History- The Washington State Snowmobile Association was founded in 1972 as a group that wanted to protect an preserve snowmobiling for future generations. Many of those charter members are still actively involved in the Association today! By-Laws were put into place and the WSSA filed as a non-profit business and worked to become leaders in Washington for the sport of snowmobiling. In the late 1970's, members saw a need to create a groomed snowmobile trail system statewide. By the early 1980's, WSSA members and the Washington State Parks and Recreation department had worked out a program whereby a portion of the gas tax spent on snowmobile fuel purchases were directed into a dedicated fund in the State budget that was exclusively for building and maintaining a trail grooming program throughout the entire state. Top
How far has WSSA come? - Today, our membership has grown to over 1,000 families and nearly 100 snowmobile related businesses. WSSA has lobbyists working in Olympia on behalf of folks owning more that 25,000 registered snowmobiles across the state. The Association mails and e-mails nearly 1,400 copies of its official publication, the Snoflyer, each month from October to March and another online-only edition during the summer months, so that the membership is kept up to date on happening in the snowmobiling world. The WSSA makes available every year a $1,500 college scholarship for eligible Association students. Students are required to submit an essay pertaining to snowmobiling and the winner of the WSSA Scholarship is then placed in a competition for an additional scholarship offered by the Western Chapter of Snowmobile Associations (comprised of the Western United States and Canada). Top
Visibility of WSSA to the public – Each year during October, WSSA puts together their WSSA Snowmobile & Power Sports Expo & Swap Meet. This event is the largest of its kind west of Minneapolis! Attendance at Expo averages over 8,000 visitors and has peaked at more than 10,000 people during its two days at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup. It has grown by leaps and bounds from the first few hundred folks who attended the first year it was held.
A large variety of products and businesses are featured at the Expo, including many Chamber of Commerce offices, resort and hotel facilities that accommodate snowmobiles, winter clothing manufacturers, snowmobile accessory manufacturers, towing trailer and vehicle dealers, snowmobile dealerships and more. Plus there is a huge area devoted just to the Swap Meet portion of the Expo.
When the gates open the first day, people are lined literally up and down both sides of the block waiting to get through the gates. As they enter, they are handed an information packet that contains the most current edition of the Snoflyer, as well as information urging them to be responsible snowmobilers and to become an active voice in working for the betterment of their sport.
The major snowmobile manufacturers readily bring their factory (exclusive) displays for this event. WSSA considers the Expo and Swap Meet one of its very best ways to reach the snowmobiling public. The Expo committee purchases advertising on radio and television stations in the Seattle area and across the State, as well as in print and online media, which promotes the date and location of the Expo event. People come from as far away as Idaho, Oregon, Montana, California and Canada just to take advantage of the deals they can get at the Expo! We call it "the Official Start of the Snowmobile Season!" Top
How is WSSA organized? - WSSA is registered with the State of Washington as a non-profit group. To gain representation from all areas, we divide the state into six districts, and most of the districts are subdivided into two sections, "North" and "South". This ensures snowmobilers from across the state are included during the Association's meetings. Meetings are regularly schedules around the state during the months of October, November, January, February, March and August. Each year, a schedule is determined so that membership is aware of the location of these meetings well in advance. All WSSA members are welcome to attend these meetings. Board Meetings are sometimes held prior to the General Meetings to care for any business and/or discussion necessary. There are 16 board members representing all districts of the state and the officers of the Association. All officers, board members, committee chairs and advisors to WSSA are VOLUNTEERS. No one makes money from being involved in our Association. Collectively, thousands of hours every year are donated for the continuation and betterment of our sport. Top
What else are snowmobilers in Washington doing?-In addition to grooming snowmobile trails and working on land use and legislative issues, snowmobilers across our state actively participate in maintaining Sno-Parks and warming shelters in our mountains. This includes picking up litter, cleaning restroom facilities, painting and cleaning shelters, clearing brush and fallen trees from trail systems, refurbishing bridges and culverts necessary to maintain access to the trails, building new Sno-Parks and sheds for the trail grooming machines, picking up litter along state highways in conjunction with the Adopt-A-Highway program and much more. Top
