Hotshot of the month

Congratulations to Bernie Ogonoski of Cranbrook, B.C., on winning the SnoRiders Hotshots contest in December 2017.

by Kirsten Armleder

A couple posing by their Polaris snowmobiles on Connell Ridge.
Bernie and Jean Ogonoski enjoy postcard-perfect conditions at Connell Ridge near Cranbrook, B.C. Mike Reilly photo

The winner of our Hotshots contest for the month of December 2017 reminds us of an old adage: “The couple that plays together, stays together.” Bernie Ogonoski started snowmobiling with his wife, Jean, back in 1986. Thirty-two years later, this couple find themselves active members of the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and the Kootenay Rockies ATV Club, getting out to enjoy the outdoors at every available opportunity.

Below, we find out more about the Ogonoskis and the day the above photo was taken:

How did you get into snowmobiling?

My wife, Jean, and I got into snowmobiling together back in 1986. Our first machines were two brand new Polaris SS 440 single-carb, 120” track machines. Originally from Alberta, we, at the time, were living in the a rural area southeast of Edmonton and we did some basic sledding on the lakes and Crown land in the area. We took these two sleds into Allan Creek in Valemount, B.C., a number of times as well as McBride. One Christmas, we put the camper on the truck and took them to Revelstoke to ride. We even had caribou outside by our sleds one morning while camped on the hill in Revelstoke. We got out of sledding once we started to raise our family. Also, we found it was not as much fun riding in the flat prairies after we had gone to the mountains. After moving to Cranbrook in 2011, we started to spend our time ATVing with the Kootenay Rockies ATV Club. Friends whom we met in the club convinced us to get into sledding again and so the following year, we purchased two sleds.

What do you currently ride?

Today, I ride a 2017 Polaris RMK-Pro 800 and Jean rides a 2018 Polaris RMK-Pro 800. We are active members of the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and do most of our sledding locally around Cranbrook in the Lumberton area as well as Perry Creek.

Who’s your favourite sledding partner? 

My favourite sledding partner is my darling wife, Jean. We enjoy getting out into the hills and backcountry quite a bit. We mostly ride with the same group of good friend when we go out.

What kind of riding do you like best?

We are always learning and improving our riding skills and we like to find some good open areas to play in the deep snow.

What do you like most about snowmobiling?

I love the fact that snowmobiling can get us up into some wonderful scenic backcountry areas to explore, especially on those blue-sky sunny days.

What keeps you busy in the summertime?

We are active members of the Kootenay Rockies ATV Club and so we do a lot of backcountry riding throughout the year when there is no snow to go sledding.

Tell us about the day you took this photo.

That day, we went riding up and into Connell Ridge and we were out riding with our group of friends. We staged out of the gas plant, which is at about kilometre 32 on Gold Creek Road, east of Cranbrook. It was a very warm and sunny day—perfect to see some great views from the top of the mountain. While there was not a lot of snow in the lower elevations this day, it still provided for a good time by all. 

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