It’s a grand place to sled

A club with membership in the hundreds and snowmobiling as far as the eye can see? That’s gotta be Grande Prairie

People gathered together on sleds
There are more than 300 members in the Swan City Snowmobile Club, making for some fun rallies every year. Photo courtesy Linda Pitre

Two things that many sledders identify as their favourite aspects of sledding are being active in the great outdoors and spending time with their families and friends. Linda Pitre, the treasurer of the Swan City Snowmobile Club for the past two years, is no different.

A sport for everyone

“It is a sport that people of all ages and walks of life can enjoy,” said Pitre. “It brings my family and friends together in a manner that is enjoyable for all.”

Pitre also said she likes how sledding keeps her active during the cold months.

“By winter’s end, I am certainly fitter for having muscled my machine into doing what I need it to do,” she said.

As a sledder for more than 35 years, Pitre’s love of the sport is now being passed down to her children. She enjoys family-friendly areas like Big Mountain and said that the club maintains a well-groomed trail network with an attractive chalet.

“As for more challenging riding without the kids, I enjoy Kakwa Park as it provides groomed trails in a more scenic mountain terrain,” said Pitre. “We also ride north of Sturgeon Lake in the Puskwaska area, as there is usually a lot of snow and some great cutlines that extend for miles.”

A giving bunch

When asked if being a lady sledder has resulted in any unusual experiences, Pitre said she hadn’t noticed anything in particular—aside from being appreciative of manly sets of muscles to occasionally pull her sled out of the snow.

“Certainly there tends to be a bit of stereotyping that women can’t ride as well or aggressively as male sledders,” said Pitre, “but I know a few ladies out there that would definitely put that to the test. Overall, though, sledders are a generous group, always willing to lend a hand to a fellow sledder, whether male or female. (I’ve met) a lot of interesting people along the trail who are always willing to share a campfire, meal, or a story.”

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