6 | Snowmobile VERMONT VAST News A message from VAST Vice President Jeff Fay The first snows of the season have fallen but just as quickly have disappeared. Hopefully, this not a trend to be repeated often. Days like these just make the desire to get out and ride that much stronger. The blanket of winter white gold in the yard was gone before I could even make a few loops around the house. Maybe the next storm won’t be followed by a day of warm weather and a south wind. Like the saying goes, “Don’t like the weather in Vermont? Wait a minute, it’ll change.” It may sound strange, but often it’s true. These days everything can change at a moment’s notice. A huge amount of trail damage was caused by the recent storms that left a majority of the state without power for days, trees down, sections of trail washed out and bridges and culverts in need of repair. It may be a slow process opening up some sections depending on the severity of the damage. Clubs are working hard to prepare for the season, but there may be areas that aren’t available when the snow flies and Mother Nature decides to let it stay for a while. Club volunteers are doing all that they can to get issues taken care of. Please be a bit more cautious the first few trips out this year as there might be unseen obstacles around that next corner or over that next rise. As VAST celebrates its 50th anniversary, I’ve thought about my early years in the sport. The first time I owned a sled was in the 1970s. It was a Yamaha GS340 ’76 or ’77. I was exposed to snowmobiling long before that. Our neighbors owned two Arctic Cats and had a section of VAST trail running through their backyard. I recall many afternoons bundled up riding in the sleigh with their two kids and stopping trailside to cook hot dogs on an open fire with hot chocolate to warm us on the inside. Later, it was school friends that had snowmobiles. We had endless hours of field riding, chasing each other, towing plastic sleds behind and learning how to keep them running. High school would be my first real riding on a used sled purchased with a zero interest loan from the “Bank of Mom.” Trail access was across the road so no trailer was needed. It was a good thing since I didn’t have my license yet. There were three different directions I could go. Going left would take me to either Lamoille county or southern Chittenden county. Right was north to Franklin county through the neighbor’s backyard. At the time, there were trails that allowed a multitude of loop possibilities depending on how far one wanted to ride. These days we are not so fortunate in that area. Only one main trail remains linking Chittenden county to Lamoille county. The trail to Franklin county was lost years ago. A 20-year exit from the sport followed in the mid ‘80s after getting a real job, getting married, buying the first house and a few other things. Fast forward to the early 2000s... oh wait, that’s a later issue in the 50 years of VAST. Ride right, ride safe, ride with respect. – Jeff Fay, VAST Vice President FIND THE HELMET Caleb Matosky, a 14 year old from Shelburne, Vt. was the lucky winner chosen from all the correct answers. He writes, “I found the helmet on page 32 of the latest addition on the front of the groomer at the bottom left of the page.” Caleb rides his own 2005 Skidoo GSX 380f on VAST trails. Lynda Sprafke of Granby, Conn., had this punny thing to say about the helmet location in the last issue, “That’s a really bad place to put a helmet, it could stop you in your tracks. Page 32, on the right track of the Tucker Sno-Cat.” Send an email to email@example.com with your answer and you could be the lucky one chosen to win a baseball or beanie hat with the Snowmobile Vermont logo. The winner will also get a 50th anniversary t-shirt and mug! RECIPROCAL WEEKEND Get ready to make your plans! Vermont and New Hampshire will hold our reciprocal weekend on Jan. 26 -28. Maine has decided not to participate, but may plan another event to get folks to their state. They have not announced their plans yet, but we wanted to make sure you know that Vermont and New Hampshire are holding this weekend. You must follow all state laws when riding in either state, so make sure you know what they are. This includes having sled liability insurance if riding in Vermont and taking a safety course if you were born after July 1, 1983. In Vermont, we will recognize all New Hampshire registrations that weekend and no TMAs need to be bought. New Hampshire will recognize a Vermont TMA, so your sled does not need to be registered in Vermont, but you must have a valid registered sled and a valid 2018 Vermont TMA sticker on your sled.