Fort McMurray an exciting and diverse sledding destination

With nearly 600 members and a 30-year history, the club is successfully making Fort McMurray an exciting and diverse sledding destination with something for every skill level.

by Jessica Kirby

Trevor Antle, second vice-president, boondocking by Bull Dog Lake.
Trevor Antle, second vice-president, boondocking by Bull Dog Lake. Photo courtesy of McMurray Sno-Drifters

The Fort McMurray Sno Drifters don't mess around—or, they do, but only when it leads to long scenic rides and wild play in the snow.

With nearly 600 members and a 30-year history, the club is successfully making Fort McMurray an exciting and diverse sledding destination with something for every skill level.

The Anzac Loop

One of the club's most highly recommended must-see sledding destinations is the Anzac Loop, which takes off from the Saprae Creek staging area and winds out to 60 kilometres of wide, double-groomed trails.

“It has some long, straight runs and some twisty, windy trails but nothing too technical,” said club president Ron Fetzko. “A person can make it all the way to a community access point, which runs right to Anzac Pizza & Fast Food.”

The family-friendly restaurant is the perfect place to pile in for a warm meal before completing the loop back to the staging area. Zee Bar & Grill, an adults-only establishment, is also accessible from the same community access and has amazing food to fuel the ride home.

The Anzac Loop also beckons families with two always-stocked warm-up shacks—the Bean Fire Pit and Wells Pit—located at the one-third and two-thirds points, respectively, which make the trip completely flexible.

“The trail is also bidirectional,” said Fetzko, “so you can make the trip as long or as short as you want.”

The Anzac Connector

Intermediate riders who want to stretch out a trip along the Anzac Loop can check out the Anzac Connector, a bidirectional, twisty trail that connects Anzac to the Stoney Mountain Loop.

The scenic, medium-difficulty, 50 kilometre-trail offers up some incredible views at various lookouts, including the Connector Trail Lookout where riders will find a nice fire pit on the ridge of the Stoney Mountain foothills.

Riders with longevity and a taste for adventures will love the Stoney Mountain Loop, another 65-kilometre trail connected to the Anzac Loop by the Anzac Connector.

Endless Snow Belt

The Stoney Mountain Loop will accommodate all levels of rider and is the gateway to Fort McMurray's primary snow area—Stoney Mountain Wildland Park.

“This is our snowbelt,” said Fetzko. “I am a mountain rider, but we have had years where I don't even bother going to the mountains because this area is so endless.”

The park offers jaw-dropping scenery, exploring, boondocking, endless cutlines, cutblocks and connecting ponds, dams and creeks.

“It is endless how far you can go out, and it is all barbed-wire-free,” said Fetzko. “In the ASA (Alberta Snowmobile Association) words, we are actually one of the only truly barbed-wire-free clubs.”

Fetzko encourages visitors to give the Sno Drifters a call for directions and recommendations. “We are always around and ready to show off our amazing backyard,” he said.

The club can be reached through its website and Facebook page.

The McMurray Sno Drifters are gearing up to host clubs from across Western Canada at the 2016 Jamboree, March 4 to 6.

The event will feature three days of epic riding focused on families and intermediate and advanced riders, ensuring fantastic options for everyone.

“We are excited to invite all of the provincial clubs to what will be a traditional-style jamboree,” said Fetzko.

Day 1 will be a meet-and-greet in town at the host hotel, and the rally on Day 2 will comprise two primary rides divided by skill level and distance.

“The third day is escorted rides where club members will take out groups based on skill and interest,” said Fetzko. “They can sign up in advance for some advanced boondocking and all-out chaos or visits to some important historical destinations, where we will be looking to ensure minimal impact on these areas.”

Fetzko said the Jamboree and the club’s other yearly events would never happen without countless volunteer hours and generous industrial supporters.

“They take the time to put energy into the Sno Drifters and the club's success,” he said. “I can't thank them enough.”

Visitors can find out more about the 2016 Jamboree and the club's year-round activities at www.sno-drifters.com.

Related Articles

Photo courtesy Tom Tabbert
Fort McMurray, AB Trip planner: What you need to know before snowmobiling in Fort McMurray AB

Trial maps, top snowmobile trails, club contacts and other useful information you can use before planning a snowmobile trip to Fort McMurray AB

(L to R) Elburne, Freda and Barry Bean won the 2018 CCSO National Excellence Award for Snowmobile Family.
Fort McMurray, AB The Bean family are recreating what once was in Fort McMurray, Alberta

Fort McMurray’s Bean family has won the 2018 CCSO National Excellence Award for Snowmobile Family for their tireless dedication through fire and fury

by Kyle Born
The inside of a store with plastic covering much of the merchandise
SnoRiders Insider, Fort McMurray, AB BRP and Raven Motorsports to support Fort McMurray community

BRP’s donation supplements Raven’s own contribution of $10,000.

>
View all Fort McMurray articles