Sports & Recreation(Archives)
Out of The Ashes and Back On The Trails
It was a long wait, but the snow is finally here and the trail system is open and ready to ride. Until the first long and bitter cold snaps hit, the locals snowmobilers were stuck in limbo, staring morosely at their shiny, clean machines just waiting there in their sheds and garages. In order to get the 20,000-pound groomer out there had to be at least 12 inches of ice on the creeks and water bodies on the trail. The local snowmobile club, the McMurray Sno-Drifters has been hard at work repairing the damage wrought by the fire this summer. The club is a local non-profit and relies on community support and volunteers to do what they do each year. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our volunteers the fire pit shelters have been rebuilt, all the signage has been replaced and a huge amount of burnt and fallen trees have been cleared from the trails. There is still work to do and I imagine that the amount of falling trees over the next years will be very high as Mother Nature starts to shed the damage and regrow. Expect to see our volunteers out on the trails regularly keeping everything top notch. Please watch for them and respect their space.
According to scientists, the undergrowth that springs up after a boreal forest fire will mean a huge food supply for the deer population, which in turn may cause a population explosion of both deer and predators. A boon for both photographers and hunters over the next few years but it also means riders on both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles should remain vigilant on the trails and power lines. Oh, and apparently we should have an insane amount of Sawyer beetles next summer (tar sand beetles), as they lay their eggs on burnt and rotting wood. Yay! (said no one ever). Makes me wish winter would never end. You will never see me move so fast as when I hear that distinctive clicking sound when one of those things swoops overhead. I’m like a combination of ballerina crossed with a ninja. A terrified ninja...
Trail passes are needed to ride our trail system and can be purchased at a variety of locations in the Wood Buffalo area including Four Seasons, Raven, MXC Auto, Anzac Esso and Anzac Grocery. In addition you can get passes at Shell-Albian Social Club, SERA Club at Suncor and Club 63 at Syncrude if you work for one of the companies. These passes are $80 and are good for all the ASA trail systems in Alberta. If you are from Ontario like me, you can appreciate what a great price that is. Fort McMurray is blessed to have so much crown land and almost 300km of groomed trails here. Very few areas can lay claim to this. Most of the money from the trail passes stays local and helps the club maintain such an expansive system.
The Sno-Drifters have been laying the groundwork for a new 80-mile trail extension that will connect from the Muffaloose stop on the Anzac trail to Conklin. A few of the southern Alberta clubs are building an extension from the Trans Canada Trail to Conklin as well. Which means that one day soon we will be able to ride from one end of this country to the other. Believe me when I say that is very high on my bucket list now. I want to sit with my grandkids one day and show them the Go Pro footage and pictures from such an epic adventure. Between that and stories of the great fire of 2016, I’m going to be one cool gramma. Take that Golden Girls.
The club hosts a monthly meeting that is open to the public and we would love to see new faces come out and join us to see how the club functions and what they have planned for the future. Our meetings are posted on our Facebook page under “upcoming events” and on our website.
The McMurray Sno-Drifters or “Drifters” as they are often called put on a variety of events each year for our community to enjoy as well as being involved in the Santa Clause parade and Canada Day parade as traffic marshals. This year, despite the fire we are committed to these events more than ever in order to give back to the community that has supported us over the years. Take a look at the event dates listed and try to get out and meet like-minded riders. You never know what friendships you may form!
January 22nd – Family Safe Ride Day
Join us for some short demos on safe sled use and techniques followed by a guided ride to one of our fire pits where a roaring fire and a warm lunch awaits you.
February 24th-26th – WinterPLAY & Sno-N-Shine
The Sno-Drifters are proud to be a part of this amazing event put on by the RMWB. Enter your snowmobile in a variety of classes to win some great prizes or stop by with the family to check out the entries.
March 4th – Annual Poker Rally
Join other like-minded riders for either a short or long ride on our award winning trail systems. Take breaks at a variety of stops along the way and enjoy a hot beverage and a snack to replenish before you ride to the next stop. This is always a fun event and you will ride away with some wonderful memories and perhaps a bunch of new friends.
To make any event successful we need volunteers. Without them, we simply cannot do what we do. We are lucky to have an amazing core group of people that regularly help us out, but we are always looking for new faces to get involved with our club. It’s a fun way to help out in the community.
If you are looking for a new or unique way to advertise your business while supporting a local non-profit, please consider advertising with us on one of our trail signs, our groomer or at one of our well-maintained pit stops on the trail. You would get great exposure to a large group of outdoors people as well as placement on our website and very active social media accounts. Or you can donate or sponsor the club through gifts in kind. Every little bit helps us to improve our trails for the community to enjoy.
Visit our new website at snodrifters.ca to see trail updates and find out about events that are happening.
Follow us on facebook at McMurray Sno-Drifters. Instagram at ymmsnodrifters. Twitter @McMurraySnoDrif. Feel free to tag us in your posts so we can see you enjoying the snow. Our favourite hashtag is #snodrifters
Or contact us directly with any questions you may have via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (780)792-7603
We look forward to a long riding season filled with fun, lots of powder and new faces. See you on the trails!
Photos by Aaron Fuson from Shadow Photography