Backcountry United: An Open letter to the Snowmobile Industry.

christopher

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http://www.backcountryunited.com/an-open-letter-to-the-snowmobile-industry/

An open letter to the snowmobile industry


by Jon Miller
Snowmobiling, and the industry that supports it, has changed my life. I’ve been working with this industry for about 14 years now, which started back in 2004 when I began working for one of the leading OEMs within a large corporate advertising agency. Through this experience, I have learned all about the history of this sport. Learned about where it started, who started it, what it took to get it off the ground, and the culture and people that continue to carry this industry forward today.


What’s hard to explain to anyone looking at us from the outside, is what’s unique and special about the community and culture I have grown to understand and love. And even more difficult to explain, how profound the experience of snowmobiling is, for the spirit of those who pursue it.


Nothing can describe the sense of freedom and inspiration that comes from roaming our beautiful mountains and forests and connecting to a frozen world that most of humanity will never know. Nothing can describe the feeling of standing on top of a new Vista, in a cold and hostile environment, overlooking the splendor of nature and feeling the warm rays of sun on your face. Nothing can describe the comradere that is formed with other hard working and free spirits when you’re stuck in deep snow or challenging terrain, or running into a mechanical failure and having to work together to solve problems, survive and return back to the trailhead in the dark in sub-zero temperatures. And lastly, nothing can come close to describing a community culture of people who refuse to accept the status quo and who forge their own paths forward in life, in business, in relationships, and in taking some of the hardest paths discovering what they are capable of and just how free a person can feel.


It’s one thing to visit a National Park, or to go skiing at a resort in the winter. It’s a completely different thing to learn the nuances of a highly specialized piece of innovative equipment, the techniques required to move around efficiently and confidently in deep snow and challenging environments, the skills and senses required to explore uncharted territories, the time and education required to travel safely in Avalanche terrain, the understanding that comes with learning about snow science and the dynamics of instabilities in snowpack, the humility and preparedness that is required to anticipate problems, be ready to rescue a partner, or to fix a mechanical failure in challenging environments.



Something happens to you out there. You see things that most of the human race will never see. You understand the forest and the weather in a way that most don’t care to. You run into challenges and danger when the rest of society is hunkered down and staying warm. All in all, you learn a certain grit and resilience that carries forward in everything you see, do, touch and connect with.


For me, I can’t even begin to explain how all of these experiences and relationships have changed me. I’ve stood on top of peaks in Alaska, Jackson Hole, Lake Tahoe, Utah, Idaho, and all over my home State of Colorado. And my spirit has been changed by the Forests, the winds, and the mountains of which everything we take for granted comes from. I’ve learned about forest health, climate, weather patterns, watersheds, snow science, and unfortunately I have also learned about more death than I care to admit from avalanches , as well as selfish and disrespectful people who cause division and problems in our communities.


What’s interesting is that selfish entitled people come in all packages. Human powered AND motorized. People who only think of themselves and have no empathy or respect for others who may cross their paths. No capability to understand that every single human being is out in nature because of an innate connection with the earth and our environment. They might not be able to articulate this connection in an intellectual way, but make no mistake, mostly all human beings who put their time and money and passion into spending the most precious time of their lives outdoors, are not there because they hate the environment!


We are at a juncture in human history. Whether you believe in climate change or not, the world is changing. Society is changing. Our natural resources are dwindling. People are moving to places like Denver, Jackson, Salt Lake, Boise, etc in mass-exodus-like scale. Our Public Lands are under more pressure than they’ve ever been. And there are many perspectives that are coming to a head and colliding over our Public Lands. Whether you want to pay attention to these factors or not, they are real, and they are coming to roost in your own back yard.


We are all painfully aware of some kind of Forest Service travel management revision that is going on in our favorite playgrounds. And if you’re not, don’t worry, because it’s coming to a National Forest near you. There are many many Wilderness proponent groups who believe that our activities on snowmobiles are bad for the environment, the wildlife habitats, the wildlife itself, and of course, their own desire to experience a pristine natural setting. In my opinion, as an American, they have as much of a right to their opinions and experiences, as we do. And as long as they have plenty of space to have the kind of experiences they are after, then we should have a good mutual understanding.


However, there are ALOT of things that we as snowmobilers MUST start thinking about, if we care about sustaining our own desired experience in the mountains. I mean, why wouldn’t we take an honest look at ourselves and find easy places that we can make adjustments to eliminate as much criticism as possible? In my opinion, these are low-hanging fruits that we can easily change.


