After giving hope to snowmobilers in mid-November, with heavy snowfalls, now winter decides that the season will have to wait, offering out-of-the-ordinary temperatures, rain and heat.
At the time of writing these lines [Monday] by consulting the trail conditions map of the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec, we could see the extent of the damage that the mild weather and the rain could have done.
However, after talking with officials, we were told that the map could not be up to date due to the lack of information transmitted to reflect reality.
I was told that 20% of the trails would be open now, perhaps not in ideal conditions, but passable all the same. By the end of the week, the picture should change, once the people responsible for changing the conditions are back in their jobs.
The rain destroyed much of the snow cover in several places. It is certain that in the mountains like the Monts-Valin, the Laurentians, the Appalachians, in Gaspésie or in Haute Mauricie, there is always enough snow to ride on trails.
"I think the best thing for amateurs to do is to communicate directly with the clubs to find out the status of their trails," explained FCMQ general manager Stéphane Desroches.
“These volunteers, who are on the ground, are best placed to provide up-to-the-minute information. Also, I would like to sincerely thank the snowmobilers who answered the call to help club volunteers to restore the network after the storm. »
Mild weather and rain have forced clubs to close several portions of trails that cross lakes or rivers. It is absolutely necessary to wait until the ban is lifted before venturing there. You have to be patient and hope that the temperature will return to normal shortly.
RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY
Some snowmobilers may be tempted to bypass the closures and venture into certain areas. This can lead to serious consequences, such as the loss of rights of way, without thinking of the dangers of breaking your snowmobile or hitting an object which could cause an accident.
"One of the three pillars that support everyone in snowmobiling in Quebec are the landowners, who, as partners, grant rights of way for 50% of the trails in the network, or 16,500 kilometers," says Michel Garneau, communications manager for the FCMQ and editor-in-chief of Motoneige Québec magazine.
“These people let us pass on their land because they are first and foremost snowmobilers, but also because these people believe in everything that the snowmobile industry represents as an economic contribution to their region. If a trail passes through their corner of the country, it will allow restaurants to survive, as will gas stations and accommodations.
“This allows these companies to be able to guarantee year-round jobs for their workers, which is very important in this time of labor shortage. The snowmobile activity allows all these organizations to remain open twelve months a year. For these landowners, it is a way to help the economy of their region. »
All these owners get nothing in return for their generosity. They are more than 10,000 to help. All they can hope for is to win one of the 55 gift certificates of $1,000 that are raffled by the Federation and Yamaha among all owners who grant a right of way.
NO TO VAGABONDENCE
The greatest danger that awaits the collapse of part of the network is wandering outside the trail markers, when traveling on private land.
"When a right of way is lost, it means that a club has to build a bypass path, which is not always easy and sometimes even impossible," says the expert. It is in southern Quebec that the clubs most often work with landowners.
“What makes the strength of the Quebec trail network is the interconnectivity between the different regions of Quebec. We can really go around Quebec by snowmobile. If we do not want to lose these advantages, we must think about the consequences before wandering. »