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You Never Forget Your First Time—A First-Time Sledder Tells All

Snowmobiling with Martin Lortz

You Never Forget Your First Time—A First-Time Sledder Tells All | Northern Ontario Travel


What do maple syrup, beavers tails and snowmobiling have in common? Besides being on my loosely crafted bucket list, they are pure Canadiana. The snowmobile is a Canadian creation first produced by Bombardier back in 1937, as for maple syrup and beaver tails…no explanation is necessary.

I was lucky enough to be able to check the first two items off my bucket list quite early in life; the snowmobiling, not so easy. There are a couple of constants that have kept this dream on the back burner. One, I don’t own a snowmobile. Two, I don’t have a budget that would allow me to own a snowmobile. All was good until the epic winter of 2014 and my sled dreams got all fired up again. I’m still kicking myself for not getting out there last season.

I’m not about to make that mistake again.

Turning to my trusty Google dream planner, I type in my first search phrase, what’s currently the snowiest place in Ontario? A few more minutes of keyboard dancing and I landed on the Muskoka Sports and Recreation web site.

Introduction to snowmobiling, all gear provided, fully guided tours and as a bonus, located at the JW Marriott, a five star resort in the heart of Explorers’ Edge; it couldn’t get more perfect. One phone call and I’m going on my first sledding trip! Break out that bucket list, I’m about to snap a checkmark.

A two and half hour drive from Toronto on the shores Lake Rosseau, the J.W. Marriott is a spectacular sight but it’s the snow banks that steal the show. Four feet of snow over the past six days have turned the roads into tunnels, roofs on homes are being shovelled, road signs buried. Winter here has been turned up to eleven.

“Welcome to Muskoka” the sign says. I stop gawking at the grandeur of the hotel lobby and focus on the man talking to me. “I’m Dan Arcard, from Muskoka Recreation.”

A few minutes of chitchat and we make our way down to the staging area. I say “we” because I managed to talk a friend into joining on this adventure. Unlike me, a first timer, my friend has plenty of experience but owning a sled is also not feasible, so this is a perfect way to get a snow fix.

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A couple of Ski-Doo GTX 600’s are purring away outside. Dan talks us through the sleds: safety, stopping, starting, reverse, turning, etc. Next, it’s onto the practice track to asses our skill levels. As practice tracks go, this is not your ordinary loop in an open field kind of set up… Read More

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