1. THE MANUFACTURERS MUST START GIVING A DAMN about mountain / western culture. We must be about more than a profit margin. We are human beings, communities, and we have specific needs and threats to the future of our ability to keep buying these products. I spent almost a decade of my career working as a creative marketer for one of the leading OEM manufacturers. And let me tell you, that there is a significant disconnect between the always-temporary Marketing Managers who are here today and gone tomorrow—yet they hold the keys of media and influence to our entire culture. These people are business school graduates who live in the Midwest, and their personal goals are merely to climb the corporate ladder. The snowmobile industry is always a temporary stop for them. The ones who do spend enough time to care, and who do stick around long enough tend to get caught up in their corporate demands. Make no mistake, these Marketing positions are not easy jobs.



These are highly intelligent and capable business leaders who manage a ton of demand and information. They coordinate advertising, communications, dealer feedback and expectations, consumer insights across many different regions and segments, and interfacing with the engineering and manufacturing folks to coordinate a ton of detailed technical information and deliver it to the market in the most efficient ways possible. They are truly managing the expectations from supply chain all the way through to the consumer purchase and post-purchase relationship, and accountable for profitability in a highly complex ecosystem of supply and demand. So these are very busy people, working thankless jobs with very difficult corporate demands that they have to meet.


But somehow we need to get through to them. We need to make them realize that there are many nuances in cultural and political realms that impact their very prosperity and longevity as an industry.


2. TRADITIONAL MIDWEST AND CORPORATE CULTURE MUST START LOOKING DEEPER, WITH MORE HUMILITY AND CURIOSITY. While I went on a tangent on number 1, what I believe to be another disconnect is simply regional. This industry was born in the Midwest and Eastern Canada, created to serve a very different culture and experience. This is a small industry, and there is a certain “old boys club” mentality ingrained in the corporate ivory towers of this industry. In addition to this insight, you can’t tell these CEOs or CMOs anything that they don’t already (think) they know—and that’s if you can even get their attention in the first place. Why is this important? Because the top of the leadership chain is where real change can happen. Product division marketing managers in many ways are simply carrying out the orders of their upper management. The proposition of change has big money implications in engineering, supply chain, retail, and communications. To make a huge shift takes years of vision, planning, and implementation, and it’s not the job of a middle-manager to steer the ship. And if a middle-manager cared enough to rock the boat a little bit, it would require that person to put in extra time and energy (above and beyond the requirements of the job) to risk their own employment to champion an idea that will likely require a huge investment.


That’s why change needs to occur at the top. The CEO and CMOs need to understand what needs to change, so that they can direct their middle managers to invest in fresh consumer insight gathering, strategic planning, engineering, manufacturing, and go-to-market / communications that address the cultural and political threats at the consumer level.


On the community / cultural side of this, we need to realize that snowmobile clubs are also a midwestern business model based around the end game of trail grooming. Out west, while it does exist, trail-grooming is less a part of the experience. We are less centralized and organized as a Backcountry culture, and our bigger issue is less about trail grooming, and really more focused on National Forest access. In the Midwest, it’s based more around farming and blue collar culture, NASCAR, and holding the throttle wide open in a drag race across a lake. In the West, it’s more about accessing challenging technical terrain, exploring, and gaining (and sharing) access to avalanche terrain. These nuances need to be understood and appreciated at the top of the industry, and that would require passionate cultural leaders from the west to have the ear of CEO and CMO level leaders in our industry.


3. AVALANCHE AND PUBLIC LANDS EDUCATION IS CRITICAL TO THE FUTURE OF OUR SPORT. It’s taken years for this industry to understand the implications of making machines that can effortlessly take human beings into dangerous terrain and avalanche conditions. Yet for some reason, Avalanche awareness has only propelled itself forward through personal passion by a dedicated few industry leaders who have stepped up and have stood on the rooftops to shout (and hopefully be heard by everyone at the top of the industry) that we need to be building a culture of humility and respect and making it cool to humble and educate ourselves about avalanche dynamics, owning the gear, and practicing companion rescue. Thankfully people like Mike Duffy, Matt Entz, Brian Lundstedt, Jeremy Hanke, Dan Adams, and a handful of others have gone against the grain of the industry to do their part in making Avalanche Awareness, Education and Preparedness top of mind for consumer culture. The industry is still, to this day, barely playing a role. And frankly, we can all do better.


But now there’s a different and bigger threat that’s mounting. And it stands to eliminate all of us from the lands that we need to even have a sport in the first place. Without Public Lands, snowmobiling is dead. It baffles me that this industry, in all of their technology and intelligence, can’t seem to wrap their heads around the need for a significant cultural shift that tackles the conversation of Public Lands access, responsible recreation, shifting outsider perspectives of our sport/community/culture, and ultimately taking an active and high-profile lead in being good stewards.


