Snowmobile clubs clear and create trails. This is all done by volunteers who truly love the sport. Without these hidden heroes, either the trails would not get cleared, and most trails would close, or some entity (say, the state) would have to pay a team of workers to do the grunt work. And if that happened, you could expect to pay several hundred dollars, maybe even a thousand, to register your snowmobile each year.
Members of the snowmobile clubs groom the trails. Again, these are more of the hidden heroes who spend their time in a slow-moving groomer, tending to the trails and making them as smooth as they are. Remember, if you are not a club member you have no right to complain about trail conditions.
While we’re talking trails, who do you think puts up all the stop signs, the directional arrows and the signs that tell you the distance to the next gas station or restaurant? If you said “the snowmobile clubs,” give yourself 10 points and keep reading, because we’ve only just begun.
When funding is needed to pay for groomers, insurance or trails development, do you know where that money comes from? Sure, the $15 or $20 people spend to join a snowmobile club helps, but in most states the money comes from snowmobile registrations and gas tax rebates. Why does our sport get this money from the state? Because our sport is organized. If the state snowmobile association can talk about its 25,000 members, for example, and then those members call their local lawmakers and ask for support, the bill has a much better chance of getting funded. Furthermore, it is the snowmobile clubs and state associations that fight the battles to open public lands to snowmobilers, and there is strength in numbers. Become one of those numbers.
With some clubs and associations, membership brings financial benefits. I know I get a couple grand worth of accidental death and dismemberment insurance, I get discounts at sponsoring businesses and I get the state publication. All this and more, for a mere $40 a year.
Belonging to a club makes for better, safer snowmobiling. That’s right, surveys and accident statistics have shown that snowmobile club members have a much lower accident rate than non-club members. Why? Because club members tend to be conscientious, they tend to stress safety and they are aware of safe-riding issues.
Belonging to a snowmobile club gives you a great social outlet for your favorite hobby. You can attend club rides, go to club meetings, take part in club fundraisers or take a club trip to a faraway snowmobiling destination. Belonging to a club gives you a good opportunity to ride with different people, experience different area and hang out with people who have similar interests.
You probably spent at least $6,000 for that last new snowmobile, $1,000 for a trailer, $350 for bibs and coat, $200 for a helmet, $150 for gloves and boots. (And many of us with families have two or more of everything.) After all this and more, what’s $25 and some of your time to help maximize your enjoyment in snowmobiling and protect this big money investment?
Frankly, if you do not belong to a club where you live and occasionally lend a helping hand, don’t ever complain about: no new trails to ride, not enough trail signs, the trail is too bumpy, or anything else. You got your money’s worth, you got a free ride.
Join a club. Help build new trails, improve existing trails, put up more signs, maybe even run a groomer once in a while. Then they will feel more like your own personal trails.
To join the club, please complete the membership application.