News

My 2 Year Journey from Clueless Rider to Club Officer

I moved to Vermont in 2013 (yeah, flatlander, I know) and we ended up buying a house right on the SnoBees trail system in 2014. I had never ridden a snowmobile before, but it seemed like something I would be in to as I enjoyed the outdoors and was fairly proficient on a jet ski.

So I bought an older sled, riding gear, got insured and went to buy a TMA through VAST online. I had to select a club, and there were a lot to choose from, so I just randomly selected the SnoBees of Barre as that seemed like the closest one.

As I waited for the season to start, magically the trail markers and signs appeared. I thought to myself, “that’s pretty cool, I guess the clubs have a paid staff that goes out to set up the trails”. For the next two seasons I rode ignorant and oblivious on the trails around Barre, Plainfield, Groton, East Montpelier and so on as I got used to riding. I would be ecstatic when the trails were freshly groomed, and when they weren’t and were rough I again ignorantly thought “man, someone is slacking on their job”. In these two seasons I maybe averaged 300-400 miles

I’m being brutally honest here in the interests of full disclosure. Yes, I was “that guy”. Looking back I cringe at how selfish and downright asinine my attitude was, but in my defense I truly didn’t know any better. I just had not stopped to think about, or do any research into, what all went in to providing those trails for me to ride on.

One fine late fall day I walked into Laquerre’s in East Montpelier and saw a black and sunburst orange Switchback Assault sitting on the showroom floor, and knew instantly that I had to have it. With the improvement in comfort and performance, I put in almost 2,500 miles that season and I was completely hooked on the sport. When I wasn’t riding, I was thinking about riding. When I was sleeping, I was dreaming about riding.

Towards the end of that season while having a rest stop and a conversation with other riders at an intersection, one of them suggested that since I loved riding so much I should go to the meetings of my club. I didn’t even know the clubs held meetings. Again, my ignorance was overwhelming. I looked up when the SnoBees met and headed over for the next meeting unsure of what to expect.

When I arrived at my first meeting in March, I was immediately struck by how few people there were under the age of 30. I’d seen thousands of people riding on their trails, but there were maybe 20 people in attendance. As I sat and listened to the club business being discussed, I rapidly identified a theme. It was the same people doing the bulk of the work. Oh, so all these folks volunteer their time to maintain the groomer, make the signs, place the signs and markers, take them down, etc.?

Boy did I feel like an idiot. And at that meeting my awakening began.

I volunteered to adopt the section of trail from my house out to the next intersection. When the season ended I took down all the signs, walked the entire trail section picking up all the trash and beer cans, and generally ensuring we left it in the right shape for the landowner. I took pride in it because now I was personally invested in the sport, my club, and maintaining a relationship of mutual trust with my neighbors who let the trail pass through their land.

In the off season I got involved with trail work projects, and enjoyed giving back to the sport and the club that allows for me to ride. I met great people and felt a sense of community and belonging. I looked forward to our club meetings and hours spent pounding in stakes for trail markers.

Towards the end of the next season it had become apparent through the meetings each month that our club website was a problem. It was many years old and coded in raw HTML and made navigating it, and updating it a big problem for the club. I used to build websites as a hobby, so I sat down one afternoon with a 4 pack of good Vermont IPA and spent two hours building out the website you are reading this on as an example.

At the next club meeting I presented the website as an option and said I would be more than happy to manage it and continue to build it, along with taking over our social media properties as I do social media marketing for a living.

At the end of the season I was nominated and voted in as a Club Officer as the Webmaster, a position I enjoy that allows me to leverage my skills and experience to benefit the club, VAST, and the sport of Snowmobiling in Vermont.

The point of this essay is this. DON’T BE THE OLD ME. If you ride, seek out and get involved with your local club, whichever one that may be. Our sport will live or die based on the contributions of the volunteers that make it happen. All of us have skills, talents, and passions. I guarantee that there is a way YOURS will benefit your club and the sport. But you won’t know unless you take that step and show up to a meeting.

