Doing Good Things: The Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club

Chautauqua County trails
The trails are a primary focus of the Chautauqua County Snowmobile Club.

Editors Note: In most issues of Snow Goer magazine, we feature one snowmobile one snowmobile club that is doing fine work. This report is from the December 2022 issue of Snow Goer.

Located in the sometimes overlooked far western corner of New York, Chautauqua County has its own snowbelt that gets major lake effect snows off of Lake Erie, decorating a beautiful rural landscape with up to 200 inches of snowfall per year.

In turn, the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club is located in the far western corner of the county. It’s been around for more than 50 years, and its volunteer members maintain more than 200 scenic miles of trails that let riders connect to neighboring club trails or even elsewhere in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

That involves a lot of work, but these club members also know how to have fun – with each other and also with other clubs in the county at a variety of events.

To learn more, see the answers to our questions below, as shared by club president Bob Perry. To have your club considered for exposure in the magazine, fill out our form at https://snowgoer.comsnowgoer.comsnowgoer.comtinyurl.com/GreatSnowClub.

club work
Infrastructure work never stops for many snowmobile clubs.

Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club

What is your best in-season club event or activity that makes membership fun?

“One of our best in-season events is a ‘Resource Ride’ for people with special needs. We collaborate with the local community and the facilities bring the people up to our organization’s clubhouse for a day of free snowmobile rides on our property. We’ll make sure they have helmets and gear to wear. We feed them lunch and beverages and take them for a couple of laps around our property. Then we’ll come back and let them get warm in the clubhouse, and then some will want to go on more rides. It’s a good thing to do. We also have our annual ‘Dice Run.’ In it we have five to seven stops where people will roll the dice at each stop and gain points toward gift certificates or other prizes.”

What is your club’s best off-season event or activity?

“We usually have annual sit-down landowner’s dinner every April or May, but during COVID times we had to adapt. So we had a landowner’s drive-thru cookout, with barbecue chicken dinners. It went over pretty well – of the 490 landowners who our trail system relies on, about 300 people came through. Landowners can also win prizes in drawings and raffles.”

What has been your club’s best means of finding new members?

“We sent out 3,500 renewals this past year and went back five years on an old membership list to find lost members.”

How do you make new members or prospective members feel welcomed into your club?

“We invite anybody and everybody to our meetings, and we have a new member meet-n-greet party every fall.”

Besides safety training, does your club do anything special to get and then keep youth involved?

“We try to have a youth ride for the kids where they can ride from the club house to the cookout every year. We try to do family events when we have snow on the ground.”

One interesting thing that our club does for the good of the sport is…

“We participate with the five other clubs in our county in several different events every year. There are two different Winterfest events every year. One at Bemus Point is hosted by a guy who supports the five clubs. The other is called the Mayville Winter Festival, a two-day event in Mayville that raises money for that community. Also, the All-County Club Ride every year brings the five clubs together. It gets a huge turn-out that brings in between 1,000 and 2,000 snowmobiles.”

Overall, the thing that makes our club great is…

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“We try to treat the members like family. We hold club events and club greeting in the fall, including two meetings per month.”

Editor’s Note: Every Snow Goer issue includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive print and/or digital issues.

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