The 2014 snowmobile year had a new twist for me. The WCHA started up a new Hillcross Circuit and approached our local Club about doing the first event. Our club, The Paradise Valley Snowmobile Association, was very happy and excited to help out Tyler and the WCHA get this event in our area. I was very nervous at first about participating in the event because I have never done a hillclimb or a hill cross before. The PVSA, Hyper Toys, and my Husband encouraged and ensured me that I would have no problems and lots of fun riding in this event! I have always drag raced snowmobiles and rode in the back country so here is yet another opportunity to get on my machine! And, as everybody expected, I had a blast! The WCHA wanted the safest event possible so the course design was set up with the safety of all riders in mind. They set up a course that was challenging but not dangerous. On the first time trial I was pretty concerned about how I would do but after the first gate I had all my riding confidence behind me and relaxed! I ended up winning the women's open class with a fast enough time to beat out some of the men! I can't thank WCHA, PVSA and sponsor Hyper toys for their support in making this happen! I am hooked for sure and am working on getting more women next year to give this fun event a try!
Recently I had the opportunity to go ski-dooing with a bunch of ladies from the Betties snowmobile club. I have always wanted to do some winter mountain exploring, but have been rather nervous since I have zero experience and didn’t know where to begin. At 39 years old, I am completely ‘Green’ when it comes to anything back country exploration. Having the chance to go with women that have the experience and know about safety was a great way to try things out and gain some knowledge. It was fantastic to learn and spend time with ladies that are eager to help and fun to be around! I noticed that safety is the highest priority with this group and that they take special care to make sure everyone is always accounted for. Emphasis was put on the buddy system and I actually saw the importance of this as different people became stuck and everyone had to help dig to get them out. And at the end of the day, I was also very impressed to see that no one was left behind. I will definitely go again and look forward to the possibility of joining the Betties in the future!!!
Thank you so much for the wonderful experience!
Barren's Sport Shop; Kaslo, BC
This was no ordinary day of sledding on Meadow mt. This day was filled with lots of huge smiles from ear to ear, high adrenaline moments and excitement that you and I may take for granted on a sunny bluebird day, but on this particular day all this excitement was being experienced by a very special young lady friend of ours who was stricken with a systemic autoimmune disease in her early twenties and has left her wheelchair bound. She was an avid skier/snowboarder, played woman's hockey along with many other sporting events. Courtney Allen was also a Nurse/Paramedic as well, I had the privilege of working with her as a Paramedic and that's where I met this special lady. Just before she was diagnosed I had asked her to come snowmobiling with me but it never worked out. Then a couple of years later even after her diagnosis I asked her again if would she be up to it and Courtney said the biggest yes but can we make it work because I can't stand on my own. I said if you feel up to it we can make it work. And that was the beginning of her snowmobiling adventures. Yesterday was her third time snowmobiling, but also her biggest adventure to date thanks to our good friend Andrea Hand and MainJet Motor Sport for supplying the snowmobile and guidance for her to ride. Courtney also got to experience some filming for the Bettie's Power Sports Network which she thoroughly enjoyed. Courtney Allen is a huge inspiration to others and has proven that anything is possible if you choose to not give up.
Being a woman Rider, be it a Bike, Sled or an ATV is not something that was considered main stream or the norm twenty years ago. There were riders scattered here and there, quite often perched upon the back seat behind their man like somewhat of a trophy. To see a woman on a machine was a rare occurrence, but as the days grew into years, more and more women surfaced, independent on their own machines, and enjoying every moment of it. They weren’t out there riding simply to spend time with their man, they too enjoyed the thrills, the physical exertion and the sheer raw beauty of each excursion.
Fast forward to today. We are a united group of women who are strong in spirit and skill. The Betties Powersports Network. We are sisters, encouraging, and pushing each other to reach goals, to become, not only better riders, but better people. We have group mentality of paying it forward to each other, and the sport we love.
We are strong women, on our own. Good female riders. There is no need to compare us to men. I’ve thought much about this. When I hear statements about “showing the boys how it’s done” and “riding as good as the men” I wonder if we’ve truly accepted the fact that we, indeed are women riders. Riders by our own rights.
“You ride like a woman”. Is that a derogatory term? It shouldn’t be. Be proud to be a woman. Ride strong, like a woman. There is no need to compare us to men, no matter what skill level we are at. We are women riders, pure and simple.
Women riders have nothing to prove to men, really. If we want to go riding, we can simply go. We have the means, the support network, and friends to make it happen. We don’t have to prove that we are good enough to be taken along. We have a network of women that is growing each day, women who will not be left behind. Ladies Rides, and an accepting Nation of people who love what we are doing. Growing the sport, and encouraging new riders to get out there and be strong, ride to the best of their ability, and keep safe.
