“Exhilarating, exciting, fun and challenging,” said Dale Primus, describing what he loves about sledding.
“I feel like I don't have a worry in the world,” said Mario Pineau, Primus's buddy, when he explained how he feels when he explores the deep powder of Mackenzie, a northern Rocky Mountain town in British Columbia.
Mackenzie’s outdoor recreation potential keeps the tourists coming back and the locals busy. Mountains, lakes, rivers, and diverse wilderness and wildlife set this town apart. The middle of winter in Mackenzie is a snowmobiler's dream, and friends and co-workers Primus and Pineau take full advantage of their snowy playground. Both men are members of the Rocky Mountain Riders Snowmobile Club, and they have stories to tell about going out on mountain adventures with family and friends.
Pineau said his favourite rides are when he takes his friends out sledding.
“They are from Prince George and have to travel a long way to sled, so they love coming to this area,” said Pineau. “They are jealous and I just love showing it off. We can go right from my backyard, and we go for at least four to five hours.”
He said the scenery is awesome, and he can take anybody up the mountain.
“There are ravines, there is bush and all kinds of terrain for beginners to advanced,” said Pineau.
His favourite time to ride is in spring, when he is less likely to get stuck. Pineau's goal, he said, is to get Primus out for a ride to remember.
“Maybe this weekend,” he joked.
Primus said he takes it a bit easier that Pineau. He values snowmobiling as a family activity when he can sled with his special-needs son, Peter.
“We find the gentle, flat ground in the valley,” said Primus.
Primus said they can snowmobile right from their back door.
“My son loves snowmobiling and spends a lot of time on his machine, sitting on the side of the road, waiting for me to come home from work,” said Primus. “He can't wait to see if he can beat me home.”
Primus has another son, Karl, who is also an avid sledder.
“He can't get enough of it,” said Primus.
Mackenzie's trails stretch from the valley to the top of Morfee Mountain, and many snowmobilers can just head out their door to ride the trails. Primus said Mackenzie receives up to 15 feet of snow annually. The terrain boasts meadows, bowls, endless powder and, yet, more powder. Pineau said that there are two warming huts with wood stoves along the 50 kilometres of trails, one of which has bunk beds if sledders need to stay over.
Events for the Rocky Mountain Riders Snowmobile Club centre around family activities, fundraising and lots of fun. Not surprisingly, Mackenzie is a fisherman’s dream. The annual fishing derby is held on February 25 and the snowmobile club offers rides and holds a scavenger hunt at this event. Snowarama is on March 11 and kicks off from Windy Point by the junction of Highway 97 and Highway 39. This is a fundraising event and is well received by the community, attended by over 100 people. Check out the events calendar at Rocky Mountain Riders.