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
- Introduction of Kenny Johnston, Vice-President of the Polar Bear Riders Snowmobile Club from Cochrane Ontario
- Polar Bear Riders are a member of District 15 with also includes Hearst, Hornepayne and Kapuskasing
- A special thanks to Kenny for joining us
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, FaceBook or Toll Free at 1-855-561-4401
- 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
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 email@example.com
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)
- 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.
- 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
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org