Snowmobile tour operator offended by story

A snowmobile tour company takes offence at a story.

Editor,

Re: Riding High, Revelstoke View Winter 2012.

As owner and operator of Great Canadian Snowmobile Tours, I take offense to the article by Alex Cooper called ‘ Riding High’ published in the Revelstoke View, where Jeremy Henke and Rob Alford are interviewed about their new company Mountain Stash Adventures. It is clear this is more lifestyle reporting than editorial as journalism would require some source checking and research. When consumers are looking for a safe, fun and legal snowmobile experience they should know a few things about commercial snowmobiling.

1. Any snowmobile company operating in B.C. needs to have a government issued tenure to operate on Crown land, similar to the heli-ski companies’ tenures. Under this tenure the company has to be insured, have safety measures and an operating plan in place. Great Canadian Snowmobile Tours has safely operated within its tenures in Revelstoke for the last 17 years, whereas Mountain Stash adventures has not even applied for a tenure, is not insured and has not issued safety plans with the government.

2. Great Canadian Snowmobile Tours was co-founder of the B.C. Commercial Snowmobile Association eight years ago. This organisation represents commercial snowmobile operators in B.C., and all legal tenured operators are members. The BCCSOA has worked hard with the government to establish industry standards, and develop guide training programs and snowmobile marketing efforts. Mr Henke so far is not even a member, nor has he been to any of our meetings.

3. Consumers looking for a guided snowmobile experience should inquire with the operators about the qualifications and safety measures in place. ‘Great Canadian’ has set industry standards, together with other B.C. snowmobile operations, which include minimal 80 hours first aid certification, a minimum level 1 CAA avalanche training and level 2 for lead guides. We further incorporate safety plans, which include radio communication throughout our riding areas and safety equipment. Additionally BCCSOA companies all have third party liability insurance to protect others and their clients. So far MS adventure does not meet these requirements.

4. When selecting a company the consumer should always enquire about the suitability of its guides. Having snowmobiled 17 years commercially in Revelstoke, our operation has an excellent safety record due to the dedication of our guides. Sensible terrain choices have kept our staff and clients out of avalanches. Guides are not selected on their ability to survive an avalanche or drop a 60 foot cliff. They are selected for their abilities to select the proper terrain for their guests, teach people new riding skills, communicate properly and provide guests with an top notch riding experience in all conditions. Riding with Ontario’s Snowmobiler TV and Snowgoer Magazine (Canada’s largest snowmobile publication) last week, that was exactly the feedback; ‘Great guides, great fun. We felt safe with ‘Great Canadian’ in poor weather conditions all the time,’ are a testament to a good, legal and fun company.

Alex Szirmai,

Owner/operator, Great Canadian Snowmobile Tours & Glacier House Hotel & Resort Revelstoke

 

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