Snowmobiling for a Cause

...and 'cause it's fun. The Annual Sled Ride of Hope draws riders to Muskoka and OFSC 7 trails to raise funds for Prostate Cancer Research.

Let’s face it, snowmobiling is all about good times: pristine trails, snow-laden trees, and the company of friends whose conversations typically swirl around daily mileage, latest gear, and the next adventure. What’s unlikely to be part of the conversation are facts like: prostate cancer is the most common cancer to afflict Canadian men; one in eight men will be diagnosed with the disease; 11 Canadian men will die of prostate cancer every day. Yes, life beyond the trail can be challenging for some. But we as snowmobilers can lend a helping hand; welcome to the 2017 Sled Ride of Hope.

Over the past 12 years, this event has become a must-attend charity event in Ontario, both for the experience it offers to the participants, and for its charitable success raising in excess of $200,000 to date.

Hosted at the beautiful Residence Inn Marriott Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst, a perfect location for a gathering of a hundred plus, offering easy highway access (two hours from Toronto), plenty of parking for trucks and trailers, super comfy accommodations, and most importantly, front door access to 1,200 km of Muskoka’s snowmobile trails, known as OFSC District 7 for you map collectors. As for the date, that’s easy: it's always on the Ontario Family Day weekend in February.

Good company, good trails, good cause; if that’s not enough to get you out there, please allow me to take you through a Sled Ride For Hope day with the helpful assistance from a handful of visual props.

Rise and Shine

If you’ve ever stayed at the Residence Inn Marriott in Gravenhurst, you will know that breakfast is included with your accommodations, and the help-yourself morning spread is laid out to make sure no one goes away hungry. Bellies full, 9 am, it’s time for the annual group photo.

Hit The Trail

What’s your riding pleasure? There’s a group for everyone. You can choose to take it easy and ride with the families, or pick up the pace with the advanced group, which mostly means a few more kilometres but less socializing. If this is your first time, there is a group for you too. In fact, if trying snowmobiling is on your bucket list, this is a perfect opportunity to rent a machine and join in the fun.

Sight Seeing

What’s a tour without a few points of interest? We make a couple of rest stops at some local hangouts. The Hill and Gully Riders of Port Sydney are having a BBQ and offering a glimpse into snowmobiling history, then a quick stop at the famous Fred’s Place warming shack.


Lunch is at The Hound Lounge in Baysville. The place is hopping, as you would expect it to be on a perfect bluebird Saturday. The walls are lined with racks full of helmets and the tables are full of good eats and smiles. Lunch stretches longer than it should, but this atmosphere is tough to leave.

Home Bound

After the morning’s trail ride and laughs over lunch, our group has bonded; this morning’s strangers now ride as friends. The group stretches out as the trail narrows and winds through the trees. We stop, regroup, and the laughs continue.

Let’s Party

Bring on the end of the day shenanigans: food, silent auction, prizes, and of course well-deserved thank-you’s all around. Another awesome Sled Ride of Hope event is in the books and another $21,000 in the coffers to help support Prostate Cancer Canada Network.

Next year’s Sled Ride of Hope is already on the calendar; you know the date, Family Day Weekend 2018. Bring your family and bring your friends, there’s a ride for everyone.

Snowmobiling might be all about the good times, but there is nothing that says you can’t have a good time for a good cause.

About Martin Lortz

Martin Lortz is a freelance photographer/writer specializing in the outdoor lifestyle. Whether he is covering adventure motorcycling, kayak fishing or family oriented outdoor pursuits, his passion for capturing the beauty of nature and the people that partake in it, is evident in his work. His photos and articles have appeared in magazines such as Ski Canada, Explore, Bike, Mountain Life, Couloir, Kayak Angler and Family Camping, as well as in calendars, catalogs and brochures.

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