes Casino was very nice – despite the fact the casino definitely won from me. The rooms were top notch and the food was good. For me it was the first time riding in the Omak/Conconully area and even though the snow wasn’t great, (it wasn’t anywhere in state for that matter after the warm week), it was good company, fun exploring new areas, and great support and turnout for WSSA. I’m looking forward to riding there again. February was also a busy month in the district for the Cascade Drift Skippers. We hosted an Avalanche 1 certification weekend at The Last Resort led by Mike Duffy. Congratulations to all who successfully completed their certification! We also held numerous club rides throughout the month for new members and various skills rides. I personally hosted one of our new-member rides at the Evergreen Sno-Park and we had so many attendees we had to split into multiple groups. So great to see people coming out to ride. In March, we also have several rides scheduled including ‘women’s only’, and there will be several impromptu destination rides such as to Whistlin’ Jacks. Be sure to check out the website or Facebook page; all are welcome to sign up, or just try out our meetings on the second Wednesday of the month at the Issaquah Brewhouse. I would also like to brag a bit and definitely want to thank WSSA for voting us the ‘Snowmobile Club of the Year’! It is a great honor and testament to the success of supporting our sport through our club participation. That is all for now – enjoy the rest of the winter, be prepared and be safe, and see you on the hill!

District 2 North By Gary Allard (509) 826-5215 I would like to thank everyone that made Winter Rendezvous 2017 a great weekend. From the staff at 12 Tribes Resort (great food), to the Butte Busters Snowmobile Club (ride leaders), to the WSSA officers and committee members who organized the event, to the groomer operator who worked overtime to see to it all the trails were freshly groomed, and to all the WSSA members who left a positive impression on the resort staff and were asked to return in 2018. And I don’t want to forget my wife’s efforts! (And for those I may have missed, thank you too!) Good food, good friends, and good trails were had by all! For 2018, get your reservations in early or you will lose out!

District 2 South By Matt “Kustom” Kensrud (509) 433-2100 To start off, thank you WSSA for a great time at Winter Rendezvous! My hat goes off to Greg Figg; awesome job putting this event together! Moving on to district news, grooming is hit and miss right now; the wet weather makes it hard to do anything out there. Sorry I haven't attended many club meetings. There has been so much going on this season with events, classes and of course RIDING! The Bavarian Boondockers club is hosting an AIARE Level 1 snowmobile-specific avalanche training course to be held in Leavenworth. The days are March 3rd, 4th and 5th with classroom training in town and two days in the field. Online Snoflyer readers *may* still have a chance to get signed up through the Alpine Institute website or the link on the Bavarian Boondockers Facebook page. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail or call me. Ride safe!

4 • March 2017

In February the snow in the Spokane area has gotten deeper in the mountains and winter is in full force. Grooming has been going well in our area and off-trail riding is now getting better with the snow depths increasing. We are looking forward to some great spring riding this year. We will be watching the Forest Plan Revisions which are due out this year. I would encourage all snowmobilers to watch for these Revisions which will impact where we ride in future years.

District 4 North By Craig Miller (253) 612-2092 Greetings WSSA members; I hope you are having a safe and fun season! I have a few things of note from my district and WSSA. The Junco Snowmobile Club had a great event at the Wakepish Sno-Park over the January 21st/22nd weekend. They held their annual ‘Charity on the Snow’, which is a weekend of rides, food, fun, and a charity auction to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Please read the Junco Snowmobile Club report in this issue to learn how successful this wonderful little club of dedicated snowmobilers was for this fantastic charity. On January 24th, WSSA held our annual ‘All Trails to Olympia’ event to meet with our legislators regarding snowmobile issues. We met with all the legislators or their staff to discuss our concerns such as Governor Inslee’s proposed sweeping of funds from our self-funded, dedicated snowmobile account. Honestly, I was disappointed that so few of us attended this important event. No, I was very disappointed. Even so, we made it happen, but if we could get just one WSSA member from each legislative district in the state to attend, we could go face to face with every lawmaker. We who attended met directly with our own three lawmakers by a pre-scheduled appointment. If no member from a given legislative district attends, it’s almost for sure we will not meet the actual lawmaker. They for the most part are only interested in talking directly to their own constituents. That means we put those lawmakers on the ‘drop-in’ list. There are no pre-scheduled appointments with all those lawmakers; they are busy and almost never have time to talk to us. We do talk to their assistants who are given the WSSA position papers and we have to hope they pass that up the chain to the lawmakers. The impact we make on drop-ins is feeble compared to a constituent-to-lawmaker one-on-one meeting. I would ask you as members to please become involved. We as your WSSA board do all we can but we can’t do it all. We are an association of members. There is more to being an effective ‘member’ than just paying the annual $25 dues. I beg you to keep an eye on the WSSA calendar, read the Snoflyer so you know what is going on, and participate so we can be effective in our mission of representing recreational snowmobilers in Washington State.

I know everyone in my district has been frustrated with these problem by the number of phone calls and the e-mails I have received, but trust me, we have been doing our best to work with the State, the contractors, the road crews, and the groomers to keep our roads open an our trails groomed; it's just been one of those seasons. I do hope when people in my district have gotten out there they have had a great season and let's hope it's not over yet. If anyone in my district has questions about open roads or trail grooming, please feel free to contact me.

District 5 South By Rudy Classen (509) 966-4283 Wow, what a wonderful winter for snowmobiling! I have ridden every week and the snow conditions have been spectacular. Haven’t seen the sun all that much but that means we received snow and no warming until the last part of February when we have seen some warm weather and with that came rain at the lower elevations, but snow up where we want it. We are so proud of Matt Mead, receiving WSSA’s ‘Snowmobiler of the Year’. He and his young daughter are always out on the snow. In addition to the incredible work Matt does on the Snoflyer, he puts together the annual Military Appreciation Ride for WSSA. I have had the pleasure to be part of this annual ride about half of the time and it is one of the events that I most look forward to. All of our local clubs contribute to this ride and that helps make it successful. Most of the six to eight military soldiers are flatlanders and have never been on a sled before so Matt takes them on a very scenic ride to the top of Little Bald Mountain. Then they are treated to a great lunch of hot dogs and homemade chili with all the trimmings. After lunch we head to a playground area of meadows and drifts to ride on. Usually the troops have a super time trying to ride up and down on the drifts. Most of the time after that we head to a small hill for climbing and then after that we all go boondocking. These troops are young and in great shape so it is hard to tire them out but at the end of the day most have had about as much as they can handle and then WSSA treats them to dinner. The solders who get a chance to ride will never forget the experience. I want to thank Matt and WSSA for having this event. While I’m in the business of giving THANKS, I would like to thank all those responsible for getting us more money for plowing out sno-parks. There were a number of very unhappy snowmobilers recently because their favorite sno-park had not been plowed, but with the extra money everyone is now happy or at least not as grumpy. The Yakima Ski-Benders had a successful Poker Run recently with a lot of young riders enjoying the day and the riding conditions. The trails were nicely groomed the evening before the event and the Forest Service was a pleasure to work with.