Why the hell aren’t we as a culture and an industry working to change the way we are perceived? Why aren’t we humble enough to listen to our opponents for long enough to understand where they are coming from, to make a few small tweaks to our products and individual behaviors which would create more harmony in being partners and good neighbors with the “human-powered” stakeholder of ALL OF OUR Public Lands?
How long are we going to continue to act like we own the place, versus realizing that we are a very small and extremely outnumbered segment of society, and that if we continue down the path we are on, our sport will be history!!!?


4. WE NEED TO LISTEN TO OUR CRITICS and understand that there needs to be some respectful dialogue and collaboration if we want to carry on with our sports as we know them today. Snowmobiles continue to get lighter, cleaner, more-powerful, and more capable. Of course, we all want a lighter and more powerful snowmobile.
But here’s the deal. Your loud-ass aftermarket exhaust makes you personally responsible for the continued loss of access and criticism of our sport.
Would it be that hard to figure out an aftermarket can that maybe shaves weight and quiets the machine, even just a little bit? Would it be that difficult for Ski-Doo, Polaris or Textron to partner with Tesla and figure out a capable, reliable electric technology? (I know, the technology isn’t quite available yet, but the industry needs to make some strides forward.) These are both big and small moves that we could make as an industry, to start moving in the right direction!
5. PAY ATTENTION TO THE OUTDOOR INDUSTRY and realize that they are galvanizing their energy into significant political weight. The Outdoor (and Snowsports) industries have brought their industries, their athlete influencers, and their consumers together to create a huge political force that favors the Wilderness agenda. If our Industry doesn’t pay attention to how this is being done, and our relationship to these industries, we will be left behind and closed out. We must build an industry and cultural bridge to this community before they have all jumped on the Wilderness bandwagon without even realizing it. I’ve been doing outreach in this direction for several years now, and it’s mind-blowing to me how open the doors are in the outdoor industry, and yet, how closed the doors are to the top three snowmobile manufacturers. (And ironically, I’m a snowmobile industry insider.)
The snowmobile manufacturers will never get on board with any of this until it affects their bottom line.

The burden of this will fall on the consumer.

If these corporate manufacturers were dedicated to this industry and our community like we all are, we wouldn’t be having this conversation!!

6. IMAGINE… WHAT WE COULD DO, TO CURB OUR CRITICS!?
Here are my ideas, if anyone cares.


• The industry and the consumer push each other to make Avalanche education mandatory. If you want to go SCUBA diving with me, you must have SCUBA gear and certification. IF you don’t have it, go get it and then get back to me.


• The industry and consumer push each other to continue to push our machines to be MUCH quieter and cleaner.


• The industry and the consumer band together to become the greatest stewards of Public Lands and other outdoor users. IF we make ourselves invaluable, and use our powers (resources, skills, passion, knowledge of terrain, riding skills, technologies, etc) for good, then the public will appreciate that our culture is a part of defending ACCESS AND PROTECTION OF OUR PUBLIC LANDS FOR ALL.


• I can’t speak to Canada, but I know that the US Forest Service is under-funded, much of that is due to the increase in wildfires across the west. It is also because the American tax-payer in general has no relationship with the lands, and aren’t voting or getting involved in land management. This is a huge opportunity for our community to step up and take charge. The US Forest Service needs our help. If we become their trusted and valuable partners, we are going to have a much better seat at the table in the big conversations that affect how the lands are designated and managed. WE ALL MUST GET INVOLVED YESTERDAY. This is how the many Wilderness groups have so much influence. Because they are organized and actively-involved at all levels.


• Please stop posting GoPro videos of everything you do, all the time. Particularly if you are being an asshole, breaking the law, shooting a moose in your path, or showcasing our culture as belligerent arrogant destructive Neanderthals. Every single snowmobiler represents an entire community to the outsiders looking at us. Even on the highways, if you have a snowmobile on your sled deck or trailer, you would be doing all of us a service by being respectful and courteous citizens. All it takes is one ignorant jerk to ruin it for a million others. Let’s choose to be the awesome people that most of us are, and let outsiders feel welcome, respected, and that we are willing to share our amazing privilege with others.


• When you pass by a human-powered person or group of people, do your best to humanize yourself. Slow down and make space on the trail and give a wave. Pay attention to their state of being, and be willing to stop, take your helmet off and ask them how their day is, if they might need any assistance, etc. Help them realize that you are a human being too. A human being that cares about their fellow man and these amazing places we get to share.


• Talk to your dealers about serving the local community more. The more we all band together locally, the stronger we are.


• Join your local snowmobile club!! In the least, pay your annual dues to keep their operations going. But get involved and share your sport with others. The stewards of our sport are aging and they are going to be looking for who to pass the torch to. Our clubs play a significant role in state and national funding that supports our ability to enjoy our Public Lands.


