White Out

Take a ride with the Aberdeen Driftbusters

After the holiday festivities have died down and the Christmas decor is packed away for the season, most Aberdonians would prefer to curl up next to the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa and wait for the (slightly) warmer spring months to return. But for the Aberdeen Driftbusters, the fun has only started. The freezing cold and treacherous snow means little to them as they suit up in their snow gear, strap on their helmets and hop on their snowmobiles for a day of high speeds, deep powder and sightseeing.

In the state of South Dakota where the winters are long and the snowfall is typically abundant, snowmobiling is a very popular sport. During the late 60’s, a group of Aberdonians saw a need for a community in which people could ride together and bond over their favorite wintertime activity. In 1968, The Aberdeen Driftbusters became a charter club under the South Dakota Snowmobile Association.

Whereas most clubs in the community require individual memberships, Aberdeen Driftbusters is unique in the sense that people join as a family. Both parents and children are encouraged to share their love of snowmobiling through a variety of social events that cater to everyone. Currently, Aberdeen Driftbusters is the largest snowmobile club in the state at over 100 family memberships.

“We’re in a good community, and we make it a point to make our fellow snowmobilers feel welcome,” shared Jim Weaver, a loyal club member since 1975.

To strengthen their camaraderie, the Aberdeen Driftbusters make it a point to shred powder together whenever possible. Each year, some club members take two or three big trips to scenic hotspots such as the Black Hills, Yellowstone National Park and the Bighorn Mountains.

One particular ride of interest is the annual Governor’s Ride, in which the governor and state legislators are invited out to spend the day riding through the beautiful trails of the Black Hills. “Basically, it is a ride to showcase our sport,” said Jim. “It’s very well received and a lot of fun.”

But the fun doesn’t stop in the mountains. Some of the best sledding experiences to be had are right in Aberdonians’ backyards. Whenever the conditions are right, the club schedules weekend rides on the approximately 1,500 miles of trail that the club marks, grooms and maintains locally.

“Our members are a big, hard working bunch,” Jim elaborated, “Without our members voluntarily going forth and maintaining the trail systems we have, none of this would be possible.”

Whether the Aberdeen Driftbusters are on their snowmobiles, maintaining the trails or bonding at a social event, they all share a common love for the sport. “There’s something magical about a snowfall,” explains Jim. “Everything is pretty and white, kind of like a blanket on the ground.”

If you’ve always loved tearing through fresh powder on your sled, the Aberdeen Driftbusters might be the perfect club for you. Interested snowmobile enthusiasts can visit the website, aberdeendriftbusters.com, for more info. In addition, anyone is welcome to join the club meetings, which take place on the first Thursday of every month at 7:30 pm at the Pizza Ranch. A family membership for an entire year costs $30.

“The most intriguing thing about belonging to this club is that people come from all walks of life,” remarked Duane Sutton, former president of the club, who was recently inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame. “We’ve got doctors and lawyers, and people with all kinds of occupations. But when we put our snowmobile suits and helmets on, we all just kinda forget about what we do and where we come from and have fun.” // –Becca Simon