Growing old doesn’t mean you have to become boring and predictable—just ask Nycole Ross. This retired finance administrator only picked up on powersports a handful of years ago, but she’s been driving here, there and everywhere since—often with her gleeful grandkids right next to her.
Nycole grew up on the east coast, in Quebec. She moved to Prince George, B.C., in 1980 with her husband, Eric, and their newborn daughter. The couple now has three children and five grandchildren.
“In 2016 our plans changed—my husband suffered his second heart attack,” said Nycole. “We were planning to retire in the Okanagan within a few years and enjoy touring on our motorbikes by going south, but we decided to stay in Prince George, close to our family and friends—you know, just in case!”
“We needed a new adventure, and the mountains were calling.” — Nycole Ross — Photo courtesy Nycole Ross
Staying in Prince George turned out to be a wise decision for Nycole and Eric. Besides their close proximity to family, the couple were about to discover a bountiful playground of opportunity.
“We needed a new adventure, and the mountains were calling,” said Nycole. “We like to ride around Prince George, south towards Quesnel and west towards Vanderhoof. Lots of trails, forestry service roads and access to areas where we can go play for hours. It’s right out of my backyard.”
Prince George’s most popular destination to go for a ride is Tabor Mountain. Tabor Mountain has an extensive 407-kilometre multi-use trail system interlinking 27 staging areas. The Tabor Mountain trails are groomed and maintained by volunteers all year round as they are used for winter and summer recreational activities. You can also quad or snowmobile from Prince George to Wells in one day, which is about 155 kilometres each way.
Nycole’s side-by-side is something special. Her Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 X is outfitted with a winch, hard roof, front and back extended fenders, LED light bar, extra brake light and rear backup lights, rock guards/sliders, bottom doors, upgraded steering system, front and back bumpers, front and back windows, rear storage cargo box, upgraded tires, and a Garmin GPS. The Arctic Cat’s most recent addition came after an unforeseen diving expedition.
“We installed a DIY snorkel kit on the side-by-side after we swamped it last summer going through deep water,” said Nycole. “It was a beautiful day, exploring new trails with friends on the Gold Rush Snowmobile/ATV Trail around Helena Lake. They were eating our dust for most of the day, until they had to pull us back to camp. Then we were eating their dust. ‘Payback time,’ they said.”
Clubbin’ knows no age
“Membership with ATVBC has its privileges, as we get to meet new people and explore new trails all over B.C. every summer,” Nycole said. “Attending special events such as poker rides, pig roasts, meet-and-greet rides, group rides and other fundraising events has given us the opportunity to explore B.C. and its beautiful mountains. I travel with my hubby—my mechanic—and a few good friends that we met over the years while quadding. We have the same love: Discover B.C. and its beautiful landscapes.”
“I love the outdoors and I like to be in control of my own destiny. Don’t let your age stop you from living. Enjoy life. Live for today.” — Nycole Ross — Photo courtesy Nycole Ross
For Nycole, there are no greater ATVers to ride side-by-side than her grandchildren. Whether they’re right in the seat next to her or in the small ATV that Nycole and Eric bought for them, Nycole stressed the importance of building up that familial bond as early as possible.
“Start them young,” she said. “They just love it. We are creating memories and experiences together that they will remember forever.”
As much as Nycole loves riding with others, that’s not the only reason she took to ATVs, dirt bikes and snowmobiles. The combo of camaraderie, outdoor exploration, and freedom appeals to everything Nycole loves about powersports.
“I love the outdoors and I like to be in control of my own destiny,” said Nycole. “Don’t let your age stop you from living. Enjoy life. Live for today.
“ATVing is for women, too. Get out there and explore!”
ON OUR RAD RADAR:
Rider: Nycole Ross
Where: Prince George, B.C.
Bragging rights: Got into powersports as a senior citizen
Weapon of choice: Polaris Sportsman 1000 quad and Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 X side-by-side
Local ride recommendation: Tabor Mountain. “Lots of trails, forestry service roads and access to areas where we can go play for hours.” — Nycole Ross