The secret’s out and Sicamous reigns supreme

Find out why snowmobilers are flocking by the thousands to the once-sleepy village of Sicamous, B.C.

by Kirsten Armleder

Jason Ribi lays down fresh tracks in Sicamous.
Would you relocate for this? Many have. The rider is Jason Ribi. Hans Wardell Photography

Sicamous, British Columbia, is your 2017 SledTown ShowDown Champion of Western Canada. Gord Bushell, general manager of the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club, still can’t believe it.

“I don’t know how we got there,” said Bushell. “We are a very small club in terms of marketing.”

In other words, you have no idea how good the riding really is.

With four stand-alone zones, four chalets and about 150 kilometres of groomed trails, Sicamous has the kind of sledding opportunities to rival its top competitors for your attention on southern B.C’s powder highway.

“There is just so much terrain,” said Bushell. “Eagle Pass is such a massive, massive area that you could put all of our hills in Eagle Pass and it wouldn’t even put a dent in it.”

And the snow?

“It’s no different than Boulder Mountain (in Revelstoke) or Silverstar (in Vernon),” said Bushell. “Eagle Pass is part of Boulder so we get the same snow as Revy gets.”

Both Revelstoke and Sicamous lie within the mighty Monashee Mountains, the range where the goods are delivered. Some say this range receives 12 metres (40 feet) of snow on average and others, up to 18 (60 feet). Either way, it’s gonna be deep.

Carl Kuster slays a sidehill line through the trees.
Whether wide open or tight and technical is your preference, Sicamous has got the goods to put a big smile on your face. The rider here is Carl Kuster. Ryen Dunford photo

Not into a stuckfest? That’s OK, because variety is the name of the Sicamous sledding game.

“The groomed trail we are doing from Owlhead over to Blue Lake is becoming pretty popular for trail riders and families,” said Bushell. “Some families are intimidated by some of our photos, but if you really look at that trail, it’s through a cutblock and it’s very safe.”

Inconspicuous as the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club may be, the word about Sicamous is getting out.

“We’ve really grown,” said Bushell. “Last year, we had 16,000 sledders come to Sicamous.”

And they weren’t all from Western Canada.

“We just had some folks from Sweden staying at the Best Western,” said Bushell. “They bought sleds and stayed for a month.”

Because of the snowmobiling, many from Alberta have relocated to Sicamous. Also taking up residence in Sicamous are some of the industry’s biggest-name athletes—snocross legend Carl Kuster, backcountry film star Rene St. Onge and hillclimb champions Trent and Tyler Backus, to name a few.

For Sicamous, the tides are turning. No longer is Canada’s houseboat capital waiting out the winter in silence, for the two-stroke invasion has officially begun.

“This is huge for us,” said Bushell. “We were a dormant little town and we became a SledTown.” 

Presenting the SledTown Trophy in Sicamous.
Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo presented the SledTown trophy to the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club at the recent SledgeHammers Ripped Snowbike Race & Family Day in Sicamous. Also pictured here (L To R) is Wes Gano, Tim Corless, Rene St. Onge and Gord Bushell. photo courtesy TL Design & Inkx Printing Solutions

2017 SledTown ShowDown Provincial Winners

Congratulations to all 64 destinations that were in the 2017 SledTown contest and thank you to everyone who took the time to vote. In total, we had over 14,800 votes. Here are the provincial winners:

Yorkton, Saskatchewan

The only town to give Sicamous a run for its money was last year’s defending co-champion. This time, Yorkton defeated Esterhazy, Porcupine Plain, Kelvington and Chitek Lake to become the Top SledTown in Saskatchewan. In the penultimate round, it took on Beausejour, Manitoba, winning by six votes. Congratulations to our runner-up and more specifically to the Yorkton Sno-Riders.

Beausejour, Manitoba

Beausejour, a newcomer to the SledTown contest, is the heart of Canada’s snowmobile ice racing scene. This year, the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships take place March 4 and 5, but with the Brokenhead Trail Blazers also on the scene, that’s not the only weekend you should visit Manitoba’s Top SledTown. This club grooms over 230 kilometres of trails with sled access to hotels, restaurants and fuel stations in Beausejour.

Whitecourt, Alberta

Whitecourt defeated Edson, Crowsnest Pass, Swan Hills and Athabasca to become the Top SledTown in Alberta for 2017. Cindy Brooks, who is the executive assistant for the Whitecourt Trailblazers, thanks the town, municipality and county for helping the club gain prestige in the snowmobiling world. “People want to come here and ride the trails,” said Brooks, “and with the service that we provide, I think they get what they expect.” 

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