District 6 District 4 South By Mike Ainslie (360) 430-1494 Greetings to everyone in District 4S! It sure has been quite the winter so far here in the district; we are seeing record snowfalls and record rainfalls all at the same time. We’ve had our struggles just keeping our roads, trails and sno-parks open this year. I'd like to take this time to tell everybody what a job it's been trying to keep our roads and sno-parks open with the snowfall we've received this season. We have run out of plow money three times this season at the Marble Mountain SnoPark and we have had to get with State Parks to see if we could get more funding to reopen our roads. State Parks has dipped into their emergency funds twice so far this year to fund snow plowing and removal. To get started we first had to get with the Forest Service for help with the landslide on the 83 Road. Once the slide was dealt with, contractors worked for 23 hours straight to get the road and sno-park reopened up for us to use. The Mt Adams side has seen struggles over there with plowing and grooming issues. It's been almost impossible for the road crews to keep Old Man Pass open with the record snowfall and ice that has plagued the Columbia River Gorge area so we can get to the Lone Butte Sno-Park.

By Gary Simmons (509) 529-0210 Greetings to all snowmobilers! I just returned from Winter Rendezvous in Omak. A great time was had by all. I think everybody that got off trail got stuck at least one time. Many opted to just stay on the trail and still enjoyed the rides. The food was great; the 12 Tribes Resort/Casino was great and sure willing to please. You met old friends and made new ones, and also snowmobile in new places. If you've never attended the Rendezvous before, make plans now to join us in 2018 on President's Day Weekend. Now for the club news and happenings. The Pomeroy Club had to cancel their Bucket Run due to icy roads, but rescheduled it for February 26th, the day after their Vintage Show-n-Ride. Both were held at the Rose Springs Sno-Park. The Dayton Club already had their Bucket Run on January 21st and had a sunshiny day and a very good turnout. So, with this, they were able to give a nice $1,000 check to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. With the great season we are having this year, now all that's left to do is snowmobile, snowmobile, and snowmobile until the snow is gone.

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

Club News Junco Snowmobile Club

Tri-Rivers Snowmobile Club By Kurt Hensley, President

By Craig Miller, Vice President Over the weekend of January 21st and 22nd, Junco met at the Wakepish SnoPark, close to the foot of Mt. St. Helens. The mission was to hold our annual ‘Charity on the Snow’ event. The club gained permission to groom up Road 99 into the St. Helens Monument up to Bear Meadows. This has never been done before. The groomer also groomed from the sno-park all the way to Mosquito Meadows on Road 28 at the base of Badger Pass. We had been getting a lot of snow up there so there was extensive plowing required to keep the 25 Road safe for the attendees. A huge thanks to Lee Olive and Travis Martinek of Backcountry Plowing and Grooming for their first-rate job on all the plowing and grooming they did for the event. Thanks guys!

The Tri-Rivers club enjoyed a great chili feed with snowmobilers joining in from a couple of other local clubs.

The Junco Snowmobile Club led great rides in the Mt. St. Helens area during their annual Charity on the Snow event in January.

On Friday, the club held a guided ride, up to Badger Mountain. We had a five to six foot base and a foot of light fresh powder on top. Yes, ‘go anywhere’ snow. All had a wonderful day. It was really great to have our friend Clem of Enumclaw Power Sports come up and ride with us Friday. He helped us out with donated items, lent us a huge pop tent and three 2017 demo sleds (a Cat, Polaris AXYS, and a Gen 4 850 Ski-Doo). Thanks Clem, you are the man! On Saturday we all had fun heading up to Mt. St. Helens and spent the day playing over that vast area. Members stomped for donation items to auction, and attendees brought nice items to donate. There were lots of tool sets, a boat trip, food and wine baskets; Larson Powersports donated a very nice BRP helmet. Jim Martinek and Jimmy Bauer stepped up as our auctioneers. There was a huge potluck spread and we enjoyed the many hot dishes and desserts. Sunday dawned with a blizzard of heavy wet snow and fog, so the ride was cancelled in the interest of safety. We did all enjoy a sausage and hotcake breakfast together before we departed. A great many thanks for all the wonderful donations, our sponsors, WSSA who helped out with basic expenses and everyone who attended, bought items, and those who spent hours promoting and organizing the event. While at the time of this writing we still have money flowing in from others who couldn’t be there and other clubs and riders, we know we raised over $5,000 for the Make-A-Wish kids. It’s not too late to donate and we accept any amount no matter how small. You can mail your tax-deductible cash or check donation to: Junco Snowmobile Club, 9409 110th St. SW, Lakewood, WA 98498. Make checks out to Make-A-Wish Foundation. We hope you will consider joining us next year for this most noble event.

The Tri-Rivers Snowmobile Club enjoyed a great turnout at our bi-annual Chili Feed held at Tiffany Spring Campground. There were members from the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association, Butte Busters Snowmobile Club and Tri-Rivers Snowmobile Club. We had beautiful sunshine, a campfire, close friends, good food and great snow!

Methow Valley Snowmobile Association By Don Fitzpatrick Jr., Secretary We have had more snow and it is finally deep enough for good riding. Our Bucket Run was a big success this year and we appreciated all the rigs from clubs near and far filling the sno-park and enjoying it with us. Weather was okay; no injuries, but a couple of sleds were damaged; and lots of prizes from the community.

Spokane Winter Knights By Sharon Crockett, President The Winter Knights have had some interesting rides this season so far due to the snowpack and weather. We had 15 members attend the WSSA Winter Rendezvous and it was a good time! Thanks to our Treasurer Greg Figg for chairing the event and handling all the details. The trails were good, the food was excellent, and the staff at the 12 Tribes Casino that I dealt with were the nicest people! Afterwards many of us were off to McCall for an adventure! We have one club meeting left for this season – will be fun to hear stories of riding! I hope you all have had a good season!

MVSA’s president Craig Stahl posing with the ‘Snowmobile Club President of the Year’ award he won the previous night during WSSA’s Winter Rendezvous.

