Finding serenity on a sled

ASA ambassador Lisa McLean finds joy and a healthy escape while sledding the Alberta Beach terrain

by Danielle Brost

Lisa on the trails with her sled
A true ambassador: Lisa McLean loves to promote sledding in Alberta, and to encourage others in the sport. Photo courtesy Lisa McLean

Meet Lisa McLean, an accomplished snowmobiler in Alberta Beach and an ambassador with the Alberta Snowmobile Association for the past three years. She fell in love with sledding in 2010 riding a vintage '90s Ski-Doo Safari, and now she is conquering trails on her MXZ Blizzard 600, which she affectionately named “Blizzie”. McLean took the time to chat with us and share her favourite riding spots, some memorable “bucket list” riding experiences, and her involvement in the local snowmobiling community. 

- Photo courtesy the Alberta Snowmobile Association

What initially attracted you to snowmobiling, and how long have you been into the sport?

I was first introduced to snowmobiling by my husband Dave about 14 years ago. He got me my first sled—a 1991 Ski-Doo Safari—and I spent hours bombing around the fields at our family’s acreages on it. I became fully addicted after we moved to Alberta Beach 10 years ago, and I purchased my first new sled—a Ski-Doo MXZ 600 “Zeddy” in 2016. After putting nearly 10,000 kilometres on Zeddy, I upgraded to a 2024 Ski-Doo MXZ Blizzard 600 “Blizzie” this season. Shout out to my loves—Zeddy & Blizzie!! (and Dave!)

What do you love most about snowmobiling?

What I love most about snowmobiling is the escape. When you put that helmet on and hit the trails, nothing else matters. Everything else melts away and you're solely focused on your sled, the surroundings and just enjoying the ride. Snowmobiling is a great mental health escape! It's such a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the winter.

- Photo courtesy Lisa McLean

Where is your favourite place to ride?

I'm partial to my local riding area—Alberta Beach. Being able to just open the garage door and ride right from home is such a luxury!

We're so lucky to have a great variety of riding within our trail network—from lake crossings, to open trails, to tight and twisty trails.

I’m also lucky to be within a couple hours of several great trail networks in North-Central Alberta so I am able to make day trips and explore a lot of the Alberta trails.

- Photo courtesy the Alberta Snowmobile Association

What has been your most memorable snowmobiling experience?

Not one to shy away from a challenge, I’ve been a part of some really cool bucket list rides. From riding from one community to another to participate in a poker rally, to riding the entire Alberta Beach trail network in a day, to completing the Iron Sledder Challenge two years in a row.

The most memorable would have to be completing the Double Triangle Challenge in a single day with Dave—riding the Silver Triangle of Whitecourt’s trails and the Golden Triangle from Whitecourt to Swan Hills to Fox Creek and back to Whitecourt. It was 500 kilometres over a total of 12 hours. It was a challenge to complete, but the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day made it worthwhile and the pain the next day solidified my decision to upgrade my sled—a great suspension is a beautiful thing!

In what ways do you get involved with your local sledding community?

I've been heavily involved with the Alberta Beach Snowmobile Club for 10 years. I have previously held the role of Secretary and am currently the Treasurer for the club.

I've also been an ambassador with the Alberta Snowmobile Association for the past 3 years. I love promoting riding in Alberta—we're so lucky to have such a great network of trails here and it's great to educate others and get them out enjoying everything there is to offer!

What's your preferred type of terrain?

I love open twisty trails with scenic viewpoints and the ability to ride long distances and visit multiple communities along the way.

- Photo courtesy Lisa McLean

Do you have any sledding goals?

I would love to get to experience snowmobiling across Canada! Making a trek out east to see the similarities and differences in the sport out there would be amazing!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

It’s so great to see more women getting out snowmobiling. It’s such an inclusive sport—it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, what size you are, how old you are, or what you ride—just get out and ride!! After hosting a Ladies Ride in Alberta Beach welcoming all experience levels, it was so exciting to see the true variety of women with a love for snowmobiling. Witnessing new riders overcome their fears and accomplish goals in such an encouraging atmosphere was amazing.

Related Articles

Mitch Lepage stands on a 2016 Ski-Doo Freeride and Angie stands on a 2012 Ski-Doo Freeride for their wedding at Clemina in Valemount, B.C.
Meet the Rider, Saskatchewan Wed-by-sled: The best snowmobile-themed weddings we’ve seen (so far)

For passionate sledders, there’s one sure way to stand out from the rest: A snowmobile-themed wedding

by Kyle Born
Melanie Tonsi beside her snowmobile giving a thumbs up
Meet the Rider Tales of a sledding trailblazer

The ASA’s Most Outstanding Ambassador of the Year Melanie Tonsi shares her 25-year journey as a snowmobiler

by Danielle Brost
Sledder crashing through snow
Meet the Rider Snowmobiling since childhood: Interview with a B.C. sledder

Josh McLean has been sledding for as long as he can remember

by Danielle Brost
View all Meet the Rider articles