Women, well... we are an excitable creature. We whoop holler and talk much more than our male counterparts. It is quite easy to let emotion get the better of us, and let a “IN YER FACE” fly out in triumph now and then. Prepare for our vibrance, prepare for our laughter, and prepare for more women riders to be out enjoying laughter. Women, do not compare yourselves to men, be proud to Ride like a Girl. It IS a compliment, it is Awesome.
My name is Terry Coulombe, I am the owner of T&T Power Sports Ltd., a dealership in Bonnyville Alberta. I have owned this buiness for 20 yrs, selling Arctic Cat , Yamaha and Suzuki, on and off road motorcycles, atvs, snowmobiles, and side by sides or UTV's. Over the years I have seen many changes in the industry, mainly technological advancements in engine , suspension and design changes to enhance rider comfort and increase ease of operation by all users. The industry was intially a "boys club" but slowly over the years with the addition of creature comforts, like more suspension and electric start, it was more of a pleasure to get our ladies involved.
Always looking for new ways to enjoy the industry and meet like minded people, I was referred to a website called " SNOW AND MUD " .... nice name.... when I got onto the site and started to learn my way around the forums I found several user groups and the ladies group was one of them. I was pleasantly surprised to see atv, motocross, and snowmobile riding females that had zest and addiction like us guys did. After a brief introduction to the "Boondockers" sled ride in Elkford BC., again with a huge mass of outdoor enthusiasts, I met more ladies who were called Betties. I thought I was a die hard rider, but these girls had the bug for sledding and quadding big time. I was drawn to this group as their passion and drive to bring more ladies into the sport and "get them out of the kitchens" as one girl put it, was admirable and I wanted to get involved.
The Bettie I first met online was JC (Rhonda) who had invited me to my first Boondocker ride. Rhonda mentioned to me about The Betties and their quest to get the ladies more involved in the sport, and with a wife and two daughters, I more than understood their thought process. She mentioned some of the girls were getting sponsors and/or help from different companies to make it easier 'accessory-wise' and a bit 'financial-wise' to get into the sport. My wheels starting turning... and over the next few days I saw how the newcomers were taken under the wings of certain girls and their desire to teach them so they could learn the safe/ right/ easier way so they would enjoy the sport more. It was then I decided it would be win/win situation for me to offer to help the girls out with some sponsorship, so I started with one girl, even though she was riding a Polaris and I sold Arctic Cat and Yamaha. It was such a positive cause this group was undertaking and I was impressed with the dedication and organization of them - I couldnt not 'step up to the plate' so to speak, I had to be a part of this as it was such a positive venture. As a dealer with 20 yrs in the industry it was so refreshing and so inspiring to find a group that was dedicated to promoting the positives of outdoor recreation and whose goals were to attract the ladies both 'young' and younger to get involved, and to promote family outdoor recreation as well.
The second year of the project we were able to provide four of the Betties with new M 800cc 153 Arctic Cat snowmobiles, and again for 2012 we were also able to get 2012 new 800 Proclimbs for the their use. It has been a very memorable experience over the past 3 years and we have made lots of friends and exposed alot of people to the Betties group. The Betties are a 12 month group, they use atvs, dirt bikes, side by sides and of course, snowmobiles. I have enjoyed the rides and get togethers that the Betties put on throughout the year and the great friendships that I have developed with the group and their spouses. The spouses and supporters are a key part of their endeavors by helping behind the scenes, filming, being the mechanics, support team...you name it, they do it.
I look forward to continuing my support with the Betties, and hopefully expanding it to summer months as well.
T&T Power Sports Ltd
This is a biggie. Our personal power to choose. There are many factors that come into play when embarking into the journey of Sledding. Gone are the days of the redneck Badass as our beloved sport of sledding has transformed into a well respected past time enjoyed by many women, men and children. We have a responsibility to the younger generation who watch us closely, as they decipher the next, most “Turbo Rad” move they want to mimic. The typical stereo type of “here hold my beer and watch this” has dissipated, replaced by the many high profile riders who are advocates for avalanche training and responsible stewardship of our riding areas. Many a charity has been facilitated by the riders of today.
