Every year since Henry and I have been together we have been on the slopes for his birthday (Minus one random year when we booked an apartment in Shoreditch – I’ll take the fresh air of the mountains over a sweaty night clubbing in east London any time)
This year with covid and child care and all that business we decided on another adventure.
One of my best friends since I moved here is a hard-core sledder (That’s snowmobiling to you and me – not a rickety wooden death trap like we all know) She is always talking about her adventures that her and her husband go on and how incredible it is. Ever since we met her Henry and I have had the bug and wanted to go. It’s a pretty pricey and dangerous sport so not something we can pick up lightly, so we decided to hire some with a guide for a day.
Chantal (sled buddy) recommended Golden Snowmobile Rentals and I cannot compliment them enough. About 5 years ago Henry and I went Sledding in Whistler but it was very tame and very “safe” and not much of a thrill ride, although very beautiful and fun, not the adrenaline hit we were looking for.
Golden snowmobile rental are in Golden, British Columbia (Duh!) Just under a 2-hour drive from Canmore. Very do-able for a day trip. We spoke to them before we went to get more details on the day and they were very accomodating. What we wanted was a guide who would really show us how to ride, give us tips to improve and to let us have fun.
They certainly lived up to our expectations.
When we got to their office, they very sweetly had put up a “Happy Birthday” banner for Henry. So welcoming (even though we were from out of province) They loaned us a back pack each, stocked full of safety equipment and snacks! Henry and I went dressed in our snowboard gear, boots and all as they recommended this for riding. If you don’t have any appropriate clothing, they will suit you up. But the only thing we needed were full face helmets.
We followed their truck and trailer about 30 minutes up the road to Quartz Creek. I believe it s a pretty common spot for sledding. We went on a Tuesday though so it was very quiet.
When we arrived, the guide offloaded the sled and the three of us chatted and got to know each other a little before hitting the snow. He was so friendly and made us feel very safe, without over doing it and squashing the fun.
Henry and I have had a little avalanche training before so we didn’t need to much, but the guide went through all the safety equipment in the backpack to refresh our memory. We strapped on our tracking beacons, put on our helmets and got straight in to it.
We knew it was going to be a fun day when the guide just let us rip straight away. It’s a 15km track from the staging area car park to the base of the creek. Ripping at about 50km/ph along this winding track was certainly a good way to get used to this new machine. Following the guide and stopping occasionally to take turns driving past high avalanche risk slops. This was more sledding than we had certainly ever done.
We got to the end of the track and stopped at a little cabin. Henry and I assumed that was the majority of the trip because it already felt pretty gnarly. The guide then told us the plan for the day. We were going to hit two mountain peaks, a big field and some tree runs. TREE RUNS!!!
The ride up to the first peak was amazing. So beautiful and we really felt like the only people in the world. When you’re up there you cannot see any other civilization for miles. We shut of our sled, grabbed some snacks and just enjoyed the view for half an hour. What a way to spend your birthday.
To get from the top of the peak we had to drop in down a pretty steep slope and then our guide told us to just go have fun. Henry and I had the best time, winding through trees, dropping down slops, we both even took a tumble which always makes me feel like I’m trying hard.
By the time we hit the 2nd peak we were shattered. Sleds are very heavy and the adrenaline really take’s it out of you. It was time to ride back to the cabin. Really getting the most out of us the guide took us through this epic tree run. Winding our way through these tight gullies and ducking the branches. Henry and I could hear each other laughing over the engine noise.
We were out riding for about 4 hours in total and loved every second. We defiantly want to give this sport more of our time and maybe now we have had a good bit of practice we can go out with our friends who ride on a daily basis.
There is certainly a lot more to learn, and the maintenance of these machines is what puts me off of buying one.
But you sure can’t beat that feeling of getting to a mountain top on a perfect blue bird day and seeing nothing but your husband for miles around.
If your interested this is the website for Golden Snow mobile rental. Check them out. They have lots of different levels of booking if you’re a pro or a complete beginner. Go and have some fun!