Marcel Perreault was the President of the Festival International de la Motoneige (International Festival of Snowmobiling), from 1986-1990, however, well before that, since the beginning, a good friend of mine, Lawrence Langevin, was by my side, as the first President of the Festival in 1983. Along these lines, Marcel Perreault tells us about the beginning of the FIM.
It all began in 1980, Marcel Perreault was the President of the Club de motoneige les Pionniers de Valcourt. Close by was Lawrence Langevin, a man with a large imagination and with his help, the event was put into place quickly. However, it was missing one thing: snow, and in large quantities. It was said that in 1980-1981, there was little snow present. According to Marcel, Lawrence searched for a common motivator for the clubs, to organize a very large assembly of snowmobilers in Quebec. It was the autumn of 1981, with the help of Laurent Beaudoin, that the President of Bombardier, had the idea to put in place a snowmobilers convention! Everyone was very excited about the gathering! It was now time to find a place for the first large gathering in January of 1982.
Marcel Perreault proposed to his good friend, Clement Robitaille to do the event at Sherbrooke and Valcourt. Clement was at the time the Vice-President de la Fédération des clubs de motoneige du Québec, (FCMQ). It was the Club des Pionniers de Valcourt that put in place the first event, in collaboration with Lawrence Langevin, who was evaluating the importance of the clubs. So, it was the winter of 1982, that Lawrence Langevin decided to assmely the event only in Valcourt, the birthplace of the snowmobile, the following year.
The birth of a tradition
In 1983, the first Festival International de la Motoneige was taking place! Adelard Ratel, once the General Director of the Grand Prix Saint-Laurent de Montréal, was responsible for running the races. On the other side, Peter Horth, representing Bombardier, and John Goodwin, named as the director of the Festival, took charge over various activities for the races. It’s Laurent Beaudoin, Bombardier Executive from 1966-2008, who supported the event from the beginning, and spoke with Jean-Paul Groulx, Vice-President of Marketing and Sales, to have the event supported by Bombardier.
Jean-Paul Groulx delegated Peter Horth as the one to ensure that the event has strong longevity and good continuity. Laurent Beaudoin was named the honorary president of the first ever Festival International de la Motoneige. Thus the first event, with the support of the Federation Quebecoise of snowmobilers, Rejean Beaudoin, once the director of the tourism association, de Club des Pionniers, the Government of Quebec, tourism organisations of Quebec, and Bombardier, agreed to have the event each year.
DID YOU KNOW ?
At the Bombardier Plant
The first assembly of the snowmobilers was a spectacular dinner at the Bombardier plant in 1983. Every detail of the event was taken seriously, even using porcelain plates. The suppers were then moved to the arena in Valcourt for the following years.