Winter highlights

For Carrie Dell, a member of the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Association, taking her kids out riding is a winter highlight

by Lisa Crane

Snowmobiler in action
Fun awaits in Tumbler Ridge. Doug Beale photo

Tumbler Ridge is the place to be for Peace region riders—and others—when it comes to snowmobiling. Incredible scenery, lots of space and something for everyone is what it is all about.

The season stretches for a long six months and there is no shortage of powder.

Tumbler Ridge boasts a huge trail system of more than 300 kilometres. The trails are mapped and marked and have town access. The local club, the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Association, has a great goal for 2012: to encourage people to join the club and just enjoy the backcountry with friends and family.

That is certainly what the Dell family love about snowmobiling in the area. Carrie Dell has been sledding in the area for 21 years. Snowmobiling, she said, is her favourite winter sport. Her husband, Mitch, and kids, six-year-old Taylor and nine-year-old Colby, are in on the action. They are all members of the Ridge Riders, and Carrie's brother-in-law, Chris Dell, is president of the club.

“I love going out with my husband and kids,” said Carrie. “There is something for everyone and for every level.”

She said that as well as it being a lot of fun, snowmobiling teaches her children responsibility and they get the opportunity to enjoy nature.

"Most kids don't get to experience this sort of thing," she said.

Tumbler Ridge has many trails to enjoy, Carrie said, as well as meadows to play in and mountains to climb. Although she doesn't hillclimb, she can see her son Colby becoming more and more adventurous.

“He likes to play, jump and climb with his dad,” Carrie said.

Colby rides a Yamaha Enticer 250, while Carrie's daughter, Taylor, rides an Arctic Cat 120.

“She likes to take it easy behind Mom and Dad,” said Carrie.

The favourites

“My favourites are the trails and the meadows,” said Carrie. "I like riding in the Babcock area. It is easy riding and it is a very scenic drive."

The Babcock winds up to a cutline on the alpine mountain. The trail offers views of the mine and town, and there are lots of beginner to intermediate side trails to explore. Various trails head back down to the lodge or the road.

"My kids love riding to the Kinuseo Falls," said Carrie. "My husband likes going to Kinuseo as well, and playing around on the old logging roads."

Kinuseo Falls is 210 feet high and is a unique spot for photography when it freezes.

The Ridge Riders' Core Lodge, an old steel exploration shed, is a great place to hang out with the family. A fireplace, comfortable sofas, stunning views—what more could you want? As well as home base, Core Lodge is the name of a favourite bunch of easy to extreme trails.

Windy Ridge is a popular area. Climbs, peaks and bowls are all part of the attraction. Toboggan Hill presents a good challenge, and the Chute is a fun bobsled-like run. The Super Bowl and Terminator Peak are demanding runs for the experts.

All in all, Tumbler Ridge provides an unforgettable snowmobiling experience.

“Tumbler Ridge has always been a hot spot for snowmobile enthusiasts," said Kelly Bryan, the economic development officer for Tumbler Ridge. "Our wide variety and easily accessible trailheads allow for any rider, regardless of skill level, to enjoy themselves."

Bryan said that more and more snowmobilers are being drawn to Tumbler Ridge because of the great conditions and wide range of sledding locations.

"Our community welcomes all outdoor recreation enthusiasts, and recognizes the need to maintain a strong focus on snowmobiling in order to continue attracting users from all over Western Canada to our area," Bryan said.

Get in on the action

Summit Meadows is a trail just off Windy Ridge. The Annual Windy Ridge Challenge Hillclimb is held there in March and attracts a big crowd.

The club's second annual poker rally will be held on March 26, 2012, at Babcock Mountain. There will be prizes and a barbecue, with proceeds going to the Avalanche Centre.



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