Sledding on mountaintops

The author’s suspicions about the riding opportunities in Valemount, B.C., were confirmed

by Kirsten Armleder

A guy on a green snowmobile riding down a ridge with a snow-covered mountain in the background.
Sledding in Valemount is like being on top of the world. Kirsten Armleder photo

Excitement mounted as my husband, Monte, and I approached Valemount, B.C., sleds in tow. It was early April 2012 and our first snowmobiling trip to this legendary location. When we arrived in Valemount, we decided to go to Allan Creek because it is one of the largest and most popular areas to ride.

Despite warm weather and unfavourable riding conditions, the parking lot at Allan Creek was busy with trucks and trailers from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. A rig from Martin Motor Sports in Edmonton, Alberta, was there as well, and reps were showcasing the new mountain sleds from Ski-Doo.

After buying a trail pass, we headed up the mountain. The trail was steep but it was groomed all the way to the top. The Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA) is responsible for maintaining the trail and from what we saw, they were doing a good job. It was only eight kilometres to the cabin at the top of the mountain, and we stopped there to survey the Allan Creek area.

At this point, it became clear to me why so many people visit Valemount each season. Where I come from, you are happy to spend all day hammering into a small meadow that gets tracked out by two sleds in 20 minutes. It’s a different story at Allan Creek. There are plenty of huge play areas and many of them are easy to access. At the same time, there are spots at Allan Creek that are not for the faint-hearted.

From the cabin, we went farther back and followed some steep trails. I was comfortable with the terrain until we came to a very large descent. Monte plunged down it without hesitating but he had to coax me down. Most of the time, I feel confident riding in the mountains but I was frozen with fear staring down at what seemed like my imminent doom. After testing Monte’s patience, I carefully rode down and breathed a sigh of relief when I got to the bottom. Fellas, if you find yourself in a similar situation with your lady friends, just remember that a little support goes a long way.

We rode around for another hour and took a break to enjoy the scenery before heading back. Allan Creek is a huge sledding area and we only saw a fraction of it. The mountains there are massive and we could ride right on top of them. The trail to Allan Creek is the first to open at the start of the season and there still was a good base of snow when we were there in April. We didn’t venture into the back of Allan Creek to search for fresh powder but a couple of days after we left Valemount, the area got a big dump of snow. Hopefully, the next time we visit Valemount, our timing will be right and we can take advantage of its generous snowfalls. 

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