• Share this sport with everyone that you love. Spread the gift of snowmobile access and community far and wide. The more we can reach others with our true spirit, the more empathy and respect we will garner from the general public.


• Go to Public Land meetings!! Our Public Lands are a democratic idea. Your voice matters as much as anyone else’s, and there is strength in numbers! Pay attention, ask questions, and friggin vote for goodness sakes!!


• Network, network, network! Our friends in Tahoe, Idaho, and Jackson Hole are in battles over high-value recreation areas that are under various Wilderness proposals. Pay attention to what’s going on in these areas. Reach out to the people in those communities. Learn and pay attention, and share that information and connections to your riding buddies, friends and families. We have the power of networking on our side, and it is the only way that we can stand a chance in counterbalancing a highly organized and highly funded Wilderness proponent crowd. I could write a whole paragraph mentioning all of the Wilderness organizations that are banded together today. From the Sierra Club to Winter Wildlands to the Wilderness Society, WildEarth Guardians, etc etc. They are funded, supported, organized and have infiltrated our Public Lands management agencies. And we are over here, all BRAAAAAP, while these groups are making huge strides toward outlawing our sport from the majority of the lands.


I’m tired of tiptoeing around.

It’s time for our industry and our culture to get smart and strategic and open-minded about these issues, if we care about preserving our sport and community.

Send all hate-mail to: Jon@backcountryunited.com
 

89sandman

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Sounds more like to me you enjoy "tiptoeing" around anyone who may have a conflicting opinion of our sport. Do you see them going out of their way to change the way we perceive them? YOUR WEAK ASS NEEDS TO GROW A PAIR wimpy attitude is not what our sport needs. To continually give in to others merely for the sake of gaining their acceptance is not going to get our sport anywhere but to a more and more restrictive and smaller area. Compromise is a two way street, not where we are expected to give to appease others so they will "allow" our sport to continue. A path where only one side makes concessions and the other continually takes will morph our sport into something not worth fighting for...


First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


I think of this poem whenever someone preaches conforming to the status quo. In the long run sacrificing what you believe in to merely survive will surely mean not surviving at all.
 
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snowracer21

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WELL SAID! Although, while I too dislike loud "mountain" cans, the "loud can" argument is a strawman. There are certain groups who do not want motorized vehicles on public lands regardless of their sound output, emissions, etc. Don't believe me? Look at the outrage in the MTB community over e-bikes.

If snowmobiles became 100% electric-powered, certain groups would still want us banned from public land.

just my $.02
 

Mafesto

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89Sandman, your response is abrasive.
Thank you for that.
Everything Jon said was valid, but it left out what alot of other people are thinking, and you hit on that.

Basically it is us and them.
Some basic questions need to be answered before choosing the path we take.

Can we co-exist in the current environment ?
It appears that the current answer is No

Can we defeat them?
I don't believe so. We can win small battles mitigating our losses. But we all know we never win back an acre once lost, and we're losing thousands of acres on a regular basis.

So that leaves us to ponder what can be done to change one of the above answers to Yes?
 

Big10inch

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Most that have seen my posts on this forum know where I stand on this.


First "point" you absolutely lost me on was our supposedly dwindling natural resources. That just isn't true. There is so much freaking oil in North Dakota and Colorado that we have ignored, we can run on oil for several more centuries without importing a drop from any other country.


Second was the loud exhaust issue. Anybody who has spent time riding in the mountains knows that stock sleds are almost too quiet. You can't hear your buddies coming on stock sleds until they are nearly on top of you. Now ripping past skiers at full chat with race exhaust isn't what I propose but most "cans" these days are just marginally louder than stock and I find them helpful in locating others on the mtn. If noise is the problem how do you explain the proliferation of Harley Davidson motorcycles? Loud and proud, in your face everywhere you travel. Not my thing for sure but I am not trying to shut them down even though they are obnoxious, nobody else seems to be trying either.


Third was the notion that we can build a bridge to the green side of the mountain and work with those people. I think this just displays ignorance. They want us eliminated at all costs, period, end of story. No amount of capitulation will ever make them like or accept us. I have been a part of plans to try and work with them. You give a little, make a compromise, think you have an agreement and then they come right back for the next round wanting more. Make no mistake, there is NOTHING we can do to appease them. They do not want to get along, that isn't the plan. The plan is to shut us out a little at a time and attitudes expressed above are the ones helping them do so.


So, positives? I think getting manufacturers involved would be huge. We support them with our money, it would be nice to see some reciprocation from them.


