Sicamous, a snowmobile-friendly destination

Sicamous has some of the most pristine riding in all of B.C

by Trish Drinkle

A photo of a cabin covered in powder snow.
Photo courtesy Ross Fichtner Snowmobilers in Sicamous, BC, home of the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club

Sicamous has some of the most pristine riding in all of B.C. and the Eagle Valley Snowmobile club and the Eagle Valley Grooming Society work together to maintain all of its trail systems.  The trails are groomed after 75 riders have used them, rather than after a certain amount of time. Club volunteers staff the Sicamous staging areas and are quick to notify the groomer when need be. 

A $20 trail pass in the Sicamous areas help to fund such aggressive grooming, propane at warm-up cabins, and the maintenance and development of trail systems. This thriving club of over 250 members boasts three groomers and an engaged and educated membership.

Trail maps can be found at most businesses in town, as this is a very snowmobile-friendly destination. The Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club’s website provides a downloadable map and other insight into an amazing winter wonderland at http://www.sledsicamous.com

Owlhead

With staging right in the town limits of Sicamous, this is one of the most user-friendly locations for out-of-towners to access. Head east at the Esso and you’ll find yourself at the staging area.  From here to the cabin is about 25 kilometres. Views of the North Okanagan valley will take your breath away, especially at sunset. There are plenty of clearcuts to play in along the way, great for the happy sledder or family who wants to toboggan. The trail goes right through wonderful meadows, which provide ample opportunity for new riders to practice their skills. 

A work of art is the only way to describe the Owlhead cabin, for it is a log structure that could be featured in a magazine. Built by club member Tom Jackson of Leatherwood Log Homes and volunteers, this definitely was a labour of love.

Elevations of 2000 metres ensures that  riders have a long, enjoyable season. Rene St. Onge from Eagle Valley Lodge spends countless days up on the mountains around Sicamous and suggests caution if you’re planning on going beyond the cabin. The areas get quite large, with huge hills and deep powder, so be prepared for what the mountain has in store. 

Skinny Ridge past the mountains can be steep on each side, as well as windblown, so having a local or someone with local knowledge leading your group is always a great idea. Beyond the cabin you’ll find access to Hunters Range, and soon to Blue Lake, as the club has plans to expand its trail system. Epic boondocking and climbing is close at hand for the more adventurous rider, while families and novice riders will have more than enough to smile about on the journey up to and around the Owlhead cabin. 

Eagle Pass

About 15 minutes east of Sicamous and just half a kilometre east of the Skyline Truck Stop sits Eagle Pass staging area. Again manned by volunteers, this staging area is a gateway to yet another amazing ride zone in the Sicamous area. There is a beacon checker at this location and everyone is encouraged to use it. Safety awareness and preparation is a key component to responsible mountain riding, even for those who are trail riding.

This user-friendly trail system also sees a fresh groom after 75 riders. The trail can get icy sometimes, especially in spring or low snow conditions, so take your time and enjoy the views.  Suited for a more experienced rider, the Eagle Pass area offers breathtaking views, beautiful peaks and a huge riding area well above 2000 metres.

At  Kilometre 26, also known as the gas drop, you’ll find the end of the groomed trail. Two kilometres past this point is the brand new Eagle Pass Chalet, which sits between Waterfall Lake One and Waterfall Lake Two. Rene St Onge was one of the individuals who decided upon it’s location.

“This area was chosen for the cabin because it serves as a junction,” said St. Onge. “It’s a connecting point for all of the most frequently used ride zones in the area.”

There is no direct trail to this location, so all the materials were flown in. There are plans to expand the trails in the future and continue the grooming to this brand new structure. 

This is a boondocker’s paradise. With so many fun play areas with frequent deep, dry powder, it is not hard to understand why Sicamous is the chosen destination for many a winter rider.

Meet the rider
Name: Rene St Onge
Age: 46
Occupation: Owner of Eagle Valley Lodge
Current sled:  2014 Ski-Doo Summit XM 800 with a 163 for boondocking, and a 2014 Ski-Doo Summit XM800 with a 154 for jumping and dropping
Riding since: Age 14
Comments: The Sicamous area is one of the best places on earth to enjoy. Seeing less traffic than other destinations and having large areas to ride, you can find fresh, untouched pow without worrying about heavy traffic. Having a local with you, or someone with local knowledge, will help tremendously. The areas are huge and the weather can change quickly and become socked in, so having someone with experience to lead the way is an excellent idea.

Meet the rider

Name: Rene St Onge

Age: 46

Occupation: Owner of Eagle Valley Lodge

Current sled:  2014 Ski-Doo Summit XM 800 with a 163 for boondocking, and a 2014 Ski-Doo Summit XM800 with a 154 for jumping and dropping

Riding since: Age 14

Comments: The Sicamous area is one of the best places on earth to enjoy. Seeing less traffic than other destinations and having large areas to ride, you can find fresh, untouched pow without worrying about heavy traffic. Having a local with you, or someone with local knowledge, will help tremendously. The areas are huge and the weather can change quickly and become socked in, so having someone with experience to lead the way is an excellent idea.

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