High Level lends a northern perspective to sledding

Some of the best sledding conditions in Alberta

by Karissa Gall

The main draw: Watt Mountain

With some of the best snow and sledding conditions in Alberta and a commanding mountain view, the Watt Mountain trail system makes heading up to High Level well worth the trip.

Rising over 1100 feet above the surrounding land, Watt Mountain offers numerous viewpoints; weather-permitting, riders will be able to look down on High Level, the Hay River watershed, and even as far as the Peace River at Fort Vermilion.

Maintained by the Watt Mountain Wanderers Snowmobile Club, the trail system is complemented by good signage, trail mapping, bridges over extreme ravines for safety and three warming shelters including an emergency cabin at the top of the trail. And because access to the trailhead is at the town limits and groomed by the club, sledders are able to leave town on their sleds.

According to past club president Doug Gramson, “the season in High Level is usually longer and the club has never had a season where there was not enough snow to be able to maintain our groomed trails. In a normal winter we have over 350 kilometres of groomed trails.”

For more information and a current map, see the club’s website. Also, make sure you buy an Alberta Snowmobile Association Trail pass in order to use the trails. In High Level, passes can be purchased at Northern Services Yamaha.

Sledders’ hangouts

  • Best Western Plus Mirage Hotel & Resort. Many of the motels and hotels in High Level offer ease of access to trailheads for sledders, especially the Super 8 and Best Western, which are both located along Highway 58. The Best Western also offers an in-house, full-service restaurant and lounge, with seating under a glass solarium ceiling. In-house dining is also on offer at the Quality Inn and Flamingo hotels.
  • Boston Pizza. Located right next to the Super 8, Boston Pizza is a favourite spot for sledders to grab dinner—pizza, pasta, wings, and more—or drinks in High Level.

Extended stay

  • La Crete. Sledders have the option of heading in the opposite direction of Watt Mountain and making a day trip of riding to La Crete, a snowmobile-friendly hamlet located approximately 135 kilometres southeast of High Level. Groomed Watt Mountain trail system trails connect to the La Crete Polar Cats trail system, taking riders across the frozen Peace River. In French, La Crete translates to the ridge.

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