Come out and play

Carrie Dell has one message for women who want to sled but aren’t sure where to start—just get out there and do it

Carrie Dell loves riding the mountains, meadows and trails around Tumbler Ridge. photo courtesy Carrie Dell

Tumbler Ridge winters can extend from October until April or May. Is it any wonder it’s a snowmobiler’s paradise? Carrie Dell certainly thinks so.

Dell grew up riding the trails surrounding Tumbler Ridge. She started riding when she was nine years old with her father and brother. Her first sled—a 1981 Yamaha Enticer 250 that her son now rides—put on several miles touring along the lake trails of the region.

Dell still prefers the company of her family when riding. She rides most frequently with her husband, Mitch, and their two children—seven-year-old Colby and his sister, Taylor, who is five—though she still heads out with her dad and brother.

“(Sledding) helps the winter go by,” she said. “It doesn’t feel as long when you can get out and riding.”

But, said Dell, it’s not just the whack of white stuff that makes the area so enticing. Many of the mountain trails are snowed-over backroads, most of which are accessible from her back door. The area is so family friendly and open that Dell’s children are learning a few tricks.

“They’re learning to climb and jump their sleds,” she said.

And the secret is out. Tumbler Ridge has become a favourite destination for sledders from outside the region as well. Dell said she’s met snowmobilers from all over Western Canada on the local trails, and thinks they come because Tumbler Ridge has something for everyone.

“It’s got a little bit of everything,” she said. “There are mountains for those who like to climb; there are meadows; there are easy trails—no matter what you want, there’s something to do.”

More women are making the journey out to the trails, said Dell, but she thinks that there is a lot more room for the girls to come play. Dell’s advice?

“Grab a snowmobile that doesn’t scare you—something a little bit smaller—and get on and ride,” she said. “Just do it, because once you get past the fear, you’ll love it.”

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