Club Profile: The Kelsey Trail Sno-Riders in The Pas

The Kelsey Trail Sno-Riders could use some young blood to revitalize its dedicated trail builders

by Kyle Born

A row of snowmobiles are gathered to take while riders socialize in the background
The Big Bend shelter is located at the most northern point of the Saskatchewan River. Photo courtesy Rob Vipond

The Pas, Manitoba, has a long history of snowmobiling, dating back to the early ‘70s as a race club. It has since been transformed into a trail-building community known as the Kelsey Trail Sno-Riders.

The club’s president, Rob Vipond, said the group is hungry for members. “You need a pulse, a strong back, somewhat of a brain—we need a younger group,” he said. “We put in an ungodly amount of work.”

If you explore The Pas for yourself, you’ll find the club’s hard work has been rewarded with a bevy of trails to ride. 

How many kilometres of trails do you have? 

350 kilometres

What are your top trails/riding areas? 

Atik Trail

Only 24 kilometres long, the Atik Trail is part of a very popular route as it travels the north side of Rocky Lake. The well-groomed trail leads from the small town of Wanless to Slippery Corner, where riders can head south to continue around the lake. This route offers great views and an easy day trip. More ambitious snowmobilers can venture north from Slippery Corner through the Goose River area and all the way to Flin Flon, Manitoba.

Loppit Trail

Another popular but short connecting route, Loppit Trail is a rider’s link north of The Pas to Wanless. With lots of twists and some hills, the fun, groomed trail leads alongside Root Lake and up to the northeast side of Rocky Lake. Most of the trail leads through thick bush and trees.

Clearwater Lake

The trails around the Clearwater Lake area, to the northeast of The Pas, provide a popular short ride. It’s only about 25 kilometres from staging in The Pas to the lake. There are two excellent warm-up shelters in Clearwater Lake Provincial Park that make for fun family destinations. The trail is easy riding, mostly through boreal forest.

How do you get to the staging area? 

There are a few good staging areas in town. Anderson Inn has a great parking lot at the south end of town, and it’s a nice hotel. Right in town, Wescana Inn is a nice facility with parking. There’s a trail that gives access out of town from there. There’s another on the north side of the Saskatchewan River, Kikiwak Inn, with more than adequate parking for trucks and trailers.

Are the staging areas and trails plowed regularly?

Yes

What kind of groomer does the club have?

We just got a brand new one this year, a PistenBully. We’re just getting it broken in now. It’s way quieter. It should be good for the next eight years or so.

Are there any cabins or warm-up shelters in the area? What are they like? 

We have seven shelters that are continually being upgraded. There are two really nice, brand-new shelters in Clearwater Park.

A few of the shelters are within 50 kilometres of town, providing a number of strategic shelters that make it possible for families to bring small kids in case they get a chill.

When and where do you have your club meetings?

At the A&W restaurant, every second Monday from September until the end of March at 6:30 p.m.

Who usually co-ordinates events?

The president of the Kelsey Trail Sno-Riders, Rob Vipond

Do trail fees apply to all your trails/riding areas? If so, how much are the trail fees? 

Snowmobilers are required to purchase a Snopass from Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) in order to ride designated snowmobile trails in Manitoba. An annual pass costs $150 and a seven-day pass is $75.50.

Where can I get a trail pass?

Snopasses can be purchased at any MPI agent. To purchase them in advance, out-of-province snowmobilers can mail his/her information to an MPI broker in Manitoba. For more information about Snopasses, visit the MPI website.

What are your annual events and when do they usually take place?

The Kelsey Trail Sno-Riders holds an annual Poker Derby and Winter Blast. 2017 marks the event’s 10th anniversary. It will be held on February 25th.

The Winter Blast is a poker derby, prime rib supper, dance and silent auction fundraiser. The poker derby is $5 a hand or five hands for $20. It begins on the Saturday morning at 10 a.m., leaving from A&W. The social and dance is in the evening at 7 p.m. Tickets are $60 each. Expect them to be sold out in advance.

How does a person join the club?

Contact a member. The admission fee is only $5.

What year was the club started?

It was a racing club in 1970 and changed to the Kelsey Trail Sno-Riders in the early ‘80s. The mandate changed from racing to trail building.

Who is the club president?

Rob Vipond
Phone: 204-682-7591
Email: [email protected]

If people want more information about the club or the area, who can they contact?

The club’s website and Facebook page

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