Merrimack Sno-Buds write their final chapter

With heavy hearts and after long discussions, the Sno-Buds have decided to dissolve at the end of this season.

It’s been a great run since 1969 when the Sno-Buds club was founded and joined the newly formed NHSA, but with local development, loss of our 60 miles of trails 15 and 20 years ago, and with dwindling membership, it isn’t financially responsible to continue. Everyone will continue to ride when conditions permit, and most of us will join, support and be active in other clubs. Our accomplishments are many, and we are proud of each.

? Since 1976 when we attended our first Ride In, the Sno-Buds have contributed over $323,000 to N.H. Easter Seals, which I’m told is double our closest rival.

? We also established a home heating fund with the Merrimack Town Council for those residents not able to meet rising heating costs each winter.

? We have presented annual safety classes since 1977 and graduated hundreds of students to date, including one ladies-only class. Each class also generated donations that we used to help supplement our annual Easter Seals contributions.

? And for the last several years, we have sponsored one or two children each summer to attend the Merrimack Wasserman summer camp near Naticook Lake.

? We also participated in the Merrimack holiday parades over the years, including a former and now-departed member, John Livingston, riding his snowmobile the entire length of the parade down and back Route 3. Yes, legal. And after the parade, he received a nod of approval from Merrimack PD to ride back up Route 3 with traffic. Most didn’t know that John had tubes down to his slide rails to provide a mixture of Ivory Liquid for lubrication. Great guy is surely missed. And with thanks to Rick DiOrio and the Brookline club, a beautiful trailside granite memorial and bench are dedicated to John on a Brookline trail beside Rocky Pond Road where John and Claire lived.

And one of our members was the Easter Seals child, Nancy Connelly, daughter of Dave and Colette Connelly, and she rode in the parade that year. She still rides, and she tells her father "Faster!" Obviously not over 45 (unless Nancy had her way!)

Dave is one of our early presidents. He and Colette also served on the Ride In committee for multiple years. Dave designed the still-used software to more easily compile each club’s Ride In donations, and he was our original chief safety officer who organized and helped present our safety classes.

Another member, our former trail master, Roland Labrecque, was not only responsible for obtaining permission for and maintaining the northern Merrimack trails, but he also is a two-term Hillsborough County director. Other stories about Roland, too, all good … just don’t let him touch the thermostat in your Ride In room (or mix a Stinger). More importantly, he always got us to our destination even when arriving at Newfound Lake at 2 a.m. on our way to Littleton for the Ride In! We had a couple of mishaps that day after leaving by sled from Merrimack. But the next day, he did get us successfully from Newfound Lake to Littleton. Yes, we’ve been around that long since the Ride In was in Littleton.

And Roland’s wife, Rachel, is a past treasurer for NHSA. Some of us always followed her in Quebec; she always had great trail mix.

Speaking of long term, another member has been around since the Ride In was in Keene. Cliff Russell saved us that day, and got us headed to Antrim. Joel Tozier, may he rest in peace, was my fellow rider that fateful and long day. I recall Black Russians after arrival.

Our current treasurer, chief fundraiser, membership director and tree-shaker extraordinaire, Newton Coryell, has long been our inspiration and leader in collecting donations for Easter Seals, whether it be from local businesses, including Law Motor Freight, collecting cans and/or turning members upside down to shake more donations free. Without his dedication to the children, our success in becoming the top contributing club for NHSA would never have happened. And he still provides local support, trail signing and grooming in Horse Hill Nature Preserve for the benefit of hikers and skiers.

Last and certainly not least, we have to admit that we have one member from Massachusetts. Ya, I know. As our current president and webmaster and past treasurer, Sheldon Kolansky sets us back on a direct path should we get off topic or off trail (we have pictures of him on a waterway in Quebec), and he is also an inspiration to all. Thanks, $K, for your leadership.

Several other members deserve recognition for achievements, too, and I could go on; all great people and fondly remembered.

So, if you see our Sno-Buds sticker on a sled, give us a wave – maybe not the Colonel’s wave, aka Paul Moran. In the meantime, happy trails, good health and best wishes to all.

Submitted by George Lyon and Dave Connelly, Sno-Buds of Merrimack