Living in one place with your heart in another is a feeling that Joe Ritchot of De Winton, Alberta, knows well.
He and his family count the days till they can reunite with their heaven on earth found conveniently in the East Kootenay of British Columbia. Ritchot, his wife, Taryn, and their three children are an active family who enjoy nothing more than connecting with the British Columbian great outdoors.
One of the Ritchots' side-by-sides takes on a mud hole. — Joe Ritchot photo
“The ATV trails around Galloway and the Bull River area are endless," said Ritchot. "The scenery, the fresh air and the fantastic adventures we have keep us coming back for more.” It is not uncommon for Ritchot to whisk away his son, Rhede, age nine, at a moment’s notice and head out for a spontaneous fishing trip to Baynes Lake in the Kootenays.
The Ritchot family knows not only where to find the trout, but also some of the local cabins. — Joe Ritchot photo
Accessing remote backcountry lakes with his Polaris RZR 4 topped with a fishing boat allows the Ritchot family to experience some of the best trout fishing some only dream about.
Considered the “cool” family, the Richots enjoy taking their children’s friends along on their adventures, knowing that what they will experience in nature makes any sort of urban activity pale in comparison.
The Ritchot family with a few friends — Photo courtesy Joe Ritchot
“Children need nature,“ Ritchot said. “Being able to ride their own machines gives them a sense of independence and responsibility that they can use later on in life.” Ritchot is on to something, as many powersports parents agree their children become more responsible and aware drivers later on in life when the time comes for them to get their automobile licence after learning how to ride ATVs and dirt bikes. They are used to driving defensively and are very aware of their surroundings.
“My children know riding powersports is a privilege, and they must always ride responsibly, wearing all safety equipment, or they will lose that privilege,” Ritchot explained.
Christmas for the Ritchot family is one that includes not only the usual yuletide festivities but also something a little more in the form of horsepower. Family snowmobile rides on the endless trail systems around their family cabin near Galloway bring lasting memories and quality family time each Christmas. Ritchot also likes to slip away for a little bit of dad sledding time, enjoying the areas up Little Sands on his 2015 Ski-Doo T3. The mountains of the East Kootenays are their own winter wonderland paradise.