Welcoming riders to Fort McMurray

The McMurray Sno-Drifters do a great job of promoting their local trails

by Kirsten Armleder

A red sled sitting at the side of a snowmobile trail.
Here, Darrell Scheers and his son, Tyler, prep the trails after the season’s first snowfall. photo courtesy Darrell Scheers

The recipient of three 2013 SnoRiders Rider’s Choice Awards, including one for Favourite Groomed Trail Riding in Alberta, Fort McMurray is worthy of being included on your list of must-ride destinations. But it has the McMurray Sno-Drifters Association to thank for its award-winning trail system.

A snowmobile club that was formed in the early 1980s, the McMurray Sno-Drifters grooms about 300 kilometres of trails. But that’s not all that the club does. Its members maintain all the signs, firepits and outhouses that are along the trail system as well. They are also active in promoting the sport of snowmobiling within their community, always welcoming newcomers to join their ranks. In fact, the club recently hosted Shaw TV video journalist Jordan Hertner.

Safety is an issue the McMurray Sno-Drifters take seriously. The club updates its website regularly, notifying sledders of any changes in riding conditions. Its members also receive a monthly newsletter and information about available safety courses.

There when it started

Bitten by the snowmobile bug in 1970, Fort McMurray resident Darrell Scheers got involved with the McMurray Sno-Drifters soon after the club was formed. Over the years, he’s occupied nearly every position on the club’s executive board—at times, being responsible for all of them at once. And if that wasn’t enough, Scheers has also held numerous roles with the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA). 

Now a trail co-ordinator for the McMurray Sno-Drifters and the northeast zone director for the ASA, Scheers spends his free time communicating with clubs throughout the region and making sure the trails around his hometown are safe and smooth.

Riding is still a top priority of course for Scheers, and his favourite route incorporates three of the club’s main trails.

“I like to take off from our storage building and do one leg of the Anzac Trail, then take the Connector Trail to Stoney Mountain and back on the other leg of the Anzac Trail,” said Scheers. “It’s about a 100- to 110-mile round trip.”

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