The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes – 2010s

In January 2010 the Armstrong Chalet, which was uninsured, burned down. The cause was undetermined. As was the case with the Vernon Chalet in 1967, this new Armstrong Chalet was built entirely by volunteer labour. Donations of both material and labour were received from Cedar Solutions and Millwork in Enderby and Shepherd’s Home Hardware & Building Supplies in Armstrong.

The location for the new cabin was moved slightly from its former location and was surveyed in May 2010. Due to a high snow load that year which stayed late in the season, construction began in July 2010. Members moved all of the material up to the cabin site in pick ups and trailers, which could be up to a 2 hour drive from Armstrong on the deactivated road. The construction was headed up by President Gord Evans and the owner of Cedar Solutions, Dwayne Baumle. Dwayne supplied much of the labour and almost all of the materials for the building. The building continued through the summer and fall of 2010 and the last day when the wood room was stocked was done in heavy snow in late October.

The new chalet was dedicated to the memory of Doug Frizzell, and a grand opening was held in winter of 2011.

In 2011 The price at the Ticket Dispenser was increased to $10/sled. It was hoped that by increasing the daily price more people would join the snowmobile club.

In 2012 with Gord and Dianne looking for a well deserved break, once again a new member found himself in a leadership position seemingly before he knew what happened. Current President Ben Drodge was introduced to the club and brought his infectious enthusiasm and vision to a largely new group of Directors. 

Under his leadership the club took on some ambitious projects and regained more recognition in the community.

The VSA today maintains an active and strong partnership with its neighbors on Silver Star mountain. A renewed friendship with Silver Star resulted in the Hillclimb returning to the mountain in 2015 and again in 2016. The Snow Show grew substantially to today’s BC Provincial Snow Show with over 70 exhibitors and attendance of over 10,000 people over two days.

The VSA recognized growth presents challenges and in 2015 undertook a Strategic Planning process which resulted in a 5 year plan to manage growth and sustainability. This Strategic Plan was the first from any club presented to the BCSF in 2015 and is the VSA’s guiding principle for growth and community engagement moving forward.

Today the Vernon Snowmobile Association continues to be an active and vibrant club. Club members are busy all year long with chalet renovations, trail upkeep, and charity events. The annual Snow Show is the main fundraising event and one of the largest Snowmobile shows in Canada now. Many members volunteer with Vernon Search and Rescue which keeps them extremely busy, both winter and summer. The Hillclimb, family events, dealer demo rides, and club events are a part of the VSA’s season and the club enjoys a renewed and vibrant sense of relevance in the community.

The club is focused on Safety, on responsible snowmobiling and maintaining the beautiful sledding area on Silver Star Mountain for future generations.