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Adventure Travel - Canada

Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia
RELATED TOPICS: SNOWMOBILE TRAVEL | CANADA
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QUEBEC
This is where the snowmobile originated. Valcourt is headquarters for Ski-Doo and the entire province is immensely proud of the Bombardier legacy. Sleds are in the blood of Quebec folks.

The Grand Prix in Valcourt is a big attraction for racers and snowmobile aficionados alike. At this event you can watch world class oval racing, snocross and more. Plus tour the BRP museum and visit the factory where your own new or old Ski-Doo was made.

Quebec has 20,500 miles of some of the best groomed trails in North America. There are plenty of off-trail opportunities as well. Try www.aventurechicchocs.com if you need to get an off-trail fix!

In the Lanaudière and Mauricie regions, you’ll traverse wooded forests, mountains and frozen lakes covering nearly 3,000 miles! Wildlife encounters are also common here.

Eeyou Istchee Baie-James is a fantastic area to explore a 135,000-square-mile playground of snow. Caribou sightings and discovering the native Cree culture are all part of the daily experiences offered here, all while riding 680 miles of wide, groomed trails or taking in a guided backcountry adventure.

Helpful Sites
• Snowmobile Quebec: www.snowmobileinquebec.com
• Quebec Snowmobile Clubs:www.fcmq.qc.ca
• Lodging: Capissisit Lodge 01, Wastawshkootaw, Ouje-Bougoumou, 418-745-3944, Aventure Chic Chocs, Info@aventurechicchocs.com, 514-835-6701
IMPORTANT INFO
QUEBEC Remember the language of choice in Quebec is French. Most places near large cities you can find folks that speak English, but especially in smaller towns where you might be snowmobiling, English is spoken much less. All snowmobiles in Quebec must have a trail permit. Permits are available in a range of options from three-day ($130 CA) to a full season ($315 early purchase), and permits include $1,000,000 CA of liability insurance ($500,000 is the legal minimum you must carry).
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ONTARIO
Home to the world’s longest network of recreational trails and a favorite riding destination for the folks at American Snowmobiler, Ontario has more than 30,000 miles of well-groomed, interconnected trails with low congestion. AmSnow Editor Mark Boncher even got married here in Sault Ste. Marie!

There aren’t many riding destinations more stunning than Ontario, where you’ll experience canyons, forests, lakes, old logging roads, wildlife and more – possibly all in a day’s ride!

The Algoma region near White River and Wawa in Northern Ontario is truly an AmSnow favorite. It offers a variety of riding conditions on more than 500 miles of wide-open trails, along with a small northern town atmosphere. Due to many miles of Lake Superior shoreline, the lake-effect snow is legendary! The AmSnow staff ride here regularly, and plan to keep coming back.

The Cochran/Timmins area is a great way to spend a weekend or more and there is investment going into the northern areas of Ontario that will continue to make these trails better. Make sure you stock up at rest spots, because they are few and far between here. With the most lodging options and eateries in the area, Timmins welcomes snowmobilers warmly, as does the smaller Cochran. AmSnow readers often name this area as one of their favorites.

Closer to population centers like Toronto, you can still find great snowmobiling as well. Check out the Barrie area or go a little farther north to Bracebridge and you might run into a few long-time AmSnow contributors like Bob Island on the trails. Numerous folks from Yamaha’s snowmobile division headquarters in Toronto ride these areas as well.

Helpful Sites
• Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs: www.ofsc.on.ca
• Travel Ontario: www.ontariotravel.net
• Lodging: Continental Motel & Dining Lounge, 217 Hwy 17, White River, Ontario, Canada, P0M 3G0, 807-822-2500 or 800-822-3616, www.continentalmotel.ca, The Wawa Motor Inn, 118 Mission Rd, Box 1190, Wawa, ON P0S 1K0, CA, 705-856-2278, www.wawamotorinn.ca, Water Tower Inn & Suites, 360 Great Northern Rd., Sault Ste. Marie, 888-461-7077, www.watertowerinn.com, Quattro Hotel & Conf. Centre, 229 Great Northern Rd, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6B 4Z2, Canada, 855-973-7216

MANITOBA
There are over 12,000 km (7,456 mi) of snowmobile trails in Manitoba, making it a fantastic place for locals and travelers to ride, and enjoy the winter playground in this province in the middle of the country. Contrary to popular belief, there ARE forests in Manitoba, but certainly also the wide-open prairieland and provincial parks. Whiteshell Provincial Park is one such area that is home to roughly 300 kilometers of trails.

Provincial parks, lakes, forests, warming huts and cozy resorts make Manitoba a destination for snowmobilers across North America. There is often less snowmobile traffic in this wintry wonderland as well, which is appealing to Americans making the drive. There are hotels, cabins, bed and breakfast locations and more. Winnepeg is the main hub in the province and home to several snowmobile specific companies including apparel maker FXR Racing.

The Pas area, Swan Valley, and Lac du Bonnet are all favorite locations for snowmobilers in this province, but there are too many good places to mention. There are also strong snowmobile clubs in these and many other areas of Manitoba so reaching out to the local clubs before you travel is encouraged.

Helpful Sites
• Snoman: www.snoman.mb.ca
• Travel Manitoba: www.travelmanitoba.com
• Lodging: Visit www.travelmanitoba.com for an array of lodging opportunities.

SASKATCHEWAN
Saskatchewan is another “middle province,” but here temps of 5 F greet riders on average. Like we’ve mentioned before when we’ve talked about Saskatchwan, bundle up! This can be a great place to ride though!

