Talk Radio For Snowmobilers by Snowmobilers

Episode 5 – Abitibi Canyon Snowmobile Loop with Kenny Johnston

Some of our most memorable snowmobile trips just so happen to have passed through the Abitibi Canyon in Northeastern Ontario.  Kenny Johnston, Vice-President of the Polar Bear Riders Snowmobile Club was more than happy to remind us what us “southernors” are missing on this episode of #OntarioSnowmobiler.ca.  Kenny also talks about the Abitibi Canyon loop and tells us a little bit about how they make their Ice Bridges.  All of this and more, on this weeks podcast!




Introduction of the Show

Listener question of the Week

  • Email sent in from Robert Elgin from Buffalo NY

  • Robert asks “How long of a drive is it from the Fort Erie border to Cochrane Ontario , I keep hearing about the area and I’m thinking of trying it.”

  • Google shows 854 KMs from Buffalo NY

  • Kenny reports about 8 hours from Toronto Ontario
  • Roads can be a bit challenging so account for some extra time if required
  • We really want to hear from you!
  • Thanks again to Robert for his question
  • If you have asked a question we are working through them so please be patient as we try to find the best answer
  • Don’t forget to submit your at info@ontariosnowmobiler.ca, FaceBook or Toll Free at 1-855-561-4401


Weather Report

  • Ottawa area got hammered pretty good with snow 12 inches in some places but need some cold weather
  • Short warm spell in the south to be replaced at the end of this week, by the cold front that’s dropping decent amounts of snow in the north.
  • Large dumping of snow across much of central Ontario
  • Marni reported 8 inches in Holland Landing
  • 3 in Claremont Joelle Del
  • 4 Scugog Island – Andy faulkes
  • Great Pine Ridge Snowmobile Association said they got 5 inches in Castleton
  • 10 in Ottawa –  Mickey roy
  • Jeff McGirr reports 15cm in the Mattawa and Bonfield areas, had some decent cold but lots more is needed to tighten up the swamps, lakes and rivers.
  • Even had some reports of a foot of snow in the Niagara region
  • Kenny reports about 9-10 inches but need cold weather.
  • Need -25 degree weather to snap the big rivers shut


  • Ice reported from Honey Harbour that for the first time in 27 years the ice has come in early right across from Midland to Honey Harbour
  • http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/mobile/hunters-rescued-from-icy-waters-of-georgian-bay-1.1561212

  • That said, last week two hunters were rescued on Georgian bay when they went through the ice and their canoe had capsized.

  • They were successfully rescued but we urge everyone to Know before you go.

  • Remember you need

    • 4 inches (10 cm) of good ice to walk

    • 5 inches for a snowmobile

    • 8-12” for a car

  • What is “good ice”

    • Clear hard.  Almost clear.  Always avoid slushy ice and ice near moving water such as creeks and rivers or shoals

    • Snow on the ice acts as insulation



  • Santa Clause parades are happening and many clubs get involved so check with your local club and or newspapers.
  • It is Driver Training Season and many clubs are hosting their classroom sessions.  For a complete list of course dates and locations, check out www.ofsc.on.ca or click this link http://www.ofsc.on.ca/images/Get_Started/DriverTraining/CourseDatesLocations.pdf
  • December 11th, 2013, Sault Trail Blazers in Sault St Marie host their annual Christmas Party.  Beverages start at 6:30 and dinner at 6:30.  $15 for members and $20 for non members.  You are encouraged to bring a gift valued at $10 to exchange.  Contact them at 705-759-0023 to purchase your tickets.
  • Remember to let us know about your events by emailing us at events@ontariosnowmobiler.ca

Paul talks a little bit about the Port Perry open house

  • Good turnout considering weather
  • Nice to see the dealers and sponsors
  • Lots of sleds for sale at the swap meet
  • Good Antique and Classic Snowmobile club had some sleds on display
  • Show and Shine
  • Paul Even purchased a pair of FXR boots


Dave talks about his weekend

  • I went to the Osgoode Swap meet but was a bit too late
  • Also went to the local ArcticCat dealer’s open house (Allan Johnston Repair & Sales in Metcalf)
  • http://www.allanjohnston.com
  • Impressed with the show they put on!
  • The local club was selling permits
  • Great to see so many people excited
  • Finally I went to the Snow Road Snowmobile club’s breakfast fundraiser was inspired to see it’s so much about the community
  • It wasn’t just snowmobilers
  • They share their clubhouse and offer it to locals for parties etc

Kenny talks about the New Years Eve dance in Cochrane Ontario they use as a fundraiser for their club.

