Arts & Culture
12:45 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Sno-Flyers Are Ready For Winter

The snow and cold weather doesn’t keep everyone in Rochester indoors.

Skiers and snowmobilers also love the start of winter. One popular local snowmobile club is the Hilton Sno-Flyers.

Club vice president Marty Sauer told WXXI there are about 800 members to start the season, down from a recent peak of 1,300, although membership rises when the snow comes early like this year.

"There's farmers, there's technicians, there's salesmen, managers, mechanics. There's a huge assortment of people. All different sorts."

New York State encourages snowmobile owners to join clubs by reducing registration fees.

Sauer says one message the Sno-Flyers emphasizes is to respect property rights.

“The only legitimate riding is on a designated trail, or your own property. We work very, very hard to close any loopholes that might exist as far as misunderstanding where a trail might go. We constantly stress 'stay on the trail,' 'observe the marked trail.'"

Sauer started snowmobiling 11 years ago, after watching riders go by on the trail near his house. He loves to snowmobile with his son, even if it's close to home.

"I like being in places that, even though they are in the local area, right near the local highways, you would think that you were off in the mountains somewhere."

Sauer says there's camaraderie among club members.

"Snowmobiling, as an organized sport, also involves putting in trails, and maintaining equipment, and then maintaining the trail. We have a good time during the whole process, even before the riding season starts."

The club operates three groomers and Sauer says there is still a lot of trail work left. Members will tackle the work later this month, when hunting season ends and it’s safer to be in the woods.

Credit NYS Parks

The Hilton Sno-Flyers hold many group rides every year, with backup plans in case there's not enough snow. Many members also help each other by sharing trailers to get to the snow.

"We snowmobilers want to have more snowmobilers get involved. So, generally, if there's somebody new and curious, we try to do all that we can to help them to get into the sport."

A little more snow helps, too.