November 12th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 44
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Crow Snow Riders in financial straits
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Stock Photo
Crow Snow Riders
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
With snowmobiling season just around the corner, the Crowsnest Pass has once again been recognized as one of the best sledding destinations in Western Canada by SnoRiders Magazine.
“You look at what we have for trails down here, we just blow everybody away,” says Crow Snow Riders Snowmobiling Association President Doug Cox.
The Pass won a number of SnoRiders annual Rider's Choice Awards, taking home platinum awards for favourite overall snowmobiling area, favourite scenic snowmobiling area, favourite mountain riding area, favourite groomed trail riding and favourite powder riding.
The Pass usually wins a few awards but this is the first year so many of them have been platinum.
But as the Pass’ reputation has increased, the financial situation of the Crow Snow Riders has plummeted.
Crow Snow Riders representatives promote the Pass as a sledding destination by working with the media and industry insiders at trade shows and out in the field.
In February, the Crow Snow Riders lost half their annual provincial funding for the year and this year they’re receiving no provincial funding. Council agreed to cover the other half of last year’s annual grant but this year the club is in dire financial straits.
“We’ve run in the red two years in a row,” says Cox. “It’s getting to the point where we can’t take any more hits.”
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Cox says the financial situation is harming the association and that some of the volunteers are in danger of burning out.
“Through strict volunteerism and perseverance we’ve managed to up our rating as far as people coming into the area to recreate,” he says.
As their grants were cut, corporate sponsorships from local businesses have also dried up.
Cox says they collected about $10,000 in sponsorships three years ago but this year they’ve only collected about $2,500.
The association uses these funds for fuel, maintenance and labour on their groomer and the truck that carries it.
Cox says the groomers are replaced every 4 to 5 years because of the damage they sustain pulling heavy equipment through the bush, their last one cost about $135,000.
The groomer is used to maintain some of the 1,200 kilometres of trail that loop around the community. It’s these trails that make the Pass a destination, says Cox.
“I was looking at the brand new trail maps for the province. All the trails are marked in blue on the map,” says Cox. “You see a little bit of blue around Lac La Biche, Sherwood Park and Cold Lake. You add up all that blue, it doesn’t make up what we have in the Crowsnest Pass.”
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November 12th ~ Vol. 84 No. 44
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