A Message to the Snowmobile Community of PEI

A Message to the Snowmobile Community of PEI

I am writing this note to address a few of the emails that have been sent to the website over the past few days. Here is a couple of the samples and I have not put any names associated with the questions and statements, but I am going to address them in this letter to the entire membership.

Subject: Trails are aweful
Message: Hi, my husband was out on his sled today, and couldn\'t get over the aweful conditions of the trails! He said going along the trails was extremely rough and not pleasant. Why are they in such rough shape? We pay enough for trail passes, and this is supposed to be so that the trails are usable! Not impressed at all!!!!! Almost not even worth it!!! He was also talking to a group of people today, and there are alot of unhappy people.

Message: today febuary 18 2017 went from sside to louies then to rustico and back to sside and the trails were the worst I ever drove on. there was a lot of sleders at louies that weren't happy about the trail conditions. maybe someone could give us people that paid 200 hundred or more for a trail pass a bit of information on why this is.

Thank You

Unfortunately as approach the last 10 days of February this has not been the winter we were all hoping it would be. When you look back at this winter it is hard to believe that we did have some decent snowfalls but unfortunately we could never keep it for more than 48 hrs before this past week when over a 8 day period we received anywhere between 70 to 90 centimetres of fresh powder snow along with the usual high winds. The sad part of this is that the snow came on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and it was not until Friday morning that it was fit to do anything with the new snow and the wind and gone down enough that it would not fill in the trail which we would be grooming.
Well this is what myself and every other snowmobiler on PEI has waited all winter, lots of fresh snow and trails to ride on Saturday morning!!!! ONE BIG PROBLEM!!! Like I mentioned earlier, the groomers were not able to leave until Friday morning and many people expected to have perfect trails when they were ready to finally hit the snow, but these groomers only travel at 10 km per hour and with close to 1000 kms of trails to cover ( the number of trails is closer to 2000 because most trails have a end point and we must return the same way) and everyone expecting perfect trails, something does not add up when you do the math by only 24 hours which was how long we had been working till the sleds started traveling. To slow things down even more almost all groomers left with the packers or box drags to begin with because of the amount of work that was required at all the road crossings. In some areas there was 10 and 12 foot high banks pushed up by the snow plows and we need to get these opened up and pushed back to allow our members to see both ways as they cross the many roads on PEI where our entire trail system encompasses. This job takes even more “time” which means even less trail groomed. Next time you cross a road take notice of the snow bank pushed back so you can see.
So here we are it is now Saturday morning our groomers have been on the go for over 24 hrs and we have lots of trail “opened and passable” but by no means perfect and the snowmobilers are ready to hit the trails. It looks like it is going to be a great day temperatures just below freezing, no wind no snow and maybe some sunshine. Plans have been made we are going to meet our family and friends and finally have a great day riding. For those who were able to get going early the trails were ok to begin with but by noon or early afternoon almost every trail on PEI that wasn’t the “shits before noon definitely was by then. On top of these problems, I believe that yesterday Feb 18 2017 may have been the busiest snowmobile day in history. I was talking to one of the board members and he told me that two young girls were counting snowmobiles going by their home on Saturday morning for a two hour period and there was “608’ snowmobiles went through that stretch of trail.
There are a few points that I would like people to take notice of in the above paragraph please, temperature, sunshine, and amount of sleds. These are the three hardest things there is on any trail and when you are dealing with very fresh snow and a short period of time to set up this adds up to the disaster that was yesterday and allows frustration levels to grow in snowmobilers and the very dedicated group of volunteers who are doing the best they can to make snowmobiling as good as it can be here on PEI. These volunteer’s are the ones that get up at 3.00 am to go rescue a groomer driver who has had a electrical problem with the groomer. A PEISA volunteer is the one that delivers fuel to the groomer because there are no gas stations open at 4.00 am and the groomer is burning twice as much fuel as normal because of the heavy conditions. A PEISA volunteer is the person who gets that call from the groomer operator in the middle of the night to go help shovel the groomer that dropped out of sight in a 15 foot snow drift. A PEISA volunteer is that person, who goes and marks and puts up signs to warn snowmobilers that there are dangers ahead. A PEISA volunteer is that person that gives up their time to go and mark all the trails in the fall and also the same one who goes and picks them all up in the spring. A PEISA volunteer is the person who helps organize and assists other volunteers when the trees are hanging over the trails, and they are not passable. A PEISA volunteer is the person who gives up the Saturday of snowmobiling to go and do one or more of the above.
As I write this to the entire snowmobile community, believe me that the entire board shares the same concerns and we would love nothing more than to provide each and every one of you with a perfect trail but due to things that are beyond are control and when mother nature does not give us perfect snowmobile conditions it is hard to make the perfect trail.
I know there has been a lot of negative talk and discussion concerning your elected PEISA board and there has even been people who have claimed that they can do a better job than the people who are in charge now, I ask you to please attend the Annual AGM on April 6th in Emerald and step up and make the changes required to make things better.

Thanks
Dale Hickox
President of the Prince Edward Island Snowmobile Association

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