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Snowmobiling season now in full swing in Simcoe County

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Snowmobiling season is officially here. Baxter Snow Riders president Arthur Christakos has been waiting for this day all year.

"We put a lot of effort into getting the trails ready for the riders, and we're so happy that we got good cold weather, and now we've got some snow to work with," says Christakos.

Most clubs in the province are primarily based on volunteers, who have been busy preparing the trails over the past few weeks.

"The volunteers do most of the prep work on the trails, the brushing, the maintenance, cleaning up the infrastructure, all the signage, so it's a very key part in having snowmobiling in Ontario," says Christakos.

Warmer winter weather in December caused the season to be slightly delayed; however, it has quickly picked back up.

"We went from very little trail availability to well over one third of our trail network now available. It's certainly been helped by the colder temperatures," says Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) CEO Ryan Eickmeier.

A recent Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club study found that snowmobiling brought in $3 billion of economic activity last season.

"We sell upwards of 100,000 permits annually. And that's spread out across 30,000 kilometres of trails," says Eickmeier.

As always, police want to remind drivers to use caution.

"Never operate impaired, that's extremely important. Number two would be wearing the proper equipment. Proper helmet, proper suit, if you're travelling on frozen waterways or frozen surfaces, a floater suit is a must," says Midland OPP officer Dave Hobson.

The OFSC wants to remind drivers that even if a trail is open one day, it may not be the next day and to always check their interactive map before heading out.

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