New Brunswick’s Snowy Success
By: Heather Laura Clarke
Photos: Contributed and Donnie O’Keefe.
New Brunswick snowmobilers are pleased to be able to count on something that doesn’t always come easily for the rest of the Maritimes: snow — and lots of it.
“Other jurisdictions are beginning to struggle to have enough snow, but we do not. We have snow every winter from November through the end of April,” says Ross Antworth, general manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs Inc. (NBFSC).
“It’s cool that everyone is starting to realize it. New Brunswick is known to have consistent snow and a long season.”
He says Christmas Mountains, Christmas Valley and the Fundy Highlands consistently have enough snow for snowmobiling every weekend in April. Twice he’s even snowmobiled in May.
But it isn’t just a matter of being able to travel on the hard-packed white stuff. Antworth says New Brunswick is a favourite snowmobiling destination because of its picturesque landscape. Perhaps that’s why there are an estimated 20,000 snowmobilers in New Brunswick each winter, counting residents and visitors.
“What people love about snowmobiling is that they get to see things most other people don’t get to see,” says Antworth.
He says Christmas Mountains, southeast of Mount Carleton Provincial Park, boasts gorgeous views of Mount Carleton and Mount Sagamook. Antworth says there’s usually so much snow in the area that the trees look like puffy white cones.
When you’re snowmobiling the Fundy Highlands area near Sussex, Antworth says you can see Crooked Creek, the Bay of Fundy and beautiful vistas of old-growth forests.
“The Moose Valley region, northwest of Edmundston, is a beautiful forested area with stunning vistas looking into Quebec and you can literally see moose there in the wintertime,” says Antworth.
But just because you’re travelling deep into the wilderness, doesn’t mean you can be without amenities for very long. After all, most snowmobilers can’t take much with them on a run.
“The whole trail network is designed so you go right into gas stations, restaurants, hotels and lodges,” says Antworth. “We wouldn’t have such a strong winter tourism season in New Brunswick if it weren’t for these necessities.”
“We have businesses in this province that have higher occupancy rates in February and March than they do in July and August.”
While there are certainly lots of hotels and motels across New Brunswick, Antworth says most snowmobilers prefer to stay at lodges.
“There’s this whole aura of a lodge with a fireplace and pub food — this casual hunting/fishing environment. People love that,” says Antworth. “People don’t necessarily want to be in our cities. They want a lodge where they can get accommodations, food and fuel without having to travel with more than their wallet.”
He says Rogers Lake Lodge in Northesk is a popular spot to fuel up your sled, grab a bite and stay the night. Other favourites include Adair’s Wilderness Lodge in Sussex/Shepody and Moose Valley Sporting Lodge in Edmundston.
There are also many restaurants across the province that cater to snowmobilers, like the Village Family Restaurant and The Ledges in Doaktown, the Log Cabin Restaurant in Hopewell Cape, Blue Canoe in Waasis and D’s Diner in Chipman.
Since New Brunswick is less than a day’s trip from Ontario and Quebec, Antworth says they see a lot of snowmobilers coming in for a mid-winter getaway on their sleds. He recommends doing a three-day or five-day snowmobiling trip through New Brunswick.
“You could do a nice five-day trip from Edmundston to Fredericton, across to Moncton, then back to Miramichi, Bathurst, Campbellton and Edmundston,” says Antworth. “You can do a complete loop of the province since everything’s fully interconnected. That’s what really makes New Brunswick a top snowmobiling destination, along with the fact that the weather’s consistent.”
New Brunswick has more than 7,000 kilometres of trails maintained by the NBFSC. Getting started may seem as easy as strolling into a dealership to buy a sled and hopping online to pay for a trail permit ($55 to $255, depending on what you’re riding and when you purchase).
But if you’re seriously interested in getting involved in snowmobiling, Antworth says it’s a good idea to connect with someone who knows the dos and don’ts. Snowmobiling requires a substantial upfront investment, as well as ongoing costs for maintenance and travel.
“Talk to somebody who’s already involved in snowmobiling and has experience,” says Antworth. “They’ll show you how to respect it so it’s a positive first experience.”
Interested in learning more about snowmobiling in New Brunswick?
Want to buy a permit, find a trail or join a snowmobiling club? Visit nbfsc.com.
Snowmobiling by the numbers
- Snowmobiling generates more than $8 billion in annual spending across Canada.
- There are more than 666,000 registered snowmobiles in Canada.
- The average snowmobiler rides their snowmobile 2,600 kilometres per year and spends $4,000 each year on snowmobile-related recreation.
Source: Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations
Did you know?
- A person hiking exerts 10 times more pressure per square inch than what a snowmobile does.
- Numerous studies have concluded that wildlife species are disturbed more by cross-country skiers and people on foot than by snowmobiles.
- Skiers may do more damage to the snowpack than snowmobiles because narrow skis cut deeper into the snowpack and have a heavier foot load.
Source: Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations