Brian Henderson’s love of snowmobiling started when he was two years old with his “first little kitty cat” snowmobile.
By the time he was nine, he was making regular trips up Mica Mountain.
“I started riding in the mountains when I was nine years old on a 1988 trail indy 440. My uncle Roger and a close cousin of mine, Derek Henderson, we’d always go up to the mountain together,” said Henderson, who was born and raised in 100 Mile House. “My uncle took us up every weekend when we were kids. It was something we just loved to do, we had such a big passion for the mountain, riding as kids.
“You got up there and you clear your mind for a day, you don’t think about anything else but what’s in the moment.”
Those trips continued throughout his teens and early 20s until Derek, who was 23 at the time, was killed on Christmas Eve in an avalanche on the mountain. Another good family friend, Travis Dillman, also died.
“It was an area we rode for years, a particular hill we played on as kids and it finally decided to break loose on Christmas Eve of 2007 and I lost both of those guys in that avalanche,” Henderson recalled.
The tragic loss prompted Henderson and his wife Tammy to get more heavily involved in the Mica Mountain Snowmobile Riders’ Association. A year after their deaths, Henderson was elected club president while his wife became treasurer and vice-president. The two of them wanted to carry on their friends’ legacy on Mica Mountain especially as the club was struggling at the time and Henderson felt it could use some younger blood to revitalize it.
The couple wasn’t alone in their endeavour. Henderson is quick to point out their success over the last decade is in large part thanks to the efforts of the club’s executive board.
Help came from club members like Jake Felce, who took over grooming the trails for the club for many years until his resignation this year. Pierre Dion, one of Henderson’s former snowmobile tutors and a past-president of the club, still donates his time and money as a member of the executive. With Felce’s retirement, Henderson said he and Dion have taken over the grooming of the trails.
The club typically relies on fundraisers to bring money into the association and keep it financially stable. As president, Henderson was able to work out several agreements with local forestry crews to not only groom their trails but grade the road leading to the Mica Mountain Rider’s parking lot, another project Henderson helped to bring to fruition. The club also bought a grader, run by club member Eric Whiles, to keep the road clear, while the parking lot they built allows riders to get 26 kilometres closer to the mountain by car than ever before.
“The club has gone ahead in leaps and bounds and is doing really well,” said Henderson, who worked in the logging industry for over 20 years before recently getting into the R.V. industry. “Between all those individuals that I mentioned, for the size of the club that we are, what we’re doing up on that mountain, there’s no other club in B.C. that’s doing what we’re doing. It’s a full-blown operation out there and we always felt it would be good to keep it going for our community.”
Henderson hopes to increase membership in the club this year and grow the sport he loves. Memberships are $150, which in addition to trail access, gives riders BC Snowmobile Federation liability coverage. He also requests people pay their day pass fees whenever they go up to Mica Mountain, as they’re currently using the honour system up there.
“This year has been a bit of a struggle because obviously, because of COVID, we can’t have our annual fundraisers to put some money back into the Mica Mountain account to keep us running for the season, so we’re trying to encourage people to buy their memberships,” he said.
For memberships or more information, the can be reached at www.micamountainriders.com.