Pacific Northwest Vintage Snowmobile Club By Stephen Phillips, Vice President Hello WSSA! The Pacific Northwest Vintage Snowmobile Club (PNWVSC) hopes everyone has been out enjoying the snow this season; we sure have! Our members have been making tracks all over the Pacific Northwest, including at Finney Creek, Trout Lake, Mount Baker, Wenatchee, Taneum and Priest Lake, ID. Some of our braver members even did an overnight ride to the Whistlin’ Jack Lodge. Our next event will be at The Last Resort in Ronald on March 4th and 5th. On Saturday we will be showing sleds behind the motel from 10am to 3pm. On Sunday we will go for a vintage ride leaving around 9:30am. For all the race, ride, and show details, please visit our website ( And if you have a vintage sled you’d like to show or ride with us, send an e-mail to

Northwest Glacier Cruisers By Julie Street Doran

This was the same weekend as the WSSA Winter Rendezvous and we were proud to have our President, Craig Stahl, who is the youngest president in the state, be named President of the Year! Mountain Trails Grooming has been doing an excellent job this year grooming our trails. What an asset to have them work so hard so we can enjoy the great snowmobiling.

Cascade Drift Skippers By Jason Holmes, Vice President Annnnnnd it’s the end of February already. It’s been an amazing, yet at times bi-polar, year of snow. I am definitely not a groundhog, but I can see a riding season lasting into May or even June if you chase the snow.

The Cascade Drift Skippers (CDS) would like to thank WSSA for the ‘Club of the Year’ award received at the 2017 Winter Rendezvous. I would like to thank the CDS members and those who support our club so we can continue to educate and ‘make snowmobiling great again!’. At our club raffle last month we gave away over $6,000 worth of prizes! We are already working on our list for next year’s raffle. Stay tuned! On March 18th, CDS club member Stephanie Santeford is hosting our first annual ‘Ladies Only’ ride. It will be in the Cooper Lake system in Salmon La Sac. Dinner, drinks and prizes are afterwards at The Last Resort. We look forward to building this event year after year. The world famous Lee Christopher Mayer accepting the ‘Club of the and Shirley Koger/CDS Year’ award from President Sandy Sternod. Member Steak Ride will be April 1st at the Blewett Pass Sno-Park. CDS will provide the steaks while the members bring appetizers and beverages. Last year we were pushing close to 100 people who attended! To register (we need a head count to purchase the steaks) please go to and find the event on our club calendar. Stay tuned for more details through our club Facebook page. The CDS currently has enough volunteers to fill our board positions. However, if you are a club member and would like to challenge for a position on the board please feel free to reach out to the board ( and we can answer any questions you may have. Thanks again for your support! Feel free to stop in at one of our club meetings which are on the second Wednesday of each month at the Issaquah Brew Pub. Cheers!

The Northwest Glacier Cruisers (NWGC) are looking forward to a huge turnout for the 2017 Mount Baker Shootout and Campout on March 11th. We are looking forward to seeing several of our vendors meet us up there for you to try out some of their new products! A list of our possible vendors are Lifestyle Honda, Skagit Valley Polaris, Northwest Avalanche Center, Ride Cascade, and Adventure Motorsports. Thank you again for your continued support with this event! Everyone is welcome to camp in the parking lots and we will also be serving food. This is a great event for everyone of all ages. Please continue to watch e-mails and our Facebook page for more updates. We will be hosting this in the ‘Salad Bowl’ at Peanut Knob, the original location, weather permitting. Again we will keep you up to date!


March 2017 • 5

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

Club News, cont. We are excited to announce this year's new separate raffle item, a ‘She Shreds Mountain Adventures Clinic’ in Pemberton, B.C. Donated by the gracious Julie Ann Chapman; thank you from the bottom of our snowmobiler hearts for this generous donation valued at $500, with an added $100 from NWGC to help towards a hotel room or food. The other big raffle items up for grab include a first prize Garmin Rino 650T valued at $500, second prize is the Arctic FX Wrap of your choice with $100 towards installation, and a third prize of two BCA Radios valued at $300. The winners will be announced March 11th at the Shootout. Everyone in the NWGC would like to thank Randy Skillman for dedicating his personal time in providing us with a perfectly groomed mountain. Your hard

work is greatly appreciated. We look forward to years ahead of working with you in making Mount Baker ready and fun for all ages and all snowmobiling skill levels making our mountain accessible. The nominations are in for NWGC’s 2017 Board Members. We would like to congratulate everyone nominated and thank you for everything we know you will contribute to our great club. President Tom Shields, Vice President Aaron Doran, Secretary Tina Shields, Treasurer Anthony Ronhaar, Trustee Drew Peters, Trustee Julie Street (1 ½ year commitment), Trustee Mike Couch, and Scott Taylor for WSSA District Rep. Thank you Jenny Huffstetler and Kevin Hoglund, our past Board Members, for your hard work and dedication over the years. You will be missed! On an end note, our Search and Rescue team has been very busy this winter

with several call outs. Remember to please always ride with a buddy and carry all necessary gear for backcountry riding and even if you are trail riding, always be prepared. There have been many people stuck on the road and also caught in a few small avalanches. Get training, always be prepared, and let family and friends know where you are headed snowmobiling. NWGC's meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at Coconut Kenny's at 7pm. Located at 1060 South Burlington Blvd. in Burlington. Everyone is welcome! You can also find out more information about all upcoming events by finding us on Twitter at @NWGCSledders and also on Facebook at Northwest Glacier Cruisers. E-mail us at for any information. We look forward to seeing you on the mountain!

Clubs: Remember to report all your volunteer and Charity to WSSA - It’s very Important! By Craig Miller, Volunteer and Charity Chair

The time has arrived! It is time to take credit for your hard work in the way of hours volunteered and any money you raised for charitable organizations. If you have already reported your volunteer and charity to me I thank you. If not, please do not delay. The cutoff for reporting is April 15th. Please go to the WSSA webpage at Click the tab named Volunteer and Charity and there you can download a reporting form to fill out with all the information we are looking for. The contact information is on the top of the form. Or if you like, just send me the numbers in an e-mail. I’ll make sure your hard efforts are included and recognized in our report. WSSA collects this information annually. The information is then reported to the International Snowmobile Council, which uses it for public relations activities that showcases all the good things snowmobilers do for the greater good of the community. Over the past couple of years, we have lagged in our reporting of all the hard work and service you do. When we are talking to lawmakers or forest managers, this information is a ‘feather in our cap’. It is most important each club sit down as soon as possible, tally all they have done and report it to me, so I can report it to the International Snowmobile Council, as well as maintain the WSSA Volunteer/Charity database for our own use. Please report by April 15th. You can e-mail me with any questions at REPORT early and often!

