Still going strong after nearly 20 years on the trails, this dedicated member of the Kelowna Snowmobile Club has not lost any of her passion. Louise Middlemiss continues to be an asset to her community, and we had the chance to ask her a few questions about snowmobiling and the local scene.
Q: How long have you been sledding?
A: I was introduced to snowmobiling by my brother in the late ’80s, on a trip into the Greystokes on an old machine. I got a few quick instructions on how to go and stop, and away we went—I was told to keep up. I learned fast and before the day was done I also found that stopping is not like putting the brakes on in a car. (I) found a tree well that stopped me. A few years later, in 1994, I (got) my first new machine—Polaris, what else!
Q: What do you enjoy about snowmobiling in Kelowna (British Columbia)?
A: I love to be able to go places you can’t (go) the rest of the year—lakes, ponds, meadows, hills—and cover such a big area in a short time. The fresh air is golden. (There is) no pollution in the mountains, and having asthma, breathing is much easier when the air is so pure. What’s nice is that it never really gets that cold in the Okanagan. And with the number of cabins we have in our two snowmobile areas, warming up in between rides is not a problem.
Q: What challenges come with being a woman in the sledding community?
A: When it comes to the new machines, they are all great and wonderful to ride but just too big for most women. What is needed is for the manufacturers to all make at least one machine for the smaller and older female to handle—a step up from the kids machine and a step down from the male muscle machine. They had them in the ’90s and that’s what they need to bring back. I think they’ll find more females out there enjoying the sport.
Q: Do you find that Kelowna is generally supportive of female sledders?
A: All the dealers in Kelowna are great to work with and are very supportive when it comes to snowmobiling. Being a
female has never been an issue as far as I could see, even though it’s more of a male-oriented sport.