Sledding season is revving up in Sicamous.
As of Jan. 8, the popular snowmobiling destination was starting to see more and more snow fall on its four sledding areas: Owlhead, Queest, Eagle Pass and Blue Lake.
The areas are maintained by the Eagle Valley Snowmobile Club, which recently rebranded as Sled Sicamous. Natalie Sorkilmo, who’s Sled Sicamous’ manager alongside her husband Stuart, said each area has more than 25 kilometres of groomed trails.
The trails act as a road system for sledders to get to alpine areas with fresh powder. Sorkilmo said she’s happy Owlhead is open as there was some concern it would be closed due to issues arising from the Two Mile Road wildfire in the summer.
Sledders are just asked to not leave the trail between seven and 16 kilometres and so far Sorkilmo said everyone’s been happy to respect that rule.
Each of the four sledding areas has an emergency shelter/cabin with a wood fire. Sorkilmo explained how the first people who arrive at a cabin on a given day get the fire going and whoever comes along next puts more wood on so there’s always a warm place to go.
Safety is a top priority for Sled Sicamous and Sorkilmo emphasized the importance of bringing the right gear, such as a GPS, and letting someone know when you’re going sledding and when you plan to return. She also warned avalanche risk is quite high right now.
To kick off the season, Sled Sicamous raffled off two brand-new snowmobiles which were sold to Sled Sicamous at cost by Kelowna’s M&M Performance and Vernon’s Banner Recreation.
Raffle tickets were $100 each and only 300 were sold for each snowmobile. A draw was held in front of a large crowd at the Owlhead parking lot in Sicamous on Jan. 1. Elaine Morneau of Vernon was the lucky winner of a Ski-Doo and Peter Jenkins of Fort McMurray was the lucky winner of a Polaris.
Sled Sicamous is a non-profit organization and the money raised from the raffles will help bring power to its collection booths in Blue Lake and Eagle Pass — debit is now an option for payment to access trails.
Highway closures and inclement weather have limited visitors a bit so far, said Sorkilmo, but local riders have been able to enjoy a little extra room to open up their throttles.