Winter play in Lakeland

Saskatchewan’s Lakeland is the land of sledding opportunity

by Marie Milner

Yellow snowmobile in foreground with three snowmobilers and two sleds farther back, on a wide groomed trail edged by bush, on a sunny day
Marg Clair (centre) and two friends paused on the trail between Emma Lake and Elk Ridge Resort, north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Photo courtesy Marg Clair

The lakes referred to in the name Lakeland Snowmobile Club are Anglin Lake, Christopher Lake and Emma Lake in northern Saskatchewan. This area lies about 45 minutes north of Prince Albert and is home to a surprising number of year-round households.

Marg Clair, president of the Lakeland Snowmobile Club, lives at Emma Lake and has been sledding since 1968.

The trails

Our trails start just north of Prince Albert and go all the way to Timber Cove, 17 kilometres north of Elk Ridge Resort,” said Clair. “We can use the No. 2 Highway ditch for a fast trail (212R) back if we don’t want to go through the trees.”

The Lakeland club, designated Club 212 by the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association, has over 400 kilometres of trails. Most of these wind through boreal forest where the trees—mostly spruce—are 50 to 70 feet tall and a sledder can’t really go wrong. The signage is good, so anyone on the trails should easily find their way wherever they’re going.

For a ride with lots of scenic variety, Clair recommends the Candle Lake loop trail. It winds through boreal forest and reforested areas, past small, frozen lakes and marshes and through open farmland. The Elk Ridge trail (212B) is another favourite, as it provides a little more challenge with some steeper hills and doglegs but is still manageable for the novice.

“From Emma Lake to Candle Lake and back via Paddockwood is about 100 kilometres by sled, and it’s a beautiful ride with lots of variety in the scenery,” Clair said. “I’ll often go with friends up to Elk Ridge as well.”

Interestingly, the only snowmobile club based in the city of Prince Albert itself is Prairie Women on Snowmobiles—essentially a fundraising group that has an annual marathon ride in support of breast cancer research and awareness. Recreational sledders from the city use the Lakeland Snowmobile Club trails, and according to Clair, it’s a good arrangement.

“Our club has a wonderful support system from P.A. and the lake communities,” she said. “They support us financially and with technology and services.”

Sledders’ hangouts

There are sled-friendly facilities at Christopher Lake and the south end of Emma Lake. Lake Country Cottage and Yellow Fender are two restaurants at Christopher Lake, and Sunset Bay and Jewel of the North at Emma Lake have accommodations and a restaurant. Elk Ridge Resort is very sledder-friendly, with a variety of good restaurants and accommodation. Full Circle and Jackie’s Kitchen are two popular restaurants near Paddockwood. Fuel is available in all of these communities.

Snowmobiling is not permitted in nearby Prince Albert National Park, home of Waskesiu Lake, though other winter activities as well as comfortable accommodations are available there.

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