◆ Check station designed to keep sledders safe.
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The Star Valley Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club (the group that puts on the Afton Hillclimb) provided the funds for purchasing a beacon check station. At a cost of about $2,500, the station was installed up Smith’s Fork near the parking area.
Dirk Hillyard, the president of the Star Valley Ridge Riders and also the president of the new snowmobile club, the Star Valley Sno-Skippers, spear-headed this project.
Lonnie Sutton, the Vice President of the Star Valley Ridge Riders and the Star Vally Sno-Skippers, installed the check station.
Robert Roberts, in conjunction with Simplot, provided a movable sign post with a flashing yellow light on which the check station was secured.
The purpose of the check station is to make sure your avalanche beacon is transmitting, or to make sure you have one on.
“Sometimes we just forget to put it on and it would be easy to go back to your truck and get that beacon you forgot,” said Mickey Sutton. “One mother told me her son rode up to the check station and it showed that his beacon was not transmitting. He then turned his beacon off and back on, and then it was working. Everyone who rides the backcountry should wear a beacon and make sure the people you are riding with have beacons and know how to use a beacon and their rescue tools. Those will be the people that could save your life!”
The Afton Hillclimb, put on by the Star Valley Ridge Riders, is coming up. The hillclimb will be February 21 through February 23.
“This event brings many riders and support people to the community and we’re very appreciative of the community support the event receives,” said Mickey Sutton.
The Star Valley Sno-Skippers is a one-year old snowmobiling club, started by locals who “want to promote recreational snowmobiling but also to work in conjunction with the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association to promote and maintain snowmobiling access.”
The next meeting of the Star Valley Sno-Skippers is Friday, February 7 at 6 p.m. at the Afton Fire Department. The meeting will start with a Meet and Greet with food and beverages.
“We welcome new members of any age and any riding ability,” said Mickey Sutton.
During the hillclimb, the Star Valley Sno-Skippers club will be hosting a 50/50 plus giveaways raffle. A thousand dollars of the money raised from this raffle will go to the Wyoming State Snowmobile Association’s ACCESS WYOMING group.