This photo was taken at the Silver Star's "race track," right before we all got to rip it up.
SILVER STAR, BC – There's something that happens to me within those first five seconds after igniting the engine of a snowmobile that takes me back to my childhood. Growing up on the East Coast, where there's not a lot of really great skiing, snowmobiling is king. But for a period of about 10 years where I moved away from home and went to school I lost touch with this cornerstone of my youth. Mercifully, I now live in one of the most powder-flled regions in the world, and for me, that means one thing: sledding.
I recently had the enormous pleasure of going out for a snowmobile tour with Silver Star's Okanagan Recreational Rentals (ORR). Head tour guide Craig Moore took myself and a group of five other 'rev heads' out for a scenic tour of the pristine wilderness that surrounds Silver Star Mountain Resort. The result was the most fun I've had on snow in 2011.
"We try to deliver pleasure your comfort level," said Moore. "We let you enjoy the views, give you a little bit of history on the trail and surrounding areas, and get you to feel as comfortable as possible on the sled."
What surprised me was that about 80% of ORRs clientele has never been on a sled before. In our tour of six, only two of us had ever been on a sled, one of which – a native of Sydney, Australia named Tony Johnson – had gone sledding for the first time the week before.
Johnson and his family (wife Helen and daughter Rebecca) were in the midst of a two week stay at Silver Star, during which Tony had already gone sledding three times.
"I'm a bit of a 'rev head' myself so I like going fast ... in straight lines," Johnson said with a laugh. "But even on a scenic tour like we did today, what with this beautiful day and fantastic weather, you can't ask for more."
Your snowmobile tour will take you into some pretty stellar places.
Johnson is a self-proclaimed 'double-green' skier, and so for him, activities like snowmobiling are a great alternative to the slopes. "I've never really gone past being a green skier so I enjoy doing this sort of stuff. My daughter has never driven [a sled] before, and I thought [Moore] did well giving her time to assimilate to it before we got out onto the race track."
The 'race track' in question is an open expanse near the end of the two-hour tour where riders are kind of given free reign to rip it up as they see fit. This was pure bliss for me, being able to hammer on the throttle and feel that rush that's kept Johnson coming back every couple of days.
At the outset of the tour there were some who were a little hesitant with the machines, but by the race track they were all comfortable enough to give it a real go. "We had a couple that came here recently," Moore said, "and the wife was scared of getting on the sled. But by the end of the run she was driving and her husband was in the back seat. That happens all the time."
Johnson, who found out about the tour through the SnowSeekers Go-Guide app on his iPhone, is really the poster child of the Silver Star snowmobile experience. He's someone who hadn't any experience with it prior, and he left the resort an addict.
"You can go out on a trip with a bunch of guys who want to go fast or you can do one that's a little bit more sedate and 'smell the roses', so to speak. We don't have anything like this in Australia. So if you're like me and don't often get the opportunity to do something like this, give it a go. It's great fun."
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