Regina is the perfect launching point for adventures

where snow and scenery abound

by Jessica Kirby

Qu'Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan.
Qu'Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan. Courtesy of Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association photos.

Just 60 kilometres northwest of Regina is Regina Beach—an excellent afternoon ride through rolling farmland and with scenic views of the countryside.

Royce Barlow, trail adviser with Regina’s Prairie Prowlers Inc. snowmobile club, said the ride includes a good combination of ditch riding, fields and trails, and is popular for afternoon cruisers.

“You can head out after supper and stop at the beach, have a snack and head back,” he said. “It’s about 120 kilometres at the most, and there are some different routes out.”

The relatively easy ride takes sledders through Lumsden and beyond to Bulyea, where it’s possible to connect with a 175-kilometre trail system in and around Cupar.

Fort Qu’appelle

Barlow likes to head out of Regina 70 kilometres northwest to Fort Qu’appelle in the Qu’appelle Valley, which runs west to east across two-thirds of Saskatchewan. More than 400 kilometres of groomed trails through flatlands and hilly terrain deliver relaxing rides with epic views of the historic fort.

“It has some hills and good trails,” said Barlow. “We ride a lot of the area where there are no trails and we can take off into pastures and fields. A lot of people tend to go a little further north to get good riding in.”

Green Water Lake Park

Another favourite jaunt from Regina is Green Water Lake Park, which is about 300 kilometres north by road, but definitely worth the distance.

“There are good trails and it’s a good snow area,” said Barlow. “You can ride 100 kilometres and still be on trails, or take smaller adjacent trails and then loop back.

“The area is forested, which means less snow is blown into snow banks,” said Barlow. “They also have nice cabins and places to stay at Green Water Park.”

The area features more than 100 kilometres of groomed trails through the boreal forest, with plenty of opportunities to spot moose, elk and whitetail deer. The Green Water Lake Park trails are tied into the provincial trail system, and many adventurers head out from there to Kelvington, Porcupine Plain, Chelan, Weekes or Hudson Bay.

“Hudson Bay has lots of groomed trails and nice riding,” said Barlow. “Around Green Water it is hilly and intermediate, although you’re not into the foothills or anything. Hudson Bay is similar to Green Water in that there are forest areas and forest trails, although some come out of the forest and you have to be careful you aren’t treading on private property or harming the environment.” 

Meet the Rider

Name: Royce Barlow

Age: 71

Riding since: The early 1960s. 

First sled: It was a Snow Cruiser Johnson. It was a big, heavy tank. I think its top speed was about 40 miles an hour and you’d ride it for an hour then fix it for two.

Current sled: I have a 2005 Ski-Doo with maybe 2,000 kilometres on it. We haven’t been out a lot in the past few years. We had a bad winter two years ago and we had no snow.

What do you like about your sled? It’s easy to handle, comfortable, and I’ve had it since it was brand new. I’m very used to it and I would replace it with the same. 
Is there anything you would change about it? Not really. I don’t like the brand new ones because the windshields are so low.

Favourite type of riding: I am a trail rider, not a mountain rider. I don’t enjoy the rougher terrain, higher speeds and bigger sleds. I tend to ride trails at a speed where I can see the scenery and enjoy it.
What’s your favourite ride near Regina? Moose Mountain Park. It’s nice—when they have snow there.

Best stuck: We went into an area south of Grand Falls one year and I put a tree through my machine. There was a dead tree lying at an angle and it came from underneath and up past my head through the steering area. We laughed about it afterwards. The others were at the bottom of the hill, but they rescued me. We got stuck a lot there. We’d be driving along and the machine would just drop four or five feet.
What ride are you most looking forward to this year: Probably heading into the Qu’appelle area or into Moose Mountain. I am retired, so I can go when I please.

How are you getting ready for the season? Right now I am working on the trailer and the sled is sitting inside it. It just needs a good polishing and I’ll make sure the battery is good and I’m ready to go. I just serviced it before I quit last year so it should be ready. 

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