Charitable activities - Snowmobilers devote many hours to raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Washington. In the past 11 years, WSSA has donated close to $170,000 to this worthy charity. There are nearly 40 individual snowmobile clubs across the state that are involved with the WSSA. Virtually all of these clubs make an opportunity to contribute regularly to their own communities by doing such things as providing food baskets to needy families during the winter holidays, holding fund-raisers for local charitable organizations, creating scholarships for snowmobile club members and lots more. One snowmobile club along the I-90 corridor regularly goes during snow months to the weather station on Stampede Pass and shovels the snow away from the buildings so the lady who cares for the station has access in and out of her place all winter long. The snowfall is very heavy and she appreciates the help from the club, as she is a non-snowmobiler. Top
Other groups WSSA works with - The WSSA is a member of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, which oversees activities amongst 27 snowmobiling states across the nation. WSSA also actively supports the Northwest Avalanche Center and the work they do and services they provide to winter recreationists. Local snowmobile clubs work closely with the US Forest Service Ranger District offices in their communities regarding trail systems, improvements to trails and shelters, building, installing, replacing and/or maintaining bridges, culverts, trails, shelters and roads and providing signs and maps for their snowmobiling areas (which includes such things as marking traffic intersections with snow markers, directional arrows, road names). Just within the past couple of years, new signs have been made available to snowmobilers so that Wilderness boundaries can be marked. Clubs take it upon themselves to obtain these signs and place them along the boundaries so that they are marked and riders can see where the Wilderness areas are. The International Snowmobile Manufacturer’s Association created and actively promotes a “Safe Riders! You make snowmobiling safe.” campaign that is continuously integrated with the WSSA membership. Responsible snowmobile usage continues to be at the top of the list for WSSA members. Top
How WSSA promotes safe snowmobiling - WSSA works closely with Washington State Parks Winter Recreation Division to present “Snowmobile Safety Courses” to the young people of our state. Any kid ages 12-16 years old is welcome to take the course and earn his or her safety certification. If kids want to ride on a snowmobile by themselves, this certification is required by Washington State Law. The WSSA Safety Chairman helps coordinate these classes and guides those interested in attending to classes near them. Top
Snowmobiling facts in Washington State
- There are over 25,000 snowmobiles registered in Washington. Over 1/3 are registered in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties.
- The economic impact of snowmobiling is conservatively estimated to be $70 to $90 million per year.
- There are over 3,500 miles of groomed and marked trails. The majority of the trails are on public lands (National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Washington DNR, State Parks).
- Snowmobilers pay their way. The only funds available for administering the Snowmobile Program (through Washington State Parks and Recreation) come from registration fees and a portion of the state fuel tax, based on the amount of fuel used in snowmobiles. The group of people who make up the Snowmobile Advisory Committee is a very diverse group, including a County Commissioner, non-motorized recreationists (such as cross country skiers), the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Licensing and the Department of Natural Resources. When WSSA began the process of setting up the dedicated grooming funding through the State in the early 1980’s, they felt that it would be best to include representation from all facets of winter recreation to help keep each other informed and to work together as a team.
- Snowmobilers volunteer thousands of hours to help keep up National Forest lands and contribute generously to charity. The Washington State Snowmobile Association has contributed thousands of dollars to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Washington and is considered to be a major donor to this organization. Top
- That our opportunities for access to public lands are being unnecessarily and unfairly limited or otherwise curtailed because of bogus studies and implementation of restrictions without due process.
- That the land management policies of several federal land management agencies are becoming exclusionary to many facets of motorized forms of recreation. We feel that over 100 million acres of Wilderness (of which the majority is in the Western United States) is ENOUGH!
- That funding of land management agencies for maintaining the currently held resource has been insufficient. Top
- Snowmobilers want to be a legitimate and active partner in maintaining and caring for our public lands.
- To promote recreational snowmobiling as a family sport.
- Protect and preserve access to public lands.
- Support multiple-use for recreation. Top