VAST club membership is your ticket to ride

Posted
Hey, don't be fooled! History shows that while our little 'ol area did just experience some mild temperatures tinged with a hint of spring, winter's chill will rein supreme for a while longer. Translation: more snow is probably going to fall.

With that mindset, I'm going to barrel on here to mention a topic that fascinates me: the system of VAST trails that weave throughout our state.

VAST is the acronym for Vermont Association of Snow Travelers Inc.; the traveling part being via snowmobile. With a little preparation and foresight, a snowmobiler is able to hop on to his or her sled and get from point A to point B all while staying on the VAST trail system. And there are places to eat, gas up, sleep and play all along the way!

I am as green as they come when discussing VAST My snowmobile experiences consist of whipping around my yard in endless circles with an occasional overlay onto our pond, weather permitting. And yet, I don't hesitate to share about VAST here because besides the fun-o-meter reading of 200 percent that such a concept carries, it is also clear that the clubs who maintain and ride VAST trails are an accepting and dedicated community who understand the sentiments of a novice fan girl like me. Besides, some day sooner than later I'd love to upgrade to a Polaris XC 500 SP (instead of borrowing my kids' Arctic Kitty Cat 120) and sign on with a local club, so I consider this article important personal research for my future.

According to its website, VAST is one of the oldest snowmobiling organizations in the United States. It maintains and grooms over 5,000 miles of trails, and has a healthy number of local clubs dispersed throughout the state. Here in southern Vermont are the Green Mountain Trail Blazers, Shaftsbury Snow Pilots, and Derry Sled Dogs, just to name a few.

Say you have a snowmobile and are looking for a way to have a few more adventures on it. Joining one of VAST's clubs is your ticket to ride. The process is uncomplicated and easily discovered online by finding a club that strikes your fancy and then following through with the requirements. Mostly these include a trails maintenance assessment and registration of your sled (in-state or out), safety training, insurance, and paid membership into the club (full membership or a three-day pass). After that, the real fun begins!

It's the camaraderie in these clubs that strikes me. They are committed to each other and they are committed to the landowners who enable this winter lacework of Vermont trails to be a reality. It's a group who knows how to enjoy the great outdoors while respecting and nurturing it. They thrown fundraisers for neighbors in need and spaghetti dinners to encourage social interaction when winter threatens to keep the rest of us moody and indoors: I'm pretty sure they heartily believe in fresh air and snow as a notable health elixir. And they are optimistic too. When snow refuses to fall and the snowmobiles won't move, they change the wording on their meet-ups from "ride-in" to "drive-in" and then they party on, having gotten to their destination by way of car.

When the lay of the land is covered in white, volunteers are out grooming the VAST trails to keep everything smooth and accessible. There are maps and signage to help guide one through the snow from corridor to corridor such that if you were up in a Cavendish snowmobile club, I could give you directions from there to meet me here at the Raven's Den in Manchester by saying "begin at WR 43 then on to corridor 12, then corridor 127 to corridor 7. Follow that to 7A (corridor 4) and then run the 7 F4 trail up to the end of Rootville Rd. Isn't that cool?

Come on down and I'll buy you a steak when you get here.     

Get Outside contributor Tina Weikert lives in

By Tina Weikert

Hey, don't be fooled! History shows that while our little 'ol area did just experience some mild temperatures tinged with a hint of spring, winter's chill will rein supreme for a while longer. Translation: more snow is probably going to fall.

With that mindset, I'm going to barrel on here to mention a topic that fascinates me: the system of VAST trails that weave throughout our state.

VAST is the acronym for Vermont Association of Snow Travelers Inc.; the traveling part being via snowmobile. With a little preparation and foresight, a snowmobiler is able to hop on to his or her sled and get from point A to point B all while staying on the VAST trail system. And there are places to eat, gas up, sleep and play all along the way!

I am as green as they come when discussing VAST My snowmobile experiences consist of whipping around my yard in endless circles with an occasional overlay onto our pond, weather permitting. And yet, I don't hesitate to share about VAST here because besides the fun-o-meter reading of 200 percent that such a concept carries, it is also clear that the clubs who maintain and ride VAST trails are an accepting and dedicated community who understand the sentiments of a novice fan girl like me. Besides, some day sooner than later I'd love to upgrade to a Polaris XC 500 SP (instead of borrowing my kids' Arctic Kitty Cat 120) and sign on with a local club, so I consider this article important personal research for my future.

According to its website, VAST is one of the oldest snowmobiling organizations in the United States. It maintains and grooms over 5,000 miles of trails, and has a healthy number of local clubs dispersed throughout the state. Here in southern Vermont are the Green Mountain Trail Blazers, Shaftsbury Snow Pilots, and Derry Sled Dogs, just to name a few.

Say you have a snowmobile and are looking for a way to have a few more adventures on it. Joining one of VAST's clubs is your ticket to ride. The process is uncomplicated and easily discovered online by finding a club that strikes your fancy and then following through with the requirements. Mostly these include a trails maintenance assessment and registration of your sled (in-state or out), safety training, insurance, and paid membership into the club (full membership or a three-day pass). After that, the real fun begins!

It's the camaraderie in these clubs that strikes me. They are committed to each other and they are committed to the landowners who enable this winter lacework of Vermont trails to be a reality. It's a group who knows how to enjoy the great outdoors while respecting and nurturing it. They thrown fundraisers for neighbors in need and spaghetti dinners to encourage social interaction when winter threatens to keep the rest of us moody and indoors: I'm pretty sure they heartily believe in fresh air and snow as a notable health elixir. And they are optimistic too. When snow refuses to fall and the snowmobiles won't move, they change the wording on their meet-ups from "ride-in" to "drive-in" and then they party on, having gotten to their destination by way of car.

When the lay of the land is covered in white, volunteers are out grooming the VAST trails to keep everything smooth and accessible. There are maps and signage to help guide one through the snow from corridor to corridor such that if you were up in a Cavendish snowmobile club, I could give you directions from there to meet me here at the Raven's Den in Manchester by saying "begin at WR 43 then on to corridor 12, then corridor 127 to corridor 7. Follow that to 7A (corridor 4) and then run the 7 F4 trail up to the end of Rootville Rd. Isn't that cool?

Come on down and I'll buy you a steak when you get here.     

Get Outside contributor Tina Weikert lives in Bondville.

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