Making first tracks is the best

Al Patten loves to sled in the champagne powder at Tunkwa Lake Resort and Logan Lake

by Lisa Crane

Man on a snowmobile in snow
Al Patten's son Thomas, 17, enjoys time sledding with his dad. Al Patten photo

“My best ride ever was in February 2010,” said Al Patten, who owns and runs Tunkwa Lake Resort with his brothers in Logan Lake, British Columbia.

“It had dumped snow—fresh champagne and deep powder,” said Patten. “We had big, deep drifts, (there were) no other tracks and we were pushing lots of snow. There was snow hanging off the trees, and it was nothing like I had ever seen before. We were in the meadows around Tunkwa Lake and we were pushing the snow like a wave.”

Patten said that there was so much snow, it was coming over the hood of his sled. The favourite part for him, and his staff member and fellow sledder, were the big drifts with no tracks. He laughed as he described it.

“We had conditions like that a lot that year," he said.

Tunkwa Lake Resort is a premier fishing location, and in winter, ice fishing and snowmobiling are the choice activities. There is access to endless snowmobile trails catering to all levels. Tunkwa Lake Resort can offer tours that begin right at the doorstep of the resort.

According to Patten, you can't beat the sledding around the resort and Logan Lake.

“I like getting into meadows and open fields with light and fluffy snow,” said Patten. “Around here there is a lot of good trail riding. The mountain climbing isn't my cup of tea.”

Patten described his riding as being close to slalom skiing.

“My shoulders touch the snow when I am sledding,” he said. “I love the rows of trees and the drifts across the bumps and valleys. Boondocking and pushing back and forth is really physically demanding—it takes a lot of effort.”

Patten is so enthusiastic about snowmobiling, it is hard not to feel inspired.

“It really pumps you up,” he said. “I sled a lot now with my son, Thomas. He is 17 now and it is something we do together.” 

It was actually Thomas's sled that Patten was riding when he got stuck last April.

“We had switched sleds and his is not designed for deep snow,” said Patten. “We were ditch-banging, and I saw a deep culvert, and instead of going into it, I stopped and then the sled just dug and dug.”

Patten said the force of the momentum caused his sled to dig a hole eight feet deep, and he couldn't reach up and touch the top. He ended up going back to tow the sled out after hours of digging.

Logan Lake has a large network of trails called the Logan Lake Snowmobile Routes, Patten said. These designated trails are situated north of the village and lead around the various lakes.

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