The legend of Dennis Sorensen
Dennis Sorensen on the Governor's Ride with Governor Scott McCallum
It snowed in the Northwoods yesterday. Mother Nature created the snow spectacular allowing for a glorious send-off for one of snowmobiling’s most dedicated sons. Dennis Sorensen, 79, passed away this day and rode his last snowfall as he left this world.
It never took long for anyone who met Sorensen for the first time to realize he was passionate about the sport of snowmobiling. Raised on a farm in southern Wisconsin, his no-nonsense, hard work ethic propelled him to make the snowmobile program in Wisconsin the best in the country.
He was the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) Walworth County Director for two decades, AWSC Vice President and finally AWSC President in 1994 and 1995.
After his move to St. Germain, he picked up the gauntlet and became active in the Bo-Boens and the Vilas County snowmobile organization.
He also served on the Governors Snowmobile Recreation Council, the Governor-appointed body that forms policies and distributes funds from the snowmobile program’s budgets.
It was not simply lip-service, this passion for snowmobiling. In the early 1980s and the development of the snowmobile organizations, he led the Walworth County Snowmobile Alliance to create their snowmobile grooming program. He was one of three people to put his home up as collateral so the county snowmobile organization could purchase its first groomer.
He worked night and day with other snowmobiling pioneers to help build a rock solid, grassroots organization. Snowmobiling went from a renegade sport to an organization that was respected by local and state elected officials.
Sorensen was a no non-sense guy. He had no time for “tree huggers” or anyone who wanted to take a free ride on the success of snowmobiling. His direct approach in dealing with obstacles gave him an appearance of a curmudgeon. However, those who possessed snowmobile leadership influence knew that Sorensen was in full command of the facts and figures of Wisconsin snowmobiling and he knew how to get things accomplished.
He was proud that Wisconsin’s snowmobile program was self-funded and was not paid for by taxpayer money. He was equally proud of the thousands of snowmobile volunteers who are the backbone of the snowmobile trail system.
And he was most proud of his family. Wife, Peggy, who he called the “Swede,” and he, had two children, Kristin and Scott. Peggy was very involved in snowmobiling as well and ran the “Miss Snowflake” pageant for many years. Both Dennis and Peggy were avid Polaris snowmobile riders and their move to St. Germain gave them the opportunity to ride unlimitedly on the hundreds of miles of trails connected throughout the area and state.
Peggy passed away in January 2015, from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. The “Prom Queen” was Dennis’ true love and after her death, he moved to Woodruff.
This man truly was an icon and he will be missed, not only by family and friends, but by every snowmobiler who will ride the trails he helped to create, and that is his legacy.