Hard Work Pays Off For Local Sledders

Greg Long, Bill Franz and Claude Aunont
Claude Aunont Yamaha partnership co-coordinator talks about the idea behind the contest.

Earlier this winter Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) and Yamaha Motor Canada co -sponsored a contest to bring Yamaha’s latest sleds to the organization the at was first to open a day’s worth of riding on Ontario’s snow trails.

This year the winners were our very own Sault Trailblazers in Algoma Country. Tuesday the Sault Trailblazers club members , representatives from Yamaha Canada and OTMPC spoke of the dedication that went into opening these trails – including how the club suffered mechanical breakdowns every day while grooming, yet managed to persevere and win despite these setbacks.
Their tour of the area will start at Sault Ste. Marie’s new Yamaha dealership , Premier Yamaha Powersports . The group will ride for two days and cover some of the most inspiring sections of the Algoma region’s snowmobile trails.

City Councillor Frank Fata spoke of the tourism benefits from the sledding industry


Bill Franz, co-owner of Yamaha Powersports tells SaultOnline.com that the sledding of yesterday has changed considerable with new technology. “It’s like sledding on your couch”

Snowmobiling has become a huge tourism boost to Northern Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie is trying to tap into that market. The Sault Trailblazers was formed in 1961 and began with 200 members.

John Breckenridge and Darrell Maahs both had Fathers who were founding members. Both have noted that membership numbers started to tumble a few decades ago when weather conditions changed. Today however, those numbers are climbing again as more traditional Ontario winter weather has graced the area for the last number of years.
The Sault Trailblazers maintain and groom about 2,000 km as part of an over all 30,000 km in Ontario.

Groomer and Director for the club, Greg Long, said “we had a hard go, getting our trails open this early – so I’m really proud of all the volunteers that helped. Above all, we really look forward to welcoming visitors to these trails”

Carol Cuputo – Algoma Country Travel Association
John Brekenridge Club Director – spoke about the dedication of volunteers to keep sledders happy