snowmobile update 

Snowmobile club sees good early turnout A new season for the Powder Mountain Snowmobile Club is officially under way following the club’s annual general meeting on Dec. 1. More than 30 people showed up to the meeting, says Brian Engen, who is stepping down from the executive this year to make room for "new blood." Engen would like to see all of Whistler’s more than 200 sledders join the club, whether they are recreational sledders or snowboarders who use sleds to get into the backcountry. He says the club is off to a good start for the season. "Considering that there's not a lot of snow on the ground at this point in a lot of our areas, it's one of the best turnouts we've ever had," says Engen. "A lot of new faces showed up as well, which is great. We want these young people to bring their ideas and ambitions to the club and run with it, see if we can get this club going." The $35 membership fee includes dues to the B.C. Snowmobile Federation, which represents more than 20,000 sledders around the province, and a trail pass which Engen hopes will become mandatory in the future. By attaching a trail pass to your sled it signifies that you're doing your part to build and maintain trails and to keep access to the backcountry open. Ongoing conflicts between snowmobilers and other recreational groups over busy trail areas has resulted in trails being closed to sledders in recent years. "Everybody who joins the club and shows up the meetings will have a voice here, they can make motions and we'll vote on them," says Engen. "There are legal issues, access issues which have to be kept in the light. And they're not going to be resolved until we can get all snowmobilers in the area involved." The growth of snowmobiling o In 1994, Canadians spent more than $268 million on snowmobiles, and purchased 58,431 units. Last year, that increased to over $380 million and 68,618 units — a growth rate of approximately 30 per cent and 14 per cent respectively. o Every year, more than 5,000 snowmobiles are purchased in B.C. No operator training is required and there is a one-time $5 registration fee. o There are more than 12,000 km of official trails in BC, 2,000 km of which are groomed regularly. o There are currently 70 snowmobile clubs in the province.

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