Robson Valley wins big among sledders

Dianne St. Jean

Alberta visitors to the Valley shredding the slopes.
Alberta visitors to the Valley shredding the slopes.
Submitted photos
McBride tops the year with Platinum
It comes as no surprise to see McBride and Valemount chosen as top choice for sledders. What is extra special for McBride is that this year they have gone Platinum.

According to Snoriders magazine, voters put McBride at the top of most categories in their 19th Annual Rider’s Choice Awards (2017), with Valemount winning Gold and Silver.

More than that, this year’s fourth annual Sled Town Show Down pitted McBride against the giant Whistler, while Valemount went up against Tumbler Ridge, with both coming out on top after the 1st Round. McBride also beat out Smithers and Valemount topped Houstin in Round 2; and in Round 3 again McBride won, this time over Sicamous, with Valemount dominating Fernie. As of printing, Round 4 results were not in, but watch for results on the SnoRiders web page.

How does it all happen? Snowmobilers from Canada as well as the U.S. and other places have the option to vote for their favourite destinations on the SnoRider website. 

According to the magazine, the Show Down starts with 16 destinations from each Western province. After 12 weeks, as the votes come in, one remains to be crowned, this one to be the 2018 SnoRiders SledTown Champion. The ShowDown usually runs from the beginning of October to the end of December.

As for the SnoRiders 19th Annual Rider’s Choice Awards 2017, McBride and Valemount won under the following categories: Favourite Overall Snowmobiling Area in BC: McBride – Platinum, Valemount – Silver; Favourite Snowmobiling Area in Western Canada: McBride – Silver; Favourite Scenic Snowmobiling Area in BC: McBride – Platinum, Valemount – Silver; Favourite Mountain Riding Area in BC: McBride/Mount Renshaw – Platinum; Favourite Groomed Trail Riding in BC: McBride – Platinum; Favourite Powder Riding in BC: McBride/Mount Renshaw – Platinum; Most Challenging Riding Area: McBride – Silver; Favourite Area for Family Snowmobiling in BC: McBride – Bronze; Area You Would Like Most to Ride in Future, BC: Valemount – Gold, McBride - Silver.

On hearing of Valemount’s wins, the Village offered this statement: “In the past few years, Valemount was among the top choices, and this has been possible thanks to VARDA’s continuous commitment and to Valemount’s excellent accommodation and guest services.”

According to Curtis Pawliuk of VARDA (Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association), memberships are holding steady and on par with last year, with about 146 members. But of course, they are always looking for more.

“Membership is important to show that we represent a large user group,” says Pawliuk. “A membership is not so much financial as it shows that we represent a caring user group.”

A strong membership always benefits any organization simply by power in numbers; in this case helping with lobbying and land use, as well as grant applications.

But membership also helps members themselves by supporting their activities and providing benefits such as discounts at various businesses. With VARDA there is the option of a season’s pass that includes membership.

According to Pawliuk, the sledding season started with the best season conditions they’d ever seen, but unfortunately the rain has put a big damper on things. “It put us back at least two weeks,” says Pawliuk. “We’re not sure how it’s going to affect the season with conditions.”

Still, says Pawliuk, there are so many safe places to ride. “It’s just about choosing. If there are hazards out there, choosing the right place to ride. No matter what the conditions are, if you make the right decision, and it’s very easy to make, there’s always safe riding.”

Safe – and always offering a thrill of a lifetime – the reason why so many sledders pour into our Valley every year from all over.

Robson Valley wins big among sledders