Many of the “first generation” of inventors, engineers and designers who created the sport of snowmobiling have been leaving this earth in recent years. It’s not surprising, considering that snowmobiling really took root in the 1960s and ’70s – age eventually catches up to everybody. But it’s heartbreaking, nonetheless.
Fortunately, the torch has been passed to a new generation of engineers and designers who keep the technology in the machines moving forward.
The situation is eerily similar on the grassroots side of our beloved sport. Many of the most active, dedicated people in snowmobile clubs and associations have more than their fair share of laps around the sun. In a recent discussion with a club member about a snowmobile bridge re-decking project, we were told the youngest person working on the task was 72 – the youngest person.
The burning questions are these: Where is the next generation of club members and volunteers? Who will make sure our network of trails and riding areas continues to be managed? Who will handle signage, trail maintenance and grooming efforts? Who will be involved in ensuring funding, engaging landowners or doing community outreach? Who will orchestrate awesome club rides?
Perhaps it’s time to set down the magazine for a second and take a look in the mirror.
We know it can sometimes be intimidating to enter a meeting where everyone seemingly knows everybody else, and nobody knows you. But virtually every club is seeking new members of all ages, and even more need active members who can help take the helm of various tasks. Some projects are physical, others are more mental and a few are more social.
For some of us, the physical work can actually be quite fun. Spending an autumn Saturday as a part of a team that puts in trail signs, cuts away overgrown limbs or otherwise preps the trail surface can be quite rewarding. There’s a certain camaraderie that is formed, and truth in the phrase “Many hands make light work.” Many clubs also need people with mechanical capabilities who can help build a bridge over a creek or maintain grooming equipment.
Clubs also have administrative tasks that need to be handled. Whether it’s updating the club roster, reaching out to local businesses for support, working with governmental bodies or overseeing grant applications to help fund a new groomer, idle evening hours can be spent contributing to the cause of snowmobiling rather than watching another episode of American Idol or Yellowstone.
There are also leadership roles within clubs. They need board members and officers – folks who manage the budget, interact with the state association and guide the club’s overall direction. They also need leaders to be a trail boss/trail captain for sections of trail, plan and execute youth safety training classes, establish grooming schedules and handle potential landowner disputes as they occur.
If you’re more inclined toward social engagement, there are plenty of opportunities for you as well. You could help plan the landowners’ thank you dinner or the club’s appearance in the local town festival’s parade. You could assist in the execution of the trailside hot dog feed, or in organizing the annual club ride. If communications is your specialty, many clubs would greatly appreciate having someone to manage or contribute to their social media, web site or newsletter.
It doesn’t matter if you have two hours to share or 20, or if you prefer to lead or follow. There’s a role for you in grassroots snowmobiling.
The clubs listed on the next two pages are specifically reaching out to you, seeking your membership and support, through advertising support of this program. But if you reside elsewhere in North America, those sponsoring organizations would also be very happy if you joined a club in areas where you ride. Joining is the first important step, but becoming an active member is the ultimate way to support the sport we all love.
S&W Adventure Riders
Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association
Brooklyn Park, MN
Belle Plaine Borough Riders
Belle Plaine, MN
Belle Plaine Borough Riders Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Clearwater Trail Blazers
Clearwater Trail Blazers on Facebook
Crow Wing County Snowmobile Trails Association
Crow Wing County Snowmobile Trails Association on Facebook
Faribo Sno-Go Club Inc.
Faribo Sno-Go Club on Facebook
Fertile-Beltrami Sandhill Snowcruisers
Sandhill Snowcruisers on Facebook
Foxtailers Snowmobile Club
St. Michael, MN
Hamel Sno Runners
Hamel Sno-Runners on Facebook
North Country Snowmobile Club
North West Trails Association
Hennepin County, MN
Prior Lake Snowmobile Association
Prior Lake, MN
Rice Creek Trail Association
Circle Pines, MN
Rice Creek Snowmobile Trail Association on Facebook
River Valley Trailblazers Inc.
Rockford Ridge Riders
Rockford Ridge Riders on Facebook
Snow Thrashers of Dalton
Dalton Snow Thrashers on Facebook
South Tonka Sno-Mobilers
South Dakota Snowmobile Association
Black Hills Snowmobile Club
Rapid City, SD
Black Hills Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Clear Lake, SD
Dakota Trail Blazers on Facebook
James Valley Drift Skippers
James Valley Drift Skippers Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Lake Poinsett, SD
Poinsett Pounders Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Siouxland SnoTrackers Snowmobile Club
Sioux Falls, SD
Town & Country Snowdrifters Snowmobile Club
Willow Lake, SD
Town & Country Snowdrifters on Facebook
Whetstone Valley Snowmobile Association
AWSC-Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs
Amery Snowmobile Club
Bear Point Sno-Cruisers
Berlin River Riders Inc.
Berlin River Riders Snowmobile Club on Facebook
Burnett County Snow Trails Association
Burnett County Snow Trails Association on Facebook
Cozy Corner Trails, Inc.
Cozy Corner Trails Inc. on Facebook
Cross Country Cruisers Inc.
Arbor Vitae, WI
Frosty Snowmobile Club Inc
Land o’ Lakes, WI
Hudson Snowtrails Unlimited
Hudsons Snowtrails Unlimited on Facebook
Knight Owls Snowmobile Club
Lily Sno-Birds Snowmobile Club
Lily Snobirds on Facebook
NKM Crooked Trails Snowmobile Club Inc.
Northwest Relic Riders Vintage Snowmobile Club
Northwoods Riders Snowmobile Club
Prairie Riders Snowmobile Club
Pleasant Prairie, WI
Prairie View Ryders
Prairie View Ryders on Facebook
Ranger City Riders Snowmobile ATV/UTV Club Inc
Red Arrow Snowmobile-ATV Club
SnowRunners LTD Snowmobile Club
Port Washington, WI
Sussex Sled Bugs Snowmobile Club Inc
West Shore Snow Pistons
North Fond du Lac, WI
West Shore Snow Pistons on Facebook