The Cranbrook fave five

A sampling of snowmobiling in Cranbrook, B.C., with five of the author’s favourite photos

by Kirsten Armleder

Snowmobiling in the Chute near Cranbrook.
Two feet of untracked powder in the Lumberton area made for a great day of sledding for Randy “Moose” Rothwell. photo courtesy Cory Lovell

It’s October and the countdown is on. Soon Cranbrook will be covered in a thick blanket of fresh snow. Sleds will be pulled out of their summer slumber, loaded up and held to the bar as they conquer the vast expanse of mountains encircling this heartbeat city of the Rockies.

In many ways, Cranbrook is a traditional sled town where parents who grew up here are riding the same trails with their own kids, but it too is a bit of an anomaly. Slightly off the path beaten in by our neighbours to the east, Cranbrook typically sees fewer out-of-town visitors than other B.C. destinations, yet it has the kind of terrain that will appease a great variety of riders.

Trail riders, chute climbers and boondockers will all find what they’re looking for in Cranbrook’s most popular sledding area. Located to the west of the city, Lumberton boasts 50-plus kilometres of groomed trails and a two-storey cabin that is maintained by the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club.

Each year in February, the club hosts an annual poker run, which is always a big hit. Plus, Cranbrook’s local snowmobile dealers often host demo rides at the poker run, giving riders a chance to test out the new sleds on their home turf.

Besides Lumberton, an hour in any direction will take you to Cranbrook’s other snowmobiling areas, but you’ll probably want to hook up with one of the locals to experience them fully.

To give you a taste of what Cranbrook has to offer, here are some of my favourite sled shots:

A snowmobiler on top of the mountain with mountains in the background.
With a mild winter climate and lots of sunshine hours, clear bluebird days like this one aren’t uncommon while sledding in Cranbrook. Kirsten Armleder photo
Snowmobiler popping a wheelie on a sled.
Local rider Aaron Hansen gettin’ the goods on a deep powder day in mid-January. Kirsten Armleder photo
Snowmobiler up close with big mountains in the background.
Most of the riding around Cranbrook takes place at or below treeline, but we’ve got some high alpine bowls for the big mountain rider as well. Kirsten Armleder photo
A group of sledders with the Steeples mountain range and Fisher Peak behind them.
Views of the Rocky Mountains are a guarantee while sledding around Cranbrook. photo courtesy Doug Williamson

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