Mafesto asks, what CAN we do to turn this around. Unfortunately we will have to put up a fight or we will eventually lose all of our access. Attending meetings and using the process is the first step, I will admit. When we lose though, we have to stop accepting it. We have to start protesting our losses in VERY public ways, just as the other side does when they lose. We need to occupy lands wrongfully taken from us en masse. We need to carry signs with the truth when doing so. We need to play the card they use against us time after time with success, make a big stink and stand up for what we believe in LOUDLY. Most Americans still believe in some freedom, this is a freedom issue. These are public lands for ALL, not to be falsely restricted by the few for the few. We need to be an epic pain in their a$$ until they respect our rights. That is how they got the ball rolling in their direction. Pushing back is the ONLY recourse at this point. Uncomfortable in this new PC world, ABSOLUTELY but, IMO, it is the only way to combat this menace. We need to be fighting fire with fire boys. Instead, "leaders" like the author would rather keep us taking it from behind, which is really, really sad.
 
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Big10inch

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Instead of quiet emails to Jon, give him membership and let us debate this on a public forum. No hiding in your office, lets hash it out right here!
 

NorthMNSledder

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"In the Midwest, it’s based more around farming and blue collar culture, NASCAR, and holding the throttle wide open in a drag race across a lake."


Maybe his first step would be to understand the entire group that he wants so much help from. I stopped reading at this line......

After spending the last few years getting a chance to see both sides of the sport I am constantly amazed at how much better organized the Midwest snowmobile community is vs the western one. Sure you have a hand full of people that are truly spending the time on fighting issues out west and are involved in every aspect of the sport. But it's nothing like the amount here that belong to clubs and are involved.

But what do people like me know. We just stick to our trails and our lake racing. :face-icon-small-dis Just another article of a western rider taking shots at the midwest rider while asking for help.


WTF.
 

Big10inch

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He certainly seems to have an elitist viewpoint... I think the point was that the industry started in the Midwest, 2 of the 3 manufacturers are located in Minnesota. I get that part, I grew up in Minnesota.


Truth is, it IS a blue collar sport for the most part. Almost all of us work hard for our living and just do not have time to dedicate to land use issues. So far, in most cases in the west we can just change venues if we lose one because there is honestly a LOT of public land out west. I organized a club where there was none. I worked with the top level of the Colorado Snowmobile association on land use for years. Most sledders just do not have the time it takes to dedicate to a fight like this. Nobody is going to pay my bills if I get thrown in jail for crossing a wilderness boundary.


In the Midwest, the sport has been popular a LOT longer. The fights are more real as there is MUCH less public land and you must work with land owners to have access. Still, I remember when they paved the trail out of Brainerd, the one sledders paid for, then they locked us out. The same basic issues apply and we would ALL need to come together to make headway. It will be a VERY tough road indeed though and I have yet to see enough sledders willing to make the sacrifices necessary to effect change.


The liberals have a different structure. The minions are supported by the elite on the promise that the minions will be elevated to elite status one day. Of course that is the lie, they are never elevated just used by the elite to achieve the goals of the elite which are to remain the elite controlling body at all costs. Conservatives want to forge fair doctrine and have balance and freedom for all. Unfortunately we get all confused at times as how to "get there", which is what offended you today... We are more likely to be doing our own thing, as we think it should be, a bit selfish but human nature that probably will not change.


I do not think we are following the right leaders. Guys like Jon and Christopher really do not have our best interest in mind. They like being at the top looking down preaching to us about what they think we should change about ourselves and our behaviors to better suit the elitists we are in a battle with. Like I keep saying, it is going to take a real fight to win back our rights, not this panty waist approach of trying to "all get along". That is exactly what has been taking us backwards for decades now.
 
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goridedoo

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WELL SAID! Although, while I too dislike loud "mountain" cans, the "loud can" argument is a strawman. There are certain groups who do not want motorized vehicles on public lands regardless of their sound output, emissions, etc. Don't believe me? Look at the outrage in the MTB community over e-bikes.

If snowmobiles became 100% electric-powered, certain groups would still want us banned from public land.

just my $.02

I agree to an extent.. there are people who want us gone either way, but without a doubt the #1 thing people hate about sleds is the NOISE, period. I really dont think that can even be an argument.
 

goridedoo

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I agree to an extent.. there are people who want us gone either way, but without a doubt the #1 thing people hate about sleds is the NOISE, period. I really dont think that can even be an argument.
I also think its the easiest thing we can do, either leave the stock can on or choose the trail can over the mountain can, and keep off the throttle when you’re in town. Don’t be a doosh. Its that simple. Buy a radio if you’re concerned that your friends wont be able to find you since you dont have an ear ringer can.

Pack in, pack out.

Dont roll coal on every skier you pass on your way up the hill.

Slow down, wave, and dont roost the cross country skier on the trail.

Simple things.


