MPI and Snoman implement trailblazing plate program
JAMES DOROSHUK, CONTRIBUTOR
While the mild temperatures have put a damper on snowmobiling so far this year, riders can look forward to a uninterrupted time on the trails once the snow comes.
“If a cop or a conservation officer can look at my licence plate and not pull me over and waste my time just to see if I have a pass, then that’s a good thing,” said Paul Hoitink, 26.
Snoman, Manitoba’s snowmobiling association, has partnered with Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to issue bright orange licence plates to licensed riders. Before, riders needed a sticker attached to their licence plate.
The move is meant to allow easy identification of licensed riders for conservation officers and RCMP. Previously, the only way to determine if someone had a pass was to stop the driver and to see the pass. Now they can identify a licensed rider through a glance at their snowmobile.
“The new coloured plate program I think is a great idea because it ensures that the people using these expensive trails are helping to bear the cost to maintain them,” said Hoitink, who added he’s been riding the groomed snowmobile trails for years. He said it’s easy to understand why the trail pass is so important.
Private snowmobile clubs, which are all members of Snoman, currently maintain the groomed snowmobile trails. These trails offer a safe alternative for riders who don’t want to risk the dangers of backcountry riding. Snoman provides funding to the private clubs to help offset the costs of trail maintenance. A large part of that funding comes from the sale of trail passes.
“Snowmobile clubs put tons of moneyinto keeping their trails in top shape,” said Danny Thalman, 33. “A new grooming machine is just as expensive as a new truck, and the clubs also provide warming shacks along the trails to keep riders comfortable. It only makes sense for everyone to help keep those costs workable.”
According to Snoman, there are over 12,000 kilometres of trails in Manitoba, and the trail pass also allows snowmobilers to use the groomed trail system in Saskatchewan.
The new trail passes are available at any insurance outlet and will cost $150. The fine for riding on a trail without a trail pass is over $480.
Now all that’s needed is some snow.