It is the only snowmobile trail in the province that has an extensive educational component and it is the reason why a bona fide social media influencer came to make a video of her sledding experience.
What’s a social media influencer anyway? By definition it is someone who has established credibility in a specific marketplace, has access to a huge audience and can persuade others to act based on their recommendations.
Yes, they get paid by companies, brands, and services and promote sponsored clothing and equipment. They need to create content and video is now the way to reach segmented consumers by age.
Alexis Outdoors is one of them.
First meeting; it was cold out, there was to be no standing around and Alexis (Careena) was on time, geared up and ready for the three-day adventure.
“Snowmobiling is a new and growing passion of mine and is such an exciting way to explore deep into the wilderness," she said. "It's also a fantastic way to enjoy the longest and arguably most beautiful season we have here in Canada.
"This tour in particular shows off some of the most incredible and historic points of interest in the Northeastern Ontario region and is a fantastic peek into the history of both the indigenous people of the region and others!
“Spending time in the great outdoors is our most fundamental human right, and it is where we are simply meant to be! The connection you find with nature while leaving behind the stresses of everyday life is crucial to maintaining a healthy balance in the way we live.”
Careena is the real deal, the kind of person you would take on an extended trek, there was no whining, that is an experiential Back Roads compliment.
Jeff McGirr co-created this snow tour but the destinations are four seasons in nature via non-motorized and motorized recreational users. He is a power sport and outdoors enthusiast, District Sales Manager Yamaha Motor Canada, Director, Bonfield Snowmobile Club – OFSC Club Volunteer for more than 20 years and Journalist /Media Producer.
The Tour was co-created in 2015 and officially ready for the 2015-2016 snowmobile season and has increased in popularity each year, it had never really been widely promoted McGirr says snowmobilers were quick to latch onto the tour, “posting photos of themselves at the points of interest as well as recommending other snowmobilers experience the destinations.”
“I had the idea that we should partner and create a documentary, wanted to do something different from your traditional promotional video, after all the Explorers Snow Tour teaches you a tremendous amount, because of the rich educational value of the tour, the shared natural, geographical, historical and mythical knowledge of Backroads Bill Steer about each Point of Interest (POI)," McGirr said.
"It was felt that the audience for this documentary would be much wider than just snowmobilers, snowmobiling is just as much about the ride as it is the destinations and the Explorers Snow Tour delivers both an incredible ride and amazing destinations, destinations include the communities and services like restaurants, fuel stations and hotels – this is all part of the experience and tour – the area is truly best in world-class when it comes to welcoming snowmobilers, the other three seasons the North Bay – Bonfield and Mattawa region are known for great off-road and on-water adventures."
McGirr believes in the area.
“The Explorers Snow Tour is a great way to get outdoors, to learn and of course have fun on a snowmobile, I hope the project inspires people to come to the area and visit, to stay a few days and take it all in and hopefully we will see some existing outdoors lovers take up or get back into the sport of snowmobiling after all winter is guaranteed here in Northern Ontario and snowmobiling is a great way to experience winter,” he says.
“Many of the POI’s can be visited by ATV, SXS (side by side), motorcycle, hiking and mountain bicycle; this is where Alexis Outdoors came in, she has a tremendous following on social media, especially YouTube and produces inspiring videos about experiencing the outdoors, part of her goal is to encourage everyone especially woman and young persons to get there and learn about the great outdoors," he added.
"Of course, the video couldn’t be completed without Bill Steer the co-creator and documenter of each POI."
A little bit about Trevor Beard, he is the Executive Director of Northeastern Ontario Tourism dedicated to promoting the region as a premier travel destination. This region encompasses all communities within the Districts of Nipissing, Sudbury, Timiskaming and Cochrane.
Trevor grew up in South Porcupine and after a decade in Toronto, that was enough, “The north was calling!”
“Jeff approached me with an idea to film a mini-doc type film of the Explorers Snow Tour loop, the history that shaped the trail. Hearing this I thought it would be a great idea to also loop in Tourism North Bay and make North Bay home base for riders who want to put some kilometres on, take in the sight of the loop and then enjoy some quality cuisine that North Bay has to offer." Beard said.
"Having seen the work of Alexis Outdoors I thought she would be a perfect fit for this piece, after all, she is Alexis Outdoors," he added. “One of the desired outcomes from this project is to have a great piece of content to promote this snowmobile loop that has some of the most stunning views in the Northeast. Tapping into Alexis Outdoors’ social media audience will help amplify this and hope to see an increase in snowmobile tourism next season.”
This 234-km loop, located east of North Bay, links and surrounds the Mattawa River with the Town at the far east end and loops around to Bonfield, southwest of the river, as destinations; it visits the ten POI while travelling an adventurous mix of TOP Trails and club trails, including sections of the popular Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System.
I GPS’d and digitally mapped the original trail system more than 20 years ago. To find the tour go to the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs website, snow tours and Northeastern region. In the legend, click on the attraction box and then the binoculars on the map. The next closest is Wolf Mountain north of Lake Wanapetei.
See Alexis on her YouTube channel here is the teaser trailer. Can’t wait to see it, more outdoors influence is in the making by this icon. A camp badge may have been earned by Back Roads Bill, scouts honour.
“I had an amazing time on this trip with Back Roads Bill! He is a wealth of knowledge! I learned so much from him in just a short amount of time, from learning about the history behind each and every point of interest we visited, to how he points out fascinating signs throughout nature, such as the bear claw marks on the smooth bark of the old-growth Beech trees! All the while, being a kind and fun character to add some great camaraderie to our group! Thanks so much, Back Roads Bill!!”
The outdoors has always created opportunities to share. It was on the snowmobile, off-again, set up for shots and recording talking heads, three days of pleasurable time; work never crossed my mind.
Time has passed by, I had never visited all ten locations on a snowmobile and this year there has been more than enough time on a sled; with two other adventures, Breaking trail in search of the place a great Leaf fell and A trek to remote pictographs leads off the back roads and inward.
It was satisfying to see, firsthand, the reading of the signs and the posting of photos at the POI by trail riders; the educational theme works; snippets of prose that facilitates, “I didn’t know that” responses. Being with Alexis was more than fun enough, the natural context said so. Now, if I could only figure out how to become an influencer on the back roads?
Watch the video posted by Alexis Outdoors below.