The trails of Tumbler Ridge

The terrain here will impress any sledder

Group of snowmobilers in a field
Pristine winter scenes typify Tumbler Ridge. photo courtesy Lindsey Wozniak

Northern British Columbia is rich with snowmobiling thrills waiting to be experienced. Tumbler Ridge, a community of 2,454 located 120 kilometres southwest of Dawson Creek, provides exciting snowmobiling adventures for novices through to seasoned riders. A veritable snowmobiler’s paradise, Tumbler Ridge has over 300 kilometres of snowmobiling trails in the area.

Some insider advice

Having snowmobiled for six years in the Tumbler Ridge area and formerly being involved with the Ridgeriders Snowmobile Club, Chris Homister is familiar with the first-class snowmobiling available in Tumbler Ridge.

“For tourists, we suggest to go to Babcock, and for the more advanced riders we suggest the Bullmoose area,” he said.

He also spoke highly of the Core Lodge, referring to a former day lodge acting as a gateway to many mountain trails and breathtaking vistas, including Kinuseo Falls.

“The Core Lodge burned down a few years ago,” said Homister. “They have rebuilt a little bit to have an area that you can go warm up in. It’s really well signed…(and) they have a nice big parking lot where guys can pull off the main road and go riding…but there’s lots of different riding areas for every different experience level. The mine is right there too so guys can get on top of Windy Ridge and they can see the (Quintette) mine activity.”

Homister noted that Tumbler Ridge has been heavily influenced by the snowmobiling culture in the area.

“We actually do get quite a number of riders who come out (during the wintertime) and I’m sure the stores benefit from that,” he said.

Lindsey Wozniak, the community development assistant for Tumbler Ridge, agreed.

“Snowmobiling is by far the biggest boost to our economy in the wintertime,” she said.

The mayor welcomes sledders

Mayor Larry White said that many visitors come from Alberta and northeast British Columbia.

“The hills and mountains are all accessible—they’re not vertical,” he said, adding that at least 25 per cent of the community participates in snowmobiling.

“It’s quite popular here. What’s nice is that we have snowmobile trails in town that allow you to jump on your snowmobile and get out of town—you can go forever,” said White. “The hotels are right on the edge of the greenbelt so you can just jump on your snowmobile and go. It’s very important- we go to the Snow Show in Edmonton every year. We set up a booth to promote the snowmobiling and skiing in the area.”

“I started (riding) with the RMK 600 and went up from there,” said Homister. “I would say (snowmobiling has) changed in just the way the machines are now. The technology in the machines is letting guys get into bigger and better places and we’re leaving more of a carbon footprint on the world too.”

White also remarked on the change in technology: “I know years ago they used to have competitions until more recently when the machines became so powerful that it wasn’t a challenge to get up the hills anymore.”

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