I’ve been sledding since I was one year old riding with my dad till I was about 12, then I rode his old 600. We rode trails all over Alberta and Saskatchewan. In about 2006 my dad started taking me to the mountains and in 2007 I bought my own mountain sled. I was starting to get the hang of mountain riding and loving it then in March of 2009 a family friend of mine was killed in an avalanche. It scared me to go back into the mountains but I knew I would go back to the mountains eventually. In 2011 I got my Avalanche training and then was invited to go ride with some of The Betties back into the mountains where I’ve never been. Rhonda immediately took me under her wing and when we got to a place where I was very uncomfortable and told Rhonda and she immediately took me to where I was more comfortable. After riding with the Betties they all took my under their wings and taught me more skills on a sled. They slowly got me more and more comfortable with the mountains again and now I love them even more then I did before.
Riding with these ladies has really changed my life, not just in my riding but also in my everyday life. They helped me get out of my shell and get out there and talk to people. It’s not just riding with some amazing ladies, they have become family, my “Bettie Sistas”. They push you when you need to be pushed and when they see you give up even just a little bit they get you out of that mind set and the famous word “Again” comes out and you try and succeed. I have become more confident in myself and riding ability with everything I try and have learned to appreciate all the little improvements I make and never stop trying and practicing and have learnt to 'BELEIVE IN YOURSELF'. It’s an amazing feeling when you come back to the group from doing something that you’ve been practicing and get that support of a simple fist pound and a “you’re doing great”. That’s the support these ladies give to you when you’re busting your butt riding makes you want to continue.
One experience I had last year was when I went to Golden with the girls and Tam was teaching me a “J” hook and I would try and try and just when I was about to give up Tam said “AGAIN” I paused and said to myself “Sara you can do this” and I tried and I did it and went a parked next to Tam got a big high five and my confidence grew so much in an instant. Even if I didn’t think I could do something myself, I always had the girls to tell me “you can do it Sara we believe in you.” My same trip to Golden was the first trip I ever went on alone. I knew I would be safe with everyone there, but it was still a scary step to take. I didn’t have much experience driving far distances but I really wanted to be on this ride so I sucked it up and went. I took my time got lost in Calgary for an hour (took the wrong turn) then I spent 2 hours driving and taking photos around Banff and the finally got to my destination. With all the time it took and even with the little trouble I had it was the best trip I have ever been on. I came home with a huge smile on my face I was so happy and the thing that made it over the moon was the comment I got from some of the ladies “we are so proud of you.” I would do that trip again in an instant.
I’ve ridden with the guys all my life and I have to say I’ve done more growing riding with this group. It’s not even just riding with the Betties its riding with other ladies that share the same passion for the sport as you do, it’s the little thing of you see another lady do something you automatically think “if she can do it so can I” that’s what it is all about no big competition but still some competiveness. Instead of it being a guys sport and letting all the guys have there “Boys trip” why not have a “Girls trip” and get together with your fellow lady riders and go shred. This sport to me has always been a family sport with riding trails, but when it came to mountains I always thought it was more a guy’s thing growing up. I see more families out in the mountains now then I have seen before it is great to see and guys bring their wives and girlfriends out riding with them - that’s how this amazing sport should be and is becoming.
This year I was approached by T&T Powersports wanting to sponsor me with a 2012 Arctic Cat M8 Snopro, and well I was speechless and still kind of am. I’m not the best rider I’m still learning but when I ask why me they said it was my heart for the Project “The Betties Powersport Network “and my passion for sledding. I was so over whelmed and so proud of myself and of the network. All the sponsors that are on board with this are absolutely amazing. With T&T Power Sports giving 4 ladies a sled, that is true support and to see a company put their heart and soul into something like this makes me want to work harder and be more a part of the sledding community. Learning the new sled has been challenging but more fun, I have to say THANK YOU again to T&T for sponsoring me with this sled it has brought the fun back into sledding for me. Last year with my 600 I would get so tired and frustrated that at the end of the day I would just want to go home after a long day of working my sled to do the things I want it to, but now it so fun all the stuff that I couldn’t do on my 600 I can do with the M8.
To conclude, my Bettie experience has been amazing and it’s just starting. Every trip with these ladies is even more adventurous and exciting. With the challenges I face, I’m glad I have a whole lot of Sisters to help me through them. To me it’s not just about showing our skills its getting ladies out there and to have them fall in love with the snow and the beautiful scenery, and of course, the sport. I’ve met so many new friends, have learned so much and with every trip I grow more and more. Thank you BETTIES for having me in this amazing wonderful adventure living a dream.
As a beginner at this whole sledding thing, I thought it would come easy to me considering I have been riding dirt bikes for several years and quads for pretty much my whole life...well I was wrong!! Sledding is a whole different animal. The only thing I have gotten good at this year is digging deep trenches and hitting trees. It is a sport that you can get so frustrated with but can't wait to go out for the next ride all in the same day. I just bought my sled "pretty kitty" a 2007 M8 snopro in November and it is a love hate relationship we have. For me I have three things that help me learn:
1 - My good friend Kristen Jones sitting at the top of the hill yelling at me "You better get up here or else...."
2 - Grow a set, go for it and hope for the best!
3 - Get stuck, get unstuck...repeat.
As a Journeyman welder I am always thinking of things that I can build for Pretty Kitty that will make her stand out from other sleds, right now I am designing and building a custom tunnel extension. I have also had my hand in building our own custom sled deck. I am officially hooked on sledding and am counting down the days till next winter.
Members of the Betties Power Sports Club & Friends