6 • March 2017

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

WSSA Scholarship By Kay Lloyd, Scholarship Chair

The Washington State Snowmobile Association will again be offering a scholarship to either a graduating high school senior or a person currently enrolled in college. This will be a $1,500 grant and will be given to the winner regardless of other grants or scholarships that the student may also receive. Requirements are as follows: • The applicant must be a member of the Washington State Snowmobile Association. • The applicant must submit the completed application form. (Applications can be found on the WSSA website,, under ‘Scholarships’.) • The applicant must submit a resume detailing his/her involvement in snowmobiling as well as extra-curricular activities. • The applicant must include an essay (see subject below). The essay should be a minimum of two pages double-space and typed. Keep in mind that a well-researched, comprehensive essay will undoubtedly be significantly longer and we certainly encourage that. • The application must be received by WSSA by March 15th, 2017. Please mail or e-mail application to: Kay Lloyd, WSSA Scholarship Chair 231 Lone Fir Lane Cle Elum, WA 98922

An alternate will be picked if the winner should decide not to enroll in college. Essay topic: The next generation of snowmobilers are here already. With kits available to turn their motorcycles into “Snow Bikes” and manufactures ramping up to introduce and produce a “Snow Bike” that is not a kit, we are faced with many challenges. 1. Making them part of the “Snowmobile” user group. 2. Safety and Education on the trail. 3. Sharing responsibilities connected with trail maintenance and protection. Your Essay task is first of all to research your own State laws and see how ‘Snow Bikes’ are accepted. Answer the three points listed above sharing your thoughts on how we can overcome these challenges. Your responses are the tools we will use together to make and keep snowmobiling alive for future generations to come. Essays will be judged on depth of content, clarity, organization and persuasiveness.

March 2017 • 7

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

Winter Rendezvous – Omak Style! By Matt Mead, Publicity Secretary

Leading up to Winter turkey and ham feast. Rendezvous, Washington Sadly, I ran out of room besaw a negative turn in the fore I could taste the deweather; frequent dumps of signer chocolate cake or snow and cold temps had traditional pumpkin pie. A given way to a warming short one-hour business trend and rain. Yuck! Luckmeeting followed with ily there was still plenty of Bingo wrapping up the snow, even though the conevening. (I won a set of 12’ sistency had changed quite tie-down straps and Ryan a bit. came away with some girly A large number of body lotions; prizes for all The 12 Tribes Casino sits on a hill south of Omak and offers a commanding view of the area. snowmobilers converged at ages and genders!) the 12 Tribes Casino Resort Like Friday, Saturday on Thursday night in anticipation of riding on Friday. My daughter Ryan and I were two had several rides on tap for all styles and abilities, including all-trail, a mix of trail/offof them! Driving up Highway 97 almost into Omak, it was pretty easy to spot our destrail, and then one advertised as extreme off-trail. All were well attended based on tination all lit up high on a hill to our right. The road loops up and around and we found later reports. We again were doing something different; the night before we’d decided acres of parking; a nice change after the tight confines we dealt with in Walla Walla last to ride with Scott and Marlys Taylor on a short trail ride. Our need was to be back at year. We walked in the back door casino entrance looking confused, not knowing where the hotel by 3pm so Ryan could prepare for the photo contest later in the evening. the check-in desk was, and whether my almost-16 daughter was going to be harassed The original plan changed from Friday night and by Saturday morning our group had for entering here, but a nice gal working there pointed us towards the slot machines and grown to 16 and we were headed back to North Summit, but to ride a different trail. said to just walk on through and we couldn’t miss it. She was right! Friday’s blue skies were gone, replaced with overcast skies and light snow. Before After making a couple of trips hauling stuff to our large, modern, and well-appointed we even left the sno-park, the intensity had increased, but at least it wasn’t rain or room on the second floor, we ventured downstairs to register for Rendezvous and found freezing rain. Well, it became rain... We rode over to the Peacock Meadows Sno-Park, our friends (old and new) hanging out in a banquet room. We quickly noted why… there and then made a little loop up and around it, before stopping back there for a lunch was FREE FOOD! The hotel had set us up with finger foods for a Thursday night meet break. (Time permitting, we could have ridden into downtown Conconully, or accessed and greet; nice touch! We didn’t hang out long, but did grab a couple of snacks before the trails and play areas north of Conconully – this area has a lot to offer.) heading over to the hotel’s restaurant for a full meal of a pizza (me) and seafood pasta We dined under the trees out of the rain/snow mix and the company was good. (Ryan). Before our group departed, a small scout team headed out to check on a trail loop; we I was feeling pretty beat all day Thursday. My wife Kathryn had the flu and I really surmised where the groomed trail went, but it wasn’t marked on the map so we thought I was getting it. On the drive up, all I was thinking about was bed and I told weren’t sure. Yep, it did, so part of our return trip was on a new trail. (It should be Ryan I really didn’t know if I’d feel up to riding on Friday. I’m going to say the big welnoted nobody in our group was real familiar with the area, although a few of us had coming bed with crisp white sheets and warm blankets cured me, but I don’t know. I do ridden here before several years back.) Regarding the rain, it wasn’t always; only at know I woke up and felt great! We hadn’t signed up for any rides… which is pretty typical the lower elevations, and was snow most of the way back to the North Summit Snofor us anyway… and just planned on doing our own thing. We were walking across the Park. parking lot to the truck when we saw some WSSA friends getting ready to drive off and Just as I was closing up the trailer, having gassed and loaded the sleds, Ryan noupon talking to them, found we still had a chance to join a group ride. It wasn’t one set tified me we had a problem. My wife Kathryn was driving up to meet us and she was up by the Rendezvous Ride Committee, but was welcoming to all. We agreed to meet broken down in Ephrata. Ryan was only able to text with her so we didn’t have details, them up at the North Summit (Loup Loup) Sno-Park shortly. but I was already planning for a rescue mission upon our return to the 12 Tribes Casino. We’d have followed them up, but since we hadn’t planned it, we still needed breakfast Luckily this was averted… at least on Saturday. and lunch; a quick trip to McDonald’s and a local convenience store solved that! We It turned out Kathryn was actually parked in front of a hotel, so instead of her conweren’t so far behind them and although they were pretty much ready to ride when we tinuing on, she agreed to hole up overnight and we’d cut Rendezvous short and get pulled in, they were gracious and waited for us to quickly unload and gear up. (I hate her on Sunday. At the time, this seemed fine, later, we really wished she had been being ‘that guy’ everyone is waiting on…) able to be there… We rode out of the sno-park under mostly blue skies and on freshly groomed trails. Ryan prepared for the photo contest and several people dropped off pics. (Me inA near-perfect weather day. This was a trail ride, although a person could dive on and cluded!) The silent auction opened shortly afterwards with a lot of great items up for off the trail as desired, and our destination was the top of Starvation Mountain where bid including snowmobiling clothing, gear, and parts, not to mention a slew of other there are vast and spectacular views. It took us quite a bit longer to get there than it interesting and valuable items. The no-host bar opened around 5pm and dinner was should have; several machines were running a bit warm on the climb up and even though served later. If Friday night’s meal was good, Saturday’s was spectacular! The main it was a trail ride, a couple managed to get STUCK. (The snow seemed firm for easy course meats included chicken, ribs and salmon, and you didn’t have to pick just one! cross-country travel… until you broke through the crust and discovered the bottomless Remembering how full I was the previous night, I tried to eat a bit lighter, and did save powder hidden below.) While enjoying lunch and conversation, another group joined us; room for the strawberry shortcake… this was one of the organized rides led by the Butte Busters out of the Peacock Meadows Guest speakers were on tap after dinner including Mike Sternback, Assistant DiSno-Park. rector of Operations, State Parks; Jason Goldstein, State Parks Winter Recreation OpSoon we headed back to the sno-park; this was a pretty short ride since several in erations Manager; Pamela McConkey, State Parks Winter Recreation Program Manager; the group needed to get back and prep for evening Rendezvous activities. Ryan and I and Christine Jourdain, Executive Director of the American Council of Snowmobile Ashad a different plan… On the map, I’d spotted a little loop we could ride to add a few sociations. Mike noted he appreciated the relationship State Parks shares with WSSA more miles, so after a potty stop in the sno-park, the two of us headed back out for and snowmobilers and claims himself one of us now having ridden both last winter about another hour. Unfortunately, a good chunk of this little-used loop had not been and again this winter. (He and his daughter had been on both rides Ryan and I were recently groomed, and it was pretty rough. It was slow going up and over and around on.) Jason talked about GPS tracking for groomers and phone-ready trail maps; two until we finally hit another trail intersection… and then it was a high-speed run back to projects he is currently working on. (Fun fact: Jason is from New Zealand and has a the sno-park. (Sans the group, we could run pretty quick, and Ryan likes smooth and wee bit of an accent!) Pamela touched on snowmobile registration numbers and how fast!) we are having a great year in comparison to recent seasons. Christine came all the Back at the hotel, the banquet room was filling up! Hors d’oeuvres were being served way from Michigan to be with us and gave us an overview of happenings in Washington and I can tell you I ate WAY too many of them. (It didn’t help the hotel staff was moving D.C. on a more national level. ACSA works closely with federal legislators, the Forest table to table with trays, offering up these tasty treats!) In fact, by the time the dinner Service, and the Federal Highway Department (which oversees the Recreational Trails buffet opened up, I was already full. That didn’t stop me from forcing down a roast Program).

