Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snow Mobiling Season is Just Around the Corner. Are You Ready?

The Thunder Bay Adventure Trails snowmobile club has released its 2010/2011 trail map for the city and area, signaling that the sledding season is just around the corner for the region. The earlier snows and freezing weather points to a potentially longer season than in the past few years.

The maps and snow mobile permits are available at the following snow mobile dealers in the city

J and J Sports

Understanding the trail network and permitting process is something those in the visitor services and accommodation industry should be paying attention to. We should all be able to answer visitor inquiries about the trails and give them the information that will encourage them to choose our area.

Contrary to perception, there is still a market for enthusiasts looking for spectacular wilderness riding and while low snow levels and some regressive trail corridor policies courtesy of the Ministry of Transportation have eliminated trail access through the city itself, riders do not need to travel far from the community to stage from and ultimately enjoy hundreds of kilometers of trails along the north shore and west of the city. In fact, sled trailering services exist to help sledders get through the gap.

Travelling sledders often travel in groups and while they are out on the trail all day, they want good food and good accommodation. Some will use Thunder Bay as a daily staging ground and some will ride town to town on a multi day excursion.

Its also important that the tourism industry come together to work on trail connectivity, package development and lobbying to influence policy changes around trail corridor development. What's always impressed me about Adventure Trails (and OFSC for that matter as well), is their willingness to work with other trail stakeholders, both motorized and non motorized, to advocate the development for multi use all season trail corridors. Its this multi use partnership and strength in numbers that can help strengthen the trail network while creating new multi season outdoor infrastructure.

Here's some tips for local accommodation, gas, restaurant and visitor services partners to consider in helping welcome snowmobile visitors to the city and area
  1. Get a trail map and study it.

  2. keep the map at your front desk or counter and make available to visiting sledders

  3. Know where they can purchase permits locally. For the 2010/2011 year, seasonal permits are $250.00, 7 day permits are $140.00 and 3 day permits are $100.00. Permit applications are also available online.

  4. Check the trail website periodically to understand trail conditions

  5. offer secure storage for sleds and trailers. It can be a fenced in compound or even an area with security cameras in open sight

  6. For hotels, make rags available (old wash cloths and towels) so sledders can keep their sleds clean and grease free

  7. know the location of local sled service dealers.

  8. Be welcoming and able to suggest places to eat, fuel up and relax.
For more information visit the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) website.

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