Snowmobiling in Mackenzie, B.C., means snow, and lots of it. Sledders in this community of about 3,500 love to get out on their sleds to enjoy deep powder and a fair amount of sunshine. All riding areas are within about 40 minutes of town, which makes it very convenient to go out and play around.
Marlon Spooner is a member of the Rocky Mountain Riders Snowmobile Club in Mackenzie. He believes that snowmobilers who wish to ride in this area should be accompanied by a guide or someone who has sledded in the area before. These areas are not groomed and are true backcountry spots.
Old Friend riding area
According to Spooner, Old Friend is high alpine. To get there from Mackenzie, travel north on Highway 97 until you reach Bijoux Falls. There is a parking lot right at the falls.
After you hop on your sled, there is about 15 to 20 kilometres of trail before you get into the high alpine, which is usually full of deep and fresh powder. There are steep hills, powder fields and ravines.
This area is not groomed and there is no cabin. Spooner said because there's deep powder, it's harder to get into than other areas. The best time to go is at the beginning of the season, but Spooner recommends going with someone who's been to this area before, whether it is early season or right in the middle of it.
Spooner's favourite spot near Mackenzie is Murray's Range. To get there you can park in a lot about 15 minutes north of the Powder King Mountain Resort, which is just out of town. It's about 20 minutes past the Old Friend parking lot.
"This is definitely a guided area and is for expert riders," said Spooner. "It's also not groomed and has no cabin, but is absolutely amazing. Again, you have lots of deep powder to look forward to. It's extreme high alpine with very steep terrain. There is endless snow and endless bowls."
Please keep in mind Powder King Mountain Resort does not allow snowmobilers to unload at their resort. You must use unloading areas located north (Beaver Creek) and south (Bijoux Falls) of Powder King.
Powder King is right across the valley from Murray's Range, and there is a cabin. Spooner said this area offers great riding, hills, powder and ravines. This area is great for novice sledders.
Spooner said about this area and all other areas: "Come and enjoy."