8 • March 2017

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington The WSSA meeting wrapped up with elections. Jim Kingman moved up from Vice President to President. Delia Alred and Dean Meakin were both vying for Vice President and both were well represented with proxy votes; in the end Dean was elected. Fred Pitzer agreed to serve another term as Treasurer and ran unopposed. Karlene Meakin was not seeking reelection as Secretary and after a bit of a search, Andrea Steinman agreed to run and was elected. Congratulations to the newly elected board! Awards were presented in the following categories: ‘Snowmobiler/Couple of the Year’, ‘Snowmobile Club President of the Year’, ‘Snowmobile Club of the Year’, and ‘Groomer of the Year’. There was no ‘Dealer of the Year’ submission. The ‘Groomer of the Year’ award was earned by Bill Burgess, Pacific Mountain Services, in Leavenworth. (He wasn’t there to accept.) The ‘Snowmobile Club of the Year’ award was announced to cheering by the Cascade Drift Skippers, the winners. Craig Stahl from the Methow Valley Snowmobile Association (MVSA) won for ‘Snowmobile Club President of the Year’ and while he wasn’t present, members of MVSA were on hand to deliver it to him on Sunday. I was shocked when my name was announced for ‘Snowmobiler of the Year’! Wow, how humbling to hear the sincere applause from everyone on hand. Wayne Mohler took to the stage and delivered a fitting memorial to Dick Coppock. We were honored to have Bonnie Coppock with us for dinner; it felt very strange to be in the Okanogan and not have Dick involved in Rendezvous guiding rides and being an excellent host. (Earlier in the evening I’d been lucky enough to spend a few minutes talking to Bonnie and catching up; such a classy lady.) Near the end of the evening was a live auction consisting of three item: Seven-night stay in Island Park, ID; a John Deere Wagon filled with swag; and a Four-night Yellowstone Vacation in West Yellowstone, MT. Ron Lind played auctioneer and give this man great credit for loosening the wallets and purses of bidders in the room; he had his work cut out for him but prevailed!

Snowmobilers gathering in the sno-park taking a head count before heading out.

Last but not least were the photo contest results. Both ‘Scenery’ and ‘Action’ were captured easily by Michael Brown. Dean Meakin had the only two entries in ‘Vintage’, but both were great so it was no surprise. Lisa McDonald earned ‘Family’, but it was easy with a cute little boy posing next to a snowmobile. Chris Shires submitted the best photo for ‘Worst Stuck’. Before heading off to bed… or into the casino to gamble… snowmobilers were asked to pay for any items they won in the silent auction. So what happened on Sunday and Monday? It’s all hearsay to me! Ryan and I went to Ephrata to pick up Kathryn and then headed home. (Only to return to Ephrata on Monday with a tow dolly to rescue her vehicle…) I know there were several rides scheduled. Trail and off trail, and the one Ryan and I were going to do, a meet-up with the MVSA to partake in their annual Poker Ride. *Sigh* Maybe next year! It appears the weather was similar to Saturday, meaning the rides were going to be enjoyable because of camaraderie and not necessarily the weather. (I do suspect there was a bit of fresh snow at the higher elevations.) On Sunday evening, there is usually a large group that gathers for dinner; this may or may not be organized in advance, but it is safe to say if you are looking for company with other snowmobilers, you’ll find it! A lot of times the local club will offer to guide rides if anyone is interested for Monday. Many times snowmobilers are anxious to either head home or continue on with planned vacation, so these opportunities often go unexplored. Ryan and I? We had plans on visiting either the Eightmile Sno-Park north of Winthrop, or the Mad River Sno-Park near Entiat… maybe next time! A location for Winter Rendezvous 2018 hasn’t yet been determined. 12 Tribes would certainly like us back and made a pretty good offer to be considered. Hill’s Resort on Priest Lake would also like to see us return. There may be some other locations in the running as well. Regardless of where, you’ll want to join us; it’s always a good time!

A panoramic view of a trailside break during one of Friday’s ride. Photo by Glenn Warren. Chris Shires and Chuck Radawick unsticking a sled. Photo by Lisa McDonald.

Friday was by far the best weather day. Ryan Mead enjoying the view!

Notice the stuck sled back in the trees… Photo by Glenn Warren.

The snow got deep if you broke through the hard crust; ask Ronnie Speakman. Photo by Lisa McDonald.

Saturday was a mix of rain and snow, causing snowmobilers to shelter under the trees for lunch. Dean Meakin says “what rain?”

Taking a lunch break on the top of Starvation Mountain.

