If you’re visiting the town of Mackenzie, B.C., you don’t have to travel far to find good snow. According to Marlon Spooner, president of the Rocky Mountain Riders Snowmobile Club in Mackenzie, the trailhead to the club’s showcase area, Morfee Mountain, is right across from the Alexander Mackenzie Centre Mall.
He said the trail leaves from town and connects with Morfee Mountain Road. This route leads right into the alpine to one of the snowmobile club’s cabins. It is a short ride to the top of the mountain, and Spooner said he can be there within 20 minutes of leaving his doorstep.
From the top, you can drop down into the bowls and powder fields of Virgin Valley, where the club has another cabin. This one has a wood stove as well as bunk beds—so if you want to stay the night, you can. Be aware, however, that the drop down into Virgin Valley can be tricky for less experienced riders, said Spooner.
Mackenzie receives generous amounts of snow—due in part to the humidity of nearby Williston Lake. Local sledders start riding on Morfee Mountain in mid-November and good spring sledding conditions last well into the month of April and sometimes May.
Bring your camera if you are going ride to the top of Morfee Mountain, because on a clear day, Spooner said, you can see the base of Williston Lake as well as parts of the northern Rocky Mountains across the way.
If it’s an adrenalin rush you seek, load up your sled and head to the Murray range. This area, which is rated for advanced mountain riders only, is Spooner’s favourite place to ride in the spring.
“It’s sunny,” he said. “When you are back in the bowls, you don’t get any wind, so you get an incredible tan.”
In the morning, you might catch the local sledders fuelling up at the 7-Eleven or having breakfast at Judy’s Family Restaurant on Centennial Drive in Mackenzie. But if you would rather plan ahead than tempt fate, Spooner said that he and other club members would be happy to give you directions or show you around the area. The snowmobile club's phone number is 250-997-1701.
For a post-sledding refreshment and a meal, locals suggest going to the The Office Bar & Grill on Mackenzie Boulevard.