Royce Hanson, Cory Young and Ceiran Young set off up the Owlhead snowmobile trail. (File Photo)

Royce Hanson, Cory Young and Ceiran Young set off up the Owlhead snowmobile trail. (File Photo)

Sicamous snowmobile club plans to address COVID-19 and highway closures

Procedures at cabins and trailheads are being altered ahead of the coming sled season.

There is already a few feet of snow on the high country around Sicamous and the local snowmobile club is gearing up for the season while preparing for wrinkles created by highway construction projects and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sled Sicamous general manager Gord Bushell said some young and adventurous sledders have already been testing out their machines on the fall snow, which he said has been measured at four feet near the top of Queest Mountain. Meanwhile down in the valley below, Bushell and other leading figures in the sled club are preparing for what is bound to be a unique season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bushell said there will be upcoming seminars offered by WorkSafeBC providing guidance on how to operate during the pandemic while keeping everyone safe. He added they have been in contact with Rec Sites and Trails BC officers for further guidance. Bushell said Rec Sites and Trails will also be providing signage reminding trail users of practices to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Read More: Vernon Vipers top Salmon Arm for first win of Okanagan Cup

Read More: First Pride Project festival in Salmon Arm met with enthusiasm

According to Bushell, the four cabins operated by Sled Sicamous are expected to be open as usual, but he said capacity limits to ensure physical distancing will likely be in place. He added the capacity limits would be monitored but he didn’t expect the cabins to be anywhere near full except right around Christmas.

At the trail heads, Bushell said Sled Sicamous plans to collect trail fees in cash with precautions similar to the ones exercised at banks and restaurants. They also plan to expand their ability for payment using credit and debit cards.

Along with the unique conditions created by the pandemic, Bushell said the club would also be dealing with interruptions on Highway 1 traffic due to construction near Golden. A clear route to the Alberta border is important because Sicamous is a destination for Albertan snowmobilers.

Read More: Virtual tour of Okanagan College will include chance to win $5,000 giveaway

Read More: Delays in COVID testing for Central Okanagan students persist

As part of upgrades to the Kicking Horse Pass portion of the highway, daytime closures of two hours or less as well as overnight closures of up to 10 hours are expected over the winter. Closures of up to 24 hours are a possibility on the project but the provincial government said they would only be in the months of April, May, September, October and November. Disruption on the highway will be the new normal as the project is not expected to be complete until the winter of 2023/24.

Bushell said he saw lot of Albertans still visited the Shuswap over the summer despite the uncertain environment created by COVID-19 and said he thinks the same will be true in the winter regardless of detours on the highway.

“Sledders are very determined people, they’ll drive two days for a day of sledding in the mountains,” he said.

Bushell added that Sled Sicamous would be stepping up their marketing to sledders from outside the local area in order to keep up traffic on their trails.

-With Files from Liam Harrap


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Sicamous Eagles recently moved into the “Eagles’ Nest” dormitory behind the Sicamous and District Rec Centre. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)
Sicamous Eagles move into dormitory on arena grounds

The KIJHL hockey team’s billet system was strained by COVID-19 so they are piloting a new solution

After dragon boat races, the Carnation Ceremony remembers those who have died and those who are fighting cancer. This year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Friends Abreast Dragon Boat team delivered 400 carnations to the staff at nine public schools, three SASCU offices and the women’s league at the curling rink as a reminder for women to book their mammogram appointments. (File photo)
Salmon Arm dragon boat team gives carnations as mammogram reminder

Breast cancer second leading cause of cancer death among Canadian women

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Snow started falling early Oct. 23, 2020 to leave Salmon Arm and area with a wintery look. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Snow in Shuswap this early in October rare but no records broken

Environment Canada predicts clear weather in Salmon Arm for election day – Oct. 24

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read