Nearly 110 guests crowded in for dinner on Saturday night… and it was delicious!

Mike Sternbeck, Assistant Director of Operations for Washington State Parks, was in attendance; he and his daughter rode with us on Friday and Saturday.

Christine Jourdain, Executive Director for the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, came out from Michigan to talk about snowmobile issues on the national level.

Ryan Mead announcing winner Michael Brown during the photo contest. Michael won for both ‘Action’ and ‘Scenery’.

March 2017 • 9

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

State Parks Update By Pamela McConkey, State Parks Winter Recreation Program Manager

State Parks Snowmobile Advisory Committee (SMAC) Funding Meeting for 201718 Season The funding meeting is scheduled for July 21st-22nd and will most likely be held at the Chelan County PUD building in Wenatchee. The Friday evening meeting of the SMAC will be from 6pm until 8pm, during which time the SMAC will receive a presentation on the 2016/2017 winter season GPS tracking pilot program. Funding applications and the budget will be evaluated, discussed and determined on Saturday and Sunday (if needed), beginning each day at 8am. Prior to the SMAC meeting, staff and available SMAC members will meet with the Groomer Contractors on Friday, July 21st, for a Contractors Meeting at a location yet to be determined, however, we will attempt to again meet at the U.S. Forest Service office in Wenatchee from 2pm to 4pm. Substitute House Bill 1446 At this writing, Substitute House Bill 1446 is being considered by the 65th Legislature 2017 Regular Session. This bill was originally sponsored by Representatives Blake, Condotta, Orcutt and Muri. This bill is an act relating to registration enforcement for off-road vehicles and snowmobiles; adding a new section to RCW (Revised Code of Washington) chapters 46.09 and 46.93. The legislature finds that many residents of Washington enjoy recreational opportunities for off-road vehicle and snowmobile use and do so in compliance with vehicle titling and registration laws. New sections are being proposed for uses and violations related to individuals knowingly failing to apply for a Washington State certificate of title or registration for off-road vehicles and snowmobiles within 15 days of out-of-state purchase of said vehicle. Additional language requires motorsports vehicle manufacturers to report to the Department of Licensing (DOL) by the first business day in February each year a listing of all motorsports vehicle warranties for off-road vehicles and snowmobiles sold to Washington residents by out-of-state motorsports vehicles dealers in the previous calendar year. The Bill also suggest that fines received under this proposed section must be paid into the state treasury and credited to the non-highway and off-road vehicle activities program account and into the snowmobile account. The state treasurer must apportion the fines between the accounts according to the pro rata share of the number of off-road vehicle and snowmobile registration in the previous calendar year. This brief information is in no way the entire Substitute House Bill; for those interested in all the details of the bill, I would encourage you to read the bill in its entirety. WSSA Rendezvous 2017 What a great event! As I’m sure you have read by now, the event was held up in Omak at the 12 Tribes Casino. Although the banquet room was large, with the number of participants this year (largest number I’ve seen) it was a bit cozy. Of course this was not a problem for snowmobilers as they always have the ‘let’s make it work’ attitude and they did. The parking lot afforded plenty of parking for all the trucks with trailers, and trucks with sleddecks and snowmobiles. What a site! I personally want to thank the folks that rode with me on Friday… we had a great ride, enjoyed lunch at Starvation Mountain and had a bluebird day. Saturday brought light snow and some icy conditions in the lower elevations, but once we climbed up higher we found some nice snow and had another wonderful day. I especially want to thank Wayne Mohler, Greg Figg, Wayne Smith and Dean Meakin for being our ride leaders and sweepers. Greg showed us all how to get good and stuck and proved why you should always bring a shovel and friends to help dig Jason Goldstein learning the old 4-stroke Arctic Cat you out. touring machine doesn’t excel off trail… We once again had the privilege of having Mike Sternback, Assistant Director of Operations for Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, on the rides with us. This year, Mike took his own vehicle and his own time to bring along his daughter and introduce her to snowmobiling. This was her first time on a snowmobile and she is hooked. Jason Goldstein, our new Operations Manager for Winter Recreation, also came along this year and not only learned how to assist digging out a stuck sled (Greg Figg), but also learned how to get his stuck as well. Back at the hotel, WSSA had a multitude of awesome items to bid on for the silent and live auctions, great food both evenings, and short but productive meetings both nights. A new President (Jim Kingman) was elected, as well as a new Vice President (Dean Meakin). My congratulations to both of them! 2017/2018 Funding Applications: Watch our website in mid-March for the 2017/2018 funding applications! These MUST be filled out and sent to Olympia, POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN JUNE 1st, 2017. Any applications postmarked later than the June 1st deadline will not be considered for funding.

10 • March 2017

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

Matt’s Misc. By Matt Mead • WSSA Publicity Secretary • (509) 697-6062 And I’m out! Funny, I said that a year ago! Well, it’s going to stick this time. Starting with the summer (July) issue, Sandy Sternod will be taking over the Snoflyer duties. I’m not going away completely. First, it looks like I’ll be standing in for Sandy at this summer’s International Snowmobile Congress in Winnipeg, Manitoba. And Sandy had previously asked me to continue with ‘Matt’s Misc.’, although I suspect once she gets her feet wet, she’ll want to do an article of her own. I’ll also help Sandy with the first few issues during the transition. And finally, I’m expecting to be involved with WSSA in other roles and will continue to attend as many WSSA meetings as I can. I’ve made a lot of great friends with my involvement and don’t want to miss spending time with them. Imagine my surprise… When my name was announced as WSSA’s ‘Snowmobiler of the Year’! Wow! Pretty amazing! To steal from my Facebook post: “I've just been a small cog in the machine of organized snowmobiling and all of my contributions wouldn't have occurred without the help and support of others. My thanks to all of them…” In my book, everyone who is involved in organized snowmobiling is a ‘snowmobiler of the year’. It’s easy to pay your money and go ride; it’s quite another to spend a beautiful (blue skies and fresh powder) Saturday in a meeting arguing over your organization’s budget, or sitting in your legislators office explaining why they shouldn’t steal money from the dedicated Snowmobile Fund, or hundreds of other things involved Club and Association members do. One person doesn’t do it all, but a whole lot of people do their small part. That being said, I certainly do appreciate the recognition and will find a prominent location for my new award plaque! Really?! Awhile back my daughter and I were returning from a day of snowmobiling. Note I don’t dawdle; I’m a firm believer in the plus-five rule. So we are cruising along when three rigs catch me. The first, a crewcab dually with a sled deck and two on an open trailer comes around me at 70-plus, a good 15 over the posted limit. Well, at least it was a long straight stretch and safe to pass. Next up was a crewcab with a four-place enclosed trailer; this guy wasn’t so cautious. He picked a short passing zone and got a slow start. By the time he was equal with me, it was unsafe and if somebody had come around the corner, we’d all have had a problem; luck was on his side this time. Last up was who I thought was the smart one. With just a sled deck, he was actually hanging back, seemingly not in such a hurry. We came upon a passing lane and I moved right, figuring he’d go around… and he did, but not until we reached the end and the lanes merged back; he was really hustling when he went by. What’s my point? Just venting maybe… Part of what bothers me is I suspect this same behavior extends to their snowmobiling as well; male bravado and poor decision making skills. In both cases, they are putting the lives of others (my daughter) in danger. Label me not impressed. We missed it! International Snowmobile Safety Week. It was January 21st through 29th. But let’s think about this a bit… Isn’t it more important to focus on snowmobile safety all season long? I’ve never understood the point of designating a week; our mission should be to promote safety on every snowmobile adventure. Take precautions and use your head on every ride. Idaho snowmobiler survives night out. While that’s the gist of it, there is a bit more to the story. The Bancroft resident headed out hunting coyotes on his snowmobile, planning on it being only a short foray. After a few hours, his machine ran out of gas, leaving him stranded. He was less than five miles from home, but the snow was more than knee deep to walk through. While we can congratulate the man for building a snow cave to survive the night in -

