A New Generation – 2000s

A gaming fund grant of $10,000 was received. The money was used for new signs for Silver Star, VHF radios, brush saws and patrollers’ packs. The signs were installed outside of the park in the forestry area and were completed over two weekends with each of the approximately 60 signs being hand driven and installed by three members. The work was carried out with 4X4 trucks in mud and heavy rain, and occasionally by walking and carrying the steel posts and sledge hammers. New signs were also installed on Park/Nelson.

The Snow Patrollers were issued with Jackets, avalanche Packs and VHF Radios. Each patroller received first aid training and avalanche training supplied by the club. The program resulted in a large increase in compliance with the clubs User Pay system and promoted safety and responsible snowmobiling.

The Club’s current groomer, a 1994 Bombardier BR400 was purchased from Silver Star.

In the spring of 2000, the club received a letter from the Chamber of Commerce in Lumby advising that a new snowmobile club was being formed in Lumby by former Vernon and Lumby members. They wanted the assets of the Vernon and Lumby Snowmobile club divided between the new club and the Vernon and Lumby Snowmobile Association. This was discussed with the representative of the B.C.S.F. and the decision was that the assets belong to the Vernon and Lumby club and could not be divided. The members voted for a $1000 donation to be sent to the new club. President Sue Shultz guided the VSA through a challenging transition and the VSA emerged intact, and with a new vision for the new century.

A motion was made to change the name of the club back to the Vernon Snowmobile Association.

The Championship Hill Climb was cancelled that year because the new owners of Silver Star and Big White didn’t want any sleds on their property.

In December of 2001 and on January 1, 2002 there were two searches, both on Park Mountain, where members of the VSA assisted Vernon Search and Rescue.

Chalet renovations were planned, and were completed the summer of 2002. This involved cutting half the upper floor out and opening up the building with new stairs. The inside was painted and due to damage and vandalism, the propane tank and water supply were removed.

The Toy Food Run was cancelled due to lack of snow on the Star. Instead a toy drop off would be held at the Banner Sea & Ski parking lot. The proceeds went to the Salvation Army. A memorial plaque in honor of Jack Passmore was installed in the loft of the newly renovated chalet naming it the Passmore Loft.

In 2003 the price of a day pass from the Ticket dispenser was increased to $6.00.

In July 2003 the Vernon Snowmobile Association lost a valuable hard working member when Doug Frizzell died in a boating accident in the Yukon. Doug had been a member since 1970 and held every office in the organization. In his later years the VSA purchased a computer and internet connection which allowed Doug to communicate with other snowmobilers and maintain the club’s email account and website traffic. He was also supplied with a VHF radio to monitor the VSA’s Search and Rescue team, and provide guidance when members were patrolling Silver Star. He spent many hours with the computer and radio “virtually” snowmobiling and ensuring his decades of experience were passed onto the next generation.

In 2006 with club membership falling and lack of participation in many club events, some new blood was needed. Gord and Dianne Evans came to a meeting and were subsequently voted in as President and Secretary respectively. Under their leadership the club became more active, and increased its online presence and participated in more community events. Gord and Diane were also instrumental in reviving the Snow Show and moving it from its long time location at the Vernon Lodge to the Rec Centre. As well, their persistence and drive resulted in many successful fundraisers for the club as well as strong community support for the rebuilding of the Armstrong Chalet.

In 2008 the snowmobiling community lost a member who was a big part of the VSA in the 1990s. Former VSA Director Randy Dortman was killed in a snowmobiling accident on Park Mountain in February 2008. In 2010, former club President Dave Zimmerman who was instrumental in guiding the club through much of the 1990’s passed away. Their contributions will be remembered.