The International Snowmobile Manufacturer’s Association (ISMA) announced the Take A Friend Snowmobiling Week February 14-22, 2009. The nine-day period, including two weekends, was introduced to go hand-in-hand with the Take a Friend Snowmobiling campaign that was developed to encourage snowmobilers to take non-snowmobiling friends out for a ride. The event is designed to be simple with recommended guidelines:
• Safety training – make sure to cover all the safe snowmobiling behavior with your friend before taking them out on their first ride. Points to cover should include:
o Proper operation of the brake and throttle
o Shifting weight and slowing down in curves
o Staying on the right hand side of the trail
o Dismount the snowmobile on the right hand side of the sled
o Make sure the vehicle is in good mechanical order
o Make sure your friend is appropriately dressed and sober
• A key ingredient to a good time for a first time snowmobiler is for seasoned riders to make sure non-snowmobilers are comfortable when they first get on a snowmobile. Be cautious and ride slow when taking out a new rider. Plan on making numerous stops and enjoy the scenery. It is always recommended that the first ride be rather short and include a stop for a light meal or hot chocolate or coffee and a little camaraderie and storytelling at the local restaurant, clubhouse or outdoor barbecue area.
• Clubs are encouraged to participate in the activity and try to hold a special day or weekend encouraging members to bring non-snowmobiling friends for a short ride and discover the lifestyle
ISMA’s research showed that non-snowmobilers know very little about snowmobiling. Most non-snowmobilers don’t know where the trails are, who builds and maintains and pays for the trail systems and have no idea of the beautiful scenery that snowmobilers enjoy and the fun they have riding. It was also learned that people who don’t snowmobile rate their desire to go snowmobiling a solid 9 on a 10-point scale. All we need to do is ask, and maybe they end up buying a new or used snowmobile to join in our winter fun.
As a special incentive to take non-snowmobilers snowmobiling, the manufacturers will give away a new snowmobile to a person who registers online and participates in the Take a Friend Snowmobiling event. Beginning in December 2008, the Take a Friend Snowmobiling Week Registration Form will be on the Go Snowmobiling web site: www.gosnowmobiling.org.

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