Making new tracks

Despite being in the minority, female snowmobilers in Mackenzie are taking the trails by storm

snowmobile at the top of a mountain viewpoint
Around Mackenzie, many women are known to tackle the challenging mountain trails. photo courtesy District of Mackenzie

Mackenzie brings out the best in every sledder. While snowmobiling continues to have more male enthusiasts than female, the ladies are getting more involved.

“There are female riders in Mackenzie,” said Trish Jacques, avid snowmobiler and a councillor for the District of Mackenzie. “Of course they are always out-numbered by the men.”

Despite being less prevalent in the sport—at least for the time being—the female gender is setting out to change the status quo and redefine the sledding community. It’s a worthwhile mould to break, and Mackenzie women are definitely up for the challenge.

“There are many female riders (in Mackenzie) that mountain ride,” said Jacques, “and have high enough skill levels to keep up with and even challenge many of the top male riders. Us northern women are strong in many ways!”

While there are snowmobile clubs scattered throughout the country, it’s less common to see organizations that specifically cater to the female gender.

Getting more involved

It seems that the majority of ladies in the sport have been introduced to sledding by their male counterparts. Perhaps this will change, however, as more women become aware of how much fun there is to be had on the trails

“(Establishing) support services for women riders is generally a challenge due to the fact that there are not many of us, and that reality is not demographically based,” said Jacques. “Our sport is something that women usually get into because of who they are . . . dating or married to.”

One common struggle that women in sledding encounter is finding gear that fits their specific needs and body dimensions.

“I find it very difficult to get women’s-only products,” said Jacques. “Klim does provide riding gear designed for women that is well-made and functional. Boots (are) always a challenge—I am still riding in men’s boots as there has yet to be a high-performance boot made for women.”

Sled choice can also differ between men and women, and just like the guys, each woman has her favourite brand.

“I just switched over to Arctic Cat last year and am super impressed with the agility, performance and power,” said Jacques. “(I) will be making sure that I am always on a lightweight machine that supports a smaller-framed person so that I can keep up with the boys!”

The community as a whole

This destination is more than just an attractive northern getaway; it is a place for those who are passionate about snowmobiling to indulge in some of the best terrain that B.C. has to offer.

Kerri Borne, tourism and events manager for the District of Mackenzie, took the time to point out some of the highlights of this spectacular area.

“The favourite riding places around Mackenzie are Morfee Mountain, which is accessible right from town and provides a multitude of riding experiences—and an unforgettable view of Mackenzie—and the Rocky Mountain Gagnon Trail, that takes you through maturing forests out to the junction of Highway 39,” she said. “(Also popular is) Pine Pass, which taunts riders with alpine thrills at elevations up to 7,000 feet.”

Mackenzie’s community is known for being supportive of sledders. Being that it is such a popular location for the sport, several hotels provide specials and some of the restaurants even provide bagged lunches for snowmobilers.

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