Longevity, reliability and a moose: The story of Dale Davis

Trading in a TV for a snowmobile in Westlock

by Kyle Born

Dale Davis has maintained the snowmobile trails in Westlock, Alberta for many years.
Dale Davis has maintained the snowmobile trails in Westlock, Alberta for many years. Photo courtesy Cliff Bromberger.

Some people change hobbies every few years and latch onto the next big thing. Dale Davis is not one of those people. He’s loved snowmobiling since he jumped on a sled in the late ’70s and hasn’t stopped since.

“I worked for a snowmobile shop here out of Westlock,” said Davis. “It was something to do in the wintertime and I enjoy it. It’s still fun after 30 years.”

It turns out some things do change over time though, even for Davis. “I used to do a lot of hillclimbing in the mountains,” he said. “I’m a little bit old for that now.”

Davis has since exchanged that youthful risk-taker mentality for one of responsibility. “Cliff (president of Pembina Driftbusters snowmobile club) and myself keep the trails clear,” said Davis. “We’re the only ones that’ll do it because of a lack of volunteer help. I’m the responsible one of the group.”

There certainly are a lot of diverse trails to keep clear around Westlock. “Bush trails, lake riding—little bit of everything,” Davis said. “The West Loop rides through the Grayson Reserve. The North Loop meets up with the Athabasca River Runners. The Main Loop is now Kuster’s Trail in honor of Jim Kuster.”

Davis isn’t just known for his longevity and reliability, he’s also a socialist—that is to say, he’s social. “I like riding with whoever wants to ride,” he said. “It’s always great when you have a big group out. Snowmobiling is something to do in the wintertime rather than just sit in the house and watch TV.”

Snowmobiling through Westlock for 30 years has created some memorable moments for Davis, including some near collisions. “I just about hit a moose on the trail,” he said. “It makes you sit up and take notice, I’ll tell you. It had come out of the bush right in between myself and Cliff. He was just going across the trail.” Davis already said he likes riding with whoever wants to ride. Maybe the moose wanted a ride, but Davis didn’t get close enough to find out. 

Rider: Dale Davis

Where: Westlock, Alberta

Occupation: Retired manager of a tire shop

Bragging rights: Longevity. Davis has been riding since the late ’70s.

Weapon of choice: 2015 Summit 600

Local ride recommendation: The West Loop, the North Loop and the Main Loop

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