Yorkton and Dauphin are great locations with lots of amenities for riders, including hotels on the edge of town that have easy access to trails. Events throughout the season are also great attractions for snowmobilers. Paquet explains that not only are the events fun and entertaining, they also serve as fundraisers for the provincial associations and the local clubs. Among the many events that take place in Saskatchewan is the Provincial Festival which is held at the end of February every year. The event features a banquet and trophies for clubs and club members. Communities bid on the opportunity to host the event. “We are pleased that Yorkton will be hosting the 2015 Festival,” states Bradshaw.
The warm-up shelters are essential in case of sudden high winds, drops in temperature or unexpected storms. They can also be a fun part of a day providing a place for families and friends to meet and do some riding or tobogganing. “Families can bring some food and enjoy a great time on the trail together,” suggests Bradshaw. Reciprocity between the Manitoba and Saskatchewan clubs means that they work together. “We can ride each other’s trails without buying separate trail passes,” states Bradshaw. Because rider safety is a major priority for both associations, safety programs are offered. Details about these programs, which are offered both in classrooms and on-line, can be found on their websites.
According to Paquet, the Manitoba club is also busy with events throughout the year. “Our club stays together all year long and puts on a number of events,” he says. Safe Grad Derby, Year End Derby, Sweetheart Derby and Meltdown Derby are some of the great times to be had by snowmobilers in the Dauphin area. Other events include the Landowner’s Appreciation Dinner and Dance and participation in Country Fest. Funds that are raised through events, memberships, trail passes and other means go towards the grooming and maintenance of trails.
In Saskatchewan trail pass fees are mandatory and provide some financial means to assist the clubs in meeting their goals; $70 of every sled registration goes to the Saskatchewan Snowmobiling Association. Paquet explains that this is yet to take place in Manitoba but is hopeful that it will in the near future. “It will help snowmobile clubs in the Manitoba Parkland with the upgrade of old groomers, repair and build shelters, purchase proper trail signs, maintain existing trails and maybe connect a few more communities that don’t have designated groomed trails.”
Both organizations are primarily volunteer-run and are dedicated to developing and maintaining safe snowmobile trails. Trails are evaluated on a regular basis for safety and must meet certain criteria. Proper signage and well-kept warm-up shelters are key elements in rider safety. Trails are numbered and mapped, making it easier for riders to find their way to their destination.
The beauty of the area combined with the dedication and hospitality of the clubs are strong reasons why the Parkland is such an attractive snowmobiling destination. For more information about snowmobiling in your area, visit www. sasksnowmobiling.sk.ca or www.snoman.mb.ca.