Snow, and lots of it

The snow conditions around Swan Valley, Manitoba, are some of the best in the province.

by Karen Kornelsen

Daryl Dauncey has seen a lot of wildlife out on the trails, including this family of lynx.
Daryl Dauncey has seen a lot of wildlife out on the trails, including this family of lynx. Bernadette Dauncey photo

Riding in the Swan Valley area of Manitoba means snow, and lots of it. Although Daryl Dauncey lives in Elbow Lake, Saskatchewan, he loves exploring the trails in Swan Valley since his home is just a few kilometres from the Manitoba border. As a member of the Elbow Lake Sno Drifters, Dauncey appreciates the work of the North Mountain Riders club across the border and the incredible groomed trails in the Swan Valley area.

One of Dauncey's favourite rides goes from the Moose Range Lodge in Saskatchewan through the bush to Steep Rock Lake in Manitoba over to Mafeking where they usually stop for food and fuel. He then goes to down to Bell Side to the south, across White Lake and Bell Lake and back over to the cabin where him and his wife, Bernadette, live.

They also love going from their home, over to Hudson Bay and back up to Moose Lake Lodge, which is halfway between Swan River and Hudson Bay.

One of their best times on these trails was in February, where the snow was incredible, the North Mountain Riders had the trails groomed "to a tee" and it was a nice sunny day.

"We had a great time in our great winter wonderland, what more could you ask for," said Dauncey.

Dauncey's favourite thing about sledding is definitely spending time with his family.

"Being together and sharing the same kind of pleasures together is special," he said. "We live in this cabin year-round and we love to get out and have a great time outdoors and experience this kind of companionship. It makes the winters a lot shorter."

Dauncey said the snow conditions around Swan Valley are incredible. Since they are at a higher elevation, this area usually experiences more snow than other areas of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

"We hope to get a year like last year," said Dauncey. "We seem to always get the snow first and if there's no snow down south, we get people from Winnipeg, North Battleford, Moose Jaw and all over coming up here to experience the wonderful conditions. People are starting to find out how great it is up here and it's awesome because it means we get to meet more people on the trails."

Meet the Rider: Daryl Dauncey

Lives in: Elbow Lake, Saskatchewan (about two miles from the Manitoba border)

Originally from: Esterhazy, Saskatchwan

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired. Worked as an electrician at Potashcorp of Saskatchewan.

Sledding since: Started back in the 1970s, then got back into it in the late 1990s.

First sled: Coleman Skiroule

Current sled: Arctic Cat 800

Favourite riding trail/area: Elbow Lake to Hudson Bay to Moose Lake Lodge.

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