Delivering a world class snowmobile experience since 1968.
By Laura Hodge
This article first appeared in print in Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
The sixties — a decade which brought us plenty of technological advancements, such as the first human moon landing, the conception of the audio cassette and the invention of the computer mouse. This decade saw many significant developments in snowmobile technology too, with engines becoming much lighter, smaller and less easy to blow out than in previous years. It was also in this decade that the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club was founded.
The club was created in 1968 with Terry Fleming appointed as the club’s first president and Don Gillespie as the first vice-president. The club was formed as a place to unite those who share a love of snowmobiling, as well as to promote the sport to the wider community.
Snowmobiling was — and still is — a popular way of allowing people to access the backcountry, be it for sledding, or for recreational skiing and snowboarding. Before the formation of Revelstoke Mountain Resort, families often took their snowmobiles out into the mountains to find terrain that was suitable for skiing. Around this time, oval racing also began to increase in popularity, with snowmobilers racing on oval-shaped tracks to see who could cross the finish line first.
By the early seventies, the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club had won the bid to bring the B.C. snowmobile racing championships to Revelstoke — one of the largest racing events in British Columbia. This prompted the building of a new snowmobile racing track especially for the event — a mammoth task, which enlisted a number of volunteers to help shovel and shape huge amounts of snow. All of this hard work paid off and the vent was deemed a success, with a total of ninety-eight trophies being given out to the winners.
Talking to some of the club’s original members, they reminisced about the various events held by the club over the years. The club began as a very family-focused affair, with members bringing along their young children to events, which included snowmobile races, demolition derbies and local parades. Family members were quick to pitch in to help see the smooth-running of all events organized by the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club, often volunteering to help cook and serve food for the many attendees.
Snowmobiling still runs in the veins for some of the clubs family members, with their children and grandchildren also sharing a passion for the sport. In more recent years, as the sport has evolved, the club has seen snowmobiling become a less family-focused affair. In an effort to keep the sport open to the younger generation, the club holds annual Youth Safety Days, encouraging the younger generation to get a safe introduction to the sport of snowmobiling.
With the increase in popularity of snowmobiling, the club has seen a significant increase in its number of members. This, however, has not affected the sense of community, with many life-long bonds having being formed over a shared love of snowmobiling. Some of these friendships even span oceans, with snowmobilers from all over the world being brought together through the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club. It’s not uncommon for club members to spot a good few familiar faces at the various snow shows held around the country.
Since its formation over fifty years ago, the club has being a big part of the Revelstoke community, putting on various fundraisers and events to raise money for local charities, such as the local food bank and the Queen Victoria Hospital Helipad Project. The growth of the club has seen it employ a number of new staff, who continue to develop ideas for fundraisers, events and ways to put back into the local community. These innovative new projects have contributed immensely to the club, with a number of new events having been created, such as Avalanche Awareness Days, the annual Youth Day, the annual ladies ride, the Snoworama Drag Races and Snowmobile Patrol.
One especially important aspect of the club’s development has been the integration of the Avalanche Awareness Days. As sledding technology has developed, snowmobilers are now able to delve further into the backcountry than they would have been able to fifty years ago. This comes with some risks, as it takes sledders right into much riskier terrain. To teach sledders more about understanding the terrain they are accessing, the club frequently teams up with Avalanche Canada to put on regular Avalanche Awareness days.
In addition to the creation of these new events, the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club have also taken on a number of new projects, which have allowed them to expand their terrain. The completion of a new Welcome Centre in 2016 provides a place for snowmobilers to meet, learn more about the terrain on offer and to receive important information on safety and protecting the local environment. The Welcome Centre is also home to two groomers, which are used to groom the club’s trails on Boulder Mountain and Frisby Ridge.
Over the past fifty years the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club has achieved many significant milestones, helping to promote the sport of snowmobiling, bringing a number of great events to Revelstoke and contributing to the local community. Here’s to the next fifty years — we look forward to seeing what future projects and technological advances the coming years will bring.
March 2018 will see the fiftieth anniversary celebrations kick-off, starting with an anniversary banquet and dance on Friday, March 23, to which past presidents will be in attendance. There will also be a fiftieth anniversary ride on Boulder Mountain and Frisby Ridge on Sunday, March 25, finishing off with a BBQ at the Greeting Centre. For more information on these events, visit the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club website.