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Snowmobiling in the Hills

The new SDSA (South Dakota Snowmobile Association) web cam will give snowmobilers a place to check out weather conditions as well as activity around Trailshead Lodge. Snowmobilers searching for snow will know with the click of a mouse if conditions are favorable for their trip to the Hills.

The installment at Trailshead Lodge, which is located on O’Neal’s Pass, was chosen because of its central location on the snowmobile trails. Trailshead Lodge is also a full service lodge with cabins, restaurant, beverage sales and snowmobile rentals. Bob, Sandy and family go out of their way to make snowmobilers feel welcome in the Black Hills and enjoy their snowmobile trip. They have been a family owned and operated business since 1984.

The Black Hills trail system was implemented by SDSA working with South Dakota Game Fish and Parks and the Black Hills National Forest Service. Everyone working together has made one of the best trail systems in the country. The Black Hills trail system has 6 groomers keeping the 350 miles of trails in the best shape possible with the available snow conditions. Maintaining 350 miles of trail can be quite an undertaking for the crew but they do a superb job.

The snow cam can be accessed by going to and clicking on link. Power Brokers Inc. is a sponsor of the SDSA webcam. Visit their website at SDSA was organized 39 years ago. It is an organization made up of local snowmobile clubs throughout the state. SDSA is governed by a President and board of directors, with the directors being the support link between local clubs and the state organization. SDSA is a member of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations.

The trail system in the Black Hills as well as the East River trails are funded by dollars from snowmobilers such as licensing fees and excise tax paid on snowmobile purchases.

Black Hills trails and East River trail conditions are available on SDGFP web site updated as snow conditions change.

East River trails are sponsored and maintained by local clubs. Club members volunteer many hours signing trails as well as grooming them when snow conditions allow. If you snowmobile, consider joining a local South Dakota snowmobile club in support of the trails system. The more people who help keep the trail systems maintained, the longer the trails will be in existence.


Membership in the local clubs is easily affordable and comes with some great perks. Clubs meet monthly during the winter months and many of the clubs have events such as poker runs, family rides, club trips, pizza parties, and even dances. If you are a member of a South Dakota club, you are automatically a member of the South Dakota Snowmobile Association, which entitles you to even more benefits. Benefits as an SDSA member include: • Membership in a local club. • State and local trail maps. • A quality newspaper, 7 issues a year. • Activities, club rides and poker runs. • Access to monthly meetings. • Life & Disability Insurance. • Safety Courses by certified instructors.


Governor’s Ride The South Dakota Snowmobile Association’s Governor’s Ride started in 1980. What began with only 4 or 5 riders has grown to have an average of 125 riders at each event. Some of the people involved when the ride began were Gov. Janklow, Joe Bush, Dale Sherrill and Ken Stewart.

Governor’s Ride is a joint effort of SDSA, Tourism, Black Hills Badlands and Lakes and of course GF & P. It showcases 350 miles of the finest groomed snowmobile trail in the upper Midwest.

Objectives of the ride: • Promotes snowmobiling to the legislative body in SD. • Offers an exciting day of snowmobiling in the beautiful Black Hills. • Gives snowmobilers an opportunity to showcase a winter recreation paradise. • Allows snowmobilers to visit with and interact with politicians.

This annual event occurs every year with riders heading out of Hardy Camp on Presidents Weekend. It normally attracts about 125 people with a noon lunch being served. Those that would like to address the group are able to do so.

The morning ride is a guided tour on groomed trails at a relaxed pace. Groups are limited to 10-12 people. They are lead by a Guide and one or two experienced followers. No one is left behind and several stops are made to check on everyone. The morning ride goes to a scenic destination and the ride lasts 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Bathroom facilities and warming shelters are available along the trail.

The afternoon ride is also guided but is divided up between a scenic ride, or a little faster trail ride or a ride with some off trail adventure. If you want to go on the afternoon ride and which ride you want to participate in is your choice.

This event attracts riders from all over our state and some out of state riders as well. For many this is a big highlight of the winter season.

Safety is of the highest priority. We invite you to come ride with us. For more information contact the SDSA office at 605-272-5900 or check our website at www.snowmobilesd. com.





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