40TH ANNIVERSARY SLED INVASION - FEBRUARY 14-16, 2020

Thanks to our Industry Partners and Industry Liaisons over the past 40 years

Nov01

Over the past 40 years, there are many “Club Volunteer Champions” that have worked behind the scenes with the forestry, oilfield and SRD/AB Parks and Environment to ensure the Club was in compliance and lines of communication were open with our industry partners.

Since the beginning, there were partnerships formed with the Alberta government. Our trails and Eagle River Staging Development Area were originally built and maintained by the Alberta Forest Service. Throughout the past 40 years the Forestry and the Club have worked together to form a partnership and agreement to have the Club acquire, expand and develop the trails and Eagle River Staging Area. Thank you to our contacts throughout the years -Gordon Bisgrove, Cliff Henderson, Mark Ross, Ed Dechant, Cyril Lanctot, Everett Smith, Mike Penner, Dennis York, Brian Wallick, Wilson Nelson, Shereen Threnchard, George Robertson, Mike Parks, Bruce Vanos and David Geddes. We still have a good relationship with Alberta Parks and Environment (SRD) and appreciate their support and guidance.

Our trails are a valuable resource and if industry users are planning on working on or near our trails by roads, pipelines, leases or cutblocks, we ask that they are in compliance with the CNT Restrictions. Our local trail system is held under CNT designation which identifies it on the provincial data as a recognized snowmobile trail. When industrial users on the landscape or are going to cross or work alongside the trail, a consultation process is initiated by the Alberta Parks and Environment. The industrial users are then required to consult with the snowmobile clubs on how their activities can be conducted and minimize any impacts to the trails and provide safety considerations to the snowmobilers. Working with oilfield and other companies creates it’s own set of challenges, but we are certainly open to having discussions and connecting with these companies when our trails are in the area of a new project. The consultation process is completed prior to project start up, and the safety of riders and the public is always the first priority. There are protocols with stakeholders and these expectations are shared with them. Potential points of conflict that cannot be resolved are then tabled with the Alberta Parks and Environment who makes the final decisions that is in the best interest of all stakeholders . |We have made it easy for companies to contact us on the “Trail Impactors” tab, via our website. By notifiying us, they are respecting our trails.

Through the Forestry Industry, we have built great partnerships as well. Our trail system is in the Forest Management Areas of Millar Western, Blue Ridge Lumber (West Fraser), Weyerhauser and Woodlands County. Some of the individuals that we have had great working relationships with have been Dave Martell, Bob Leslie, Dave Carter, Bruce West, Brian Milligan, Brian Davies, Jim Halawell, Thomas Lee, Tyler Pell, Ken Anderson, Bob Mason, Tim McCready, Shane Sadoway and Louise Riopel. We have also worked with Alberta Newsprint on a few projects. Our relationships were built in the 1980’s and we still strive to maintain them. The relationships have had struggles; however, we believe that we are working together well. Just recently we met with Millar Western and Blue Ridge (West Fraser) and the snowmobile Clubs of Fox Creek, Swan Hills and Whitecourt to help build the communication between all groups. Annually, we will plan to meet to have discussions in a sensible and open manner. In addition, thank you to Alex Manweiler who has sat on 2 committees with Millar – first the DFMP (Detailed Forest Management Plan) and then the PAC (Public Advisory Committee) for a total of 16 years and is a representative for the Trailblazers.

Not only have all the Presidents and Vice Presidents worked with these companies, but there are also other Executives that have supported the Club through their knowledge with oilfield, forestry and SRD/Parks and Environment. Over the past 10 years, we developed a position on our Executive that oversees these notices and conversations with companies – thanks to Jeff Brooks and Lennie Bilodeau who are the first point of contact. Other members that have been our Industry Liaisons have been our past Trail Bosses – Cyril Lanctot, 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, Don Price and Dave Newbury.

