Nomads of the Snow

SnomadS Snofari Clubs’ membership includes people from all walks of life and many midwestern states.

By Chad Tremble, Contributing Writer

Who are we?  We are a group of avid snowmobilers who strive for safe and enjoyable days out in the cold.  Our membership hovers in the 200 range with riders hailing from every state in the Midwest encompassing every riding style out there. We have casual day riders, weekend warriors, week long saddlebag riders, boondockers and marathon riders. We are a riding club – with 10-12 rides planned each season plus the occasional pick-up rides. You may run into a group of SnomadS at any time during the short 4 month season.

Founded in 1985 by Jim Duke, who went on to become president of the Michigan Snowmobile and ORV Association (MISORVA) and the American Association of Snowmobile Councils (ACSA), with the help of four riding buddies, they formed the SnomadS Snofari Club. The name is a derivative of the wandering people of the desert called Nomads – but we wander on the snow – thus “SnomadS”. Since the founding members were mainly saddlebag riders, they stated that they were more like being on a safari. Again, since they did it on snow –“Snofari”.  Thus was born the SnomadS Snofari Club.

As the club grew in size and the club’s funds grew it was decided to donate all excess money to worthy charities.  In the beginning the charities were suggested and voted on annually by the membership.  In later years the SnomadS fell into a rhythm of giving to the Pink Ribbon Riders, Easter Seals, For Women Only on an ongoing basis.  The club also continues to donate to individual causes on a case by case basis. 

Several members of the SnomadS are certified Michigan DNR snowmobile safety instructors and our club sponsors and conducts the Snowmobile Safety Classes that’s held every year in conjunction with the annual snowmobile show at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi Michigan.  During the class our instructors teach the laws governing snowmobiling in Michigan, proper riding techniques and how to be safe and responsible riders.  They stress the need to “Ride Right”, respect land owners property, stay on the trails and to ride within their abilities.

Our ride coordinators, who plan, arrange and lead our club rides also stress safety and responsible riding. Before hitting the trails the ride coordinator will have a pre-ride meeting where he will not only go over the days planned ride and route, but will also stresses the need to “Ride Right”, respect private property, stay on the trails and ride within your own limits. The worst thing any snowmobiler can do is try to keep up to the guy in front of them. This is a recipe for disaster. If you are trying to keep up to the sled in front of you, you are trying to ride at that snowmobilers abilities – not your own.  Keeping an eye on the rider behind you so the group doesn’t get split up as well as other group riding techniques are covered.  We assure that no one gets left behind on the trail.

We host three events outside of the riding season: Our Kick Off party is where our members get together to socialize as we discuss the upcoming ride season; Trails End party wraps up our season when we get together to talk about all the great adventures we had during the season; finally we have our general membership meeting where we bring our membership up to date on the status and health of the club and hold elections for the leadership positions who’s terms are ending.

Snow covered pine trees next to a groomed trail is the perfect SnomadS club house where new friends are welcomed with open arms and old friends get re-acquainted. Some of our longstanding and yearly repeated rides originate out of Houghton Lake, Pellston, Seney and Munising, with our Western UP Saddlebag typically leaving from Christmas, MI. If we’re not meeting out on the snow covered trails during the season we’re staying in touch through our monthly newsletter, “The SnomadS”.

If you’re looking for a fun family oriented group of friends to ride with, consider joining us, The SnomadS Snofari Club. You can find us at or visit us on Facebook at SnomadS Snofari Club.

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