For most riders, it’s hard to get your head around how big snowmobiling is in Ontario, Canada. Each winter, I snowmobile about 5,000 kilometres there and still haven’t seen it all.
Usually, I take off for a ten-day tour and never ride the same trail twice. That’s because the Province of Ontario is almost twice as large as Texas and much of it is criss-crossed with 32,000 kilometres (19,000 miles) of top-notch snowmobile trails. In fact, Ontario’s OFSC snowmobile trails rank as the world’s largest recreational trail system, with more kilometres of snowmobile trails than there are kilometres of Ontario highways! What’s more, Ontario has many popular tourism regions to assist riders in planning their snowmobile trips.
During my years as a snowmobile journalist, I’ve visited most popular riding destinations in North America and frequently had the opportunity to compare them. For my money, Ontario tops the list as a must-ride destination. Here’s why…
I’m a high miler who loves to ride. It’s easy to put on 200 to 300 kilometres day after day in Ontario, without feeling beat or riding after dark. My personal high has topped out just over 500 klicks on several occasions — once with my wife, so this isn’t a guys only kind of place!
If you share my passion for distance, head for Northern Ontario, where you’ll discover an endless trail network comprised of old logging roads, mining routes and utility corridors that will far surpass anything in your previous experience.
Regardless of how often I ride in Ontario, the thrill never seems to end. During a normal riding day elsewhere, I may have a couple of really memorable moments, where the trail was spectacular, that make me wish I could ride like this forever (or at least the rest of that day). That’s the feeling I get continuously in Ontario, day after day— and just when I think it can’t get any better, it usually does.
Part of the reason that Ontario snowmobiling is better is that OFSC trails are under used. As anyone who rides regularly in the other popular snowmobile havens knows, they can be way too crowded. So it’s hard to imagine riding trails that are virtually empty — no traffic, no gas line-ups and no waiting at pit stops.
I guess their lack of traffic is because Ontario’s so vast and has so many trails that thousands of sleds simply disappear, absorbed each day by a network that’s much, much bigger than the number of sleds it attracts. I’ve stayed at lodgings where a hundred or more sleds are parked overnight, but when they leave next morning, I never see any of them again.
One analogy for this phenomenon is that in many other destinations, riding is like driving during the day in a bustling city; in Ontario, riding is like day time driving in that same city— but with late night traffic.
There are many more good reasons why Ontario is a must-ride snowmobiling destination. For more, see Ontario: Canada’s Must-Ride Snowmobiling – Part 2
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