Snodeo to go on in Rangeley

This 1971 Polaris Mustang 488 cc snowmobile in the foreground was one of more than 30 vintage snowmobiles on display Saturday morning at Snodeo in Rangeley. People from all over New England brought the sleds, some of which they also raced in the Radar Run on Rangeley Lake from Russell Cove.

RANGELEY — The annual Snodeo snowmobile festival will go on as planned, despite the presumed deaths of three sledders who apparently rode into open water on Rangeley Lake on Dec. 30.

Members of Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club met with representatives from the Maine Warden Service and town officials Wednesday and decided to go ahead with the festival, Club President Steve Dudley said.

Recovery efforts for the missing snowmobilers has remained on hold as the Maine Warden Service monitors ice conditions, Cpl. John MacDonald said.

"It's extremely unfortunate," Snodeo Chairwoman Sandi Dumont said Thursday. "Our hearts go out to the families, but we can't stop. Things have to go on.. Many plan vacations around the Snodeo."

The three-day festival will run Jan. 24 through 26. Organizers have added a "blessing of the sleds" and safety awareness education.

Sponsored for the past 24 years by the club, it was conceived "to provide a community event and a business opportunity in the least busy time of the winter," club Co-chairwoman Mac Dudley said. "It is now a snowmobile event that is widely recognized as the leading winter snowmobile festival in Maine." 

Club members want to support the families of the lost snowmobilers and will probably do something when the time is right, Dudley said, adding that the tragedy has affected everyone in the community.

At the same time, the Snodeo is an economic boost to the town, she said.

"Snowmobiling remains the principal business driver for Rangeley's winter economy," she said. "Rangeley is a destination snowmobile resort anchoring the riding in Western Maine and between the key snowmobiling areas in northern New Hampshire."

A festival that draws between 3,000 and 6,000 people, the numbers are expected to rise this year because the Snodeo weekend coincides with this year's Snowmobile Reciprocity Weekend. 

Anyone with a sled registered in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont can ride in all three states over the three days, Jan. 25, 26 and 27, according to the club website.

Riders from New Hampshire and Vermont can travel by snowmobile to the Snodeo, Dumont said. It's about 40 miles to the New Hampshire border by snowmobile trail.

This year the club is trying to bring back the carnival-type atmosphere and make it even more family-oriented, Dumont said.

Family canoe sleigh rides will be offered along with a family marshmallow roast on Saturday. A snowmobile will tow the canoe at 5 mph, Dudley said. There also will be a new treasure scramble for children.

A schedule of events and more information is available on the club's website at

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Steve  Dosh's picture

Snodeo to go on in Rangeley

Ann et. al., ƒlyday hst ? 1 pm ish
n e thing going on over to Bryant Pond ?
Let the games begin , slednecks
/s, Steve and ohana *<;-Q~

 's picture

just an invitation to get

just an invitation to get someone else killed out on the ice. some idiot will do it because it's " fun to ride on the ice", most of the activities occur on the ice, and you can't cancel a good time just because the ice is unsafe and 2 tragedies occurred there 2 weeks ago.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Allisa ƒlyday 1:15 pm hst

Allisa ƒlyday 1:15 pm hst •
No one is bringing guns . It's a joke . Just a joke •
In fact, last time i x-country skied Bigelow the snowmobiliers had made nice paths for us . S e r i o u s !
Just don't ask what year that was
t was sometime last century
*<;-Q~ /s Santa Steve . .

Tina Ouellette's picture

Cancel this event

As stated in the story
Recovery efforts for the missing snowmobilers has remained on hold as the Maine Warden Service monitors ice conditions, Cpl. John MacDonald said.
And you want to have this event? Give me a break here, is this really worth another fatality? I find this very disturbing. Do your job and get them men out of there!!!

Sharon Dudley's picture

It is unfortunate that this

It is unfortunate that this tragedy occurred but life goes on. They should continue with the events that so many enjoy. Do you think that these fun loving men would want everything to stop because of this? There are risks with snowmobiling.

 's picture


This event should be cancelled.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Why should it be cancelled?

Why should it be cancelled? Accidents happen all the time. They are tragic, but life goes on.

Tina Ouellette's picture

To Gary

Gary would you be saying these words if this was your family member under that ice?

GARY SAVARD's picture

Tina, I'm sympathetic to the

Tina, I'm sympathetic to the families and loved ones of the three people that apparently drowned, however, I also understand the economics of the Rangeley community. The town has invested a lot of time and money into the Snodeo event, and many businesses and their employees rely on the money that it brings to the community for their survival. Those that are coming have already booked lodging, machine rentals, and taken vacation time to attend. Better to hold the event as planned, and maybe add a memorial service of some type for the four drowning victims, as well as others that have lost their lives while riding, than to cancel it and lose years of "good will" that has been built around this event.


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