Dale Bentz has been snowmobiling since 1974 and there's no chance of things slowing down yet. Hailing from Barrhead, Alberta, Bentz knows the beauty of sledding in this area. Bentz has been a member of the Northern Lights Snowmobile Club since its inception and he's loved every minute of it.
His favourite ride goes from Barrhead to Goodridge Lake, up to the Flatbush cabin, to the Trans Canada Trail and back home to Barrhead. It's a peaceful, uncrowded trail system where sledders are almost guaranteed to see some amazing wildlife.
"It's a very pretty ride," said Bentz. "There is lots of wildlife like moose, elk and hawk owls, and there have been some cougar sightings. There are also many different kinds of trees including pine and spruce. There are also nice meadows where you can view the wildlife and the large amount of unusual birds in the area. It's also close to two major rivers, the Pembina and the Athabasca."
The staging area is near the Goodridge cabin, about 20 kilometres from Barrhead. Last year, doing this particular ride, Bentz got to share it with some friends that were completely new to sledding.
"We had some guests come up that wanted to see the sport of snowmobiling," said Bentz. "It was a lot of fun introducing them to it and showing them what we do."
That day, Bentz and his friends did about 150 kilometres on the marked trail system.
"I love snowmobiling because of the experiences you have in the outdoors," said Bentz. "It's great getting together with a few laid-back people. I never worry about how far and fast I go, either. For me, it's the quality of the ride. There's always something to see around here and you always have the chance to stop and make a snowman or a snow angel if that's what you feel like doing. Sledding is the best way to beat the depressive nature of winter."