Mackenzie is one of those sledding gems that has a wonderful diversity of riding options for riders of every skill level.
Extremely popular with the locals, the groomed mountain road leads up to some spectacular alpine riding with deep powder that will satisfy everyone who ventures out on the trail. On a bright, sunny day with clear, blue skies, the riding and scenery are both absolutely beautiful.
When arriving in Mackenzie from Highway 97, travel right through town on the four-lane highway approximately two kilometres to the parking area on the right-hand side. There is nothing difficult about finding the staging area; this means that sledders have more time on their machines.
The first cabin is approximately 15 kilometres from the parking area and is very popular with those who like to take a break to warm up during their ride. The second cabin, 10 kilometres farther, has sleeping accommodations for four people and is right in the heart of some fabulous alpine snowmobiling. It is available on a first-come, first-served basis but is not usually a destination.
The more advanced sledders will enjoy the incredible endless powder as they ride up the second portion of the trail, while families and intermediate snowmobilers never tire of the first section. There is something for everyone, which explains its popularity.
Pine Bowl/Bijoux Trail
Forty minutes north of Mackenzie on Highway 97 and just south of Powder King Ski Hill, you will see signs indicating the trailhead on the left-hand side. Park in the space provided and enjoy weaving your sled through the trees on your way to the first cabin at Pine Bowl/Bijoux. The second cabin, Mount West, lies farther along the loop just north of Powder King.
The powder is even better here than at Morfee—if that’s possible—and traversing the whole loop is a full day’s extraordinary ride that isn’t exactly for beginners but not extreme either.
This can be avalanche territory. The area is a favourite with snowmobilers who are passionate about their ride and looking for terrain that is extreme with endless bowls and deep powder. No warm-up cabins exist here, but for those who like to extend the season, spring conditions are often fabulous right to the end of May.
Situated about an hour north of Mackenzie, the plowed parking lot is on the right-hand side and just 20 minutes north of Powder King Ski Hill.
Sometimes considered to be the forgotten area, Old Friend is one of the preferred choices for intermediate sledders; it is accessed across the road from Pine Bowl at Bijoux Falls. Once again, there is endless powder with runs that aren’t groomed, and the three bridges for crossing the creeks will be appreciated by enthusiastic snowmobilers who make their way up the trail.
Working to make sledding great
According to Marlon Spooner, the new president of the Rocky Mountain Riders, the club is very appreciative of everyone’s involvement and hard work. She said the club makes a point of recognizing those people in the local paper.
“A thank you goes a long way” said Spooner, adding that local club news and information on trail conditions are posted in the local paper on a bi-weekly basis.
Visitors who are staying in hotels in the community can park their machines in a locked compound rather than leaving them on the back of a truck.
The club is definitely trying to develop new trails in the area and encourages families to come out and enjoy themselves in a sport that is meant for people of all ages.