Successes and Challenges – 1980s

Snowarama 1980 was held at Silver Star which presented a problem with parking. It took 318 man hours and 17 vehicles to prepare the course for the ride. That year $39,000.00 was pledged. It was easy to get the pledges but much harder to collect the money.

Club Member Larry Williamson moved the Armstrong Chalet from its former location on Baker Road to the current location by towing it with a tractor. The club received a permit to operate trails in the area from the BC Forest Service.

That year the Vernon Snowmobile Association donated $600.00 to the Hunters Range club for their chalet building fund.

The summer Jamboree was held at Newport Beach and was a great success.

It was decided that a trophy would be given to the most active woman in the club and would be named the J. Passmore Trophy.

In 1981 the new All Terrain Vehicle Act was passed. The owner of a snowmobile or any all terrain vehicle had to be licensed under the Motor Vehicle Act, i.e. Driver’s License, and it was mandatory the machines were insured.

Once again Snowarama was held on Silver Star. Over $26,000.00 was collected.

Jeanne Frizzell was the first recipient of the J. Passmore Trophy.

That summer the Newport Beach Jamboree and the Shuswap Fishing Derby were both very successful.

In November 1981 the 301 Snowdozer was leased to Universal Studios for $4000.00 for the period of November 1 to December 15/81. Another source of revenue was a contract with Silver Star Park. The Park was going to take over the grooming and hire the VSA to do the work. When this was first brought up the previous year there was a lot of discussion among the members as to whether this was a good idea.

In 1982 $4000.00 was paid on the loan for the 301 Snowdozer.

A group of exchange students were taken by snowmobile to the chalet. There they were treated to a meal and given VSA pins and crests.

The summer Jamboree was held at Crystal Sands Resort on Mara Lake and on September 1st a fishing derby was held at St. Ives on the Shuswap. The work to be done that fall included repairing the roof on the chalet, one wall, and the water supply. The roof on the Armstrong chalet was also leaking. It was also decided to build a 16’ by 24’ addition. Kurt Petersen donated his time and some financing for the project and the extension was named “Kurt’s Corner”.

Doug and Jeanne Frizzell, on behalf of the B. C. Snow Vehicle Association visited several snowmobile clubs in the province to promote Snowarama. Each club was given a pin from the VSA.

In December 1982 Bob Passmore proposed that a museum be set up and called the Jack Passmore Antique Snowmobile Museum. He said three snowmobiles that had belonged to Jack were already available. The motion was passed and it was decided to set up a bank account for this purpose. In January 1983 a meeting was held with Cedar Springs. They had 1.2 acres that would be suitable for the museum. What they required was for the VSA to provide a trail, for year round use, from Cedar Springs to Silver Star. VSA was also to provide snowmobile storage, guided tours, and the museum.

Once the club had an overall plan with the proposed trail and easements, another meeting would be held with regards to acquiring the property. By 2002 when nothing had been done it was decided to turn over the money that was still in the bank to the Vernon Snowmobile Association. The stipulation was that the money be used to purchase a plaque recognizing Jack’s contribution to building the chalet and his tireless work in getting permission for snowmobilers to use Silver Star.

Snowarama continued to bring in pledges to the tune of $32,138 in 1983. The collection rate of pledges was usually around 90%. There were a lot of media comments about the track that year, saying it was the best yet.

A contract was entered into with Silver Star Park and The Forest Service to groom trails. Another source of revenue was renting out the concession booth to different groups for $25/day.

In mid-January 1984 six Vernon and area snowmobilers left for a cross country trek to Valcourt, Quebec, the headquarters of Bombardier. The group consisted of Bill Shields, Bill Udy, Doug and Jeanne Frizzell of Vernon, Bob Sturgeon of Salmon Arm, and Jack Fisher of Nelson. They planned to complete the 5000 km. trip in 24 days and arrive in Valcourt in time for that city’s 1984 Snowmobile Festival. They received enthusiastic support from snowmobile club members along the way. Local riders would ride part way with them and give them safe routes to follow for the next leg of their journey.

In 1985 Snowarama continued to be the major focus of the club although it was getting more difficult to collect the money pledged.

That year the Bombi was sold to Sicamous Snowmobile Club for $4500.00

A Snowmobile brochure was compiled and printed. It included information about the VSA executive, advertising from local businesses, upcoming events within the Snowmobile Club and other organizations such as hockey games, information about snowmobile safety and ethics, and general information about the Vernon Snowmobile Association and winter recreation in and around Vernon.

In 1986 a fishing derby at Pinaus Lake, arranged by Bob and Mary Viala was successful with a good time had by all.

John Kuly of the Parks Department reported that the area including the parking lot was now named the Sovereign Lake area.

The first Snowmobile Rodeo was held on Swan Lake on February 16th. Snowmobilers from other areas were invited to attend and there was no age limit. Several events were planned with gifts and prizes for the winners. The concession stand was on site as well.

In the winter of 1986/87 a culvert was put under Silver Star Road at a cost of approximately $30,000.00 with the Snowmobile club contributing about $10,000.00

The treasurer’s report in Feb. 1986 stated that a $3000.00 Term Deposit paying 9.25% was due for renewal in March. The treasurer was going to look for a higher rate!

In 1987 President Eric Tucker met with the Parks Department. A five year plan that had been drafted was discussed and some modifications were made.

Casino nights and Pokerama were held as an added source of revenue. It was decided not to continue with Snowarama next year. Some of the members felt that the focus was on the media, especially out of town media, who were taken on rides to different areas. This took away from things that the members needed to do. It was to be remembered that Snowarama wasn’t for the media, the Lions Club or the Snowmobile Club. It was for the crippled children of BC.

Conflicts continued with Cross country skiers on the snowmobile trails and extreme caution had to be exercised especially in the parking lot.

In February 1988 a meeting was held with the Parks Department re: snowmobilers and cross country skiers. Privatization or a take over of the operations of Silver Star by the user groups was discussed. Many questions were brought up such as user fees, control of the groomer, the non-profit status of the Vernon Snowmobile Association, and taxes on the chalet. The Parks representative proposed the user groups form a board to take over operation of the cross country and snowmobile area. Parks would not have a board position but would sit on the board as an advisory person.

It was decided to combine Pokerama and Snowarama next year.

In January 1989 relationships with the Cross Country Skiers improved somewhat. The snowmobile members helped the ski group prepare the trails for their upcoming race.

The focus continued on education of snowmobile safety.