‘A little taste of everything’

Riders hit the trail for the inaugural Prince Albert Winter Festival Snowmobile Rally following registration on Saturday, Feb. 16. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The weather leading up to the revitalized Prince Albert Winter Festival Snowmobile Rally couldn’t get much worse, but it helped create pristine conditions for those who took part in the event on Saturday.

Nearly 100 riders took part in this year’s event, which was organized by the Prince Albert Trail Riders Snowmobile Club. For organizers, all those cold, snowy days two weeks ago paid off with perfect conditions on Saturday.

“This is an absolutely perfect day,” Trail Riders president Gerry Dolezsar said. “It’s going to be like -15 C or -16 C. We’ve got lots of snow. Our trail that we’ve put together, some of it is groomed and some of it isn’t. We did that so guys will get a little taste of everything.”

An annual snowmobile rally used to be a winter festival mainstay. Past rallies were organized by the P.A. Snowrunners, a local club that started in the early 1970s and operated until five years ago.

This marks the third year the Trail Riders have organized a snowmobile rally in Prince Albert, but it’s their first time partnering with the winter festival. Dolezsar said they’re always looking to support local events or non-profits, so making the rally an official winter festival event was an easy decision.

“The timing seemed to work our really nice for us,” he explained. “The winter festival has a series of events and as part of your registration here we give you a button for the activities at the winter festival. That’s a big part of it. We’re supporting them while they help us.”

He also added that the event would not have gone far without strong support from the Prince Albert business community. Corporate sponsors provided everything from prizes to meals for riders taking part in the event. Their generosity means the proceeds from Saturday’s event will go towards maintaining the more than 50 km trail.

“We’re a fairly new club,” Dolezsar said. “Most of the other clubs have been around for 20 years or more. We’re kind of the babies here, so we really needed a lot of help from our corporate sponsors to get this thing up and running and they’ve come through to us very, very nicely.”

Editors Note: This article has been updated to include history on past rallies run by the P.A. Snowrunners.