Growth and Changes – 1990s

The 1990s continued to be a busy time for the snowmobile club. Fundraising, trail and chalet maintenance, dealing with garbage at the chalets, and trying to co-exist on the trails with Cross Country Skiers. Often it was snowmobilers and skiers who were not members of the two clubs that caused issues between the groups.

In 1991, Larry Williamson of the Hunters Range Snowmobile Club gave a talk to the members on the history of Snowarama. Hunters Range would be holding the event in February 1992 and asked for volunteers from the Vernon Club.

In 1992 repairs needed to be made to the chalet roof, the well and the water lines.

The BR400 was leased to Silver Star for a minimum of 100 hours at $55.00/hour. 

Plans were made to put a gate across the culvert on Silver Star Road.

In 1993 plans were made with the Kelowna Snowmobile Club for the first Okanagan Hill Climb. It was held in April 1994 on Silver Star Mountain. This event grew to be a huge event for the club and the entire community. Most years Silver Star’s hotels and restaurants were at capacity. The Hillclimb grew each year and in its final year of 2000 the world championships were held in Vernon. With the change in ownership of Silver Star snowmobile access was severely restricted to the village, and the hillclimb was cancelled. The event was revived in 2015 with a new partnership with Silver Star Mountain and has had two very successful events held since.

Discussions were started with Silver Star Resorts, the Cross Country Ski Club and VSA re: new trails.

In 1994 the VSA began an annual event called the Toy Run. Snowmobilers gathered at Silver Star Resort and brought toys for families in need which were collected by the Salvation Army. Afterwards the sledders traveled in a large convey to the Silver Star Chalet for lunch and a club ride. In the 1990s this event attracted over 100 sleds each year.

The snowmobile clubs in Vernon and Lumby unofficially became the Vernon and Lumby Snowmobile Association. Under the guidance of President Dave Zimmerman, the Park Mountain Chalet was built that year and trail grooming and area maintenance was then carried on at both Silver Star and Park Mountain. In 1998 the name of the Association was officially changed to the Vernon & Lumby Snowmobile Association. The Lumby Snowmobile Club was formed in 1978 but was no longer in existence. The remaining money in their bank account, $320.00 was donated to the Vernon Snowmobile Association for the Park Mountain groomer.

The winter Fishing Derby resulted in $1300.00 donated to NONA on behalf of the Vernon Snowmobile Association. A toy run was held and also a children’s Christmas party.

In 1995 a Snow Cross Race was held on Silver Star at the Village. The B. C. Snow Vehicle Federation sponsored the event and Silver Star helped with the course preparation. This event was very successful with the club receiving $1176.75 as their share of the profits. The members voted to hold it again next year.

In 1996 the 12th Annual Fishing Derby was again a big success with $2500.00 donated to NONA. A certificate of thanks was given to Bob and Mary Viala who planned and co-ordinated the fishing derbies.

In 1996 the VSA held a large group ride to the Kelowna Snowmobile Club’s trail system in the Greystokes. Members left from Harris Creek Road near Lumby, and guided by club treasurer Randy Dortman crossed through the Greystokes to the Kelowna Club chalet where lunch was supplied. This ride continued off and on for several years.

There continued to be damage done and a mess left at both chalets due to parties being held. The VSA began to apply for grant money for a “snow patrol” program where members would patrol the area and report problems to the RCMP.

In 1997 it was decided to alternate the meeting places between Vernon and Lumby but didn’t continue for long.

Ken Pople, a dedicated club member, died in a motor bike accident in September. Just before the toy run that year a ceremony was held dedicating the new trail “Pople Pass.”

Also in 1997 the VSA was approached by BC Parks and the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club regarding realignment of the trail system and parking lots. Sovereign Lakes Nordic club would take the lower parking lot, and the lower part of Passmore. The VSA would gain a new parking lot, and a new section of Passmore to connect with that lot. In exchange the ski club would plow the snowmobile lot, and the VSA would give up use of the new section of Passmore each December when the snow is more plentiful on our trail system. This arrangement continues to this day.

In 1999 problems continued with Cross Country Skiers and a tour group not adhering to trail rules as to which side of the trail to use. This resulted in one snowmobiler having to drive off the trail to avoid hitting anyone.

On February 28 a Food and Fun Day was held on Park Mountain with donations of food going to the Lumby Food Bank. The fees for the contests held that day went to the Park/Nelson Groomer fund.

The biggest expenses this year were for the groomers with many repairs needed.

A Snow Patrol roadblock was held in Lumby to check for registration and proof of ownership. 70% of machines checked were registered.

A talk given by Pete Wise and Jon Ottesen explaining how Search and Rescue worked was well received by the members. Search & Rescue asked for help from the club for lost snowmobile rescues. The former Vernon Snowmobile Rescue team which was initially formed in the 1970’s was re-formed in 2000/2001 with Doug Frizzell as the team’s manager.

In 1999 a Ticket Dispenser was installed and the VSA received a User Pay agreement from BC Parks, one of the first in the Province. Users were charged $2.00/day. Dave Richmond from BC Parks said he would try to increase the rate to $4.00/day. The object of this fee was to try to get more members to join the club.

In 2000 a user fee was discussed for Park Nelson.

In January 2000 the price of the User Pay tickets at the Silver Star parking lot was increased to $4.00/day.