Volunteer Spotlight: Charlie Livendale

1969 – Strong Block Tower, Orange, VT
2014 – Sno-Bees Signboard, Barre, VT

Day Job: Charlie is a retired financial services representative.  He began his working career selling life insurance, and then moved on, becoming a financial services representative with LPL Financial for the next 25 years, completing a 38-year career. 

Date joined the club:  Charlie joined the Sno-Bees back in 1972; 51 years ago!  His first snowmobile, a 1966 Skiroule, was purchased in 1967.  Charlie lived in Morrisville when he joined the Sno-Bees and got more involved in 1975 when he moved to Barre.  As they say…the rest is history! 

Charlie’s History Lesson #1:  Before 1972, joining a club wasn’t required but you did have to get written permission to ride on private property.  Once VAST became involved, they put into place a landowner policy and worked with landowners for their permission.

Volunteer positions:

During the early years as a new volunteer, Charlie mostly worked out on the trials with work groups.  Eucy Messier and Wayne Pelkey were his mentors.  Around 1985, Charlie became the Vice President of the club and took over the position of President after Wayne Pelkey took on a role with VAST.  He was our club President for 4 years.  He also sat in for the Secretary at times. 

Over all, Charlie has always been involved in trail work.  After the unexpected passing of Eucky Messier many years ago, Charlie took over Eucky’s trail as a Trustee and still maintains that same section of trail today. 

One of Charlie’s best outcomes of serving the Sno-Bees over the years was his first-class friendship with John Black, who was one of the original members of the club.  John has passed away but Charlie still holds his friendship close. 

Charlie’s History Lesson #2 – In the early days, there was no money.  No raffles, no signboard, no dinners.  They could write down the financials on a slip of paper.  Bob Boutin started the monthly raffle with 300 tickets, and his family sold them all.  The following year, Charlie took over the raffle and continued leading the charge for 30+ years!  Thank you, Charlie for keeping our raffle alive!

Charlie’s History Lesson #3 – The club purchased a $10,000 groomer.  That year there was no snow and no money.  Ernie Bancroft asked every member to purchase a $100 bond and each month they would draw names.  This brought in enough cash to pay for the groomer!   Looks like snow challenged winters were a thing back in those days too.

Most enjoyable activity for the club:  Over the years, Charlie enjoyed the end of season Landowner’s Dinners at the Canadian Club.  Back then there were about 50 landowners.  Today there are 160! 

Charlie still enjoys working on our trail system after all these years.

We are always thankful for the generosity of our landowners. 

Most memorable experience:  Riding with his wife Linda and their two children, Bonnie and Joe, when they were younger. Linda liked to ski as well, so she alternated between spending her time on the slopes and on the trails.  When their son Joe was about 1 ½ years old he was standing in the window watching Charlie ride around the yard and said “Vroom-Vroom”.  Charlie took him out and that was it…Joe was hooked!  300-mile weekend rides in Canada wasn’t uncommon for Charlie and, then, 11-year-old Joe.  Their daughter Bonnie was an avid rider as well.  As Charlie says…she could keep up with the boys, no problem. 

Proudest Moment as a volunteer:  Water Ride.  We’ve heard about this event before!  Charlie was the Co-Chairman for the last year.  He said there was rain in the forecast, but they took a chance and held it anyways.  The sun came out and it was a fabulous day.  They always had a big turnout for this event.  Great event. So much fun!

Fun Facts about Charlie: 

– 34 Trips to Quebec. 141 riding days.

– Rode approximately 100,000+ miles since 1967. He started tracking in a journal in 1987 and has 88K miles logged. Estimates the previous 20 years about 15K miles.

Thank you, Charlie for all of your time and dedication to the Sno-Bees Club. Charlie’s wife, Linda, deserves a kudos here too, as she supported all the time and effort Charlie put into the Sno-Bees Club.  Thank you, Linda!

PHOTOS BELOW – Charlie was kind enough to provide some old photos from the late 60’s/early 70’s to today.  Enjoy!

Submitted By:  Francine Perkins, Membership Chair

Volunteer Spotlight – Steve Avery

Steve Avery, SnoBees President

Day Job:  For the last 17 years, Steve has held the position of VP of Facilities for VT State Employees Credit Union (VSECU).

How long has Steve been helping the club

10 years, give or take a few! After regularly attending meetings for a few years and raising his hand to help, he finally raised his hand for the right job; Trail Trustee. Tim Stone, the club’s Trailmaster at the time, took him up on his offer and since the early to mid-2000’s, Steve continues to oversee the same 3-mile stretch of trail. That’s dedication Steve!

Volunteer position(s):

In addition to serving as a trail trustee, Steve continued to serve as Secretary for a year or so, taking over for Pat Reed. Like many before him, his service did not stop there, he continued to serve as Vice President to his role today as President. He is currently serving his second year as President. Thank you for your leadership, Steve!

Steve also helps with the sign board. He helps designs the signs, installs them, and recently worked with his brother-in-law, Jamie, to install lighting and a US flag for the board. He truly enjoys this work, and it pays off for the club as the businesses keep supporting the club!

 Most enjoyable activity for the club:

Working on the trails and being outside is one of Steve’s favorite jobs for the club.

On the administrative side, Steve is honored and proud to serve as President of the Sno-Bees. He enjoys being part of a team that has the same goal. Having his son, Shawn, serving beside him as Secretary is pretty cool too!

What do you like best about the club: 

What stands out to Steve about the club is the extensive amount of longevity of membership and volunteerism. John, Greg, Dave, Bob, Carl, Burger, Paul, Lionel just to name a few; the list goes on. It’s so impressive to see how many member volunteers have 30+ years of experience serving the club.  All that experience is what makes up this small-town club.

  1. Steve’s Dad (on the TNT) and his Grandpa Fenton (on the Rupp in the picture below) taught him how to ride when he was around 7 – 8 years old. Steve’s best memories are riding with father, uncle, siblings, cousins, and grandfather back in the early 70’s; breaking trails, going for rides with the family and enjoying the outdoors and instilling the love of the sport. “Nothing could beat a day on the trails with Grandpa riding the Polaris Colt and coming back to the house at the end of the ride to a homecooked meal that Grandma made for us. To this day – her donuts are the best I’ve ever had. “

Early days riding on the sled with Grandpa

2. Riding with family and friends. Steve has three sons; two of which like to ride. His oldest, Shawn, has a love of snowmobiling like his dad and have shared many great times together.

Taking in a view with Shawn

3. Ride-In for Veterans in 2022 and ’23 were special to Steve. He was so happy and proud to be a part of it.

Submitted by Francine Perkins, Membership Volunteer

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
SnoBees Snowmobile Club 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.