The Sunshine Coast of B.C. is known to produce some amazing snow depths and this year was no exception. According to Bruce Lanskail, who is president of the Sunshine Coast Snow Seekers snowmobile club in Sechelt, the sledding season in his area started in mid-December 2011, and when I spoke to him on May 7, 2012, he said that local snowmobilers were still going riding.
“If we really wanted to push on we could probably go into late June this year,” said Lanskail.
In addition to the sheer volume of snow, Lanskail said that there was lots of fresh powder throughout the season and that it was easy to make fresh tracks every weekend.
“We can easily get a couple of feet overnight and sometimes up to three feet overnight,” he said.
The Sunshine Coast Snow Seekers is a tight-knit group with 34 members. It was started approximately seven years ago to provide a voice for local snowmobilers and to promote safe and environmentally friendly use of the backcountry. The club operates a groomer and maintains snowmobile trails in the Sechelt area. This year the club received government approval to build a cabin on Mount Crucil. Lanskail said that club members have already raised enough funds to start the project and that when it is completed, the cabin will be open year-round for other backcountry enthusiasts to use.
Mount Crucil is the club’s main sledding area and it is Lanskail’s favourite place to ride.
“It’s the biggest area and it has all-around terrain,” he said. “There’s lakes, hill climbs, tree riding and road riding, so we’ve got all those things encompassed in one area and we are the only group that uses that in the winter.”
Gray Creek West, Dakota Ridge and the Caren Range are the club’s other riding areas. The Caren Range stretches between Sechelt Inlet and Georgia Strait and Lanskail said that snowmobilers in this area can enjoy stunning views of the ocean.
When the sledding season comes to a close, members of the Sunshine Coast Snow Seekers turn their attention to other activities, such as boating and golfing. Throughout the summer, club members get together for barbecues and in September they spend nearly every weekend clearing debris from snowmobile trails to get them ready for the winter. The club holds its annual general meeting in late September at the Daily Roast coffee bar and bakery in Sechelt.
For more information on the Sunshine Coast Snow Seekers, see the club’s website.