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
The four sponsored T&T sleds for 2011.
Betties 2012 Arctic Cat Proclimbs
T&T is a family operated business, here they are taking care of business as usual.
The T&T Crew at the Open House in 2010. Three of us headed there to help out and to pick up our new sleds for the 20111 season.
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.
The Edmonton Snow Show is an event we all look forward to and one that brings us together at least once a year! We'll have our Bucket Draw again this year...with proceeds going to the CAC.
Ladies Rides are a great source of support and fun for new and experienced riders. A dozen of us took in the Revy Ladies Ride in March this year...and were welcomed by four feet of fresh snow!!!
Snow and dirt...and anything in between. It's a thrill to have like-minded people come together that enjoy the same activities and mind set...regardless of age or ability!
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…
Generally jobs are shared with our significant others, but know what each person does so you're prepared if they aren't there.
This year's solo trip to Revy. It was a good trip to be prepared.
Being well prepared means you'll make it to the parking lot, and up to the mountains!
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.
My first ride on a sled with my dad when I was one.
This year, with my dad.
One of my first rides on this year's Proclimb provided by T&T Power Sports in Bonnyville.
My success when Tam was teaching me the 'j' hook
Me sitting back and soaking up the views and enjoying my Bettie experience on my first trip alone.
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.
I’m from Kaslo BC. Outdoor Toys have always been a part of my life, as they are with most people out here in the Kootenays. About three years ago I was bitten by the sled bug, and I haven’t looked back. The rush and joy I experience from Jumping, climbing and playing is something that is indescribable. Each outing is something fresh and new.
In September of 2011 I went through knee surgery. I had damaged my mcl and torn my meniscus. A few pins to hold my knee together then I was playing the waiting game. It was a gruelling six weeks of waiting combined with physio. I couldn’t wait to get back riding again. Then it was on. We had a great start to the season until I had an accident. I split my knee cap open on my running board. Yes it was my bad knee. It seems like that is always the way with me. The knee that gets it, is always my weak one. This time it was only three weeks of healing.
I’m back at it again with the help of my supportive amazing husband. He is my cheering squad and my inspiration. He encouraged me to keep going even when I was ready to give up due to injury. He is a kind and patient teacher. My best friend. I’m a wife and a mother, first and foremost, but when I’m out on my ride “Cali” I’m a sled head, and damn proud to be a Female Rider in BC!
Katie is our only child. She is 14 and can be my little tomboy helping me work on things in the garage but also can dress up in a prom dress if you know what I mean. She is in Grade 9 and is in Jazz, Hip Hop and Ballet dance this year. This is the first year we have had two sleds. Every time we go out she impresses me with how quickly she is learning. Since she is so new at this I'm waiting to see if she keeps an interest in sledding or if she will find "boys" and forget all about it. It will be a sad day for me if she gives up sledding all together but I was young once too so understand if it happens. If she can find a balance of both I can see upgrading her sled to more of a mountain sled rather than a trail sled. She is always hesitant and nervous (which is a good thing) yet she surprises me with the things she wants to try. I give her as much guidance and instruction as I can as often as I can but ultimately it is up to her whether she wants to do whatever I am trying to help her with. Navigating over a fallen tree or going down a steep trail for example. More often than not she is a trooper and will try- we have a very strong trust bond. She may doubt herself but she trusts me that I'm telling her she is capable of the task, if you know what I mean.
So far we have only had one scary moment where she misjudged her speed and came in way too hot. She kept control of the sled and rode it out (she never gave up) She slid the sled sideways to a stop and came within 5 feet of a closed gate. The first thing she said is she felt bad. Thought I would be disappointed with her. The dangers of sledding became all to real and at that moment I wanted to load the sleds up and sell them. The "what if" plays in my mind over and over again. The conditions played a factor. It was warm out and the snow was sloppy.We both learned a lesson that day. We really enjoy our time together. The drives out and back we get to spend some one on one time which is really nice. We make each other laugh constantly by goofing off. She brings her I Pod and plugs it into the truck radio and we listen to what ever is on it. Lately its been Johnny Cash! :-)We have a routine where we get some treats for the trip. Cooking Pogo's in our Muffpots during the Sled ride and stopping for some beef jerky on the way home.Although we don't go near avalanche territory we have recently purchased beacons, probes and shovels. We have been to one Avalanche course and will take more. Maybe one day we will get into more advanced areas and when we do we will be prepared.