The Betties Power Sports Network, a group of motivated and passionate women, are all about giving back. Raffles and contests with the proceeds being awarded to the Canadian Avalanche Centre are to be common place. It is a responsibility for those who are considered High Profile to use their platform to make a difference they believe in. This mindset is what draws most to the Betties Power Sports Network. It’s more than a Movie, it is a way of being. Monetary donations to the Avalanche Centre are only one facet of the “pay it forward” mentality. The Betties Power Sports Network isn’t about sensationalizing 'The Best' in the industry, it is about inspiring others to be their best or to try the sport if they haven't yet. Uplifting those who may have lost their confidence in an informal relaxed setting. Many a Bettie can be seen making the familiar wave in the air “Do it again” to the woman who thought she couldn’t even do it once. Riding takes confidence, which builds skill. Ask yourself this question, how many triumphs have you conquered thinking you couldn’t do it? None. It comes from believing, and usually the precurser to believing in yourself is someone believing in you. This is HUGE. We all need Support to build momentum. A Network of support... like The Betties Power Sports NETWORK.
Make positive choices. Choose to be educated, and choose to follow the rules. Land closures may seem trivial, pointless, and unfair. In the end, the path of change doesn’t come from defiance, it comes from education and uniting with others who want to promote change. As I type this, my back yard hosts one of the most spectacular ride areas on the planet, which is closed due to Caribou conservation. In my mind, the frustration and disbelief surrounding the closure of this area boils to the surface from time to time. Study upon study fuels my inner rebel, as I visualize clear blue skies, deep pow and I meeting in this pristine area. What stops me? My personal choice. I would be a horrible example to my children who love and admire me, a disgrace to Main Jet, who graciously award me a sled for the season, a huge disappointment to the Betties Power Sport Network and all we stand for, my sled club and all the clubs around would feel the effect of my disregard as my rule breaking fuels even more closures. Personal choice. Realize that every time you choose wisely, the ripple effect of goodness is felt by many.
Living 10hrs (at best) from the mountains, we spend a fair bit of time on the highway and as such we also bring quite a bit of gear too. My latest trip to Revelstoke really put this into perspective for me once again, as I went solo. Wow does my man do a lot!
I’m a super organizer, so it began with a list. Two columns typed on an 8.5x11…Yikes
Sled supplies, truck supplies, riding gear, food, clothing, tools, To Do before leaving. It was almost like the list wouldn’t end. I’m fairly confident but know I’m not totally mechanically competent, so I began in the garage.
Duct tape, zip ties – that’s a given, but what else? You need to be prepared, without loading your (or your mans) entire toolbox. A 250+ piece socket set with wrenches, allens, torx & screwdrivers inside. Vice grips, side cutters, electrical tape. Basic, handy and all effective. (Insert prayer here I’m not required to actually use this stuff! Haha) And so it continued; jerry cans, tie downs, superclamps, locks, fluids, covers etc. In 20 min I had my truck box loaded and ready to go. Check the list... still 2/3 left to do :/
Half the list is sort of deemed a woman’s ‘usual duties’ if you will; food, clothing and most riding gear. So that needs no explaining. But truck supplies & the to do list before leaving, that’s usually shared and mostly my man’s job. Truck prep is important, it’s what’s keeping you on the road and out of the ditch, or the shoulder of the highway (and I know, I’ve been in both). Tire pressures, wheel key, 4wd, winterfront, washer fluid, breaker bar, block for the jack, lighting, spare keys, lock de-icer, fluid levels, booster cables, flashlight. All very important to check, carry and know how to use.
Lastly ensure you get plenty of rest the night before, have fluids and snacks packed. Keep boots and a jacket in the truck with you at all times. Gloves, sunglasses and hands-free devices are also good things to keep near. When you hit the road it’s not a race, you need to be focused and enjoy the drive to paradise…
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.
So far this season, I’ve learned more in the past few months riding then I have in all the years I’ve rode.
Part of it can be contributed to my sled, some can be contributed to my husband, and the rest of the equation can be attributed to confidence gained during struggles and triumphs. I think for me to be immersed into situations that I am not comfortable, or perhaps not skilled enough to simply breeze through has been an asset. I have worked hard to identify my weak points riding, and challenge them. Having many “practice” times spent going round and round the lake banks side hilling on my not strong side, jumping and playing with throttle control and whipping donuts on my less comfortable side has paid off. This past Sunday, I confronted some tight trees and was the victor this time!! I was so excited as I weaved through and came to a planned stop, (not a tree-well stop). I searched the sticks to see if my husband was watching.. he was... I yelled excitedly, “look honey!!!! I didn’t suck!!” he laughed. I am so thankful that I have many “non sucking” moments out there now, and now see the hurdles as simply that, hurdles, not insurmountable mountains. Have fun on your practice times. I’ll let my husband know that I’m working on my weak points, and to please have patience with me. Practice in non threatening areas, to gain the mechanics of your “special moves”. Pretty soon it’ll become an action you do without thinking. Something you can do when it really counts.
Members of the Betties Power Sports Club & Friends