A small club in big-sky country

Saskatchewan’s prairie presents unique rewards and challenges for snowmobilers

by Marie Milner

Large yellow snowmobile trail groomer bearing the name Tisdale Snowmobile Club
The Tisdale Snowmobile Club has 150 kilometres of groomed trails. Photo courtesy Tom Beck

Pick a crisp, sunny winter day and you’ll fall in love with the landscape around Tisdale, Saskatchewan. Flat or gently undulating, it sparkles in the sunshine, just begging to be toured by warmly bundled snowmobilers laden with winter picnic supplies and a spirit of fun.

The Tisdale Snowmobile Club—designated Club 225 by the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association (SSA)—has about 15 core members maintaining its approximately 150 kilometres of trails and three warm-up shelters.

The trails

Tom Beck, president of the Tisdale club, described the club’s four trails.

“From Tisdale south to Kipabiskau Lake is Trail 225A,” he said. “It meets up with the Naicam SnowBlasters' trails. Our north trail to Ridgedale—225B—meets up with the Melfort trails. From Ridgedale to Zenon Park is 225C, and it meets with the Pasquia Snow Goers' trails. From Zenon Park back around to Tisdale, our longest trail is 225D. About halfway along, it meets up with the Mistatim Snowpackers' trails.”

There are two creeks that have to be crossed on Trail 225B, via low-level crossings. There are rocks in place to make a crossing, with the creek running through them, and caution is needed in these areas.

Should the weather be less than perfect or turn gloomy or snowy while you’re out, have no fear—stakes with reflective markers are positioned every ⅟₁₀ of a kilometre along the groomed trails, and these markers will be visible even if the trail itself becomes lost in blowing snow.

“It’s easy to get disoriented in the open fields, especially if the weather turns bad,” Beck said. “The trails give you the safest way to get to different locations.”

Beck said that the Tisdale club's trails connect with other networks in Saskatchewan and into Manitoba.

“You can use any snowmobile trail in Saskatchewan and Manitoba as long as you have a valid licence on your snowmobile,” he said. “You don’t have to be a member of any club to use the trails. Saskatchewan Government Insurance turns a large portion of the licence money collected back to the SSA, which then divides it among the qualifying clubs.”

Sledders’ hangouts

Tisdale’s motels, restaurants and gas stations are happy to accommodate sledders. Snowmobilers may ride their licensed machines right from their home or other accommodation to the trails, but are asked to avoid driving along the town’s main street.

A&W and Robin’s Donuts in Tisdale can provide sledders with fast and convenient breakfasts. Gus’ Greek Ribs Family Restaurant, the Great Wall and Mr. Ribs are favourite places for sledders to enjoy a meal and share their stories.

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