Next big thing is to somehow get organized on a higher level than local clubs and keyboard arguments. I have no idea where we even start with that but agree that getting the manufactures on board would be a really good place. It should matter to them, their future depends on our riding areas.
 
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Jaynelson

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Like I keep saying, it is going to take a real fight to win back our rights, not this panty waist approach of trying to "all get along". That is exactly what has been taking us backwards for decades now.
Ya I've been reading this kinda thing for 10 years on here. Sounds great....never gonna happen.

At least this fellow took the time to put his thoughts on paper, and ask for support from entities who might actually have some pull. That is WAY more than 99% of sledders will ever take the time to do, sadly. He has some really good points that should be taken to heart. Do I agree with everything he states? Not exactly....but he's on the right track, and he's trying. That's something.
 
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" Nothing can describe the sense of freedom and inspiration"

This is often the first thing I am trying to convey to anyone who has never ridden a snowmobile in a mountain setting. It is one of the biggest reasons we are all so drawn to this sport. There is a lot of great points made in posts above, all of which will help. The number one thing I believe will help the sport more than anything else though, is... participation.

The snowmobile industry is much less "detrimental" than many other sports. I live in an area with thousands of acres bulldozed to make ski runs, power pole like lifts criss crossing the hills, and hoards of people and their cars lining up to take part. Yet, I haven't seen any push to eliminate ski resorts. I believe there isn't the push because of the high amount of participation and the money that drives.

No one wants to share their secret stash, and we all hate to see our riding spot tracked out. But.... we DO need to get more people out riding, involved with clubs, and spending money.

Everybody might not agree with everything in the original post, but there is a lot of great points made, and if nothing else, it is somebody making the effort. Rather than criticize what separates us, let's find the common ground (snow), that connects us all.
 

Big10inch

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" Nothing can describe the sense of freedom and inspiration"

This is often the first thing I am trying to convey to anyone who has never ridden a snowmobile in a mountain setting. It is one of the biggest reasons we are all so drawn to this sport. There is a lot of great points made in posts above, all of which will help. The number one thing I believe will help the sport more than anything else though, is... participation.

The snowmobile industry is much less "detrimental" than many other sports. I live in an area with thousands of acres bulldozed to make ski runs, power pole like lifts criss crossing the hills, and hoards of people and their cars lining up to take part. Yet, I haven't seen any push to eliminate ski resorts. I believe there isn't the push because of the high amount of participation and the money that drives.

No one wants to share their secret stash, and we all hate to see our riding spot tracked out. But.... we DO need to get more people out riding, involved with clubs, and spending money.

Everybody might not agree with everything in the original post, but there is a lot of great points made, and if nothing else, it is somebody making the effort. Rather than criticize what separates us, let's find the common ground (snow), that connects us all.


Why waste time continuing to try what has already failed time and again? This is why people fighting for the sport burn out. You wont get nearly enough people on board to fund any meaningful challenge to those wanting control of the land. You MUST accept that the goal is to eliminate snowmobiling, period. They don't just want a friendlier version of it, they want the snow/mtn to themselves. They have been beating us to death with patronizing visions of just one more compromise. Don't fall into that trap.

SAWS is a prime example. They put in TEN years of their lives to this and had to give up. Even one of the most sensible popular organizations in recent history couldn't hardly slow the loss of riding areas. They pretty much admit failing to quell the loss of lands playing by the rules.

Someday you will wish we truly protested. By the time you come to that realization there wont be enough interest left to stop the end from coming. Ask a logger from the NW. Not just less logging, not just smarter logging but no damn logging at all. If you think it wont happen to sleds, without a serious fight we are doomed to repeat the past.

I want it to be all rainbow farts and unicorn dances too. I REALLY wish I didn't have to worry about losing rights, but I do. Doesn't mean in any way that we should just mis-behave because. It means organized protest on a peaceful level. Of course that is too much for most so I guess we will continue to learn the hard way. The views expressed were nothing new or revolutionary. If you look, you can see these very ideas have been tried, and have failed for decades.
 

christopher

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Instead of quiet emails to Jon, give him membership and let us debate this on a public forum. No hiding in your office, lets hash it out right here!


I would be happy to offer him a free premium account.
But given your generally "Hostile" attitude towards compromise in any Way, Shape or Form, I am not sure he would find much of a welcome friendly debate.??
 

Jaynelson

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Why waste time continuing to try what has already failed time and again? This is why people fighting for the sport burn out. You wont get nearly enough people on board to fund any meaningful challenge to those wanting control of the land. You MUST accept that the goal is to eliminate snowmobiling, period. They don't just want a friendlier version of it, they want the snow/mtn to themselves. They have been beating us to death with patronizing visions of just one more compromise. Don't fall into that trap.

