Sledding Whiteshell: wildlife, lakes and the Canadian Shield

The Whiteshell Snowmobile Club's trail system is envied by many

by Karen Kornelsen

The Whiteshell Snowmobile Club's trail system is a special one in that the club has a unique relationship with Manitoba Conservation. Because the club's trails are located in a provincial park, Manitoba Conservation does all grooming in the park. This allows the club to focus on such things as trail maintenance and maintaining the nine warm-up shelters around the park.

Kris Mutcher, president of the club, said the club's trail system is envied by a lot of clubs in the province.

"Having this close relationship with Manitoba Conservation allows us to do a lot more things that other clubs can't do," he said.

In addition to this positive aspect, there is the beauty of the area itself to appreciate. The Whiteshell Snowmobile Club's trails lie within the start of the Canadian Shield and feature numerous lakes and beautiful forests.

Seven Sisters to Falcon Lake

The Whiteshell trails are well signed and maintained and no trail is really considered challenging. The main trail from Seven Sisters to Falcon Lake is the easiest of all, according to Mutcher. It's divided like a highway, with a median separating the two directions of the trail so that there is one-way traffic on each side. Mutcher said it is the easiest and safest place to ride.

Staging areas: There are staging areas in Seven Sisters, Falcon Lake, Brereton Lake, Rennie, Nutimuk Lake and at other points within the park. This main trail connects to the trails of other clubs from north to south.

Length: 80 kilometres, or two to five hours depending on how many stops a rider makes at the many shelters and restaurants along the way

Grooming season: Late December to March

Difficulty level: Easy

Beauchemin Lake Loop or Zubek Trail

Mutcher said these are both two-way trails that are a lot narrower than some of the park's other trails.

"It's more of a local loop, not quite a destination, going off the main trail," he said. "There are beautiful lakes and because we are at the start of the Canadian Shield, it's a lot more rocky than people expect for Manitoba. There are a lot of granite outcroppings and it's quite densely treed."

Mutcher said you can ride for a couple of kilometres in the bush, cross a lake that's one to five kilometres long, and then you're back in the bush again. It's a nice mix of scenery.

Staging areas: Park and unload at Brereton Lake, Red Rock Bible Camp or Big Whiteshell Lake.

Length: 45 kilometres, or a two- to 2½-hour loop

Grooming season: Late December to March

Difficulty level: Moderate

Know before you go

Maps for the Whiteshell trails can be picked up at most restaurants and gas stations in the area as well as at any MPI/Autopac agent in the province. You can also see maps online.

In Manitoba, you will need a snopass. You can purchase a pass from any MPI/Autopac agent. An annual snopass costs $125 and a seven-day pass costs $60.50. 

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