February’s meeting is at the Legion at 7:30pm on Wednesday
“What I like best about grooming: Being out in nature, enjoying the trails and making them nice for sledders. It is work that seems to be much appreciated” a quote from one of our best! Our snowcat operators have the best job! When the trails are ready for grooming, it is like icing the cake. Grooming is an art of timing and technique with all sorts of conditions: If it is not cold enough-it doesn’t set as well, whether there is enough fresh snow to make a difference, is there a good base, are all the trees cleaned from the trail or at least pushed to the side, are the creeks all set in, is there enough snow to push etc?
Our snowcat operators have lots of pride in what they do and it shows in their grooming. The main fellows that we can thank over the past 15+ years are Alex Manweiler, Dale Gunderson, Harold Bellwood from Fox Creek, Dave Newbury, Don Price, Jim Hearn, Derek Rooks. We also have other folks that have been a part of the team for shorter periods: Nick Slootweg, Wayne Bronson, Ken Vanderburg, Ernst Engeroff and Lambert Veenstra. Of course there are the co-pilots and wives who have helped along the way, keeping these guys company on their long rides and helping to remove debris from the trail-thanks to you all.
In September 2003, we became owners of our first reconditioned 1995 Bombardier BR 400MP and Mogul Master Drag. Prior to this, we would hire a snow cat to groom our system. It was a lot of work by the Club and community to raise funds of $80,000-$100,000 which were $.50 dollars with a grant. The other part of the equation was to work with the Town and County to gain access to maintenance and storage facilities. A Lease for $1.00 was signed with the Town of Whitecourt for the equipment. A big thank you to all those folks who were involved in this fundraising initiative.
We currently have 2 snow cats that we lease for $1.00 with the Town of Whitecourt. We store them in town in the off season and then we move them out to their winter storage areas, to enable quicker access to the trails. Snow cats will run about 8 miles an hour. The guys generally drive them 4-6 miles an hour, dependent on terrain and corners/straight aways. Our snow cats and snowmobile trail drag systems are valued at $300,000.00. We have 485kms of trails and we groom the more popular trails weekly. Some of the trails with less traffic, will be groomed every 2 – 3 weeks, as conditions warrant. Whitecourt is well known for having one of the best groomed trail systems in the Alberta. Our annual grooming budget is $40,000. We plan on grooming 6000 KMS annually / 600 hours of grooming time. Our annual trail brushing program budget is $30,000 – to remove willows, alders and underbrush growth on the trails during the off season in order to keep the trails safe and free of debris. (in the perfect year with no blowdown or major windstorms). It costs $195 per km – Our annual costs to maintain the trails are $90,000 annually / $195 per km of Trail. These costs include; grooming, brushing, replacing stolen and vandalized signage, repairing trail damage due to ATV traffic, and snow cat repairs. However, this does not include groomer replacement or time and equipment donated by Club Volunteers for trail cleaning. The Club’s net proceeds from the sale of “ONE Annual ASA Trail Pass” allows the Club to maintain 250 Metres of Trail for the season. Every little bit helps, so thank you for purchasing your ASA Trail Pass.
Thanks to all those folks who have made this happen over the years, you are awarded by your peers, Club members, community and mostly the riders who come because you have done a superb job with our award winning trails. We can’t wait to get out an enjoy them this winter!!!!! Thank you all snow cat operators in Alberta who keep this winter sport alive!
We are searching for vintage sleds and gear to display at our 2020 Sled Invasion rally checkpoints. Vintage items would be displayed at our checkpoints that we will designate as a decade eg: 60/70’s, 80s, 90s. If you have any gear or sleds that you would be willing to display please contact us. We would ask that you take your sled into the checkpoint and then pick it up at the end of the day; you do not have to stay, just deliver and pick up.
Alberta Relic Riders Club will be here at the 40th Anniversary Sled Invasion on Friday night for our World Record Breaking Snowmobile Parade as well they will have a display of their sleds on Saturday. Make sure to check them out and for more information you can go on their Facebook Page for updates.
STV 2015 (starting at Minute 2:00) they have a clip on the Relic Riders and 2015 World Snowmobile Invasion.
Join us for our General Meeting to discuss the upcoming season and updates on trails. 7:30pm at the Royal Canadian Legion.
A reminder about the Town of Whitecourt Bylaw regarding OHV – speed and allowance for seasonal use between December 1 and March 31
Definition of a Trail Boss: Outlines, marks, and maps all trails. Organizes and supervises all trails for riders and special events for the public and society use. Scouts and collects information on new areas for riding. Liaison with Alberta Forest Services. Requires assistance. Definition from Executive Duties – 1984. That definition still stands today. Trail Bosses are the lifeline of our Club. Without them, our club does not run. We have had many great trail bosses over the years. They always go above and beyond what is expected of them. Between trail maintenance and organizing of volunteers to maintenance at the staging areas, cabins, lookouts, to signage, maintenance of equipment and to maintenance of the snow cat to grooming of the trails. The life of a trail boss is getting out there and getting things done. THEY WORK HARD. Thanks to all of our past and current Trail Bosses.
