The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Darren Durst, who teaches snowmobile safety in Kasson-Mantorville in southeastern Minnesota, the 2022 volunteer snowmobile safety instructor of the year.
As part of the K-M Snowdrifters snowmobile club, Durst has taught snowmobile safety for 17 years. He’s an avid snowmobile rider himself, and has been from a young age, and routinely relays his own positive and negative experiences to help inform the students he’s teaching. In an effort to reach kids and let them know about snowmobiling and ensure they get the training they need, Durst goes to local schools and invites students to take the course.
“Darren loves to get out and enjoy the outdoors on his snowmobile, but he also recognizes the vital role volunteers like him play in recruiting and training the next generation of riders,” said Conservation Officer Phil George, the Enforcement Division’s regional training officer in southeastern Minnesota. “He goes above and beyond to ensure all of his students have the foundation they need for a lifetime of safe riding.”
Durst is among the more than 1,000 volunteer instructors who teach DNR snowmobile safety classes across the state and who are the backbone of the program. Minnesota residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 are required to have a snowmobile safety certificate to ride, but DNR safety officials recommend all people who ride a snowmobile complete a safety training course.