To be crowned the one and only best snowmobiler amongst 300+ million people—that’s what Cranbrook, B.C.’s, Sheldon Kelly is going up against in his bid to be named Ski-Doo North America’s Top Snowmobiler. He’s already zoomed through the first round and is looking to advance beyond Round 2, which takes place from January 11 to 24, 2019. At the end of the competition, one of 16 contestants (slightly less than the total population of North America) will be named Ski-Doo North America’s Top Snowmobiler. The winner receives a grand prize of a 2020 Ski-Doo snowmobile of their choice with more than $2,500 for accessories, an all-expenses-paid mountain riding adventure to Carl Kuster Mountain Park (CKMP) to ride with Carl Kuster, and will be featured in a story on SnowTrax Television and Supertrax Magazine.
In order to be anointed Ski-Doo North America’s Top Snowmobiler and awarded all the goodies that come with it, Kelly will need your help to make it happen. So, why should you, dear reader, help out a fellow rider in need? Because Kelly’s been paying it forward for a long time.
“I am head of the trail maintenance committee in the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and a very active member,” said Kelly. “I believe I was chosen (for the competition) because of my riding skill, social media networking and my video editing skills. I’m pretty handy around a computer, as I film and edit the snowmobile movie series Winter Nutz. I have done a lot for my local snowmobile community with my filming. I held annual movie premieres and donated my ticket proceeds to local charities. The original reason I started filming was to create a snowmobile movie that had people in it that could never get the chance to see themselves in a movie. It led to such joy when someone would see themselves in a new sledding movie at the premieres.”
Not a nerd
This isn’t to say that Kelly is always behind a camera or sitting in front of a computer. You can typically find him traversing some impassable path through the mountains surrounding Cranbrook.
“Over half my year is spent on a sled,” he said. “I can shred in the trees, hit jumps, drops and rip on a snowbike. What really makes me stand out is the chute climbing I have done. The coolest thing I’ve done on a snowmobile was climbing a chute called Broken Rubber (back of Cooper Lake up Lumberton way). My two friends and I were all able to do it together a few years back. We had a drone out that day and were able to catch it from the sky. No one ever thought it was possible except us. People have lost bets saying something was unclimbable around the Cranbrook area and then I prove to them that it’s totally possible.”
Training wheels on a Kitty Cat
Kelly’s snowmobile skills stem from an early introduction to the sport from his dad.
“My father got me into snowmobiling at a very young age,” he said. “I have been on a snowmobile every year since I was born. At first, I would just double with him. Once I was old enough, I started on an ’80s Kitty Cat.”
Kelly has since moved on to diverse snow machines and more expansive terrain.
“I have been able to explore so many new areas on both a snowmobile and a snowbike,” he said. “It’s never-ending where we can go. The freedom I get from it—thats a big part of why I took up snowbiking.”
Up, up and away
Whether snowmobile, snowbike or snowmobile competition, Kelly is always looking to climb higher than he ever thought possible, such as sitting on the side of Fisher Peak on his sled.
“I was with two friends and we were in an area behind Fisher late in the year. We had to shovel in, make creek crossings and ride through low snow conditions down low to eventually get in a large valley with an awesome hill that seemed to just keep going. We got over a few rises to see that there was only one rise left to reach. It looked like the saddle to the south side of Fisher Peak. After some snow testing and discussion, we decided it was safe to give this last climb a go to reach the saddle. It was AMAZING! I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d have a snowmobile that close to the summit of such an iconic mountain. To do it with my two best friends made it even better.”
How the west was won
The next summit to ascend for Kelly is the Ski-Doo North America’s Top Snowmobiler competition. In order to make it happen, he’ll need your help.
“I want to be crowned the next Top Snowmobiler,” Kelly said. “That in itself would be a great feeling of success, as this is going to take a lot of work. It brought an entire community together to win the first round. Now I progress to take on an entire province and then all of western North America will have to come together to vote for me. It’s going to be amazing to see a whole snowmobiling community come together for this and to prove the West has the stronger snowmobile community as a whole. I’d like to thank everyone for getting me through the first round. It’s humbling to see where all the votes are coming from and how many votes there have been. So thank you again!”
Update: Kelly finished second place to the East representative, Dustin Boyd, in a close final that came down to the last day of voting.