Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Snowmobiler Says There's Nothing like Riding 10,000 Km of Saskatchewan Trails

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Snowmobiler Says There's Nothing like Riding 10,000 Km of Saskatchewan Trails

Article excerpt

Snowmobilers roar down 10,000 km of trails


REGINA - Snow falls across Saskatchewan and, with a roar, snowmobiles spring to life, ready to charge down more than 10,000 kilometres of groomed trails.

And the best part? All of the trails are connected, said Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association president Chris Brewer.

"So it doesn't matter where you hop on a trail. One of the great things we have here is the opportunity to tour, endless touring," said Brewer, who has been riding sleds since he was a child.

"Oftentimes you can plan your route so that you don't have to come back the same way you went."

Brewer said back in the early 1970s, the province noticed that snowmobiling was on the rise and started grooming trails in three provincial parks. Snowmobilers were pretty happy, but they also wanted more trails outside of the parks.

Several local snowmobile clubs eventually got together and, with the snowmobile association, pitched a plan to the province for funding. The money was used to buy some trail equipment and signs.

"Well, things really started to grow then," said Brewer.

"It wasn't until shortly after a lot of the communities and other clubs across the province saw huge benefit to their communities economically."

Today, snowmobile registration fees collected by Saskatchewan Government Insurance go to the association to fund its work maintaining trails and promoting safe snowmobiling. The association has 66 clubs grooming trails across the province.

There are about 55,000 snowmobiles in Saskatchewan -- the highest per capita of any province, said Brewer.

Brewer said the snowmobile system in Saskatchewan is the envy of many and a big draw.

"We see lots of visitors and we get lots of comments on our Facebook page and we get lots of emails from Manitobans that come here and say to us, 'Your trails are fantastic. Your trail signage is the best we've ever been on,'" he said.

Trails closer to the cities are often in highway ditches, but wind through communities, rolling fields and forests farther out. Some of the trails go over frozen waterways, including lakes and rivers.

Brewer joked that picking a favourite trail or location might get him in trouble. …

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