Sicamous has the kind of snowmobiling that can inspire people to relocate. At least Michelle Wolff claims that was a factor seven years ago when her family decided to call the area home.
“The sledding here is awesome,” said Wolff. “We lived in Calgary and got tired of driving to the hills all the time so we moved to (B.C.). They don’t get as much snow (where we were) as they do farther north, so we ended up moving again, this time up to Sicamous.”
With 15 years' experience under her belt, a husband and daughter who also ride, and a snowmobile clothing business called AJ’s and the Worx, Wolff has developed a good sense of judgment regarding snowmobiling. When they first moved to the area she joined the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club in order to get more involved with the local scene.
“It allows you to meet more people in the sport and take more pride in where you ride and how you treat the area,” said Wolff. "It helps to be able to understand all the struggles that the club and industry are going through."
The social aspect of sledding means Wolff has been able to establish great, long-term friendships, some of them from around North America. She’s attended ladies’ rides in a number of different locations. Since getting established in Sicamous, she has taken over the planning of an annual Sicamous ladies’ ride, which often takes place in February.
“(I enjoy) trying to convince women to get involved and stay in sledding because it can be a great family sport,” said Wolff. “My goal is to always bring somebody out that’s never been on a sled. We’ve had a couple of people enjoy it enough that they’re convincing their families to keep riding.”
The Sicamous ladies’ ride is actually open to everyone and attracts men and families as well. It’s a wonderful social event with everybody sharing their recent travels and experiences. It’s also intended to be a comfortable learning situation, with instructors and guides on hand to help attendees fine-tune their riding skills. New riders get hands-on instruction from the basics of the machine onward.
With such admirable riding conditions, many Eagle Valley members are from out of town. There is a day pass available for visitors who may choose to take advantage of exceptionally long riding seasons. Sledders generally ride through May and, with significant elevation, snow can be found long after it’s disappeared at the bottom.
Sicamous boasts four main snowmobiling areas, each with its own qualities. Blue Lake is great for beginners because there is a lot to access just outside the cabin location. Nearby meadows are convenient for practising. Queest is perfect for those who might appreciate a quieter area away from the crowds with a quaint cabin. Eagle Pass is only recommended for expert sledders on the lookout for challenging riding, while Owlhead offers high terrain and something for everyone.
As for Wolff? “I like to ride wherever there’s powder,” she said with a laugh. “The trail just gets you to the cabin.”