Snowmobiling in Whitecourt connects generations in Golden Triangle experience
The Golden Triangle's largest of three sledding destinations, Whitecourt is the anchor to a multi-generational snowmobiling culture in northern Alberta, connecting over 480 kilometres of sledding trails. #sledthetriangle
Whitecourt/Woodlands County, AB - “I started sledding with a soother in my mouth,” said Jayce Turcotte. Both he and his brother Jaren are youth ambassadors for Whitecourt Trailblazers, responsible for creating social media posts for the sled club.
The fact that these young guys soon to be aged 13 and 10 are engaged as hard-working volunteers this early in their sledding career speaks to the culture of snowmobiling as a multi-generational endeavour in Whitecourt and the broader region of Woodlands County.
Snowmobiling in Alberta just takes the bite out of winter, says the boys’ dad, and the boys are stoked to be on sleds and play in the snow. And you will be too, when you head out on the Golden Triangle trail network from Whitecourt, Alberta.
At 485 kilometres of groomed trails, the Whitecourt Trailblazers maintain the largest footprint of trails in the region, including the club's section of the Golden Triangle. Volunteers invest 4000-plus hours every year to keep blowdowns off the trails, fill in creek crossings and groom trails so everyone in the family can enjoy time on a sled.
Whitecourt snowmobile itinerary
Before you hit the trails, be sure to grab your annual provincial trail pass for $90 to help support all the hard working volunteers across Alberta.
The best place to off-load your sled is the Eagle River Staging area because the mighty Athabasca River makes direct access from town to the north snowmobile trails difficult. (If sledders want to explore south of Whitecourt access is easy from some of the hotels on the east side of town.)
Watch for signs 10 kilometres north of Whitecourt on highway 32 just beyond the Casino about three kilometres. Sledders will find plenty of parking and a perfect location to launch a day or multi-day winter trail ride.
When you spot a bright orange poster with a QR code on the trail, be sure to scan it and take a picture there to check yourself in. Riders who check-in at two of three checkpoints on the Whitecourt ride (north side only, the Golden Triangle side) between March 12 - 19, will be entered into the Iron Sledder challenge, for prizes and bragging rights. Complete two of three rides and you're up for the Golden Sledder title, all three and you're in the running to be crowned Iron Sledder!
From the staging area, you can head west 112 kilometres to Fox Creek. Right out of the staging area riders enter winter wonderland. The day I was out the forest was covered in dreamlike hoarfrost.
If you run a muff pot (that magical, clam-shell shaped heating unit you can connect to your turbo or muffler), you will likely have heat enough to enjoy a warm snack by the time you reach Gundy Warm-up shelter near halfway point between Whitecourt and Fox Creek. It is a fine location to pause for a cup of hot chocolate or build a fire and cook a smokie.
For sledders who want to extend the winter fun to include an overnight or two, Whitecourt is a good location to depart from. Top tier sledders can do the 350km Golden Triangle circuit in 10 hours, but why not take the family on a leisurely winter holiday?
Check into Timber Ridge Inn at Fox Creek, fuel up and roll into the Pizza Joint for dinner. Hit a local spot for a quick breakfast before returning to Whitecourt. This trip makes for a good day’s sled for the family through the boreal forest.
Generations upon generations of fun
Trailblazers’ club executive Cindy Brooks remembers being on a snowmobile with her parents before her fourth birthday. Her kids grew up snowmobiling as she did, and earlier this year she had her granddaughter out on a sled recently. She’s not two yet, and already hooked.
You will find four generations of Whitecourt Trailblazers sledders on the trails. That theme of multigenerational families joining in winter recreation is everywhere.
The whole crew of Whitecourt’s Trailblazers snowmobile club have made tremendous preparations for their part of the Golden Triangle to ensure you, your friends and your family have a good snowmobile-based winter recreation experience. Tap into it.
When you go
Trail maps for Whitecourt/Woodlands County and the Golden Triangle
Find maps of the Whitecourt & Woodlands County trail network, and the Golden Triangle, with frequent updates on regional trail conditions, on the Whitecourt Trailblazers website.
Trailblazer club events
Whitecourt's annual sled rally will not be taking place this season; instead, the club is running a self-navigated ride between Mar 12 - 19, where sledders can scan QR codes set up on posters at key trail checkpoints, to enter as one of the three Iron Sledder qualifying rides.
Up for the Iron Sledder challenge? Participate in all three Golden Triangle sled events to compete for a shot at the Iron Sledder Title which comes with a top prize of $1,000 cash, a medal and GLORY. Can’t make all three? Jump in on two of three events and qualify for a shot at the gold medal and $250 cash.
Read on for more about the Golden Triangle and plan your trip to connect from Whitecourt to Fox Creek and Swan Hills. Ride the circuit!