A special thank you to all of our industry contractors that have helped along the way with our trails – G. MacRitchie Forestry Services, Strydhorst Contracting, Wayne Reynders Trucking, Phillip Lewis Contracting, Woodlands County, Clean Harbors Energy Services, Roszko Farm Equipment Limited, Total Oilfield, X-treme Energy Services, Blue Ridge Lumber, Alberta Newsprint Company, Paul Flasha Contracting, Hilltop Mobile Home Park, Millar Western Industries, Bob Burns Trucking, Kana Oilfield Service, Brian and Jason Thomas Contracting, Morgan Construction, Marla Trucking, Mega C Steaming, Jason Foster and Progressive Forestry Contracting.

(If we missed you in this article, our apologies).

Thanks to all of our Industry supporters and volunteers in the Club. Trails don’t just magically appear or clean themselves. You are all appreciated!! We look forward to many more years of partnerships like we have had!



It’s Official our event is Downtown Whitecourt

Oct29

We are very excited to announce the Whitecourt Trailblazers’ 2020 – 40th Anniversary Sled Invasion on February 14-16th (Family Day Weekend).  Here is the itinerary for the weekend:

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14:

3:00pm – 6:00pm  – Registration for World Record Snowmobile Parade                                               (Whitecourt Seniors/Rotary Park)

                                  -Pre Registration Saturday’s Rally

6:00pm – 8:30pm – World Record Snowmobile Parade (Whitecourt Seniors                                        Circle)                 

9:00pm – 10:00pm Freestyle (X-Games)                                                                                                     (Downtown-Mainstreet Whitecourt)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15:

8:00am -11:00am – Registration for Rally

9:00am-3:30pm – Rally

1:30pm – 3:30pm -Pre-registration for Sunday Rally

4:00pm – 5:00pm -40th Anniversary Presentations and prizes

7:00pm –          Concert presented by Whitecourt Woodlands Performing Arts

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16:  

8:00am -11:00am – Registration for Rally

9:00am-3:30pm – Rally – North side
4:00pm – 5:30pm – 40th Anniversary Presentations, prizes and sled draw

5:30pm – 6:30pm – 2nd Freestyle Event

JOIN US FOR A WEEKEND OF FAMILY FUN, LOTS OF REMINISCING AND CELEBRATING OUR PAST 40 YEARS OF SNOWMOBILING AS THE WHITECOURT TRAILBLAZERS CLUB

Thanks to all of our Trail Bosses over the past 40 years

Oct29

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!!

Trail Cleaning 1999

Trail Cleaning 1997
Trail Cleaning 1997
Building bridges 1987 Centennial Park
1999 -Signage in Town – Dale Gunderson
1999 Posts/Signage Alex Manweiler
1999 Doug Hay and Glen Kingdon building outhouses


Thank You Elaine Gunderson

Oct27

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
The Trailblazers
-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!!

Gord Quinn, Elaine and Glen Kingdon
The bag ladies making lunches for the riders. I wonder who they are?
1996 Registration

It’s back! 2020 – 40th Anniversary Sled Invasion

Oct21


Thank You to Nick and Joan Slootweg

Oct18

Thank you to Nick Slootweg who was one of the original members with the Club and was very involved for over 25 years.    He purchased a Trail Pass in 1980, attended meetings and became involved right from the start. Nick started with the Trailboss position in 1982 (1st recorded minutes), memberships, Director in the 1990s and then was the Trailboss again in  1997, and 2000-2004.  His bride Joan, came on board in 1990-1993 as the Club Treasurer, prior to Elaine G.  She worked with Glen Kingdon who was the President at the time and Dale Gunderson who was Vice President.  Joan helped her board immensely.  She was the driving force, she had great ideas and plans for the Club.  Joan liked to help with the entertainment and Nick would join in.  Joan also became involved in the Golden Triangle Consortia with Glen, but found it too much to volunteer with the Trailblazers as well as the Golden Triangle.    She later went on to do publicity for the Club.   As with all Executive positions,  they were involved in most of the events and activities in the Club with rallies, hill climbs, oval, drag and grass races, lots of trail cleaning, Jamborees, fundraisers, parties and rides.  

Nick and Joan took a few years off from sledding, as Nick had hip issues and needed to mend.  They are now back out on the trails in the winter and they enjoy riding their bikes in the summer months.   Thanks Nick and Joan for your dedicated volunteerism with the Whitecourt Trailblazers.  Hope to see you on the trails this upcoming season.  

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