With a dedicated, passionate and enthusiastic executive at the helm, the Williams Lake Powder Kings Snowmobile Club is in the midst of another record-setting season.
Mark Snowball, president of the WLPKSC, said as they lead into their annual Yanks Peak Family Fun Day this Saturday, March 14, he couldn’t be more pleased with the riding conditions, along with how smoothly the year has gone.
“It all started out with our volunteer work bee with a group of 20 volunteers to clean up the cabin, chop firewood, re-mark out trails and make sure our signage and poles are up for riders,” Mark said.
Work also continued on the Hampton Trail, which has been one of the club’s main focuses for the past three seasons.
“It’s full circle,” Mark said of the Hampton. “A person can go right out to the top to the safety cabin and back to the parking lot again. It’s about a 45-kilometre trip to do the loop, which opened up that side of the mountain for grooming.”
In October, the club hosted its sponsor appreciation night at the Laughing Loon Restaurant, where 28 ‘Groom for a Day’ sponsors were recognized this year.
Later, in December, a club and member appreciation day was held at Yanks Peak over the Christmas holidays where burgers and pop were enjoyed following a day of riding.
Three group rides have also been extremely well received, Mark said.
“The first was from Chimney to Ten-ee-ah where we had 17 riders, and then another 11 joined us from Horsefly,” he said.
Next was the Gold Rush Trail Snowmobile Ride, which began at the Spout Lake parking lot with about 40 riders travelling to Mt. Timothy, roughly 35 kilometres each direction.
“We had riders from all over take part in that one, and then the owners and staff (Larry Henderson and Walter Bramsleven) were so good to us, and treated us well while we stopped in for lunch. They were so excited to have us.
“The Gold Rush Trail is another destination people can ride to without going into the mountains, which is great.”
In February, riders took part in the WLPKSC’s annual Sweetheart Ride from Yanks Peak to Wells. It’s a ride that’s well-loved by participants, and has been taking place for the past 20 years in a 120-kilometre round trip.
Outside of group rides and club happenings, Mark said another big project they’ve partnered with Recreation Sites and Trails BC to work on has been what’s being called the PK Trail.
“That will go from Felker Lake to Wright Station Road and tie into the Gold Rush Snowmobile Trail from there, so you would park at Felker Lake to start,” Mark said, noting it’s a work in progress as paperwork has been submitted, however, they are still awaiting government’s approval.
Mark said the amazing conditions at Yanks Peak this season have all been thanks to a crew of committed and dedicated groomers, including Jeff Garten, who has taken on the lion’s share of the work.
“Jeff, over the last few years, has even taken people up the mountain who live out there who have never been and they can’t believe how beautiful it is,” Mark said. “When people go out and volunteer their time Jeff is always right there.’
The WLPKSC has 13 directors on its board, with the majority of them having served for the past six years, including Laurie Snowball — a director with the WLPKSC and a director with the BC Snowmobile Federation.
“These people are dedicated, good volunteers that love the sport,” Laurie said. “Also, over the last two years we have reached 200 members — that’s a 15 per cent increase in new members this year, so we’re always improving.
“We’ve seen a huge spike, as well, in daily trail passes and we really appreciate the community support behind us in supporting the WLPKSC. We’ve really been encouraging the fact that being a member is your voice to the province and government through the BC Snowmobile Federation.”
That voice, Laurie added, has been growing. According to a 2019 economic impact study conducted by the BC Snowmobile Federation, 68 clubs and 44,000 registered snowmobiles have accounted for $4.5 million spent in infrastructure, $6.6 million in grooming equipment, 18,000 kilometres of trails maintained and groomed in B.C. and almost 17,000 volunteer hours.
On average, the study showed, combined, snowmobilers spend $114.4 million annually in the province.
Rick Seibert, a longtime snowmobiler, and former racer in the sport, is among those who have poured countless hours into restoring the WLPKSC’s thriving membership base.
And for this Saturday’s seventh annual Yanks Peak Family Fun Day, Seibert has been busy planning to make sure there’s fun for the entire family.
“We usually get about 100 people there, so it’s a lot of fun for the entire family.”
Planned events include a hill climb challenge, poles and sprint races — all being held in a safe environment, Seibert stressed.
“The main goal is to bring the club together and have some fun enjoying safe snowmobiling events,” he said.
Also included in the day will be free chili, hot dogs, carrot cake and cookies at the Yanks Peak safety cabin.
Gold, silver and bronze medals will also be awarded to first-, second- and third-place competitors.
Money raised (a recommended $5 sign up fee) will be donated to the Easter Seals House in Vancouver, which provides a low cost, caring place to stay for families when they have to travel to get medical treatment or hospital emergencies. It also helps send children with intellectual or physical disabilities to sumer camp.
“It’s almost a member appreciation day,” Seibert said of the fun day.
“Young and old, come on out and compete for bragging rights. It’s all safe, and we’re looking forward to having a lot of fun.”
The Yanks Peak Family Fun Day begins with signup at 10 a.m. at the Yanks Peak safety cabin, followed by events getting underway at 11 a.m.
For more information contact Seibert at 250-267-3000.
All participants must have either an annual or daily trail pass, chest protector, helmet and goggles to participate.
Passes are available at Sun Valley Gas, Big Lake Store, Likely Valley Store, Likely Lodge and A Likely Service.
Mark also noted local businesses Spectra Power Sports and Gordo’s Rent-All have been huge in supporting their sales of club memberships.