Revelstoke Snowmobile Club past-presidents come out for opening of new welcoming centre

The Revelstoke Snowmobile Club held the official opening for its new welcoming centre on Saturday

Terry Fleming (left)

The first ceremony was for the politicians. This one was for the presidents.

The Revelstoke Snowmobile Club held the official opening for its new welcoming centre on Saturday, part of its opening weekend festivities that included its major fundraising dinner at the Hillcrest Hotel on Friday night.

Back in April, a ceremony was held in unseasonably warm weather, with politicians praising the work of the snowmobile club in bringing tourism to Revelstoke. Winter was over and the welcoming centre stayed closed.

On Saturday evening, it felt more like winter, with a bit of snow on the ground and snowmobilers roaring out of the parking lot after a day in the mountains. An open house was held so sledders could tour the new building, which includes a reception area, ticket desk, meeting room and maintenance facility for the groomers.

Past presidents were invited to join in the landmark occasion for the club, and the culmination of its capital program that saw it build a new cabin on Boulder Mountain, renovate its Frisby Ridge cabin and finally open a facility at the base of Boulder.

“It’s been a wonderful time watching how the club has changed over the years,” said Terry Fleming, the club’s original president.

Also on hand were former presidents Bill Gill, Don Hawker, John Scarcelli Sr., Kathy Burke and Ron Laroy, who served as emcee for the occasion.

Laroy talked about the club’s first building, a 600-square-foot shack that was built by volunteers out of a large spruce tree and lumber and other material they were able to scrounge together.

“The opening night we installed a wood stove in the uninsulated building and proceeded to party,” he said.

“And they were good parties,” someone interjected.

“As it got warmer inside we were able to chip more ice off the floor so it was better dancing,” added Laroy.

Fleming remarked on the club’s groomers, which are much improved from the first one they bought in the 1970s.

Daniel Kellie, the club’s current president, said it was an honour to be amongst all the club’s past leaders.

He thanked the City of Revelstoke, Columbia Basin Trust and others for, “All the funding we’ve been given to have this area, the Boulder cabin, Frisby cabin and hopefully more managed trails in times to come.”

The club is preparing for a major milestone next winter, when it celebrates its 50th anniversary.