15 degree weather, several mistakes were made. I know most are already saying “he shouldn’t have been riding alone!”, but I don’t fault him for that. A lack of preparation is the problem, and honestly, it happens to all of us at one time or another or to some degree. Most obvious to me is leaving the house without a full tank of fuel; had he not run out of gas there would have been no story. Second was the fact he had nothing with him but the clothes he was wearing; a recipe for disaster if something goes wrong. The ability to start a fire and having some back up rations is critical. The list goes on from there, but just these two basics are huge. Our snowmobiler did attempt to hike out and made it about two miles, but the deep snow wore him down and fog rolled in so he was concerned about becoming disoriented so he built the snow cave and hunkered down. His family did miss him and searchers were dispatched, but it wasn’t until the next morning they connected after he was spotted by a helicopter. U.S. Forest Service (USFS) proposes limits but allows snowmobiling in Ten Lakes WSA. Not sure how this will turn out, but a new proposal for a Wilderness Study Area (WSA) in the Kootenai National Forest would create two distinct seasons for snowmobiling near Eureka, Montana. The first, from December 1st to March 31st, would allow snowmobilers access to nearly half of the WSA and would not restrict them to trails. The second would run from April 1st to May 31st and would restrict riders to designated trails that avoid grizzly bear habitat, and prohibit grooming. Extreme environmental groups aren’t happy as they want the entire WSA managed as Wilderness (prohibiting snowmobiles), but the local Ranger disagrees and says they are abiding by the WSA rules and only Congress can designate Wilderness. (Refreshing outlook regarding WSAs!) Reintroducing grizzly bears into the North Cascades. This is an item we want to keep an eye on. There have been public meetings around the state and comments are being accepted online and via snail-mail through March 14th on reintroducing these brown bears. View the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and submit comments online at As snowmobilers, we need to be concerned with habitat designations and possible restrictions. Two WSSA members, Wayne Mohler and Howard Briggs, have attended a meeting and spoke out about possible snowmobile restrictions. The plan is to bring in bears from Montana and British Columbia and release them to live in a nearly 10,000-square mile area of forests covering portions of seven counties, stretching from the Canadian border to south of Interstate 90. Officials state any closures would be ‘temporary’, but as noted above in Montana, it could directly affect snowmobiling. Get your comments in ASAP. Snowmobile fundraiser brings in more than $1 million for ALS. You remember the Ice Bucket Challenge a few years back, a fundraiser for finding a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease; these snowmobilers did it a bit differently. The Black Woods Blizzard Tour consisted of 225 riders who raised funds all year and then came together for a three-day snowmobile ride concluding in Duluth, MN. This year the organizers presented a check totaling $1,133,900. Over 18 years the group has brought in more than $9 million to fight the disease. ALS is tough, affecting about 20,000 Americans between the ages of 40 and 70. It’s a progressive disease affecting nerve cells causing muscle paralysis; eventually the victims can’t breath. After diagnosis, life expectancy is only two to five years and the disease doesn’t affect one’s mental state. An old high school friend of mine perished from it and it wasn’t pretty. Hoping for a snowmobile to fall through the ice? That’s how they do it in Houghton, Michigan. Okay, it is a

Matt Mead

Rotary Club scholarship fundraiser and the machine is an old ‘70s Johnson without a rider. The goal is to be the closest to guess the date and time it falls through. The best guess could bring the winner a cool $1,000. Yes, the machine has been drained of all fluids to be environmentally responsible. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) acknowledges Butte Busters’ contribution. In the latest DNR emails news blast, they wrote about the upgrades the Butte Busters Snowmobile Club have done to the Hunters Meadows Cabin in the Loomis State Forest. This cabin is used year round and is favored by hunters and snowmobilers. Last summer brought about a new outhouse, which followed previous renovations including new stairs, windows, beds and countertops. The cabin is located about 25 miles The Butte Busters Snowmobile Club was recently acknowledged by the DNR for their north of Conconully and hard work improving the Hunters Meadow four miles east of 30 Mile Cabin north of Conconully. Meadows. The Butte Busters are great stewards of the area; in addition to maintaining the cabin, they clear and repair multi-use trails, rebuild fences, and do whatever else needs to be done. Way to go! McCall snowmobiler rescued from avalanche. We hear of snowmobilers being caught in avalanches, many times caused by their snowmobile or one of their riding partners. But don’t forget cornices! This time the man had parked on the top of a ridge and the overhanging snow broke away beneath him and swept him down the slope. He was able to clear some of the snow from around his body and others went down to help. Could have been worse… Snowmobiling in Connecticut! Really, snowmobiling in Connecticut? Apparently! With the recent snows they had, I saw a news article talking about the opportunities available in several State Forests. It’s not like you will ride for days without crossing your own tracks, but it sounds like a fun day trip with the kids. More info and maps can be found at (Am I the only geek that finds this interesting?) Arctic Cat bought out! This may be old news for most, but Arctic Cat was recently acquired by Textron in a deal valued at roughly $247 million. Kind of a déjà vu since Textron once owned Polaris (for about 10 years starting in 1968). Who is Textron? They are headquartered in Providence, RI, and started in 1923 making synthetic yarns. By the beginning of WW II they were making parachutes and over time have diversified into many markets. A few of their holdings include Cessna and Beechcraft Aircraft, Bell Helicopters, and Jacobson (lawn and turf care). And let’s not forget EZ-GO (golf carts), Cushman and Bad Boy Buggy (ATV and side-byside). They even make the Marine Corps impressive V-22 Osprey tilt-wing aircraft. Is Arctic Cat a good fit under Textron? Time will tell, but I doubt it will be a bad thing. Arctic Cat has been struggling in recent years, my guess being they didn’t have the necessary resources to bring new tech to the snowmobile and off-road market as quickly as the other three. Rumor has it Cat deal-


