Fort McMurray offers a variety of well-maintained trails

The McMurray Sno-Drifters Association proudly promotes the area's abundance of snow and its interesting terrain

by Karen Kornelsen

Fort McMurray prides itself on its generous snowfall every year. David Janes, president of the McMurray Sno-Drifters Association, said the area also features a wide variety of terrain and interesting elevation changes. Sledders can go from the flats all the way up to the mountains, with opportunities to ride numerous types of trails along the club's large, well-maintained trail system. The scenic views and chances to see wildlife are abundant.

The Anzac Trail

For an easy ride for families or beginners, the Anzac Trail is perfect. The most challenging part of the trail is a railway crossing. There are not a lot of terrain changes and sledders can stop at a couple of really nice rest areas along the way. The trail is well signed and easy to navigate.

Staging area: Just inside city limits, about two kilometres from the airport on Highway 69

Length: The loop is 60 to 80 kilometres

Difficulty level: Easy

Thickwood Tower Trail or Stony Mountain Trail

These trails offer challenging sections but are not extreme, said Janes. The Thickwood Tower Trail has two ravines that are easy climbs and are pretty easy going. The Stony Mountain Trail has large hills and valleys and a warm-up shack that sledders can stop at for a break or to make a bite to eat.

Length: The Stony Mountain Trail is 44 kilometres, and the Thickwood Tower Trail is 69 kilometres.

Difficulty level: Moderate

The Connector Trail

The Connector Trail, which opened last season, is the club's newest trail. It connects the Stony Mountain and Anzac trails.

"It starts off simple, where you have a lot of open areas with rolling terrain," said Janes, "and then it starts climbing into forest area, where the turns get sharper . . . and (there's) a lot more powder. It is definitely a challenging trail."

Staging area: There is no official staging area, since this trail connects two other trails. Park at either the Stony Mountain or the Anzac staging area.

Length: 35 kilometres one-way

Difficulty level: Challenging

Sledding events

Poker Rally: March 2, 2013

Family Fun Rides: for information visit the club's website

Know before you go

Maps of the McMurray Sno-Drifters Association's trails can be found on the club's website or at local dealers in the area, as well as Anzac Esso and Fort McMurray Tourism.

Trail passes are $70 and are available on the association's website as well.

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