Snowmobiling: A family tradition

Sledding through dad’s paths

by Kyle Born

Snowmobiling is a family affair for the Yaworskis (L to R): James, Michael, Katrina, Michelle and Carol.
Snowmobiling is a family affair for the Yaworskis (L to R): James, Michael, Katrina, Michelle and Carol. Photo courtesy Katrina Yaworski.

The family that plays together, stays together. That’s the approach the Yaworskis have had for generations.

“My grandfather and dad were active snowmobilers from the late 1960s,’’ James Yaworski said. “Grandpa’s first snowmobile was a Polaris Autoboggan.” James and his wife, Carol, have passed on the love of snowmobiling to their daughter, Katrina. “I have been sledding since I was five years old on tracks my dad dug into the snow in the backyard,” Katrina said. “When I was older, I’d go out to my grandparents’ cabin on Hanmore Lake to ride on the lake and area.”

This 1960s Polaris Autoboggen was the first sled James Yaworski’s father ever had.
This 1960s Polaris Autoboggen was the first sled James Yaworski’s father ever had. Photo courtesy Katrina Yaworski.

Living in Smoky Lake, Alberta, has given the Yaworskis many meaningful moments to bond and connect with one another while enjoying the sights. “I always like being able to see the mountains because you can get so high up,” Katrina said. “The jackpine tree areas around Smoky Lake are really pretty.” James keeps his eyes open for creatures and critters that roam the region. “We have seen some wonderful wildlife in Smoky Lake,” James said. “We once saw a marten, and we had a close encounter with a lynx. That was outstanding!” 

Exploring Smoky Lake as a family are (L to R): Michelle, Michael, Carol and Katrina.
Exploring Smoky Lake as a family are (L to R): Michelle, Michael, Carol and Katrina. Photo courtesy Katrina Yaworski.

The lure of adventure has always hooked the Yaworski family, and both father and daughter have been snagged by its bait. “I love being outside, fresh air and the discovery of new places,” James said. “When the snow gets deep—that’s always the best!” Exploration and family interaction have proven to be fruitful for the father-daughter duo who seem to be up for anything together. “We ride an average of 500 to 1,000 kilometres per year,” Katrina said. “A typical ride usually lasts three to four hours. I really enjoy the trails. Even getting stuck is fun!”

Katrina Yaworski rides a 2012 Ski-Doo Summit.
Katrina Yaworski rides a 2012 Ski-Doo Summit. Photo courtesy Katrina Yaworski.

People often say the most important thing in life is family. The Yaworskis have added snowmobiling into that equation for half a century and the results have been powderific.  

Riders: James Yaworski and Katrina Yaworski

Where: Edmonton (James) and Smoky Lake (Katrina)

Occupation: Construction manager (James) and teacher (Katrina)

Bragging rights (Katrina): “We both genuinely love snowmobiling, the outdoors and rushing across the snow. We always ride with our family so we use it as a bonding time between us.’’

Weapon of choice: 2006 Ski-Doo Summit (James) and 2012 Ski-Doo Summit (Katrina)

Local ride recommendation (James): “We enjoy going north of Hanmore Lake (in Smoky Lake County), riding the seismic lines and pipelines that are numerous north of Highway 28.’’
 

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