Border Explorers throttles up for sled season

The Border Explorers Snowmobile Club is waiting patiently for the season to get underway. While some enthusiasts are already taking their sleds out for rides across Ross Lake, the groomed trails maintained by the club are still being worked on.

Border Explorers maintain over 240 kilometres of trails across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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The group is emphasizing the possibilities snowmobile tourism could bring to the region.

They’re already part of a network of Manitoba trails and they hope to expand and connect to different routes across Manitoba.

“There’s more government involvement now than ever,” club president John Trumbley said.

“There was a big meeting in Snow Lake which I attended, and on the way back, I started signing on our trail out that way.”

“Snowmobile tourism is a multi-million dollar business in Manitoba and the north has excellent trails connecting our communities,” said Travel Manitoba northern tourism consultant Alan McLauchlan in a press release touting the project.

“I also want to thank the local snowmobile clubs and SnoMan who have been instrumental in moving this project forward. Without their dedication to snowmobiling we would not be where we are now.”

Trumbley thinks snowmobiling could be a big economic asset to the Flin Flon area.

“We haven't really jumped on it,” he said.

“I think that everybody's kind of seeing that we've missed out on a pretty big piece of the pie. There is a huge initiative to promote snowmobiling throughout the north.”

Club treasurer Dwayne Wenger touted the trails they maintain as some of the best in Western Canada. Flin Flon took home a bronze award in SnoRiders magazine as one of the most scenic and best snowmobiling areas in Manitoba.

“You get away from that total rumble and bumble around town to total quietness and enjoyment of the outdoors,” he said.

“It's very easy to get away from it. We have trails, in the communities that allow you to ride right from your doorstep. We have some very unique trail riding in our area.”

The explorers have already begun the process of preparing their trails. Wenger said they usually have the trails open by the end of December.

“We start off by opening them up going out, packing them and cleaning them, which we've already started, then once the ice hits the depth we need it to be, then we'll go out and mark all our lakes with about 1,400 stakes, which takes about 350 manhours to do,” he said.

“We check the ice every tenth of a mile. We put up a stake that kind of guides you around through the lake.”

The club purchased a new trail groomer for the season. Wenger said the larger model means they need at least 15 inches of ice, rather than the 12 inches the smaller model needed.

“We've had some groups out doing some work for us,” he said.

“Our biggest challenge is the same as every organization – volunteers. This is very time consuming very labor intensive work.”

For up to date trail conditions across Manitoba, visit snoman.mb.ca.

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