Snowmobile enthusiasts gathered at Ghostrider Motorsports on Saturday despite the rainy conditions. Paige Mueller/The Free Press

Season opener for Fernie Snowmobile Association

It wasn’t exactly prime snowmobiling weather on Saturday as the Fernie Snowmobile Association (FSA) gathered to celebrate their season opener.

Despite the rain pouring down around them, spirits were high both inside and outside Ghostrider Motorsports as members gathered to celebrate the kickoff of another winter season.

As part of the event, president David Hozjan and treasurer Steve Kelly cooked up a pancake breakfast by donation to the Salvation Army. Steaming hot pancakes and sausages seemed to keep the visitors to the event happy and warm from the wet weather.

The Fernie Snowmobile Association, according to Kelly, is a “400 member club, stewarding about 150km of groomed trails throughout the Elk Valley.”

They are completely volunteer based and dedicated to those who love the mountains and all their splendour. As Kelly put it, “you’ve seen nothing of the backcountry if you haven’t been off the highway because there’s so many trails and places to go.”

Despite the lack of snow, Kelly said that the FSA is ready to go for the season. “Infrastructure-wise we’re ready to go. We’ve got three snow cats that are ready to groom and we’re getting organized logistically that way.”

All that’s left, he continued, is for “Mother Nature and the Griz to help us out now.”

According to their website, the event on Saturday was also meant as a chance for people to be social and “reunite with all your winter riding buddies.” Kelly noted that since the organization is run entirely by volunteers, they have a good group of dedicated members.

“We can’t do it without volunteers. We see the same faces quite often but if we could get more volunteers coming out, it would be a big help for us.”

As an added incentive, anyone who volunteers with the club can get a reduction on the price of their seasons pass. Although a seasons pass would normally cost $185, “for a work day, we’ll reduce a season’s pass by $25 per day and we’ll do that for two days. So you can knock $50 off your seasons pass just by coming out and helping a little bit.”

Day passes with the association are only $25 and anyone interested in learning more or getting involved with the FSA can visit their website at Ferniesnowmobile.com.

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