16 Snowmobile VERMONT I am often asked questions about VAST mostly regarding why it costs more to ride in Vermont than it does in our neighboring states. This is a great question and one of many I love to answer. There are many contributing factors which I will outline in this article but in a nutshell one very big nutshell it is because VAST is unique and there is not another state in the United States that has statewide riding like we do. Our entire snowmobile industry is maintained entirely by a non-profit organization with six staff and thousands of volunteers. What does that mean Well for instance in other states the snowmobile industry is run by state government. These states use multiple state agencies to do the work. While you might say Well maybe Vermont should do that. The State of Vermont is not set up to take on this industry because of costs manpower and lack of infrastructure. If we moved to being run by the State this would also adversely and permanently change the important structure of VAST which is our club system. Instead the State of Vermont through many agencies and the legislature have built a strong partnership with VAST to run snowmobiling in Vermont. If youre fairly new to VAST let me give you some history. VAST began back in the 1960s with a group of snowmobile enthusiasts that wanted to quell the suspicion of this new sport and organize so they could begin to build a trail system that they themselves could ride on and entice others to join the sport. It took some time to get folks to realize that this could be a great sport for themselves and for Vermont but the growing number of enthusiasts did not give up. Most snowmobilers in Vermont at that time used sleds for farm work or to get around the farm in the winter. I hazard to say that if those folks werent so brave to introduce the sport of snowmobiling to Vermont when they did we would not have the great trail system we do because of state laws now that govern development. All you have to do is look to the largest winter economic engine in Vermont downhill skiing to note that if those trails on Vermonts mountains were not cut when they were back in the 1950 and 60s we probably would not have downhill skiing in Vermont now. 80 percent of the VAST trail system is made up of private lands and Why is Snowmobiling By Cindy Locke Executive Director in Vermont Different from other states Riders want to know...