Bring on the White Stuff

Doing some off-trail powder blasting in Algoma Country with the Sault Trail Blazers. All photos by Virgil Knapp

An Ontario tourism photographer shares 21 snowmobile photos that are guaranteed to get you excited for the 2018 season!



With the 2018 Ontario Snowmobile season almost upon us, I thought it would be fitting to delve deep into the archives and pick some of my favourite photographs from the past seven years of shooting for Ontario Tourism. There was no particular criteria in mind, except that each photo should exemplify how good the riding is in Ontario. If nothing else, I hope these snowmobiling pictures inspire you to fire up the sled and go for a ride!

This photo was taken during a five-day project we were shooting with Klim technical gear on the incredible New Liskeard area trails of Northeastern Ontario. We found this corner to blast through for close-up action shots.

This was another nice corner for tight action shots. It was the second of a two-day project known as “Win the Braap,” where a lucky contestant came to North Bay to ride with UFC fighter Mitch Gagnon, an avid powersports enthusiast.

Again from our Klim project, this one has four riders traversing a frozen-over Lake Temiskaming with the landmark “Devil’s Rock” in the background.

I love the vertical shape of the trees matching the vertical “catwalk,” performed in the off-trail portion of our Klim ride.

Here's an epic scenery shot overlooking the Mattawa River from the top of what is now the Antoine Mountain Ski Resort.

Taking a rest from trail breaking during our trip to Horwood Lake Lodge in Timmins.

The ice caves on “Boy Lake” in the Explorers' Edge region of Ontario. This unique natural feature was a must-photograph on the last day of a project in 2016 where we were looking for the perfect ride with the Parry Sound Snowmobile Club.

One of the best times to ride the trails is at dusk. This photo is almost six years old and I can still vividly remember how cold it was riding back to the trucks after a long day of shooting. The cool tones of the evening light juxtaposed with the warm tones of the headlights made for a memorable photo.

I chose this photo not for the scenery, but the pure excitement it conveys. Leaning into a corner with some snow spray flung off the track, all the while with the OFSC permit is clearly displayed!

The Abitibi Canyon Dam in Cochrane, Ontario made for a killer backdrop on a trip we made out to Northeastern Ontario for another contest.  

Of all the photographs I’ve taken this one might capture the feeling of a cold morning the best. The ride was in Timmins and we were set to tackle The Gold Rush Tour later in the day. That morning was close to -30°C and the frozen ice crystals on the cowl of the 1200cc in the foreground perfectly illustrates those frigid temperatures.

This brings back memories of some of the most technical riding I’ve seen in Ontario. The project was to showcase off-trail riding in Wawa's backcountry, aka the Top Secret Boondocking Location. We brought in U.S mountain rider Stephanie Santeford to lead the trip. Here she was demonstrating a technique known as side hilling.

The Residence Inn Gravenhurst Muskoka Wharf is the star of this photo. Many accommodations in Northern Ontario are snowmobile-friendly and even provide priority parking for sleds.

Another photo from the Sault Trail Blazers shoot. This wider shot really shows the beauty of the trail system. While we like to showcase multiple sleds for the touring perspective, something about this spoke to me: “one rider, their machine, in search of adventure."

Although we took some heat on social media for this one (blocking the trail), it still remains one of my favorite winter landscapes. This was located in Cochrane, the ideal staging grounds for three of Ontario's best snow tours, where you're always going to find snow. We were up there as part of another contest ride: a lucky husband and wife had received a free weekend on the trails with sleds, lodgings, and food all taken care of.

I couldn’t have painted a better picture with a brush and an easel here. The sun popped up through the trees, just as our rider Ryan Tarrant blasted through the frame. The private trails at Horwood Lodge in Timmins provided this perfect moment. 

Another epic lookout thanks to a local ski resort hosting us after a day of riding in Ontario's Algoma Country. We were treated to a brilliant sunset, a rarity on any winter shoot.

A fresh track waiting to tear up some powder in Timmins.

The tunnel effect during the This is Winter project. We love a trail that says “endless roads,” and this photo captured that feel just perfectly.

One of the most scenic trail shots I can remember in Northern Ontario was from The Sault Trail Blazers Shoot in Sault Ste. Marie. 

They're calling for a return to classic Canadian winter this year, and I know I'm not the only one who's looking forward to documenting it. See you out there!

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