Snowmobile Congress helps keep industry informed

Grassroots leaders, trail administrators, and those in the snowmobile business discussed snowmobile issues at the 35th International Snowmobile Congress in La Malbaie, Quebec, from June 11 to 14.
Discussions ranged from public land access to snowmobile sound testing procedures, zero-tolerance policies, environmental initiatives and fund raising. It was a joint meeting between the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA), the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO), the Swedish association Snofed, and their affiliates.
For John Lyon, owner of J&J Sports, a Yamaha and Arctic Cat dealer in Sycamore, Ill., the event is where he gathers information about the grassroots of snowmobiling.
“As a dealer, by being there, I can get a better feel of what is takes to keep the family sport of snowmobiling continuing,” he said. “I’m very involved in the American Council of Snowmobile Associations and the International Snowmobile Council, and I think it’s important for dealers to be involved in planning the future of the sport.”
Lyons goes to the snowmobile congress every June and treats it as a business meeting.
“Without snowmobile clubs, there would be no dealers selling snowmobiles and no manufacturers making them,” he said. “It’s those end-users who provide the trails.”
He was especially encouraged to see more aftermarket presence at the event, something he feels has been lacking in other years. Drummondville, Quebec-based Kimpex; Choko Design of St. Leonard, Quebec; and Signabec of Quebec City.
Ed Klim, director of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association noted his pleasure at the increased aftermarket involvement at the congress. Companies who eat from snowmobiling’s table should help support it, he said, and it’s nice to see some aftermarket companies coming forward.
For Eddie Majerfeld, president of Choko Design, becoming a sponsorship partner was a logical next step in their corporate “Choko Cares” campaign.
It used to be that grassroots organizations would approach the clothing maker for donations, now it’s the other way around, Majerfeld said. “There’s no question it will give us exposure,” he said.
They’ve dedicated a page in their most recent catalog promoting the grassroots, actively donates gear, and is starting a new program to sell special jackets below cost to volunteers in Ontario.
“We want every association to have a uniform so they get some respect,” he said. “They get no recognition, no respect, because they look like everyone else.”
Dealers, Aftermarket Win Awards
Jack Nelson, owner of Nelsons Speed Shop in Greenville, Mich., went home with the Dealer Of The Year award from the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA).
In the presentation, Nelson was cited for his commitment to introducing snowmobiling to multitudes of people, as well as rebuilding his dealership after the original building burned.
Bonnyville, Alberta-based T&T Power Sports, Ltd. was named Outstanding Dealer by the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO). T&T is an Arctic Cat dealer and is owned by Terry Coulombe.
The dealer was recognized for its involvement in trail construction and maintenance and donating up-keep equipment.
Mancor Snowmobile Trail Signs, based in Manitoba, received the CCSO award for Outstanding Snowmobile Related Company.
Other CCSO award winners include Yves Watier, CEO of the Federation des clubs de motoneigistes du Quebec, for Outstanding Promotion and Development; the Association Touristique de Charlevoix for Outstanding Snowmobile Tourism and Promotion; the Seaway Valley Snowmobile Association Inc. in St. Andrews West, Ontario, for Outstanding Snowmobile Club; Keith Bowman of Nova Scotia as Outstanding Snowmobiler; and the Barry and Rose Klyn family of Beausejour, Manitoba, as Outstanding Family.
Other ACSA award winners include Dave Dillard of the U.S. Forest Service as as Outstanding Partner; and Ken Rossum of Sandy, Utah, as Snowmobiler Of The Year.
Ed Skomoroh, retired vice president of marketing for Polaris Industries, was given the achievement award named for George Eisenhuth from the Iron Dog Brigade.

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