Lady Ripper: Sherri Alexander
SW: Who and when did you get introduced to snowmobiling?
Sherri: I remember as a young girl growing up with my two younger brothers. we would be so excited to see our Dad pull out the old Skandic, we’d all jump on the snow machine or in the sleigh and we were happy as can be either way, all bundled up heading off for a day of ice fishing, sliding, skating, or who knows what…. and of course, a lunch or a boil up was always a given.
As we got a bit older that passed, we could not afford to keep up this passion. The fond memories of those days stuck with me, until I meet my other half, the man I call my husband, Francis. We have a cabin in the backcountry and the only way there in the winter is on snowmobile, I remember going into our cabin with our son all bundled up at the age of two in the middle of my husband and I and yes, the dog too on the “VK 540” with no groomed trails. We did this every weekend and loved every minute of it, we had different snowmobiles throughout the years that worked and took us back and forth every weekend. Ok…now our son was old enough to ride his own and we need an extra snowmobile – Yamaha 340 Ovation;… I was still content riding on the back enjoying the beautiful backcountry and relaxing, thinking you can’t get any better than this…
Well, I found out that there was better than that….Riding your own snowmobile! My husband said it’s time you should have
your own snowmobile. We need to get out and do more and enjoy all the adventures of snowmobiling. The last 12 years I have been riding solo, learning new things and getting a little better as each year goes by. Being Yamaha people, I started out with the four strokes Phazer FX, then the Viper…holy moly I soon come to realize how things can be a bit lighter… I demoed a Polaris SKS – At the end of my demo ride day I was 100% sold – Snow checked a new machine for the following year, that was the best thing that could of ever happen. Thanks to my husband for the encouragement!
SW: What’s your typical ride like…where and with whom?
Sherri: Our typical ride starts off leaving right from our door, the Bay St. George Snowmobile Association parking lot (Cold Brook/Stephenville – NL) is right across the road from our house, this is where everyone off loads their sleds and they leave from this parking lot. We leave the parking lot and ride on the groomed trail for about 8 KMs to access the backcountry riding, at this point we can go 1 of 2 directions and both lead us into the adventures of backcountry riding. With my husband, Francis knowing the country very well, it makes things more at ease when traveling, we – usually includes myself, Francis and at least 2 other guys, sometimes more. We start by choosing areas that we think may have lots of extra untouched powder, everyone loves to make the first tracks in the new snow, we have our own secret spots that we check out as well, we know where to find it especially after a heavy dump. We play around, pick through the trees, climb some hills, get stuck and help each other with lots of ski plucks, it’s all a part of it. I like going with the guys, I learn so much from them, guys are guys and they don’t let up for anything I have to keep up or get left behind. They are good though, they know I want to learn and they are very encouraging and I don’t feel intimidated at all, I always try my best in keeping right behind with no hesitation and they know I will do it or at least try it. Around mid-day we stop for a lunch. Sometimes it’s a packed lunch, could be a small boil up / fire, or depending on how close we are we may hit the warm and cozy Camp 7 in Gallants for their yummy deep fried french-fries and gravy. Onto the rest of the day, we have more of the same type of adventures, maybe a bit more challenging, just to keep us motivated and on our toes. Each time we discover more of our beautiful backcountry, we find new spots with powder to carve, lots of photos are taken, little breaks here and there and this continues until we call it a day….in saying all this, there are times that my husband Francis and I will go, I call it our practice days, we go on our own with all intentions with certain things in mind that we or I might want to practice.
In the spring time of the year we do much the same thing, excluding the powder, add the warmer temperatures and we take our adventures to Lewis Hills and surrounding areas. We always have people that want to join us on our ride because of the backcountry riding; backcountry is my most favourite and I see us skipping the groomed trails if at all possible. We both are very adventurist and love the outdoors anytime of the year.
SW: How do you think more female could be introduced to backcountry riding?
Sherri: Definitely the Sledcore Ladies Ride Clinic & Word of Mouth….I have attended the ladies ride Clinic in January 2019 and it is unbelievable how many woman have come up to me and say – You went on that clinic? “My gosh tell me about it” and of course after the lengthy conversation on what I thought of it, how informative, how much I got out of it and how helpful the team was, the last thing they would say is “I would love to do that”….I insisted that they should and encouraged them to think about the upcoming clinics. Social media, information sessions and posters would be good as well.
SW: You attended the 2019 Sledcore Lady Rippers Ride Clinic, tell us about that?
Sherri: The Ladies ride clinic was AMAZING. I loved every minute from start to finish. The clinic started out with the basics and safety which is always important. We moved on into the deep pow and touched on different riding techniques one in particular that makes backcountry riding a lot easier; counter steering. We had lots of pow that day, everyone had their turn at falling off their sleds and getting stuck and then trying again, the team was there to help dig you out not matter how many times it happened. Mid-day a fire was prepared, we had a lunch, everyone chatted and got to know each other a little more, we talked about different riding techniques and where help was needed. The team was very patient with us, lots of one on one, they wanted us to learn, the support from each other, cheering, high fives, and smiles made the day so much fun. Lots of photos were taken throughout the day by Tom Caines of Sledcore. At the end of the day, we all felt good about something or things that they improved on that day, I know that it made a positive impact on my riding life and I can’t wait for next year’s Ladies Ride Clinic! In fact…I had planted the seed with the Sledcore team that such an event could easily happen in the Stephenville area.
SW: What are some riding skills you still want to work on?
Sherri: Always skills to work on – I want to work on downhill U turns, side hilling and I want to feel more comfortable catching air.
SW: What are you presently riding? Where do you live and work?
Sherri: I am currently riding a 2018 Polaris SKS 800 146” and love it. I live in Cold Brook – The gateway of beautiful Lewis Hills – The Bay St. George’s Snowmobile Association parking lot is right across from my house. I work at The College of the North Atlantic in the finance department.