Published Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 in Scott Wise
The Chautauqua Star and Bulletin Board is proud to feature our "Winter Recreation" section, located on pages 6 and 7 of our Sports section. Join us every week as we showcase each of the local snowmobile groups and see what they bring to our area.
For the dedicated snowmobilers in the area, their answer will be, "Because we get five months of winter!"
With over 450 miles of groomed trails in Chautauqua County, there's enough trail to spend a winter out of the house and on the sled.
The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club is the largest in Western New York, encompassing around 300 miles of the trails in the county. The club has over 1,500 members and has been in existence for over 40 years.
"The first perk of being in a club is the camaraderie and friendship of the people who come and ride," said Marcus Maloney, Events and Activities Coordinator for the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club.
But making friends isn't the only benefit to joining a club in New York State. Any club member can receive a discount on their state registration fees.
"All of the clubs have seen a ride in membership because of that discount," said Maloney, who is a member of three Chautauqua County clubs. "For the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club, our membership fee is only $30 for a family for the season."
Maloney stresses that the importance of joining a snowmobile club is not just to get a discount, but for the safety and guaranteed maintenance of traveling the group's trails.
"We have nine groomers that take care of our trails year-round," said Maloney. "One hundred percent of our proceeds go toward trail maintenance and safety."
Members also enjoy monthly meetings throughout the year, where they meet to discuss the trails, exchange safety concerns, share stories and learn about groomer operation and regulations.
"We usually ride for about three to four months a year- November or December until St. Patrick's Day," said Maloney. "We spend the rest of the year sharing stories and looking forward to the next year- building bridges and trimming trees. The whole trail system is also now GPS Coordinated, so you don't have to worry about getting lost."
Trail membership is also good for local business. Members come from Ohio and Pennsylvania and bring more winter business to the hundreds of popular local business and restaurants along the trails.
"Most of our members like to go out and try lots and lots of different places," said Maloney. "We're nothing without local businesses, and they're all huge supports of our clubs and the trails."
For more information on the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Group, including trail conditions visit www.chautauquasnow.com or call their 'Sno-Phone' at 716-753-2924.
For more information on Chautauqua Lake Real Estate & Living visit: www.chautauqualakehomes.com