David Hoy students learn some safe practices around snowmobiling as part of a Snowmobile Training Day.

David Hoy students learn some safe practices around snowmobiling as part of a Snowmobile Training Day.

Starting out on the right track

Principal Craig Hougton at David Hoy decided to use snowmobiles as a learning opportunity.

In a community where snowmobiles are almost like another family vehicle, Principal Craig Hougton at David Hoy decided to use it as a learning opportunity.

In what was a first for the entire school district, Houghton developed a snowmobile training day for some of the Grade six and seven students in his school to help give them a foundation in safe riding.

With the help of Dave Burgess and Gayle Tencarre, who along with Houghton are in the Fort St. James Snowmobile Club, he developed a program to give students some basics in snowmobile safety and maintenance.

From a pre-trip inspection of the machine and some parts identification, basic operation and safe riding such as following distances and riding on hills, the course offered students a way to approach snowmobiling safely.

The eight students in the training were then taken for rides as passengers, given the opportunity to ride with each other, and finally allowed to do some independent riding, in a controlled progression.

Houghton’s goal was to give students a foundation and to potentially grow the course. Eventually, he could see teaching students a couple times a year so more had the chance to try it out and then even offering more advanced instruction through a professional to older students in high school so they are prepared for the more mountainous terrain they may eventually find themselves in.

David Hoy Elementary