Snowmobilers Itching For Season To Start

Snowmobiling season is so close you can almost taste it. With the snowfall earlier in November, it seemed like the Swan Hills area would soon be swimming in snow. Some on-the-ball snowmobilers were able to get out on their machines, as evidenced by the tracks around Swan Hills and in places along the highway towards Whitecourt, but then the snow backed off and has started to melt with some of the recent warmer weather.

The 2022/2023 season will hopefully bring a little more excitement than usual because Swan Hills enters this season as Alberta’s 2022 SledTown ShowDown Provincial Champion. This title comes from an online contest through snoriderswest.com where individuals could vote once per day to choose between snowmobiling destinations. The Swan Hills community and admirers of the area came together to ensure that Swan Hills won three rounds of voting against Cold Lake, Fox Creek, and Edson before achieving a tight final victory against Crowsnest Pass to be named Provincial Champion.

So, what does winning this title mean for Swan Hills? Winning this title raises awareness of Swan Hills and what we have to offer. Increased awareness of our town puts us on more people’s radar as a snowmobiling destination and will hopefully bring in more tourism over the snowmobiling season. If all goes well, increasing tourism will benefit the local economy, with visitors to the area spending money at local hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other businesses. The more we can get the word out about what an incredible snowmobiling destination Swan Hills is, the more the town will benefit.

All of this, and of course… bragging rights.

As Swan Hills residents, we also enjoy the benefits of living in one of the best snowmobiling destinations in Alberta. Our local snowmobiling club, the Swan Hills Snow-Goers, has been tireless in their efforts to maintain and continually improve the local trails, promote Swan Hills in every way possible, and work closely with the Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA) and the Golden Triangle Consortium.

The Snow-Goers are always looking for new members and ideas on improving the local trails and promoting our town. People can support their efforts by helping out with trail maintenance and club projects or initiatives. Once enough snow falls, the snow-goers will start working on trail maintenance for the start of the season, pretty much every weekend, until it has all been caught up. Be sure to follow the Swan Hills Snow-Goers Facebook page (facebook.com/swanhillssnowgoers1) for the latest news and updates.

As the snow begins to fall again and we get to take our sleds out, remember to buy a trail pass if you haven’t already. The fees for the passes are used to benefit local clubs and the ASA in building, maintaining, and improving the trails in Alberta, including in Swan Hills. Adult passes are $80 until December 31, 2022, after which they will be $90. Youth passes are $40, and day passes are $25. Trail passes can be purchased in Swan Hills at Wilderness Playground Tours or online at the Alberta Snowmobile Association website (albertasnowmobile.ca/).

Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette