Good reasons to ride

Carol Lueken helps organize an eight-day snowmobile trek each year to bring hope to cancer survivors

by Kirsten Armleder

A group of women on snowmobiles out on the prairie.
The 2014 Prairie Women on Snowmobiles logged nearly 1,900 kilometres. photo courtesy Carol Lueken

Carol Lueken spends nearly 12 months of the year planning and organizing the Prairie Women on Snowmobiles (PWOS). She is the president of the PWOS—a group based in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, whose annual missions have raised more than $2 million for the Canadian Cancer Society. Their goal is to help the organization find a cure for breast cancer, raise the awareness of early detection and promote safe snowmobiling.

This year’s mission took place January 30 to February 7, 2014, and for the first time, it went as far south as Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

“We had a little over two days in a brand new area and it was very exciting to be able to tell people who we are,” said Lueken. “We will continue going to communities each year where we haven’t been before and keep spreading the awareness and getting our name out.”

Local support

Saskatchewan snowmobile clubs play an essential role in supporting the mission.

“We use them as the leaders to get us in and out of their areas safely,” said Lueken. “We rely quite heavily on the clubs and they are more than happy to assist us.”

Mother Nature isn’t always as co-operative though. Low snow conditions in the southern part of the province this year forced the group to trailer their sleds for 4½ days, and on the last leg of their journey, they were accosted with a windchill of -35 C. 

But they pressed on and arrived safe and sound, after eight days, in Nipawin. There, the Nipawin Trail Blazers held a windup banquet for the riders. Lueken said next year’s ride will start in Nipawin.

She has about a month to unwind before the planning for Mission 2015 begins. Countless volunteer hours are required to make this ride happen, but Lueken does it because she believes in the cause.

“Working with each team is a lot of fun,” she said, “and it’s very rewarding—especially when you see more and more breast cancer survivors coming out every year, and thinking you might have (played) a part in their survival rate.”

Favourite ride around Prince Albert

Lueken has loved snowmobiling ever since she was a kid growing up in Big River and her love for it didn’t change one bit when she moved to the Prince Albert area in 1983.

She’s now an active member of the Lakeland Snowmobile Club, and one of her favourite trails is the club’s Mosher McGregor Trail. 

“You can get onto that one right off the No. 2 Highway at Northside (which is about 15 minutes north of Prince Albert),” said Lueken, "and head east to Paddockwood, and then go north and that will take you right into the treed area to the Mosher McGregor."

The Mosher McGregor hooks up with the the Chris-Can Trail. From there, sledders can head east to Candle Lake or west to Christopher Lake. Either way, Lueken said, it’s a full day of picturesque riding.

Know before you go

With four snowmobile dealerships and numerous amenities, Prince Albert is the perfect home base for sledders exploring the Lakeland and Candle Lake trails. Keep in mind, though, that snowmobiling is not permitted within Prince Albert city limits. 

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