More than 3,000 miles of groomed, marked trails are ready and waiting for you. Experience views and scenery you can only find via snowmobile. There are 92 clubs and 30,000 club members that volunteer their time to make sure your Saskatchewan snowmobile experience is one you’ll never forget.

Near the eastern border with Manitoba, north of Saskatoon and Regina - which are the two largest cities in Saskatchewan - is a good place to play. Regularly voted as one of the top snowmobile area destinations in Saskatchewan, if not all of Canada, there are more than 420 miles of groomed trails, along with hundreds of additional miles of ungroomed trails and logging roads to feed your inner explorer.

The western part of the province has plenty to offer snowmobilers as well. The Battlefords sit along the shores of the Northern Saskatchewan River. Here you’ll find 280 miles of marked trails winding through prairies, woodlands and lakes. The ride west along the river is beautiful, and all throughout Saskatchewan, you’ll find warming huts conveniently dotting the trails just as you need them!


Helpful Sites
• Saskatchewan Trails: www.sled-sask.com
• Saskatchewan Snowmobile Assn.: www.sasksnow.com
• Town of Hudson Bay: www.townofhudsonbay.com
• Lodging: Fir River Ranch, 52.52229N102.24621W, Hudson Bay, 306-865-3105, www.firriverranch.com
IMPORTANT INFO
ONTARIO All snowmobiles must have an Ontario trail permit. If you’re taking a short trip to Ontario, a multi-day permit can be purchased for $35 CA per day (minimum of two consecutive days). Seasonal passes are $180 CA if purchased before Nov. 1, $210 CA before Dec. 1, or $260 CA after Dec. 1.

MANIOTBA All Snowmobiles must have a snopass. If you’re taking a short trip to Manitoba, out-of-province passes are available along with 7-day passes. Passes can be purchased for $150 CA for a seasonal pass and you need your colored plate from MPI.

SASKATCHEWAN Snowmobile registration is required in Saskatchewan, and it costs $100 plus a liability insurance fee. No other trail passes or fees are required.
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ALBERTA
This is where the boom has been for many Canadians. Natural resources brought folks from around the country to Alberta to cash in, and you can bet many of them LOVE to snowmobile. There are wide-open plains in the east and central part of the province, and then the Canadian Rockies make up the border with British Columbia in the west. You can find on-trail or off-trail riding in Alberta.

Just a two-hour drive from Edmonton, trail riders will find an historic ride along the Iron Horse Trail in St. Paul, Alberta. This trail winds 300 km (186 mi) along abandoned rail lines through welcoming communities full of provisions. Old train stations provide pit stops for riders along the route. It’s also part of the Trans Canadian Trail – the first coast-to-coast recreational trail in North America.

Whitecourt is known as the official Snowmobile Capital of Alberta. Here, you can ride many more of the province’s 5,000+ km (3,107 mi) of trails, and the Golden Triangle offers some of the most epic snow conditions east of the Rockies!

Places like Banff are known for skiing, but don’t let that deter you! Many local outfitters, such as Rocky Mountain Riders, will show you trails, treelines, hillclimbs and more along the BC-Alberta border. Speaking of the Rockies, the towns that dot the eastern edge of the mountains have plenty to offer, including mountain views, frozen waterfalls and wildlife.

Helpful Sites
• Alberta Travel: www.travelalberta.com
• Alberta Snowmobile Assn.: www.altasnowmobile.ab.ca
• Avalanche Info: www.avalanche.ca
• Lodging: The Kanta Inns 3315 33rd Street, Whitecourt, 888-700-2264, www.kanatainns.com

BRITISH COLUMBIA
This is the mecca for major powder in North America. Some will debate us on this, but one place comes to mind above all else when you mention big mountain powder – Revelstoke. It probably has something to do with the 40-60 feet of snow they receive annually in the Canadian Rockies!

Snowmobile season in the British Columbia mountain towns can run from November through June, leaving ample opportunity to visit the area. Revelstoke and the surrounding area offer endless playgrounds of mountain riding for a wide range of skill levels. Make sure you are well versed in avalanche training, and load up an extra few gallons of fuel for just about any ride.

While the glamour of riding off trail in the mountains is certainly attention grabbing, B.C. also has an extensive trail network that is maintained by 70 clubs throughout the province. West of Revelstoke, the Sicamous area is well known for groomed trail riding and backcountry experiences alike.

If you’re new to mountain riding, there’s not a more picturesque place to learn than Carl Kuster Mountain Park (CKMP), where former snowcrosser Carl Kuster and his team offer one of the best backcountry guide/training services in North America.

Helpful Sites
• British Columbia Snowmobile Federation: www.bcsf.org
• BC Tourism: www.hellobc.com
• Revelstoke Tourism: www.seerevelstoke.com
• Revelstoke Snowmobile Club: www.revelstokesnowmobileclub.com
• CKMP: www.carlkuster.com
• Lodging: Glacier House Resort, 1870 Glacier Lane, Revelstoke, 250-837-9594, www.glacierhouse.com, Canyon Motor Inn 1911 Fraser Drive, Revelstoke
IMPORTANT INFO
ALBERTA All sleds operating on Alberta trails must have an Alberta trail pass. Annual cost is $70 if purchased prior to Jan. 1, or $80 if purchased after then.

BRITISH COLUMBA Certrain trails trails require different trail passes to access the trails or a daily fee. Cost varies by area, so it is very important to research where you’ll be riding prior to heading out on the trails.
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