COMBERMERE – “This is a real prize for us.”
Those are the words of Ivan McLaren, the president of the Peterson Pathfinders Snowmobile Club, as he gazed upon a brand new groomer parked beside Pine Cliff Resort on January 23.
The pristine red machine, complete with heated windows and even a steering wheel, replaces a 15-year-old groomer that was operated with joysticks. It is the first time the club ever owned a brand new machine – and the club was founded back in 1980.
In addition to everything being heated in the new groomer, McLaren said the cabin is more comfortable and quiet.
“You can talk back and forth in the cab where you couldn’t in the old one,” he explained.
In 2015, the club had applied for a new machine to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC.)
“The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs made a commitment to put 16 brand new groomers on the trail until we have all of our old fleet replaced,” McLaren explained. “This is the first year of the plan and we are lucky to be the first ones to get our application in, so we were one of the first ones to get a new groomer out of it.”
The Peterson Pathfinders Snowmobile Club covers some serious ground – volunteers groom 92 kilometres of trails between Barry’s Bay to
The new addition would have cost the club $263,000 including tax. However, through the sale of trail passes, the OFSC was able to provide the groomer to the club free of charge.
Snowmobiling is one of the biggest sources of tourism dollars to the region in the winter. Not only do snowmobilers stop to gas up, but they also fill up local restaurants and hotels, contributing to the overall economy.