SAWS is a prime example. They put in TEN years of their lives to this and had to give up. Even one of the most sensible popular organizations in recent history couldn't hardly slow the loss of riding areas. They pretty much admit failing to quell the loss of lands playing by the rules.

Someday you will wish we truly protested. By the time you come to that realization there wont be enough interest left to stop the end from coming. Ask a logger from the NW. Not just less logging, not just smarter logging but no damn logging at all. If you think it wont happen to sleds, without a serious fight we are doomed to repeat the past.

I want it to be all rainbow farts and unicorn dances too. I REALLY wish I didn't have to worry about losing rights, but I do. Doesn't mean in any way that we should just mis-behave because. It means organized protest on a peaceful level. Of course that is too much for most so I guess we will continue to learn the hard way. The views expressed were nothing new or revolutionary. If you look, you can see these very ideas have been tried, and have failed for decades.
I think that’s exactly why he’s pushing for more involvement from the manufacturers in the west. The big Corp money and lobbying is what actually might make the difference. That’s where the “other side” has had a lot of success.

If you have an idea or path that you feel is better, I would run with that too. Nothing wrong with different approaches to the same goal. Throw enough sh1t at the wall and something’s gotta stick right? The thing with snowmobiling is....if you think you have a great idea for helping with issues like this, you’re going to have to head it up (as this dude is trying to). Thinking “this is great *someone* should do this” .... well, there is no someone.
 

Big10inch

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Well, I put my years in. How many of the rest of you can say the same? I dedicated about 20 hours a week for 6 years to working on land use in my area. As stated, I started a club, I recruited a bunch of members from the community, I went to the meetings, I went to meetings directly with USFS and BLM leaders, I wrote letters to the local paper weekly for years on the subject, I submitted maps and photos to support our side during forest plan revisions. I did everything I could think of to be that guy...


In the end, my little area didn't lose land during that time. In the same forest to the south of me though they lost another 40k acres because they didn't maybe fight as hard as I did and accepted another compromise where we as sledders literally lost more ground.


Dedicating that kind of time takes a financial and time commitment I can no longer afford. I had to walk away from it as so many others do after they burn out from trying to win at a game where the rules are all written to favor the opposition.
 

Big10inch

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I would be happy to offer him a free premium account.
But given your generally "Hostile" attitude towards compromise in any Way, Shape or Form, I am not sure he would find much of a welcome friendly debate.??





I would again invite you and others to show me where compromise has ever gained us land back. I keep stating the reasons why I am opposed to compromising with these people but it is obviously part of the conversation you choose to ignore. I do not say these things just to be a d1ck. They are based on years of first hand experience actually dealing with the problem.


I welcome the idea of getting manufacturers involved, I would say it is about time they did their part.


I oppose feeding the bully as it only makes him stronger.


Again, proposing to compromise and try and appease the bully just will not work. It has been tried again and again. Clearly you think it hasn't been tried enough or correctly and you propose trying the same failed plan again. Meanwhile we continue to lose lands with just that plan. I am just telling you from experience how it plays out in the real world and the proof is all around you if you care to take an honest look.
 

Big10inch

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6. IMAGINE… WHAT WE COULD DO, TO CURB OUR CRITICS!?
Here are my ideas, if anyone cares.


• The industry and the consumer push each other to make Avalanche education mandatory. If you want to go SCUBA diving with me, you must have SCUBA gear and certification. IF you don’t have it, go get it and then get back to me.



So you want to place limitations on snowmobilers that the skiers do not even place on themselves? Skiers are involved in far for avy incidents than snowmobilers yet nobody is advocating talking access from them based on the safety issue.


• The industry and consumer push each other to continue to push our machines to be MUCH quieter and cleaner.


Over ten years ago the Colorado Snowmobile Association supported two bills in Colorado to address this. One was a more aggressive limit on noise the other was to allow all law enforcement regardless of jusrisdiction to enforce said laws. Both passed with CSA support. Neither has stopped land use losses or brought us into any better position with the opposition.


• The industry and the consumer band together to become the greatest stewards of Public Lands and other outdoor users. IF we make ourselves invaluable, and use our powers (resources, skills, passion, knowledge of terrain, riding skills, technologies, etc) for good, then the public will appreciate that our culture is a part of defending ACCESS AND PROTECTION OF OUR PUBLIC LANDS FOR ALL.



Snowmobile clubs already provide just about all of the winter backcountry access through trail grooming programs funded almost exclusively by snowmobilers. We already are better stewards of the land than the opposition. Unfortunately providing them access has caused more harm than good in most cases. They can more easily see what we are doing and find new complaints to lodge, there is no end to it.

