Trish Drinkle and Chuck Norris

Some people call it sledding, but Trish Drinkle calls it “slednastics”

by Breanne Massey

Trish Drinkle had a learning curve this year. She has not perfected the art of landing yet.
Trish Drinkle had a learning curve this year. She has not perfected the art of landing yet. James Sampson photo

Christening a boat or a sled with a powerful woman's name isn’t uncommon for men and Trish Drinkle, an avid sledder in Nelson, didn’t want to pass up the tradition.

Drinkle knew that a woman's name could never suffice for her sled—it just didn’t feel right. A woman’s name would brand her as the token woman sledding with a group of men. Drinkle described her sled, a 2012 Polaris Pro RMK 800, as sleek, powerful and attractive. She knew immediately that there was only one name that would describe an invincible sled like hers—Chuck Norris.

The adventures of “Trish and Chuck,” as she likes to call them, have been well documented on a blog called Joydigger, but it wasn’t always a twosome. Trish started riding sleds 15 years ago and her love of sledding rubbed off on her entire family, except for one of her sons.

“I have four kids and they’re all into powersports except my oldest son, Leo. I always look at him and go, 'who are you?” said Drinkle. “He’s the only one that doesn’t like it, but he really loves dirt biking during the summertime so we’ll go out and have fun.”

Kevan Drinkle, her husband, encouraged Trish to ride mountain terrain. Now Drinkle is a mountain free-rider with a fringe benefit—she has a cute mentor. Trish learned the fundamentals of riding sleds years ago and constantly pushed herself to keep it up. 

“If I see a woman who is being doubled, I will go out of my way to track her down and put her on my sled so that she knows what it’s like to ride her own,” said Drinkle. “Even if it’s just a minute because it’s way more fun.”

Finding a sled to suit your body

Drinkle works as a sales and marketing representative for Main Jet Motorsports in Nelson, and she’s one of five directors for the Betties Powersports Network. Her passion is teaching women how to ride snowmobiles. Drinkle’s goal is to immerse women in sledding culture and she demonstrates this by teaching them how to get out of sticky situations, adjust their throttle control and customize their machines to suit their body types.

Drinkle said women have to utilize their bodies differently when they ride.

"We’re a little bit lighter—we have to exaggerate our leaning,” said Drinkle. “We may not have the muscle mass that men do, but we have to work with what we have and position our body on our running boards accordingly.”

Drinkle recently taught her friend Christye Bernard how to ride sleds. Bernard resisted snowmobiling again after a bad experience with her fiance, but after a day of riding with Trish, Bernard got hooked.

“I kept telling her your butt is your power,” said Drinkle. “If your butt isn’t hanging off your machine, you’re not going to be going that way. So she heard that and kept repeating it all day, 'my butt is my power, my butt is my power.' ”

Drinkle lives for shredding pow, teaching avalanche safety courses, doing powersports with her family and, of course, Chuck Norris. She is especially proud to be known as the tomboy mom instead of the token woman in a wolf pack of men.

For more information visit Main Jet Motorsports.

Up close:

  • Drinkle rides snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes, but she also enjoys fly-fishing in the summer.

  • Drinkle encourages women to get involved in local snowmobiling clubs and she’s trying to organize an all-women’s local ride with Baldface this April.

  • Drinkle’s 16-year-old daughter, Brook Evans, caught the riding bug. Both teenager and mom get goosebumps when they talk about sledding.

  • Drinkle lives in the mountains and her favourite riding spots are around Wymer and Kootenay Lake.

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