Endless riding in Alberta’s Lakeland

With an expanse of cut lines, power lines and pipelines, the area around Lac la Biche is a dream for any adventurous snowmobiler

by Kristen Mitchell

Sledders pause during a bluebird day in Alberta's Lakeland region.
Sledders pause during a bluebird day in Alberta's Lakeland region. Photo courtesy Curtis Galas

Curtis Galas has been living and riding in Alberta’s Lakeland region around Lac la Biche since 2008, yet there are still lots of areas that he hasn’t yet ridden. The region doesn’t have a snowmobile club, but anyone with a sled could still spend countless hours accessing and exploring the backcountry.

“There are no maintained trails here, but we've got lots of power lines and cutlines,” said Galas, owner of The Haven, a store at Elinor Lake Resort. “There are some trails that forestry has (built that go) up to a few of the lakes out here. They're designed as quadding trails because they've put some bridges in where it was really swampy, but the sledding is still phenomenal.”

Where to go

The Lakeland Provincial Recreation Area and the Lakeland Provincial Park are open to snowmobilers. Touchwood and Siebert lakes are fun destinations for a family. They’re also good places to go ice fishing. One of the few official staging areas is by Pinehurst Lake, and Galas also welcomes riders to stage from his store at Elinor Lake.

Riders who are based out of Lac la Biche could take a power-line route right down to Elinor Lake and the Lakeland Provincial Recreation Area, crossing Beaver Lake en route. With such an expanse of routes to explore, it can be particularly challenging for sledders to find their way. There is a map available that focuses on the Lakeland Provincial Park area. However, caution and a GPS unit are both worthwhile for riders exploring the area. It would also be wise to first connect with Galas or someone else who is familiar with the area.

Keep in mind

There aren’t any warm-up shelters around the Lakeland area. However, Galas said that he has yet to discover a route that provides challenges out of the reach of a novice rider. The trails aren’t too extreme, but some of the power lines have hills and deep powder. Of course, an abundance of frozen lakes provide great open snowmobiling for any level.

“We've also trailered up and gone north of Lac la Biche to Old Conklin Road,” said Galas “There's some deep powder up there—it's untouched. There are a bunch of cut lines and pipelines up there. . . . The roads are open for hunting in the fall and for great sledding in the winter.”

With all the beautiful sights, adventurous trails and wide-open lakes around the Lac la Biche and Lakeland regions, there’s only one last thing to keep in mind.

“Dress warm,” said Galas with a laugh. “That's pretty much it. Dress warm and enjoy yourself.”

Meet the rider:

Name: Curtis Galas
Lives: Elinor Lake Resort
Occupation: Owner of The Haven store and cabins
Hometown: Edmonton.
Age: 48
First sled: A 1973 Yamaha GP-338
Current sled: A 297 Ski-Doo touring 50
What did you like about your sled? It's comfortable. It goes fast, but I'm not into super speed. It's a great touring sled.
How did you get into snowmobiling? Dad had a sled when I was growing up.
What is your favourite riding area? I like the pipeline right behind the resort. It's a beautiful trail. It has a bunch of switchbacks and stuff because of trees. You can head right down to the far end where the pipeline meets the powerline and you can come all the way back around on the lake.
Describe your riding style: Relaxed and slow paced.
What is it that keeps you coming back, year after year? Just the excitement. You get some powder, you get a little bit of speed. It's a bit of an adrenaline rush and you get to see the sights.


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