ST. ANTHONY, NL – As the first snowfalls of the winter season descend on St. Anthony, the Northern Drifters Snowmobile Club is well prepared for another year on the trails.
The club’s brand new Prinoth Husky groomer has arrived and it’s ready to take on larger quantities of snow.
A new parking lot along Goose Cove Road will also improve safety for snowmobilers.
According to grooming coordinator Rod Squires, it became apparent the club needed a new groomer after the intense snowfalls last March.
The new Prinoth Trooper the club received just two years ago had operated smoothly but couldn’t handle the large quantities of snow that hit St. Anthony in 2017.
The Trooper has been taken to Glovertown where snowfalls aren’t as heavy.
“The Husky is bigger, more horsepower – just a bigger, heavier machine for our snow conditions,” said Rod.
The machine’s drag is longer and wider; those used for the last eight years were eight feet wide, while the new one is 10 feet wide.
Rod says this means snowmobilers will have to be more careful when passing by the groomer.
Before, if they were cutting a 16-foot trail, snowmobilers were left with eight feet of clearance. Now, they would be left with six to pass.
“Give us a little more room if you come up on us or if you’re going to pass us, just for the safety reasons,” Rod advised the public.
The club will also have to wait until there’s more snow on the ground to use the groomer because of its size.
They’ve prepared for this situation by purchasing a 2015 Skandic with a 53-inch-wide groomer to tow behind.
When there’s not enough snow for the Husky, they’ll break the trail with the Skandic to give snowmobilers trail access.
The snowmobile trail runs approximately 160 km from St. Anthony to Main Brook and from St. Anthony to Raleigh.
New parking lot
A new parking lot on Goose Cove Road will also make snowmobile offloading safer this winter.
Two years ago, the Northern Drifters partnered with St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. (SABRI) to issue a proposal to the government for bridgework on the trail.
After that project was completed, they had funds left over, which were allocated to constructing the parking lot on Goose Cove Road this summer.
According to Rod and Sherry Squires, vehicles unloading their snowmobiles on the side of the road had become a safety issue.
“Right at the bottom of the hill there, you’d have four or five vehicles on each side of the road, guys pulling sleds in, pulling sleds out,” Rod explained. “At least now they got an offloading ramp, place to park that’s out of the way. A lot safer.”
“This parking lot is for offloading purposes only,” said Sherry, club chair. “We’re trying to encourage the public not to go up and load their wood on the parking lot, it’s not for that. It’s just for offloading your vehicles.”
She says the groomer will be clearing the parking lot so any wood would be pushed off.
The parking lot was built by SABRI for the Northern Drifters and SABRI paid for the sign. The Northern Drifters Snowmobile Club owns the parking lot and maintains it.
Rod and Sherry wished to thank SABRI for their assistance.