More than 100 riders from North America took to P.E.I.’s trails with gusto on an unexpectedly blustery winter day
It was a snow day on Prince Edward Island and it wasn’t just the school children who were cheering.
More than 100 riders in the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association’s (PEISA) 2014 Celebration Ride were stoked to get going on the first of their three-day cross-Island journey.
“I feel like I should shake like a little dog,” laughed Bonnie Holbrook of Vermont as she shed herself of a thick layer of snowflakes that accumulated on the short walk from her room at the Brackley Beach Northwinds Inns and Suites to the dining room, which was packed with riders ready to roll.
The good news was there was snow; the bad news was there was a lot of snow.
“It’s slowing down now,” said PEISA president Dale Hickox as he looked optimistically at the windowscape of white.
“That’s just like the golfers say (when faced with rain), ‘Oh it’s slowing down now,” joked Premier Robert Ghiz, who was in for the portion of the ride from Brackley to Mount Stewart.
Also in the crowd were Marty Convery and his son Jeff of Barrie, Ont., who were representing their snowmobiling magazine and television company. They were covering the joint Go Snowmobiling event that was being presented in the Maritime provinces, of which P.E.I.’s 2014 Celebration Ride was also a part.
“I’ve never driven in P.E.I. before. This is a first for me. I’ve been here in the summer but never the winter . . . . I’m looking forward to what the Island has to offer, as much as I am going to be able to see,” he said laughing.
Fortunately the weather predictions were correct and sledders were soon headed east to Murray Harbour, where they would cross the ice to take in a lobster trap building demo presented by a local fisherman.
It was something that Holbrook and her husband Jim were going to take in with interest. After visiting P.E.I. twice in the off-snowmobiling season for various conferences related to their sledding passion, they decided it was time for the real thing.
“This is our first time snowmobiling here,” she says.
“(Vermont and P.E.I.) are quite a bit the same actually (for that experience). I was surprised. Going across farmers’ fields and through the woods. The thing that we don’t have is the ocean views in Vermont, of course. But it’s just absolutely stunningly beautiful up here.”
Owen Haynes and Carole Blenkhorn of Amherst, N.S. were so keen to come on this P.E.I. adventure that they booked their spaces in November.
“This is our first; we’re (snowmobile) run virgins,” laughed Blenkhorn.
“We could come to the Island anytime and buy a pass, but to have a guided tour to see what there is to see -- this was ‘Come, we’ll show you our Island’ -- and that really enticed us.
“It’s fun. It’s good to get out. It’s certainly nice to get out and not be a couch potato for the winter.”