Snowmobilers stoked for ’60s Vernon Winter Carnival

Club shows off its own history with free ride

The Vernon Snowmobile Club is revved to show off it’s 1960s chalet in celebration of the 60th Vernon Winter Carnival.

The VSA is hosting a vintage sled poker run for snowmobilers and snowmobilers of all ages at Silver Star Sunday, Feb. 9.

“The VSA has participated in many winter carnivals, starting in 1968 when we entered a float for the first time,” said Kevin Hillier, VSA member. “With the Carnival theme of the ‘60s in mind, we thought it would be fitting to invite the public to come up to our 1960s chalet and bring your old sleds and sled gear.”

The chalet was constructed in 1967, following the first VSA meeting with 35-40 people. Among them were the newly elected President Bruce Georgeson, Vice President Ray Redstone, Secretary Arthur Abram and Treasurer Jack Tordoff. Other directors were Norman Sasges, Dick Kimball, Jack Passmore, Don Stinn and Peter Genier of Vernon, and Ray O’Rourke of Lumby. At that time the fees were $2 per person.

READ MORE: Snowmobile club marks 50 years

The chalet was built entirely by 28 volunteers, under building committee chairman Stinn. A spiral staircase was built from the first to the second floor, a citizen band radio antenna was installed, and a septic tank and water system also installed.

“This chalet was the first of its kind in Western Canada,” according to the VSA’s 50th anniversary history document. “The Quebec and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs requested details on how this chalet was being built and financed. At this time the Snowmobile Association was sure that this area of Silver Star would have huge growth in the coming years.”

In February 1968 B.C.’s Education and Labour Minister L. R. Peterson and North Okanagan MLA Pat Jordan officially opened the snowmobile chalet. The Minister, along with a party of 30, went on a snowmobile safari to the chalet to officiate at the opening.

Over the years the club has organized many trail rides and family events, all while supporting local charities for all of its 53 years in existence.

The proceeds from the 2020 poker run will be donated to Easter Seals, a long-time recipient of donations from VSA.

The event is free, with a lunch provided by donation to Easter Seals. Prizes are donated by local merchants and corporate sponsors. The course will be a short ride with riders picking up a card at each station, and prizes and a barbecue back at the parking lot. Refreshments will be set up at the chalet, which is one of the stops on the ride, and the toboggan hill will be ready for the kids. Riders can head out for a ride after the event to visit all of the trails and cabins. Meet at the Sovereign Lakes Snowmobile Area parking lot at 10 a.m.

READ MORE: Museum digs up history for ’60s Vernon Winter Carnival


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