BY KEVIN HITE ASSA PRESIDENT
The February edition of the SnowRider is here. As we move into the traditional deepest part of our winter, it is obvious that the slow start we have suffered through has taken a toll on every aspect of our sport. Recreational riding, freighting services, trail grooming, etc., have all gotten off to a terrible start. By the time this hits the stands, I hope some of this has been rectified by a record-setting snowfall. Well, one can hope. One of the items you can count on in the winter is the Iron Dog participants beginning their training regimens regardless of conditions.
The Iron Dog will soon be howling into the wilderness with one huge change. The 2015 Iron Dog will start with a ceremonial beginning in Anchorage. The Iron Dog board and executive director have done a tremendous job bringing this event to our town. The activities and festivities associated with this event will be a great boost to the Anchorage area and will tremendously increase the access to Iron Dog participants and the race supporters that make this race such a success.
There are a lot of events scheduled for the weekend that the Iron Dog starts in Anchorage. Vintage races, freestyle events, and other festivities are all designed to bring new and old fans into participation with this classic Alaskan event. One of the things that we hope to facilitate and participate in would be a general summit on the future of our sport. The Iron Dog organization has generously offered to help facilitate a general meeting in which the organized clubs and groups can discuss and plan forward a renewed snowmobile trails program.
To begin this discussion, we have initiated discussions with the Legislature concerning the vision that we have been promoting in SnowRider for the past few months. I will be contacting the club officers all around our state and will help facilitate wide-ranging participation in this session. From this initial meeting, our goal will be to flesh out a comprehensive plan to put the snowmobile registration program back into full swing, and putting the snowmobile community goals at the forefront of the program.
We have long tried tweaking the program from the inside with little or no success. The draft of the plan that we have discussed is designed to do just that. Putting the program back into a successful position will require the cooperation of all of us as we go to our legislators with a plan that needs support for the execution. This statewide meeting will be a good start to this proposal. Our thanks to the Iron Dog organization and the organizations that will be key to this effort.
Let’s use this start to create a program we can be proud of.