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Two Quebec outfitters tanned to open late to everyone have offered very spectacular amphibious vehicles to be able to break the last ice of spring.
“Our outfitter is high in altitude. Despite the fact that we are 1 hour 30 minutes from Montreal, we are almost always the last to thaw in the region, “says Guy Lalonde, from the Pourvoirie Auberge la Barrière, located between Saint-Zénon and Sainte-Émélie -de-l’Énergie, in Lanaudière.
Exasperated to open a week later than others, he hired a Russian-designed Sherp amphibious all-terrain vehicle last spring to finish breaking up the ice himself.
“This is completely crazy. It acts a bit like a bulldozer, but it’s really all-terrain, you can go to places where you would never think of going, “he explains, he first learned about it at the National Exhibition of hunting and fishing outfitting held downstream.
He broke the ice for four days, for around 15 hours a day, and he finally opened a week ahead of the other outfitters.
“At the end of the rental, he says, I asked how much does it cost? ”
The answer ? $ 150,000. And the military-looking vehicle is worth every penny, he said.
The vehicle, with a weight of 2800 pounds and a capacity of eight people, can reach a speed of 40 kilometers per hour, and has the ability of floating on water, thanks to the air in the tires, and to be able to climb on an ice floe.
There is no traditional steering wheel on the machine, but has arms to pull and steer.
The vehicle is also formidable in swamps and on land as on snow, according to Mr. Lalonde.
He also jokes that his employees would be willing to pay him to be able to drive him. Some of them are happy.
“It’s a big toy. An adult toy, ”he says.
The Némiskau outfitter, in La Tuque, Mauricie, also purchased one of these vehicles in the past year. Staff also used it to break the last inch of ice.
“It was 18 hours a day for a week,” said Philippe Hallé, an outfitter and son of owner Peggy Roberge.
The two outfitters did business with Machinerie St-Pierre in Val-d’Or, which is the only distributor in Quebec, and which targets the mining industries in particular, according to sales director Scott Szabadkai. He estimates that he has sold between five and 10 Sherp vehicles in the past year.
“There are a lot of parts that still come from Russia, but it’s manufactured in Winnipeg,” he says.