Dan Caddy
Webmaster
SnoBees Snowmobile Club of Barre

VT Traditions Coalition 2020 Legislative Review

Hello All,

Hunting season is a welcome respite for many of us, and has been perhaps more so this year. Like everything else in 2020 the legislative session was reformatted to fit the conditions, and we found ourselves embroiled even beyond the historically late close of the legislature proper in September, even testifying on rule changes into October. With the cap finally placed on legislative work in time to sneak in a bit of hunting, it was also time to start writing up the 2020 report. It is always a significant undertaking and this year was no exception, but rather than fill a bunch of space here I’ll get directly to the point and present to you the 2020  Vermont Traditions Coalition Legislative Scorecard. You can access the scorecard and read about the session as a wind up to the 2021 legislative session starting in  about one month. 

The Scorecard can be read at: https://sway.office.com/DYw0eynr49Cif2Nd

I hope you find it to be of value.
My Best Regards,
 
 
Mike Covey
Executive Director
Vermont Traditions Coalition
802-461-3786

Snobees November 2020 Newsletter

Sno Bees Monthly Newsletter

Next Meeting:  This Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

7:00 pm at the Bee Hive

Thank you to all those who went out and did the Sno Bees snow dance!  We got snow!! I was about to aerate the back lawn but thought against it J !  We are drawing two TMA’s tomorrow night for our first Sno Bees $20 Money Raffle!  Call me if you want tickets or come to the Meeting tomorrow!  Get your sleds ready…it’s coming!

Membership – Dawnmarie “thanks for your support” Tomasi

This is an important report by Dawn which is why I am going to print it again so that EVERYONE knows what is going on.  I just got my V.A.S.T. Member Card with my member number and am ready to order my TMA’s online!

This spring VAST’s Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) put a plan together to present to the VAST Board of Directors regarding option to go completely online with all TMA sales. They for a variety of reasons, decided selling of TMAs next fall will be All ONLINE, because it will streamline the data entry system and make it easier for clubs/ members/ VAST staff and put more money in the hands of all clubs. As of Oct 1, 2020, TMA purchases will be available 24/7 to all members. This will allow VAST to have an overall cleaner and more efficient system, while offering a seamless point of sale experience for all members. Also, this will ensure, for insurance purposes, which all signatures are entered to guarantee that folks agree they have read the contractual terms and understand them. Insurance covers Vermont landowners (who actually host 80% of our trail system) as well as all our volunteers, grooming fleet, etc. Many may not know that VAST liability insurance is extremely hard to get, and it costs a lot of money (about $200,000 a year); unfortunately. Whenever a VAST member has a snowmobile accident that results in a suit, the insurance cost goes up and the insurance company becomes more reluctant to cover us. Capturing everyone’s signature and agreement on rider responsibilities will help us in the future to fend off lawsuits when the organization is not at fault. Overall, VAST and Riders are feeling positive about this change. For members who have bought online TMAs from VAST in the past, you will not see many changes to the system. However, Lost or Transfers will now also be processed online through VAST direct.

TMAs can still be purchased from local dealers who can provide online access.

Donations to individual clubs will have to be processed directly with club, with or without TMA purchase in place. Keep an eye on your mailbox for your member ID card. All members will be mailed out a card with their membership ID# which they can simply enter into the online system, which will pull up your records for last year. TMA information for each sled they owned, and TMA last year will already be already entered.

NOTE# This ID is not required to purchase this season’s VAST trail pass but simply to make members process easier by having previously entered information generated for purchaser.

Clubs will also be receiving a list of their member’s ID number in case a member loses it. All Vermont club dues are now at a set rate of $30.

Online presentation of this online process can be viewed at the VAST website,

 www.vtvast.org

An e-mail confirmation will be provided by VAST to member which they can either print or save to electronic device and keep with them until the VAST stickers arrive.

Thus, there is no delay to legally access trail systems.

Please contact me if you have any questions or, better yet, join us at our September Meeting on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 @ 7:00 p.m.

Dawnmarie Tomasi

802-309-4474

Fundraisers:  $20 Sno-Bees Money Raffle

 Your Official Sno Bees $20 Raffle Committee Members will be contacting you to purchase your tickets for this most important raffle! We will be having 6 monthly drawings for:  two (2) $100, two (2) $50 and four (4) $25 prizes.  The first drawing tomorrow night will include two (2) TMA’S!!  All of you who have tickets to sell, please try to get them sold and bring them to the Meeting on Wednesday if at all possible! I will be there to gather them.  We want to insure that we can have ALL tickets in the bucket when we have our first drawing during our November Meeting.  Please reach out to me at (802)249-0666 and we can get tickets to you if you want to buy one.  We still have tickets to sell…!

