Take A Friend Snowmobiling Week

Published in the January 2010 Issue Industry News Ed Klim - President, International Snowmobile Manufacturer's Association

The snowmobile community is excited to announce the second annual Take a Friend Snowmobiling Week, which will be held Feb. 12-22, 2010.

This elongated week celebrates friends and family snowmobiling for 11 days, including two weekends (and President's Day in the United States). The snowmobile week was introduced to go hand in hand with the Take a Friend Snowmobiling campaign and has been developed to encourage all of us to take our non-snowmobiling friends out snowmobiling.

We have all had many conversations, telling stories about how much fun it is to take people snowmobiling, and many of us are realizing that we have a lot of non-snowmobiling friends to take snowmobiling.

The event is really designed to be simple. There are a few recommended guidelines. They are:

Safety training - make sure to cover all the safe snowmobiling behavior with your friend before taking them out on their first ride. Points to cover should include:

  1. Proper operation of the brake and throttle
  2. Shifting weight and slowing down in curves
  3. Staying on the right hand side of the trail
  4. Dismount the snowmobile on the right hand side of the sled
  5. Make sure the vehicle is in good mechanical order
  6. Make sure your friend is appropriately dressed and sober

A key ingredient to a good time for a first time snowmobiler is for us seasoned riders to make sure non-snowmobilers are comfortable when they first get on a snowmobile. You need to be cautious and ride slow when taking out a new rider. You should plan on making numerous stops and enjoying the scenery. It is always recommended that the first ride be rather short and include a stop for a light meal or hot chocolate or coffee and a little camaraderie and storytelling at the local restaurant, clubhouse or outdoor barbecue area.

Clubs are encouraged to participate in the activity and try to hold a special day or weekend encouraging members to bring non-snowmobiling friends to the clubhouse to go for a short ride and discover what snowmobilers do during the winter.

This effort follows the guidelines and recommendations International Snowmobile Manufacturers' Association customer research has shown, which highlights that non-snowmobilers know very little about snowmobiling. Most non-snowmobilers don't know where the trails are, really don't know who builds and maintains and pays for the trail systems and have no idea of the beautiful scenery that we enjoy and the fun that we have in the winter riding our snowmobiles. The research has showed us that folks who don't snowmobile rate their desire to go snowmobiling a solid 9 on a 10 point scale. All we need to do is ask.

We have all heard the stories of snowmobilers taking friends out, and much to their surprise the friends enjoy themselves so much, they end up buying a new or used snowmobile to join in the winter fun. What a pleasant surprise that is for all of us and why not encourage our family and friends to join us outside this winter on a snowmobile?

As a special incentive to take non-snowmobilers snowmobiling, the manufacturers will give away a $250 gift certificate to a lucky individual who registers and participates in the Take a Friend Snowmobiling Week event. The Take a Friend Snowmobiling Week registration form is now displayed on the Go Snowmobiling website: www.gosnowmobiling.org, the ACSA web site: www.snowmobilers.org and the CCSO web site: www.ccso-ccom.ca.

Non-snowmobilers and their snowmobiling friends need to fill out a registration form to be entered in the drawing for the gift certificate. The registration form is easy to fill out and can be:
- e-mailed or
- printed out and faxed to the ISMA office at (517) 339-7798.

Try to involve your local snowmobile dealer(s), ski hills, chambers of commerce, restaurants and snowmobile clubs. All of us collectively can really expand the idea and make this week an annual event.

If you are going to be snowmobiling any time over Feb. 12-22, 2010, plan on participating in Take a Friend Snowmobiling Week. Don't forget to fill out a registration form, take advantage of the opportunity to win a $250 gift certificate and have fun doing it.

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