It was the perfect day. On a gloriously sunny and flawless March day, my common law husband, Ben, and I woke up early and drove from our home in Cranbrook, B.C., to Toby Creek Adventures—a snowmobile, ATV and dogsled tour outfit—about two kilometres away from Panorama Mountain Village, for a fabulous day of sledding.
A couple of days before the trip, Scott Barsby, the owner of Toby Creek Adventures, called Snoriders magazine and asked if any of the writers would be able to join one of his guides for a day up in the mountains. I was the only one able to attend so Scott was able to fit Ben and I with four guys from Edmonton that were beginner sledders as well.
Tim Hurst, our guide for the day, took us on the full day Paradise Basin tour that encompassed trail and mountain sledding. Once we were all acquainted with our 2008 Panther four stroke 660 Arctic Cat touring sleds, Hurst led us up numerous mountain trails—some were laden with trees—while others offered fantastic views of open vistas and Panorama Mountain Village. About 20 minutes into the trip, Tim tells us to shut off our sleds and follow him up a walking path. A short distance later led us straight to a huge icefall. Although it was quite steep, we were able to climb right up next to it. From up close, the icefall was blissfully blue. After taking advantage of some good photo opportunities, we were back on our sleds.
Before I knew it, Tim had led us to a cabin at the top of the mountain that is a remnant of an early 1900s silver mining town. Shale lined the mountainous rocky landscape and contrasted deeply with the bright blue sky and white powdery snow. We stopped here for lunch, which Tim planned perfectly. The crowd of other sledding groups disappeared back into the mountains as soon as we arrived, giving us free run of the cabin and a feeling of seclusion in this beautiful area.
After lunch, Tim led the group to a vast valley bowl with towering peaks acting as our enclosure. We were let loose from the group and given free time to get comfortable with and play around with our sleds in a safe and monitored area. This is where I really got a feel for my sled, how it moved and how I had to move my body to get my sled to respond. And although this might not be fast to most of you, I got up to 50 miles an hour—I know what you’re thinking—speed demon, right?
Around 3:30 p.m., Tim rounded the group up and we made the descent back to the base. Time again flew by and before I knew it, Ben and I were saying goodbye to Tim and Scott. We were invited back to partake in an ATV trip, so keep your eyes peeled for more Toby Creek Adventure stories.