Dave asks Kenny about the Polar Bear Riders Club

  • 450 KMs of Trail from Quebec Border to Arctic Riders Snowmobile Club in Smooth Rock Falls, Down to District 14 in the south and up north to the Abitibi Canyon.
  • Have about 7 to 10 people attending their meetings.
  • Good support from local business that benefit from the sport
  • Tough in their small community finding volunteers to help

Paul asks about the Abitibi Canyon Loop

  • Premier trail which is remote.
  • After about 40 KMs you see nothing but trees and bush until you get to the Extreme Tours camp.
  • Cross the Abitibi River on the way up and pass the Ontario Power Generation Hydro damn which is a nice view and a good place for photos.
  • Canyon Hills runs between the two dams and is a stretch of extremely steep razor back hills.  Great for long track deep lug track guys.
  • Two new warm up safety shelters should be installed this year along the loop
  • Total is about 230KMs around the loop.
  • Bush trails and logging roads, with a power line ride back south on the Smooth Rock side.
  • Breathtaking scenery, Paul the tree geek remembered a sign stating he had entered the Arctic Water Shed which meant the water began to flow north.
  • Only one fuel stop at the Fraserdale Dam.
  • Extreme Tours operates guided tours as well as a camp which offers gas at the canyon.
  • If the trail is showing as Open (Green) on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide then that indicates that gas is available.
  • Extreme Tours keeps someone at the camp both day and night.
  • Krusty took the guided tour from Extreme Tours off trail experience up the hydro line and recalls a story about the guys playing in the snow drifts.
  • Southern Riders might notice how remote things really are.
  • Most people coming back have a big smile on their face.
  • West side of the loop is mostly hydro line and extremely straight Kenny calls it “Piston Alley”
  • Access to some highway about every 20KMs or so.
  • Krusty chuckles suggesting he could have taped the throttle
  • Paul asks about the Look Out.  A trail has been diverted through the Greenwater Provincial Park.
  • Kahoon Fire Tour is on the rock point and is a very scenic look out.
  • About 7 KM off the A trail
  • Another ride is the L103 Loop which is nicely groomed
  • Krusty had hot dogs from the Muff Pot up there.  His video can be found here Hot Dog Video
  • Gas is available in most of the towns
  • Parts and Services
  • Cochrane has a Ski-Doo and a Polaris / Yamaha dealership
  • Kapuskasing has a Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo and Polaris
  • Hours may vary by location
  • Small towns are often good about helping out with favors in the event of problems
  • West Way, Thrift Lodge, Best Western and North Adventure Inn are available for lodging
  • Thrift Lodge has a hot tub which might entice some sledders
  • West Way is directly across from Tim Horton’s so you won’t need to forgo your morning coffee.
  • Polar Bear Riders Snowmobile Club | Facebook

  • Polar Bear Riders Snowmobile Club | Website

  • Try to answer questions as timely as possible
  • Lot’s of updates about trail work, grooming and trail conditions
  • Over 750 like on their Facebook site

What is happening with your trails

  • started packing with sleds to remove insulating snow
  • still wet areas which are soft even for the snowmobiles
  • The BR 180 is good for opening their trails because of the blade to help fill the wash outs.
  • Afterwords they start using their tractors to groom

Ice Bridges

  • They have two ice bridge crossings which require 20 inches of ice
  • A trail towards smooth Rock and C trail towards Timmins
  • Takes a week of extremely cold weather and two volunteers pumping water on to the surface
  • Drill holes and pump every 20 feet or so
  • Need just enough water and not too much
  • Clearing the snow off of the ice is the hardest part of building the ice bridge


  • You can get maps at the dealerships and motels in Cochrane
  • Billboards also typically have mailboxes with maps
  • District 15 has maps 1-877-287-2457


Next Weeks Episode

  • Brad Maston will talk about Snowmobile Trailer maintenance, safety and tips

Do you have a comment, question or a topic you would like to hear us discuss on the show?  Please call our feedback hotline with your feedback and questions for the show at 1-855-561-4401 You can also email us or send audio attachments with your feedback and questions to us anytime using info@ontariosnowmobiler.ca


Updated: December 12, 2013 — 11:28 am

1 Comment

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  1. Another great show guys,thanks!!

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