John Harrington, President
Greeting MSC members! On a positive note, we have had a better start to this season than we have had for the past two years. We are currently sitting on a pretty decent crusty base with a bit of fluff on top. We are grooming it sporadically as the flurries allow, but only do so when it makes good sense.
It can happen:
After a lot of thought and consideration, I have decided to tell the story of my serious snowmobile crash because I believe that there are lessons to be learned. On January 21, 2012, we received our first appreciable snow of the year. Up until then, we had some gates open, but not all, and we had not officially opened the trails nor had we started grooming. With 8 or 9 “of fluffy snow on the ground my son, Scott, and I headed out around 9AM to check the trails and see if they could be groomed. I picked my phone up off the counter, noted its dead battery and left it at home because Scott had his. We left our house at Berry Pond, took the town trail over Lee Pond, jumped on corridor 15 and rode out to where our system ends on Coe Hill in Center Harbor. The riding was awesome and on the way back we stopped at the club garage. Because I had noted a few areas that were choppy from logging operations, I decided to take the Tucker out and pan Corridor 15. Scott asked if he could head off and snowmobile with his buddies as it was the first decent day on the trails. I said sure, cranked up the groomer and headed out. I arrived back 4 or 5 hours later, filled out my logbook and headed home on my sled.
Anyone that lives around Moultonborough knows that we have an active ice racing club in town. They race through the winter on both Lee and Berry Ponds, depending on the condition of the ice. The ice racing club went through the same decision process as the snowmobile club and decided to race the next day. Usually they start on Berry Pond, then when that ice is beat (if you have not watched them race, it is a treat, but those chains and studs groove the ice quickly) they move to Lee Pond. They prepare their course by plowing the snow, creating snow banks to contain the cars. Little did I know, this year Lee Pond had better ice so they prepared that course. It was dusk and I was just cruising home. I got on Lee Pond and headed across, 6’ to the left of our outbound tracks. I remember distinctly thinking about cooking the chicken that I had marinated that AM. I also remember that I was going around 40 or so and decided to give it a little gas. At the time I had a Polaris Fusion 900 so it had a little get up and go. I quickly got up to 55-60 and that is when it happened… Because of the shadows at dusk, I never saw the snow bank from the race course and went airborne. I landed close to 100 feet later (some reports said it was longer), separate from my sled. My helmet came off. I had my chin strap on, but likely not super tight. Luckily, I landed right shoulder first. After a few minutes, I dragged myself up and made it to my sled. It was destroyed, so that was no option for getting help. I looked to shore and saw lights on at a house a ¼ mile away or so and started walking. I was in a lot of pain and remember kneeling down halfway there. I also remember that it was close to zero and I knew I had to get my butt up and get moving or I might not make it off the ice. I eventually made it to the house, up the stairs and knocked on the door. No answer. I sat on the stairs, wracked with pain (anyone that knows me, knows that I have a high tolerance for it) and spied a cowbell attached to the house. I rang it until the homeowners answered and called emergency services. After what seemed like a long time, the FD and ambulance showed up and got me inside. The PD showed up as well (frankly, I believe only to see if I had been drinking- I had not). After a 1600 dollar ride to Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, I ended up at Mass General to be repaired. My humerus broke off inside my rotator cuff; I broke some ribs (that I could not even feel). Some metal plates, screws and a whole bunch of morphine and Percocet later, I was fixed. Or at least the healing could begin. My amazing doctor did not think I would ever raise my arm above my head again, but perhaps he was just challenging me! A lot of PT and two years later, I can get my arm over my head, but I feel it. I have pain that will likely never go away. But no worries, I lived. Had I landed a little differently; on my head, or on my hip, I would have likely frozen out there. I am a lucky man. It happened so fast.
There are lessons that I learned. Always have some method of communication or at least have a buddy with you. Double check the ice before you head across it at speed (even if you took the same path earlier that day) because people plow race courses and paths to their bob-houses, etc). I would say, do not outrun your headlights, but it was dusk, not dark yet. Physically, I am as healed as I am getting, but mentally I am not back yet. I replaced my sled but have not really ridden more than 5 miles in the past two years. Perhaps I will get over it, perhaps not. I am fortunate; I can still get out on the trails in a Sno-Cat! Be safe out there.
• To all of the folks that pitched in after the ice storms to get the trails cleaned up, a huge thank you! I am going to forget some names, but here goes: Eric Erving, Steve Janaitis, Milan Marsden, Bill Keating, Bill (no last name, volunteered from Winnipesaukee.com), Jeff Clarenbach, Parker Clarenbach, and Vic Jones.
• To Ron Dean for making the box for our sign board letters- it is perfect! And to Jim Anderson for delivering it.
• Paul Nerney for building the beautiful aluminum alloy hitch for our new Skidoo Skandic.
• Steve Janaitis and his team for getting the youth safety class done.
Social Events (by Cathy Erving)
Though the weather has been a mixed bag thus far, we still have great activities planned for the season!
• Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, we will be doing a Reciprocal weekend ride. As of now, we plan to stay in Colebrook at the Northern Comfort Motel and ride from there into VT and/or Maine. Due to the mixed conditions over the past couple of weeks, we may change location to Maine. Stay tuned for updates on our website.
• Saturday, March 1st the Club will be hosting a Progressive Ride Dinner. We will be meeting at the Club Garage at 4:30 and ride as a group to different homes for each course. Steve Janaitis, Director and Club Members have provided delicious food and beverages in the past. This year is sure to be just as yummy! If conditions aren’t ideal, we will be having the dinner at Suissevale Clubhouse so mark this date on your calendar! Members and their families and friends are welcome to join in! Please stay tuned for updates, as the event gets closer. Do your best snow dance and come join the fun!
Grooming Equipment: Everything is in good working order and ready to go. Both Tuckers have been out multiple times with no major issues. The new Skandic is awaiting the tunnel protector and studs along with electrical work for the drag
Land Owners: Please respect our land owner’s property as you cross their land. It is only because of their generosity and support that we have a trail system to ride on. If you know or see them, please express your gratitude!
As always, thank you to all of our great volunteers, members and landowners. Safe Riding!!
Check Our Webite for lastes information.