I write today with a bittersweet heart; Nelson Bastien was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal at the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation Fall General Meeting in Abbotsford on Saturday (Nov. 3) for his volunteer contributions to snowmobiling and his community. Nelson’s wife Ruth passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer on Monday (Nov. 5) in Squamish Hospital.
Nelson has been a staunch advocate for mechanized recreation and snowmobiling, in particular in Whistler as well as the whole province. He and Doug McDonald were the founding members of the Powder Mountain Snowmobile Club (www.powdermountainsnowmobiling.org) in 1990. He has spent countless hours in meetings; the Backcountry Access Forum lasted for three years, and he attended most of the weekly meetings to protect your right to ride. He has been a director of the BCSF for 10 years and currently is the secretary/treasurer. Recently, Nelson housed the BCSF office in his house for 14 months following the BCSF’s decision to close the Houston, B.C. office due to the overspending of that administration. The office was successfully moved to Keremeos in September. Where would organized snowmobiling be without Nelson?
When I first started sledding in 2001, the Brandywine parking lot was directly beside the highway with spots for a dozen or so trucks. When those spots were full you basically parked in the ditch and sledded back down the shoulder of the highway. Reloading at the end of the day was even more dangerous with all the skier traffic. Now we are safely tucked away behind the Transfer Station and have a groomed and plowed parking lot for over 500 trucks and trailers. New this year, a safer truck loading area was built with two levels, made with concrete blocks with room for six trucks at a time.
As well, the road in has been fully repacked with ground asphalt from the highway resurfacing. Nelson saw the opportunity piled at the side of the road and got it for $50 a load; Doug got his loader out, and now we'll all have a nice smooth ride to the parking lot.
Congratulations Nelson! You deserve the recognition of all Whistler, the Sea to Sky corridor, and all of B.C. and Canada with your years of dedicated service in the name of snowmobiling and mechanized recreation. Condolences on your loss and have fun on the motorhome trips you have planned.
On behalf of the Powder Mountain Snowmobile Club and all the other sledders in town, (and anyone else that likes the money sled tourism brings to our town) we wish you the best in the coming years.
We also hope to see lots of new sledders at our next meeting Nov. 21st upstairs at Boston Pizza. You can congratulate Nelson in person.
2nd Vice President, Powder Mountain Snowmobile Club