The Candle Lake Sno’ Drifters are a group of volunteers that take it upon themselves to maintain the 350 kilometres of snowmobile trails located at Candle Lake.
It’s the result of their dedication that Candle Lake was voted as the Best Place to Sled on paNOW’s Best of the Best.
Without the Sno’ Drifters the trails at Candle Lake would not be groomed, there would be no warm-up shacks and there would be no cut firewood available to guests once they arrived at those shacks.
Carey Painchaud, president of the Sno’ Drifters club said although their busiest time of years is obviously the winter, they are always working to improve Candle Lake’s trails.
“We start in the early fall and we start by going out and looking at the trails and making sure they are in good shape, because there is a lot of bush, so if we have wind storms during the summer there is an exuberant amount work to get the trails cleared and ready for the winter,” he said.
Painchaud said the great thing about Candle Lake and its snowmobile trails is how scenic and remote they are.
“Most of our trails you can’t get to with quads in the summer time,” he said. “So to see those trails in the winter, you get to see a lot of places you normally can’t get too.”
He added the club also helps to maintain five warmup shelters that are located at various points on the trails.
“We have redone every warmup shelter and they are a very nice meet up place,” he said. “It’s not uncommon to see maybe 20 - 30 people at a warmup shelter at any given time.”
Snowmobiling is quite often a family affair and many families will spend their weekends at Candle Lake enjoying the trails. Painchaud said this year there was an abundance of visitors from the Regina area due to the lower snow levels in the south.
“They had never been to Candle Lake before,” he said. “They were absolutely blown away by the shape of our trails and our trail system.”
A bit of tragedy struck the Sno’ Drifters this year, unfortunately, for the last three years Painchaud said the club had worked on raising funds to build a new club house. He said with volunteer hours and money they had managed to get their new clubhouse built in time for the 2013 Grey Cup.
“It was beautiful new addition to the community,” Painchaud said. “It was just a really nice cottage-style hall with a fire place and it was just really rustic.”
Sadly, in February, the clubhouse caught fire and burned down.
But when disaster hits good things will eventually follow. Painchaud said they will begin construction for the new clubhouse once again this summer.
“We are really pushing it forward to having it done again for Grey Cup again this year,” he said.
To learn more about Candle Lake’s snowmobile trails click here
To connect with the Sno’ Drifters check out their Facebook page.
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