Tollgate TTF Newsletter January 2018

CLUB UPDATE by Bob Smith – TTF Board Member

Happy New Year’s Snowmobilers,

We were off to a good start for snow depth at Christmas continuing through the 28th of December when we received a big rain storm instead of snow. We’ve been getting lots of moisture but warmer temps in the higher elevations have caused that precipitation to be in the form of rain rather than snow. It’s still early and a lot can change quickly in the mountains. We have several websites at our disposal to gather weather forecast info around the Tollgate area. Our web site not only has a webcam for a visual peek at the snow but has a link to NOAA Weather Forecast for Tollgate which provides a 7-day weather forecast. Another great site is SNOTEL; this site provides information from weather stations across America. Simply type in SNOTEL Oregon and it has a clickable site map that provides detailed snow depth info across all of Oregon state. In our area, the Milkshakes and High Ridge SNOTEL sites are within our club’s general area. The Milkshakes SNOTEL is north of the Chapman Bone Springs Shelter and the High Ridge SNOTEL is towards the Ruckel Shelter.


Over the Christmas holiday several of the club members were involved in a search and rescue for some snowmobilers who became stuck and lost near the Mottet Campground area several miles from Chapman Bone Springs Warming Shelter. It all turned out well, the couple was found, their snowmobiles were dug out and they were led back to their vehicle at Morning Creek Snow Park safely. Fortunately, the couple had a cell phone and extra battery pack/ charger to keep the phone alive while contacting the Umatilla County Sheriff’s office. They were able to give the search party a location where they were stranded. They also had fire starting equipment to build a fire and stay warm until help arrived. As our club reflected on the evening of the rescue, there were lessons learned and skills that need to be brushed up. We were fortunate that the Sheriff’s department had good communication with the Club President and that the TTF has a good networking system to quickly organize a search party. This was a gentle reminder that we all need to brush up on our GPS skills, carry a first aid kit, a means of communication and fire-starting materials. In case of emergency we need to be able to pinpoint our location and share that location with authorities, friends and family.


Saturday January the 6th Victor McNeil head of the Wallowa Avalanche center and wife Kelly put on an Avalanche training class at the club house and in the field. It was a great learning experience on Avalanche awareness. We learned how to use our beacons, probes and shovels in the field to locate potential buried victims. Victor and Kelly did a great job and those in attendance felt confident we could locate a victim if the need ever arose. We learned the key words “know before you go”. Check in with the Wallowa Avalanche center on snow conditions in the Blue Mountains before you go sledding via their web site Spend some time on their website to learn about avalanche awareness. They have great self-help videos that could save your life or someone you love! Have a great time this snowmobile season and above all be safe. The “Wallowa Avalanche Centers” guide points out: Get the Gear, Get the Training, Get the Forecast, Get the Picture and Get out of Harms way. Photo Credit – Wallowa Avalanche Center


Special thanks for all the sponsors that made our New Year’s Eve party a big success. We celebrated the incoming New Year over dinner with a packed club house. The tables were covered with prizes and money from sponsors across the Columbia Basin that were raffled off by our Club President Bob Carroll and Vice President Brandon Christensen. The prizes get bigger and better every year and most in attendance won a prize. The sponsors include Ride Now Power Sports Kennewick, Experience Power Sports Moses Lake, Mid Valley Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Grandview, Desert Pump & Irrigation of Pasco, Goss Family Jewelers of Hermiston and La Grande and many others who privately contributed.

An extra special “Thank You” to Hollis Zschokke – State Farm Insurance in Kennewick who generously donated $1000.00 in cash prizes for the “Poker Run” that was held December 31. The cash was awarded to 11 lucky winners at our New Year’s Eve party with the grand prize being $300. Thank you Hollis!! Your Generosity is a great help to our Club! Photo Credit – Tollgate Trailfinders


Saturday January 20th @ 10:00 am is the kids ride to Chapman Bone Springs Warming shelter led by Kolby Christensen. Plan to bring your kids under 16 who are snowmobile certified. This should be a blast for adults as well as the kids. We ask that kids bring at least one adult to make sure everyone is safe and having fun. Many of the leaders of the club will be there to supervise and follow along. We plan to have prizes for the kids that make the ride. Please bring your own drinks and whatever other snacks you may want. Photo Credit – Brandon Christensen

NEW LOOK, TTF WEBSITE! Keep an eye on the new TTF Web site that Tammy Davenport one of our Board members is creating for our club. It should be new and refreshing. It will take a bit of time to have it all up and running but she has the creative juices and energies to bring it to life. Thank you Tammy!

Check the TTF Clubs Calendar and on the Tollgate Trailfinders Facebook Page for upcoming events.

Tollgate Trailfinders

January 13th Grooming Report


I was on the mountain on Friday this week.  We have gotten 6-8 inches of new wet snow with a total about 1 1/2 feet at the groomer shed.  The temperature was 39 degrees, too warm to groom and the snow is too wet to work.  It would just ball up into snowballs.  We really need cold weather and more snow, good snow, to groom.  Grooming programs across the state are having the same problem.  Lack of snow and warm temperatures parking most groomers. The rest of the week-end does not look good for grooming as temperatures are going to be in the high 30’s (it is 37 at Tollgate right now, Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with ODOT report of light rain), and night time temperatures are too warm to freeze up the snow.  There is more rain in the forecast the first of next week, warm temperatures.


Wish I had better news.


Jess Thompson TTF grooming chaiarman