The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) will hold its second annual Military Appreciation Ride-In at Kenyon's Field in Waitsfield at the end of this month.

Slated for Saturday, January 30, 2010, the event will honor the members of the Vermont National Guard and their families with this free event. The general public is invited and encouraged to attend the ride-in as well. There will be parking for people who elect to drive their cars to the event. Snowmobilers are encouraged to "ride in" from their home location and utilize some of VAST's more than 6,000 miles of trails.

"Vermont's National Guard has been called into service more frequently over the past several years and we felt it was important for VAST, as an organization, to recognize and show our appreciation to the individuals and their families," commented Josh Nelson, chair of the VAST public relations committee. 

He continued, "The snowmobiling community is a large family known for its altruism -- many of our member clubs raise funds for various charities through ride-ins, poker runs and other activities. When we came up with the concept for the VAST Military Ride, we wanted to take that concept one step further by offering a day for military families to enjoy without regard to cost."

The highlight of the inaugural event was a fly-in by a Blackhawk helicopter. Once the chopper landed and the snow cloud had settled, attendees were allowed an up-close look at one of the military's most vital pieces of equipment.

Other activities at last year's inaugural event included snowmobile demo rides for adults and kids, dog sledding, snowshoeing, groomer demonstrations, games and more. Bryant Watson, director at VAST, added to Nelson's remarks, "This year, more than ever, it is important that we support our local military families. 

"The Vermont Guard is in the throes of its largest deployment since World War II. Come January 30, there will be many single-parent families dealing with separation. We hope by showing our appreciation to the military we will be able to provide a bright spot for the families and staff during what is surely going to be difficult times for them," Watson said.

There is no cost to attend the VAST Military Ride-In and participate in the activities. Food will be available for purchase for the public. Military families will be treated to a catered luncheon at the event site.