Natalie of the North

Veteran snowmobilers can learn a thing or two about safety from this young Yukon gun

If Natalie Daniels wasn’t born precisely on a sled, it’s at least conceivable that she was born to sled.

Ten-year-old Natalie and her family—her dad, Mark; her mom, Nita; and her brother, Zane—live in Whitehorse, Yukon, where sledding is taken very seriously. And according to Mark, Natalie takes sledding safety seriously as well, especially because one of her early lessons stuck with her. On a family outing, Natalie saw a school friend and let her attention drift.

“Natalie was waving with one hand while driving slowly and looking to the side at our friend,” said Mark. “She didn’t see the bush and ran one ski up it and rolled the sled onto its side . . . No injuries, no damage. Natalie learned to watch where she’s going.”

Natalie has been riding with her parents since she was a toddler and had her own sled at the age of three. Currently, her ride is a Polaris Indy 240 that she likes to take out on nearby trails.

Mark confirmed that Natalie is a safe, skilled, independent rider, and that she knows all the rules of the trail—and how to have fun doing it.

“She knows to check the throttle and brake prior to heading out,” said Mark. “In the appropriate safe setting she can ride hard, including doing doughnuts with her ATV or Razor.”

As far as Natalie is concerned, riding safely means that everyone on the trail has fun.

“If you aren’t being safe, you could not just injure yourself, you could injure someone else and be held accountable for that,” she said. “Go with a partner in case you get stuck, be aware of riding conditions like avalanche alerts and be on the lookout for other riders.”

Take a lesson from Miss Natalie.

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