With snow on the ground, the South East Sno-Riders are looking forward to another season on the trails.
They had their first board meeting in September and since then, people have started working on trails and doing a variety of jobs.
President of the South East Sno-Riders, Mitch Gobeil says there's been ongoing work all summer long.
“Repairs to equipment, equipment maintenance, sometimes you're waiting for parts. We had some parts for our big groomer that we had to wait, the tracks, I think we ordered them in March and we got them in August. There's always something to do.”
Gobeil says they have five warm-up shelters on the trails they look after, three of which they can’t access until things are frozen.
They finished work on the two that they can access during the non-winter season, and will start work on the other three shelters as soon as they can.
“And we're completely painting the inside, putting in new benches, in most cases, putting aluminum, soffit and fascia on them,” he says. “Trying to dress them up a little bit, make them look a little bit better, a little bit more enjoyable for when people are there.”
As for signage on the trails, Gobeil believes the ATV trail signs have already been covered up for the winter.
Gobeil says most of the Woodridge Sandhogs trails don’t conflict with the South East Sno-Riders trails, but for those that do, the Sandhogs either take the sign down or cover them up with a black garbage bag and tape it all around so it stays on for the whole winter.
“Just so the snowmobilers don't get confused and go down the wrong trail.”
The Sno-Riders use plastic pipes as posts for putting up all the various signs that we use on the snowmobile trails.
They straighten them out, and reflective tape on the end.
“We get end of rolls and we cut them off into 5 foot lengths and we go through a process where we boil them to make them pliable because there's a curve to them from being coiled.”
He says they are just about ready to go for the season, but he was surprised by the amount of snow we have gotten and how cold this last week has been.
More than snow, what the Sno-Riders really need is colder weather to freeze the bodies of water so they don’t get into issues with groomers breaking through the ice.
After the water freezes, that’s when they really need the snow.
“We typically don't start grooming till we have ideally a foot of snow because by the time you compress it, that foot becomes about 3 inches, gives you a nice base. If push comes to shove, we'll go out with six-eight inches type of thing. But then your base is thinner, so in the spring it's gone quicker.”
Although they are working on the trails, they usually don’t start grooming them and opening them up until the end of December or beginning of January.
The work they are doing right now mostly consists of putting up trail signs.
“Because we take them down every spring, and we've got thousands of signs to put up along various portions of our trails.It takes a dedicated bunch of volunteers to get it done.”
He notes the South East Sno-Riders are holding a membership drive to sign up new members and re-sign up current members.
The event is on Saturday, December 9th from 11:30am-3pm at their groomer shop, 58-028 Tower Road in Woodridge.
They will have a free hot dog roast for both new and current members, and all South East Sno-Riders members can enter for a chance to win some prizes, with the Grand Prize being an FXR Helmet worth $500.
With files from Adi Loewen
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