NEWPORT — On Saturday, over thirty local snowmobile enthusiasts gathered at North Country Hospital to hone their safety skills.
For riders born after July 1, 1983, this is a course that must be completed in order to legally use the VAST trails. The course was taught by Roger Gosselin, a South Burlington firefighter and advanced EMT who lives in Westfield.
“I was raised in Derby and have been riding snowmobiles all my life,” Gosselin said.
He has volunteered his time for the past six years to teach this course because he believes it’s everyone’s responsibility to ride safely and respect the rules.
Gosselin is also the only train-the-trainer in the state of Vermont.
“It’s possible to pay to take this course online, but the classroom experience is far more effective than online learning,” he said. “It’s also a great way to feel a sense of community when people are together in a classroom.”
Many snowmobile trails are open to other winter sports such as cross-country skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing, but it’s up to the individual landowner to grant permission for alternative uses.
If people are using these VAST trails for other recreational purposes it’s important that they stay out of the way of snowmobiles and use the side of the trails instead of the middle.
Kathy DiCarlo, a nurse at North Country Hospital and snowmobile enthusiast, helped plan the event through her association with the Jay Focus Group.
As a nurse, she feels a sense of duty to promote safety and she also asked participants to bring 2 non-perishable items for the Jay Area Food Shelf.
North Country Hospital representatives say they recognize the importance of staying safe when pursuing any outdoor activities. They sponsor ATV safety courses in the Spring and are now proud to be sponsoring snowmobile safety.