• I can’t speak to Canada, but I know that the US Forest Service is under-funded, much of that is due to the increase in wildfires across the west. It is also because the American tax-payer in general has no relationship with the lands, and aren’t voting or getting involved in land management. This is a huge opportunity for our community to step up and take charge. The US Forest Service needs our help. If we become their trusted and valuable partners, we are going to have a much better seat at the table in the big conversations that affect how the lands are designated and managed. WE ALL MUST GET INVOLVED YESTERDAY. This is how the many Wilderness groups have so much influence. Because they are organized and actively-involved at all levels.


Wildfires are a result of BAD forest management practices. The practices they have adopted by trying to go green with the environmentalists. They have brought it on themselves at the taxpayers expense. The USFS has more than enough money in the budget. They choose to mismanage it on almost every level like most large govt agencies. We DO help them. WE pay for trail maint, Jeepers do trail maint, everybody but the hikers and thee skiers contribute trying to appease the powers that be yet they still almost always side with additional closures to those trying to help them


• Please stop posting GoPro videos of everything you do, all the time. Particularly if you are being an asshole, breaking the law, shooting a moose in your path, or showcasing our culture as belligerent arrogant destructive Neanderthals. Every single snowmobiler represents an entire community to the outsiders looking at us. Even on the highways, if you have a snowmobile on your sled deck or trailer, you would be doing all of us a service by being respectful and courteous citizens. All it takes is one ignorant jerk to ruin it for a million others. Let’s choose to be the awesome people that most of us are, and let outsiders feel welcome, respected, and that we are willing to share our amazing privilege with others.


There are and always will be a small group of ignorant jerks in EVERY group. Stop wasting your time focusing on them as the main problem. That is just another strawman argument. I see more abuses of the land by hikers than ANY other group, yet they continue to get ;land closed to US


• When you pass by a human-powered person or group of people, do your best to humanize yourself. Slow down and make space on the trail and give a wave. Pay attention to their state of being, and be willing to stop, take your helmet off and ask them how their day is, if they might need any assistance, etc. Help them realize that you are a human being too. A human being that cares about their fellow man and these amazing places we get to share.



We always do. I have been cussed out by them more often than greeted with friendly conversation. I even have video of it... You underestimate who you are dealing with here.

• Talk to your dealers about serving the local community more. The more we all band together locally, the stronger we are.


• Join your local snowmobile club!! In the least, pay your annual dues to keep their operations going. But get involved and share your sport with others. The stewards of our sport are aging and they are going to be looking for who to pass the torch to. Our clubs play a significant role in state and national funding that supports our ability to enjoy our Public Lands.


Be careful what you support. I used to preach this as well. I found out they were willing to compromise so much sledders were routinely thrown under the bus. They do not all have your best interest in mind.


• Share this sport with everyone that you love. Spread the gift of snowmobile access and community far and wide. The more we can reach others with our true spirit, the more empathy and respect we will garner from the general public.



Not a problem. My group has always done this. We even maintain 4 extra sleds to take people out ANYTIME. I see offers to newbies on this site all winter long.

• Go to Public Land meetings!! Our Public Lands are a democratic idea. Your voice matters as much as anyone else’s, and there is strength in numbers! Pay attention, ask questions, and friggin vote for goodness sakes!!



Good Luck. Unfortunately this process is rigged in their favor but I welcome you to try. It has been tried, over and over by many many people. It doesn't work, it just doesn't.

• Network, network, network! Our friends in Tahoe, Idaho, and Jackson Hole are in battles over high-value recreation areas that are under various Wilderness proposals. Pay attention to what’s going on in these areas. Reach out to the people in those communities. Learn and pay attention, and share that information and connections to your riding buddies, friends and families. We have the power of networking on our side, and it is the only way that we can stand a chance in counterbalancing a highly organized and highly funded Wilderness proponent crowd. I could write a whole paragraph mentioning all of the Wilderness organizations that are banded together today. From the Sierra Club to Winter Wildlands to the Wilderness Society, WildEarth Guardians, etc etc. They are funded, supported, organized and have infiltrated our Public Lands management agencies. And we are over here, all BRAAAAAP, while these groups are making huge strides toward outlawing our sport from the majority of the lands.



You can not beat the money they have. I have seen the people who support these closures. I have seen folks donate more money than I can earn in five years in one sitting.




 

donbrown

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I would be happy to offer him a free premium account.
But given your generally "Hostile" attitude towards compromise in any Way, Shape or Form, I am not sure he would find much of a welcome friendly debate.??

With all due respect.

Park your sled at most any ski resort in California and I would be surprised if it wasn't vandalized. You'll see hostile.

But they are excited PERMNANENTLY cutting most trees off the side of a mountain, plant steel polls , run cables , generators asphalt parking lot , and have large buildings at the base and top of the mountain to drink a latte.
 
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