But this year, thereâ€™s another reason to get excited for a winter of endless travels on Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) trails.
Across Ontario, the OFSC is reducing the price of all 2014 Seasonal Snowmobile Trail Permits from $260 to $180 â€” if they are purchased online on or before Nov. 1, 2013.
â€œThis is obviously a bonus for avid snowmobilers in Timmins,â€ said Gil Fortin, president of the Timmins Snowmobile Club. â€œIt gives them a chance to get ahead of the season and to save some dollars. They save $80 if they buy their 2014 seasonal permit before Nov. 1.
â€œOne thing I want to stress is the Nov. 1 deadline. After that, thatâ€™s it. Itâ€™s not sold by any retailers, itâ€™s strictly online, thus the date is the date.â€
The permits are available for purchase on the organizationâ€™s website,
â€œBasically, youâ€™ve got over 32,000 km of trails across the province, and the permit gives you access to that,â€ explained Fortin.
â€œThe (Timmins) district itself has just over 500 km that we take care of ourselves. There are 17 districts across Ontario and each district basically encompasses about 500 clubs across the province also. Our district here â€” District 14 â€” has 11 clubs.
â€œIf youâ€™re a newbie, whatâ€™s nice here in Timmins, in one day you can go around the city and not take the same trail twice. There are 85 km all within city limits.â€
Timmins is still one of Ontarioâ€™s hot spots when it comes to snowmobiling, both for locals and for tourists. The use of snowmobile trails hasnâ€™t declined in Timmins as much as other, more southern regions.
More 1,000 people joined the Timmins Snowmobile Club for last yearâ€™s winter.
Still, explained Fortin, thatâ€™s a far cry from the close to 4,500 members he said the club had about 10 years ago.
â€œThe decline has been there over the years and the association is trying to get people back,â€ said Fortin. â€œI think what theyâ€™re hoping for is, now, that second sled might be worthwhile. It might be worth it to get the two permits for the two sleds.â€
At this time last year in October, snow already covered the ground in Timmins. Fortin knows that, as soon as the white stuff hits the ground, snowmobilers will be calling in wondering when the trails are officially open for business.
Fortin said using common sense, respect and having a little fun is a simple formula to ensure a successful journey out on the trails
â€œIâ€™d definitely like to thank our landowners,â€ said Fortin. â€œIâ€™d like people to respect the landowners and stay on the trails. People donâ€™t realize it, but over 90% of the trails in this province exist because of the participation of landowners allowing us access on their lands. When we have rogue snowmobilers, the landowners get a little bit upset and then they cut off the privilege.â€
With less than a month left to pick up 2014 OFSC season passes online at early-bird pricing, Fortin said he hopes to see more locals take part in what is a quintessentially Northern pastime.
â€œI hope more people will come out, with the combination of this and the Family Day weekend, where you ride for free provided you go online and get a permit and proof of insurance,â€ said Fortin. â€œThat gives them access to the trails during the Family Day weekend free of charge. That alone, last year, there were quite a few people who took us up on the opportunity.
â€œWeâ€™re hoping theyâ€™ll be back again this year with their permits for the whole season.â€