Trail Boss Members List is taken from the minutes of the Club, if you have been missed please accept our apologies as we do not have all the minutes:
Cyril Lanctot (who was also with the Alberta Forest Service at the time), George Vanberg, Nick Slootweg, Gordon Quinn, Doug Hay, Mike Pasula, Ken Bobst, Glen Kingdon, Dale Gunderson, Alex Manweiler, Mark Gray, Randy Matthews, Dave Bradley, Chet Brewster, Mitch Sharp, David MacLeod and Don Price
A special thank you to all the folks who have come out over the years to help the trail bosses clean the trails. There are so many men and a few women who have helped annually to get the trails ready for events and for riding. We know that the conditions are not always pleasant: cold, damp, wet, snowing, raining and windy. Many wet and freezing guys walking in the door after a day of cleaning. 1000’s of man hours on the trails cleaning over the years. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
A memory worth mentioning: “The biggest day ever” was after one of our own – Dale Gunderson passed away. This is how it looked in January 2007: One day–Sunday Blitz – 62 People, 20 trucks and trailers hauling sleds, 26 chainsaws, 62 snowmobiles, Cleaned 326 kms of trails and 4 breakdowns. 379 man Hours later. We had people come from out of town to help clean the system and do it for Dale!! That will give you the shivers.
Thanks again to everyone who has helped build and maintain our trail system from a few miles to now 485kms. YOU ALL ROCK!!
Thank you to one of our long-time members: Elaine
Elaine’s achievements as a leader or a pioneer in snowmobiling are that she has been involved in snowmobiling for over 50 years in one way or another. She supported her husband for the first 10 years with his snowmobile dealership and NWSA Ice Oval Circuit and racing commitment. She is very familiar with all aspects of snowmobiling with owning a dealership, racing, trail riding, mountain sledding, Club events – hosting snowmobile rallies, ASA Jamborees, Invasions, fundraisers, membership drives, other events – Snowmobile Parades, Christmas parties and awards. Elaine has been on the Executive for over 20 years as Treasurer, Memberships and has been a part of the funding processes for applications, reports and filing after grants are issued.
Elaine is not only financially savy, but also has a great memory for history of the club. She knows everyone who has had a membership and who has been involved or what part they have played in the Club. Elaine has stated that she hasn’t been an individual who has promoted and developed the Club; however, that is the furthest from the truth. Elaine has been a snowmobiling pioneer from the beginning of her first ride on Dale’s 67 Nordic Ski-doo and then Dale’s ownership of the dealership. Elaine was behind the scenes for a lot of the Trailblazer’s workings, but she also became the face of the Whitecourt Trailblazers. Elaine was a volunteer at all of the Rallies and soon began organizing them. Elaine has been organizing the registrations, trail passes, prizes and volunteers for many years. She is involved in all the fundraisers from rallies to selling trail passes to raffle tickets to all the events that are hosted. Elaine has volunteered for every event that she can.
She is our rock, she is always there and has guided our group through our Club’s journey. The success of the Club financially and in a promotional sense can be attributed to Elaine’s hard work as a volunteer for our organization. So to ask the question “Is she a pioneer? YES.
Through the past 20 years, she has lead our team through financial success and our Club’s well respected reputation as a snowmobile club, but also as a Non-Profit Organization. She has been a part of the expansion of our trail system to 485kms and owning assets-3 Cabins and 2 snow cats. Our Club’s Rallies host over 500 riders annually and it is because of Elaine and her team, that they are very well organized. Participants come back to our rallies annually because of the well organized and fun events we host. Elaine is now a part of the membership drive and she works hard at getting the passes out to the stores who sell them for us and keeps the passes organized. Elaine is also a big part of our raffle selling teams. She is the one person that we can rely on to set up a table and sell tickets. When you are doing those types of volunteer jobs you are talking with the people who are in the community and at the Sled Shows. Elaine is a wealth of knowledge and community folks ask her questions all the time about snowmobiling in Whitecourt and area. Elaine was also involved in setting up our History Book on our website. She and her partner Leroy Roth scanned all of the pictures and scrapbooks from day one of the Whitecourt Trailblazers. She also has collected articles and memoriabilia for many years – preserving our history. Elaine is also known to be quite funny and entertaining; she has been known to put together a skit or funny scenario to lighten the mood when volunteering.
Elaine was just recently awarded the Louise Sherren Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a humble volunteer of the Whitecourt Trailblazers and she is not looking for accolades. However, because of her years of service with the Club and her involvement in snowmobiling, she is a very well deserving recipient of this award. Behind every great snowmobile club or non-profit organization are the people who volunteer in the decision making, keeping the books balanced and supporting those who are out developing and maintaining the trails.
Elaine is a volunteer who has been involved in many community endeavors. She has volunteered for years for the Whitecourt Golf Club, Kinettes, Whitecourt Curling Club, Christmas Hamper, Repeat Boutique, Whitecourt Trailblazers, Diabetes Fundraising, Meals on Wheels, Blood Donor Clinics and her kid’s activities.
She has been recognized as: – Kinette of the Year – 1976
-Lifetime members of Kinsmen/Kinette’s – 1986
– Citizen of the Year with her husband in 1991
-ASA Star Award for support of Dales dedication to the ASA and
-Elaine accepted the Louise Sherren Lifetime Achievement Award
Posthumously Awarded to Dale in 2007
-Governor General |of Canada – Queen Elizabeth 11’s Diamond
Jubilee Medal – 2012
Elaine is a wealth of knowledge about the Club, it’s members and the history that comes with her longevity and commitments. She is not only an amazing volunteer for our organization, but many others. Thank you Elaine for everything you do!!