Sno Bees Official Dinner Raffle – Bob “My Ski-Doo 800 Rocks” Campo, Chair of the Dinner Raffle, here and we have decided to do the annual dinner raffle virtually this year due to the COVID situation and gathering in large groups. Our first concern is the well-being of our members and supporters. We have reduced the ticket price from $125 to $100 and only 100 tickets will be sold. There will be no meal. The drawing will take place on Saturday, December 12th at 3pm and will be streamed via Zoom and FB Live. The prize breakdown is as follows: 1st Ball Out $100, 95th, 96th and 97th Ball Out $100, 98th Ball Out $250, 99th Ball Out $500 and the 100th Ball Out $3,000. If you purchased a ticket last year you will be contacted in the near future to confirm your spot for this year.  If you didn’t have a ticket and you want one, please call me at 249-5543. Thank you for your continued support!

Trail Support Sign – Steve “650” Avery! And Committee members, Bob Campo, Dawnmarie Tomasi, Mike MacAuley, Dan Caddy, and Bruce Rancourt, would like to thank all Official Sno Bees Trail Support Sign Sponsors who supported us last year. The group will be reaching out to you shortly for your important continued support for this year. Please let any of the committee members know if you want to sponsor this sign as well!  It is quite the group of sponsors!

Trails Report  

Sno-Bees TrailMaster, Matt “I Got Our Queen Groomer Back Together” Marsh had a great work weekend complete with an Official Sno Bees Venison Cookout and completed moving our Trail Support Sign back out of the trail so that our PB200 groomer can better negotiate this intersection. The Orange Bridge was also repaired, and we want to thank Aaron “I May Get to Groom” Reed and Todd “Want A Sled for Christmas This Year” Heath their help! Special thanks to Dave “Groom ‘em Wide” Watson for use of his excavator and awesome expertise!  Matt also wants all Sno Bees Trail Trustees to know that there are new sign stakes at the Beehive for anyone who needs them.  Please let him know if you need anything to get our trail signs out! Thank you guys!

COVID-19 GUIDELINES, November Meeting Update

To be safe, and to be respectful of everyone in the club and in our community, we need to face the challenges and reality of holding meetings in this current pandemic. The club’s primary concern is providing a safe environment for everyone to meet and allowing all to feel comfortable attending. Meetings will be in-person at the Beehive, as per usual; but we will be taking a few precautions as follows: In accordance with the State of VT guidance regarding gatherings (especially the latest updates over the past week), the club is asking that everyone be respectful of others by allowing some physical distance as best as possible, to wear a face covering while inside the club house, and stay home if you are feeling unwell. These are different times to be certain; but ultimately, the club will do what needs to be done to ensure that we continue to operate safely and effectively. If you have concerns about attending, or are unable, please feel free to contact club president Greg Rouleau at garouleau@ran-mar.com. Thank you all for your continued dedication to our club during these uncertain times. Stay safe, and BRAAAAAP ON! Thanks to our Secretary Shawn “Yamaha Terminator” Avery for putting these guidelines together.

See you at the Meeting Wednesday!

John “Let It Snow” Plante

Director

Sno Bees of Barre

President’s Message

Welcome to the Sno-Bees, a snowmobile club located in central Vermont since 1967, who have been pioneers in trail building, signing, and grooming plus many other fun activities for the benefit of its members.

Our club maintains 52 miles of trails that are some of the most scenic with variations of terrain from valley to hills to mountainous grades. In central Vermont, it is the hub of trails that go north, south, east and west allowing a daily ride of an easy 100 plus miles in each direction and return to your lodging.

By becoming a member of our club, you will provide assistance to state, county and local programs and it will entitle you to receive the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) newspaper by mail.  This publication contains lots of good information and will keep you informed of the issues facing our sport.  We also publish a club Newsletter every month during the season between September and March you can read the latest copy by going to the Home page and pushing the button for Buzz Newsletters.  Club meetings are held once a month on the 2nd Wednesday and are always open to all members.  So come join us in making the Sno-Bees a leader in club participation and organization.

You can also visit us on Facebook look for the link on the Home page. 

If you want snowmobile fun, camaraderie and scenic trails, then come along with the Sno-Bees.