March 2017 • 11

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington MATT’S MISC. cont. ers have not been happy under recent Cat management and many of them have dropped the Cat brand because of it. Hopefully this will change and we’ll see new dealers popping up. Man who fled to Canada on snowmobile pleads guilty. The headline caught my eye as fleeing to Canada on a sled used to be (and I suspect still is) really easy. At least in Maine. I lived in Northern Maine for years and one of the things I found really cool was a trail on the Maine/New Brunswick border. The trail was literally on the border; in fact if you were riding north, you were riding in Canada! The border markers ran right down the middle of the trail and the trail was groomed wide on either side. What I found interesting was there were lots of little side trails running right into the adjoining potato fields in New Brunswick. A quick right turn and a person could disappear… Back to the news story, it was about a former Massachusetts man who fled to Canada on a rented snowmobile to avoid charges he stashed up to $4 million in cash in Canadian banks after declaring bankruptcy. He fled in 2005 and remained a fugitive until last year. X Games snowmobile tricks not a positive image for our sport. Okay, that’s my take. I’m a firm believer we need to promote ‘family’ and not ‘stunt’. I think one of the biggest hits to our image is from accidents like we just saw with Colten Moore during the recent X Games. Yes, when the stunts are performed correctly, there is that cool ‘WOW!’ factor, but it is quickly forgotten. But when a trick goes wrong and a significant injury or death occurs, it hangs in the news for days. Responsible adults, especially responsible non-snowmobiling adults, see a bad crash and are likely to paint all snowmobilers as irresponsible yahoos. One could argue the backcountry extreme videos we all enjoy also display an irresponsible behavior and I guess that is a reasonable assessment. One difference though is exposure; these videos aren’t usually seen by Joe Q Public and are instead marketed towards snowmobilers, (most of whom know these are not routine riding situations), while the X-Games are in your face and aimed at a broad TV

viewing audience. I’ll admit I have more than a dozen extreme backcountry videos myself, but as far as positive promotion of our sport, we’d be better off with more coverage along the lines of SnowTrailsTV being seen by nonsnowmobilers. (Regarding Colton Moore, he had to undergo surgery for a lower back injury suffered during X Games snowmobile crash.) Polaris Trails App – quickly losing its luster! After my last ride with this app, I’m just about done with it. As I mentioned, is sucks the life out of the phone’s battery at a rapid rate this season. I actually found and bought a cool battery phone case to extend run time, but I’ve found I can wipe it out in less than a day of riding too. Someone suggested putting the phone in airplane mode, but it doesn’t make a significant difference; this app is just a flat-out hog. Sadly it isn’t just this one problem frustrating me. Some days the app opens but the local trail map doesn’t load. Closing and reopening doesn’t cure it. Usually some time into my ride it appears. On my last ride it never did. It doesn’t do much good to track my ride all day if I don’t know where I’m at in relation to the map. (Remember, always carry a paper map or some type of backup!) And finally, I keep finding my ride not being tracked and having to restart it. I’m assuming it is something I’m doing accidently but I have no clue what. All I know is a pull my phone back out of my pocket and find it hasn’t tracked since the last time I looked at it. Just not as userfriendly as it should be. I’m pretty much done with this app… State Parks snowmobile trail maps for your phone - some available today! And here is why I’m about done with the Polaris app. While riding with Jason Goldstein, State Parks Winter Recreation Operations Manager, at Rendezvous, he was using/testing a local trail map on his phone using the Avenza Map app. I’ve heard of Avenza and even had it downloaded on my phone; the basic version is free. The map looked just like the

trail maps you can print off from the State Park’s website and like the Polaris app, you can track yourself on the overlaid map. I’m thinking the only shortcoming is you need to download each and every map individually, versus an entire state overlay as Polaris offers. On the plus side though, State Parks will likely keep their maps updated in a timely matter whereas Polaris will have to be prompted to update theirs and there will be a lag (if done at all). (This is most important when talking temporary closures due to logging and other factors.) I’m not sure when all the maps will all be available, but I’m guessing in time for next snowmobile season. Some maps are available for download now at Check them out! Facebook and Twitter? Facebook ‘likes’ are over 1,950! We are on Twitter at @wssaus too! Snoflyer or website comments? Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a concern or question with the Snoflyer, WSSA website or our Facebook site. Send an e-mail to or call (509) 697-6062.

Safety By Jon Ferrian •

Can you hear me now? There are a lot of things I use to improve my snowmobiling experience. Very few of those things have had as much of a positive impact to my overall peace of mind and security as riding with radios! The first time I ever rode a snowmobile in the mountains was in 2007 and it involved traveling over 1,000 miles from Minnesota to Cooke City, Montana, for a week of riding each year. After only a couple of these trips, it became obvious there was a significant need to be able to communicate with my riding group if and when we lost visual sight with each other. This can happen when you are riding around trees or in a series of small bowls that allow you to ride just out of sight from your friends. Before we used radios to communicate, we would do a number of different things like: • We would shut our snowmobiles off and listen for the engines of other riders in hopes that it would be our friends that we were looking for. • We would ride around chasing tracks in the snow in hopes that they would lead us to our riding partners. • We would yell out at the top of our lungs to see if our riding partners could hear us and hope that they would yell back. • Finally we got ‘really smart’ and all purchased very loud whistles that we could blow to alert our riding partners of our approximate location. All of these items above were very crude ways of trying to communicate with each other. Most of them were not very effective and in most cases we wasted a lot of time trying to locate each other. Fast forward to 2012, I moved to Washington State and I started to ride in mountain terrain every weekend. Many of the people I rode with had Garmin

12 • March 2017

Jon Ferrian Rino GPS units with radios built in. I could see very quickly this was a significant advantage while riding and it allowed everyone to communicate with each other and find friends much quicker than before. The idea of not getting left behind or losing a friend during a ride immediately removed all of the stress from each day on the snow! About this time Back Country Access (BCA) created what we all know now as the BCA Link two-way radio. It quickly became the best high quality twoway radio system and was much less expensive than the Garmin Rhino. I have purBCA Link Radios chased one of the BCA Link Radios for my wife and sons also and now when we go out and ride everyone can enjoy the rides without the risk of getting stuck and having no help. All they need to do is get on the radio and say, “Dad, I am stuck again and I need your help!”

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington

13 • November 2016

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington


14 • March 2017

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington


March 2017 • 15

WSSA - The Voice of Snowmobiling in Washington


16 • March 2017

March 2017 Snoflyer  

The official publication of the Washington State Snowmobile Association.

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