MILLINOCKET — Concern about safety and the lack of snow will force organizers of the state’s first Ski-doo Formula Club Ride-In planned for next weekend to be postponed until February.
The three-day weekend planned for Friday, Jan. 29; Saturday, Jan. 30; and Sunday, Jan. 31, has been rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 26; Saturday, Feb. 27; and Sunday, Feb. 28, in Millinocket and in East Millinocket.
“We could have done something but it just wasn’t anything without riding and there was the safety factor,” said Brian Wiley, chairman of the Ski-doo Formula Club Ride-In.
He said many people were calling, asking about conditions, and when they found out there was little snow, they canceled reservations. “Who would have thought in October when we were planning this that we would have had a disastrous December and an even more disastrous January (lack of snow)? I called the Maine Snowmobile Association and asked them if there was any form of disaster relief availble for (snowmobile) dealers and hotel and motel owners. This is no different than losing your crops if you are a farmer. Economically it is a disaster,” Wiley said.
The three-day weekend was geared toward bringing thousands of snowmobilers to the area and would have given local businesses an economic boost.
In terms of safety, Wiley said about the only place to ride a snowmobile would be out on the lakes. “It is too dangerous to go out there and hit a rock or a stump and throw someone off (a sled). It is very dangerous riding.”
He said the lake conditions were questionable because of all the rain. “A lot of places on the lake have sunk, causing ponds literally out on the ice. You can go along out over a pressure ridge and go right into 6 feet of water right on top of the ice,” he said.
The Ski-doo Formula Club Ride-In now planned for February was sponsored by the Ski-doo Dealers Association of Maine and the Maine Ski-doo Formula Club in coooperation with the Millinocket and East Millinocket snowmobile clubs.
Wiley said the event would be a big one for the Millinocket area. About 2,500 invitations were sent to Formula Club members, clubs and VIPs, and the event will be open to the public.
He said the Millinocket area was perfect for such an event because it offered lodging and a good trail system and because two of the state’s largest snowmobile clubs were in the area.