Your Reality Check For Trail Riding This Winter…

The new normal challenge could close trails like this!

Related: Preventing Sled Theft


So what’s the new normal challenge for snowmobilers? The biggest question snowmobilers are asking is whether there will be snowmobile trails to ride during the 2022 season.

Without a doubt, snowmobile federations are doing their level best to deliver trail riding opportunities this winter. And if the outcome for the coming season was solely dependent on their efforts and determination, the answer to the biggest question would be a resounding “YES!”

Support Your Snowmobile Association & Clubs

Anyone who cares about riding this winter should be doing everything possible to support their endeavours. Especially with increasing restrictions already in place, We can do this by purchasing a trail permit, volunteering to help, and by encouraging clubs on social media. And by staying off the trails until clubs say they’re available. But that’s not all snowmobilers can do to meet the new normal challenge…

Act Responsibly

Snowmobilers also need to take a close look in the mirror. The rider you see reflected there has a huge role to play in the trail availability equation. Because all that trail prep and grooming might not matter…

It won’t mean diddly-squat if careless individuals spread the virus while trailering or riding. Local or regional outbreaks attributed to snowmobilers could be a primary reason for in-season shut downs. And that would be a tragedy for every rider. Made even worse because it was so very preventable if everyone had behaved responsibly from the get-go. And done their own reality check.

The Downside of the New Normal Challenge

Yeah, every snowmobiler knows that our time actually riding snowmobile trails is very low risk for virus transmission. But the danger increases when we stop for rest breaks, fuel, food and lodgings. Either while trailering to snow or during our ride. In fact, it goes up anytime we interact closely or unprotected with each other. Or with service providers or local residents.

Especially with so many snowmobilers coming from higher risk urban areas to ride in and around small rural communities that are mostly virus-free. Sure, these towns need our winter business. But do you really think the locals want our dollars at the expense of getting sick from careless snowmobilers? Not a chance.

And what if snowmobiler-inspired virus fear circulates throughout a snowbelt area? You can bet that services we need could be restricted or closed even more than the latest reduced gathering sizes and closed indoor eating. Community access might be limited or denied to visitors. And other localized trail restrictions could result form public health units, as happened last winter in North Bay/Parry Sound. All of this on top of some hospitality services, already hard hit by virus, who may have already closed over the past year.

Photo by Jean-Guy Hallé

New Normal Challenge Impact on Trails

So, if last season was any indication, the overall trail system shouldn’t close. But we could end up with regional disruptions or localized riding pockets thanks to unavailable services or arbitrary public health unit restrictions. Either way, our riding would be more siloed, more inconvenient and more unpredictable. Like last winter, much more local.

Sure, there’d still be some huge swaths of great trail riding to be had in more remote regions. But without the reliable availability of services, we will encounter this new normal challenge for snowmobile trail riding. Not surprising, given that everything else in our world has changed. But unlike with so much of this transformative phenomenon, snowmobilers have a better chance than most to control their own destiny.

My Last Word on The New Normal Challenge

So here’s my big question. As a group, do we have what it takes to overcome the new normal challenge again this winter? Foremost should be that our individual actions respect the health and safety of the service providers we encounter. Also, the communities we visit, and the residents we interact with. And, of the other snowmobilers we travel with and come across at the services, rest stops, outhouses, clubhouses, and scenic lookouts on our routes. Regardless of our own personal positions on vaccines or frustrations with government actions. Because this is about snowmobilers pulling together for the common goal of keeping trails open.

If we succeed in doing this, we can make the answer to that biggest question of having any snowmobile trails to ride for 2022 an unequivocal “YES” for the entire winter!


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The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.


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