That is the million dollar question. I, for one, believe it is a combination. Certainly today’s technology manufacturing lighter more nimble (notice I didn’t say flickable) chassis, creates a riding experience we would never have even dreamed about 15 years ago. I think back to 1998, I was on a little 121” ZR 500.. i thought it was the bomb.. but it was a very limited sled. I figured that I should have gone Powder special with a long track.. a big bad 136.. lol.
The sled must mesh with the rider. If an individual is continually fighting her sled, even the simplest of tasks will seem insurmountable. Fine tuning a rider’s suspension for her specific weight and riding style goes a long way in providing a comfortable and enjoyable ride. A 5’5” woman will not have the same bar height, and shock suspension as her 225lb 6’3 husband, yet quite often we see women with their husband’s hand me down sled struggling to enjoy the white gold in front of them. Sometimes you’ll outgrow a chassis, realizing that what you want to do, and what you can do on a specific sled will not happen. It could be track length, cc’s, or overall chassis design, but it is up to the rider at that point, to decide what is best for her. I fought with my last sled, it was a great ride for the time that I had it, but I got to a point when I struggled to ride it, like my mind said I should. Getting on a new chassis helped me to gain confidence, and execute moves I doubted I could on my old sled. Try a variety of sleds out and get a feel for which chassis is best for you. When you do decide upon your ride, take the time to set the suspension up for your height and weight. It will make all the difference in the world.
Everyone gets them. Sometimes we are put into situations that are out of our comfort zone. Riding a new area, riding with new group of people, or even just beginning to ride, those jitters are sure to creep up from time to time. A couple Sunday's ago I had the grand daddy of all Jitters. I was to compete in the Meteor Mine Hill Climb event by Nelson BC. I had never entered this type of event before so it had me more than a little rattled. How did I cope? I used a method tried and tested by myself, and it all goes back to visualization.
Long story short.. I got to feel it all. On my first run I made it up and over, second time around I had to stick Chuck Norris at the very top of the chute. No harm no foul. I was proud of myself and thankful that I had he opportunity to go over, but also to confront the challenge of not making it up. I learned a lot and will try again next year, with a little more experience under my belt. It was a wonderful day that I will remember forever.
- Set a goal for myself. My goal was one which was attainable and confidence boosting. Even though it was a timed event, I had nothing to prove. I wanted to make a clean Run up and Over.
- Visualization. In this stage I pictured myself going over the top. I visualized this till I could feel it in my mind and body.
- I confronted my fear. What is the worst case scenario? I didn’t make it. I’d have to stick Chuck, or chuck would come tumbling down.. Each worst case scenario I pictured and then tossed them aside. I am not going to fight the fear till it fatigues me, I’m going to face each challenge with a solution. If I didn’t make it... I’ll stick Chuck and then get some help down. No shame in trying, there would be nothing to feel embarrassed about. Ego is what creates failure. Ego trying to convince you that you must be “the best” in each thing you do. Ego that spurs humiliation. The egoic Mind is what paralyzes us, in the face of challenge. Simply do your best.
- Focus on the fun part. All the hugs and wonderful people, compiled with the laughter were such a huge part of the success of that day. My wonderful Bettie Sister Ju gave me nothing but Love and confidence. Surround yourself with people who love you.
The starting gate
Trish going through the course
Trish, heading up the hill....
Trish, almost to the top...and yes, she makes it! Her first hillclimb event!