Profile: Grand Traverse Area Snowmobile Club

Editors Note: In each issue of Snow Goer magazine, we profile a snowmobile club that is making a difference. This story was published in the October 2023 issue of Snow Goer. Enjoy.

snowmobile club ride
Grand Traverse Area Snowmobile Club members do a lot of work, and also enjoy riding together.

Located in a touristy area of northern lower Michigan known for its tart cherries and Great Lakes views, the Grand Traverse Area Snowmobile Club (GRASC) exists in a paradise once called “The most beautiful place in America” on national TV. 

It may sound rather idyllic. Well, it certainly can be, but that doesn’t mean that the local club doesn’t have its challenges. It oversees trails south and east of Traverse City that provide a fabulous rural escape for winter visitors. But finding club members and volunteers to help carry the load is an ongoing challenge.

Our Snowmobile Club Profiles often feature clubs boasting about their many accomplishments. In this issue, GTASC member Steve Havner offers a refreshing assessment of the club’s strengths and its struggles. To have your club considered for exposure in the magazine, fill out our form at

What’s the best in-season club event or activity that makes membership fun?

“Our Fun Run that typically takes place in February. We allow participants to use any type of vehicle to get to each location on the Fun Run, but we like to encourage snowmobiles as a main type of transport.”

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

“Brushing days that are held every other Sunday starting in mid-July. We have 88 miles of trails and they need constant maintenance. Trees, brush and branches tend to pop up everywhere. The club provides a trail-side lunch and refreshments. Good comradery, good food and drinks, and lots of laughs go along with the hard work.”

What’s your club’s best means for finding new members in recent years?

“This has been an issue for the last 15-plus years. People don’t have time or don’t take the time to volunteer. They are wrapped-up with personal and family doings. If people could just take one day and give just four hours to their local club it would have a huge impact. We don’t actively advertise for new members. Although we probably should but we want to get the current members invigorated a little more. We need to make sure we set a good example for what is expected of members before hitting the ‘join the club’ thing hard.”

How do you make members or prospective new members feel welcomed?

“We try to make our members feel welcome by listening and answering their questions. We make sure they are added into the conversations if they want to be. This includes texts, phone calls and emails. We encourage them to help on clean-up days and I make sure they ride with me or another member who is good with people. We want members to volunteer and take ownership of all club projects, provide updates and ask for help when it is needed.” 

Aside from safety training, what else does your club do to get youth involved?

“We want more wives, girlfriends, significant others and kids to attend but we are just not there yet. It is a slow change from being the good-old-boys in the barn to where we want this club to be. We moved the meetings from the groomer barn in the woods that is filled with diesel fuel to a nicer, heated, well-lit location with bathrooms. Coffee, tea and snacks are being added to the meetings.”

Grand Traverse Area Snowmobile Club info

One interesting thing the club does to interact with the local community is…

“We work with the local ORV club to make sure we have solid communication and coordination between the two groups. We support and encourage local businesses, and often donate to local charities. The club has a symbiotic relationship with local businesses. Our trails bring them customers, and they help us attract members.”

Overall the thing that makes our club great is…

“The people. Relationships forged through hard work, hard decision-making, shared respect and trust have a tendency to last.”


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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