After 15 years of actively fundraising, working with the Columbia Basin Trust, and the Village of Radium Hot Springs the Windermere Valley Snowmobile Club raised enough to purchase a $85,000 groomer.

We got to the point now when we had enough funds available, that we went out to tender through four, or five businesses to find a groomer that met our stipulations, based on year and the amount of hours that were on the groomer. Once we found the location and the person selling one, we made the arrangements to purchase, said club president Gary Prosser.

The society found a distributor out of Red Lake, Minnesota, just south of Manitoba. After buying the new machine, it took three weeks before it arrived in Radium on Wednesday, May 24th. Due to the years of fundraising for the newer machine, the society had a number of stipulations they wanted the new equipment to meet before purchasing it.

Some of the major stipulations included making sure to get one as new as possible, based on affordability, and that it had minimum hours on it. This current groomer that we have has about 7,700 hours it did come from a ski hill down in the U.S.. And (another stipulation was) just making sure it would meet all the needs as far as the type of terrain we’re covering, said Mr. Prosser.

The machine will be put to use this December to maintain and groom the clubs track twice per week, throughout the sledding season.

The biggest thing is, when you get riders coming out, the first thing they ask is is the trail groomed now? We can ensure that that’s going to happen because the old groomer just wasn’t reliable enough for us to make those extra passes, so we had to basically hobble by during the winter time,said Mr. Prosser.

With the new machine, the society will be able to ensure their 19-kilometre track in the Forester drainage is a smooth enjoyable ride for their 70 members and the 2,000 visitors to the trail.

Although fundraising for this equipment is not over just yet, the society is waiting to hear from the Columbia Basin Trust if they will receive another grant that will be put towards building a storage structure for the groomer.

The snowmobile club has a $20 user fee for the track that will continue indefinitely with funds collected going towards maintenance of the cabin and collection of firewood. Until the sledding season begins the groomer will be stored at a facility in Radium.