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Lac La Biche trail riders club hopes to grow in the snow

Ride planned for this Saturday
snowmobile 3 driving
Riders can expect to get some open-throttle lake riding as well as some slower trail riding on the 75 kilometre run organized by Lac La Biche's Back Country Riders' Club on Saturday. Image Rob McKinley / File

 

The Lac La Biche Back Country Riders Club is hosting a 75-kilometre snowmobile ride fundraiser with a chili lunch on January 15. 

Club President Rob Kruk, the owner of Full Tilt Power Sports, hopes to not only give avid snowmobile enthusiasts an opportunity to get outdoors for a group ride, but to use the newly formed club to develop trails and highlight the area as a prime snowmobile destination. 

“The area didn’t have a snowmobile club and did not have marked trails. A lot of people had snowmobiles and didn’t know where to go, they were sitting in their shed and hadn’t used them in years,” said Kruk, adding that a chance to be in wide open spaces — and still be with other people — is needed after two years of pandemic restrictions. “We figured it was time that everybody gets together, get outside and starts socializing again.” 

The group already has a membership of 28 riders, and Kruk is hoping the coming trip — and more to follow — will boost those numbers and trail riding awareness even higher. 

The Back Country Riders event has room for 102 entries. Tickets are $25 for adult riders and $15 for kids under 14. Kruk says two thirds of the spots have already been filled. 

The guided trek will begin at the Young’s Beach Boat Launch in the Beaver Lake hamlet at 10 am, taking attendees across the frozen surface of the lake to trails on public lands. The upcoming trip will head towards the Elinor Lake area, Kruk said, stopping for a lunch along the way. The ride will continue the Honey Lake area before returning back to Young’s Beach to conclude the trip. 

The trails being utilized took club members time to create, Kruk said, with hours of marking and grooming the 75-kilometre path to allow riders to not only participate at the event but to make it easier for the community to use at their own leisure too. 

“A lot of people don’t know where they’re going. If there is a trail with signage it makes it a lot easier to go out—you don’t have to have someone that knows where they’re going. That was the premise behind it; we see a lot of people with machines but they just don’t know where to go.” 

The new trail is just one of what the club members hope will become a large network of trails across the municipality that will link to other existing trails in neighboring regions. Kruk hopes to see more areas around the county created to make snowmobile excursions more accessible…and through fundraising, they hope to expand pathways. 

“We're trying to get a trail system created here that will eventually tie into other trail systems from other snowmobile groups. We are in the infancy stage of this club and we are trying to do a fundraiser so we can start mapping trails.” 

Establishing the current trail was made possible through partnerships with the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA) that supports trail development across the province for members, said Kruk. Although the proceeds from the fundraiser will go to the ASA for their support, a large portion is returned to the group alongside membership benefits—that anyone may purchase. 

“We joined the ASA which provides us with signage, insurance and legitimacy. Because it’s province-wide, if you buy an ASA pass you can ride on any trail in the entire province. It’s not just for our area; one pass covers the entire province ... the majority of (the membership fee) comes back to our clubs to help with development.” 

Initial funds for the local group will go towards creating new trails and purchasing equipment to help create new trails. 

Accessible to all 

While a lot of attendees at the upcoming ride and those down the road will have their own snowmobiles, Kruk’s own company and other community businesses offer rental and purchase options. 

“Either you can bring your own snowmobile or there are rental companies in the area you can rent from, he said. “Whether you have experience snowmobiling or not, there will be plenty of support.” 

The event is also family friendly, says Kruk, in the past, members held get-togethers where people as young as three years old to 85 years old participated. 

“It’s not a high-speed trail or a high ride, so the little guys—on their little machines—do just as well as everybody else.” 

“This is a great opportunity if you have never snowmobiled before because it’s in a group setting. A lot of our members have experience and everybody will be there to help each other out; if you have never done it before, this would be the time to do it.” 

Kruk hopes to see more people try snowmobiling and support the activity he’s passionate about while the club reaches its fundraising goal. 

“We have 28 members and we are looking for more all the time—many hands make light work. I’m hoping to see a lot of people out there…and of course, support from the community is always nice. Since this is our first fundraiser, we’re hoping to sell 102 tickets and make $2500—that’s our goal.” 

Event details  

Currently, the group has sold 72 of 102 tickets for the event.  Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youth 14 and under.  

Tickets can be purchased at Full Tilt Powersports, Twintel Communications or by calling 780-689-8190