28 | Snowmobile VERMONT Carmi Duso is a walking talking paradox. He is a man struck by incurable wanderlust, yet he was employed by the same company and lived in the same small town for 41 years. He’s traveled in every state, yet has taken little time to examine their well-known landmarks. His personality leans towards quietude and patience; but his subtle tongue can cut to the quick. At 75, when most people are savoring the memories of life, Duso races around the countryside on his snowmobile grumbling about companions half his age who can’t keep up. When most men are enjoying retirement, Duso has accepted a whole new set of challenges. Duso, who looks 15 years younger and acts 25 years younger than his age, retired in 1968 after 41 years with the telephone company. Just about this time, a series of events drastically altered his life. First, he discovered snowmobiling and bought his first machine. Then, Duso’s wife died and he moved from his home-town of Enosburg Falls, Vermont, to the state capitol of Montpelier where he married his deceased wife’s sister. That same year, Duso and the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) found each other. Today, 10 years later, Carmi Duso is considered the personification of VAST. In 1972, several VAST members nominated Duso for that organization’s presidency. He declined to run. After the incumbent president was re-elected, the organization asked Duso to be its first executive director. Duso accepted the non-paying job. “I thought I’d stay at the job until the organization could get on its feet,” he says. During his tenure, Duso has done every conceivable association-related task-from the most mundane to the most lofty-in order to help VAST grow and stabilize as a viable organization. He has delivered snowmobile films to groups throughout the state, many times filling last minute requests. He helped design a VAST exhibit and on numerous occasions has set up and manned that exhibit. He serves as the business manager for the VAST newspaper, but, of course, fills other duties for the publication. He has solicited memberships from snowmobilers throughput the state. He has blazed new trails, cleared trails, and maintained trails. He has obtained easements. He had written, designed, and distributed literature. He has organized trail rides. But most importantly, he has been an extremely successful lobbyist with the Vermont legislature. In fact, Vermont’s progressive and model snowmobile legislation is a tribute to the hard work and persistent efforts of Carmi Duso. In 1973, Vermont passed its first snowmobile legislation; but it wasn’t until 1978 that the state had a snowmobile trail development program, known as the State Snowmobile Trails Program or SSTP. That program today is being carried out through contract by VAST…in other words, Carmi Duso. The legislation which set up SSTP is Carmi Duso’s greatest triumph as executive director of his organization. The triumph did not come easy. According to Duso, the original state snowmobile legislation, which emphasized safety, law enforcement and registration, glided smoothly through the legislature because the governor at the time was a snowmobiler who threw his support behind the bill. When it came time, in 1977, for the legislature to consider setting up a snowmobile trails program, Vermont had a new governor who was not a snowmobiler and who, while not opposed to the plan, was cool to the idea. “If a governor is in favor of some legislation, it is fine; if not, you’ve got trouble,” is how Duso sums up the civics lesson learned from this situation. Dusoi explains that one of the reasons sentiment was running against the trails program, both with the new governor and among legislators, was that neither wanted to Carmi Duso A VERMONT YANKEE IN SNOMOBILING’S COURT By Bill Glitz This is an excerpt of an article from the November 1979 issue of Snow Goer magazine. Reprinted with permission.