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February 2009 Newsletter

February 2009 Newsletter


We were in snowmobile heaven with our abundant early and heavy snow cover and well groomed trails.  Harsh reality has returned with the meltdown and lack of snow, but our trails are in great shape compared to the southern part of Minnesota.  We need new and plentiful snow.

Our groomer breakdown problems have continued, but Trail Coordinator Jim Jackson and crew have been able to make repairs and perform maintenance rapidly keeping our trails in the best condition possible.  Brad Frank and Adam Ortman have joined the Club and have become groomer operators.  The ASV DX Groomer has had about $8,000 in repairs (one new track and a new hydraulic planetary motor) so far this winter, so Mike Hughes has been appointed by the Club to investigate and attain a grant for 50% of the cost of purchasing a new groomer.  The grant application will be acted on by the Itasca County Commissioners this week.  The ASV DX would become a third groomer for back-up and also will have a regular grooming schedule to maintain our 103 mile trail system. Grooming is very time consuming.  Groomers at work are averaging three miles an hour.  They have to make two passes on each trail, so they are in reality grooming 206 miles which takes about 70 hours to complete without any problems.  We are attempting to spot all sign problems on our trail system.  Please report broken, tipped and missing signs to us by emailing the information to snowtrack@bigfork.net.

The Club Winter Weekend at Ash Ka Nam Resort, Ash River, Minnesota was enjoyed by Yvonne Elkins and Eric Joutsi, winners of the $200 drawing at the Christmas Party, as well as Barry & Linda Pigman, Mike & Becky Elhardt, Paul & Diane Hanson, Jack & Jane Hillstrom and Past President Jimmie Kelich who drove all the way from Indiana to enjoy the snowmobile weekend.  On Friday, Paul Hanson, Jimmie Kelich and Jack & Jane Hillstrom left Richies’ parking lot and drove their snowmobiles about 140 miles to Ash Ka Nam.  Saturday we went on a ride to Crane Lake on the Arrowhead Trail lunched at the Voyageur and returned on the ice trail on Lake Namakan.  We had a very good time

We are planning a Day Ride for Sunday, February 22nd.  If the weather conditions continue to be satisfactory we will meet at the Clubhouse parking lot at 10:30am, and Paul Hanson will lead us on a tour thru the Joyce Estate followed by a ride across several lakes (assuming they are safe and are not down to bare ice), have lunch at the Wilderness Pub, and return on the Suomi Trail and Marcell South Trail back to the Clubhouse.  If lake conditions are poor, the ride will be modified.  We probably would be back at the Clubhouse by 3:00pm.  Join us if you can   We will leave no later than 10:45am.  Please call 743-3658 or email snowtrack@bigfork.net  to let us know if you are going to participate.

Chuck Ogee, Jane and I represented the Club at the MN USA Winter Rendezvous by being greeters at Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids for the Governor’s Luncheon on Friday, February 13th.  The Swampsiders had several members there acting as greeters also. Governor Pawlenty gave a speech indicating that he is very supportive of snowmobile funding. The luncheon was well attended, but the ride was cancelled because of poor trail conditions.

The International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHOF) has its annual meeting in Grand Rapids the last week of February.  Snowdrifter members who have volunteered and worked on trails and our groomer operators, plus our landowners, are eligible to attend the Hospitality Evening in their honor Friday, February 27th at the Timberlake Lodge Hotel in Grand Rapids.  The Social Hour is from 5pm to 6pm with a cash bar.  At 5:30pm there will be an awards presentation for the Itasca County Safety Poster Contest.  At 6pm there will be a free buffet dinner.  Entertainment to follow.  Friday & Saturday, Feb 27th & 28th, there will be groomer demonstrations at the Grand Rapids Airport.

Our membership totals are down this year.  We need a volunteer to come forward, become our membership chair, and help remedy this situation.  Is it your turn to step up to the plate?  Try it out.  Volunteer now, complete your responsibility by the end of the year and turn the job over to another member.  WE NEED YOU 

We extend a hearty WELCOME  to our new members:  Ray Rautio, Dan & Jill Fischer, Adam Ortman, Brad Frank, Hayslips Corner, Tim & Rita Onraet, owners of Jessie View Resort, Tom & Sherry Pearson and Mike Treacy.  If I missed someone’s name, please let me know.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 24th at the Clubhouse with the directors meeting scheduled for 6:00pm and the general membership meeting following at 6:30pm.

Join us at the February 24th meeting.  Your thoughts and ideas are needed.  We are having budgetary concerns during this recession, just like you are.  Urge your friends to pay their dues and rejoin the club.  We need every dollar possible to maintain our trails.

Jack Hillstrom
743-3658
snowtrack@bigfork.net

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