Snowmaggedon

by Willy Williamson . Mar 15 2019
Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free PressFor this year’s Manitoba Winter Mega Run, the Ostacruiser team brought out their Sherp, an off-road beast built in Russia and bought in Manitoba.

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free Press

For this year’s Manitoba Winter Mega Run, the Ostacruiser team brought out their Sherp, an off-road beast built in Russia and bought in Manitoba.

Hundreds of hearty souls enjoyed a day of fun in the snow last Saturday at the 10th annual Manitoba Winter Mega Run.

The event, which takes place on Crown land near Seddons Corner, about 15 kilometres east of Beausejour, attracts a wide variety of off-road enthusiasts and their machines. This year’s lineup included lifted trucks, SUVs, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles with studded tires and even a couple of garden tractors fitted with ATV tires for added traction.

Perhaps the most unique vehicle to make the scene belongs to Dave Ostapiw, the star of the popular Ostacruiser YouTube channel, which has more than 500,000 subscribers and a huge variety of supremely entertaining videos with tens of millions of combined views.

Ostapiw journeyed here from Prince Albert, Sask., towing his Sherp, a hulking go-anywhere beast. “They are built in Russia,” Ostapiw says. “They float, so you can drive it across a lake. It can break through the ice, then crawl back out. They are like a cheat code for off-roading.”

The Sherp dealer he bought it from is actually right here in Winnipeg, on the north Perimeter Highway. Ostapiw brought the Sherp back to Manitoba and to the Mega Run in 2018, and had so much fun he had to return.

“Last year was our first, and we had such a great time. There was no way we were going to miss it this year,” says Ostapiw, who also brought along his famous Can-Am Outlander quad on tracks, which is aptly nicknamed Yeti for its mountain-climbing prowess.

It was a lot of fun listening to Ostapiw talk about his many adventures — he’s a terrific ambassador for the off-road hobby and judging by the crowd he drew whenever he made a stop, it’s a safe bet he has many Manitoba YouTube subscribers. “We started out in 2006 with Land Cruisers (Toyota) and I bought my first Polaris Sportsman in 2007 and it’s been quads and side-by-sides ever since,” Ostapiw says, “It’s been insane — we are having way too much fun.”

Following a big breakfast, my friends and I departed from my shop at 10:30 a.m. and arrived at the pits just before noon and the big rush. Because of the huge amount of snow on the trail, it was slow going to reach the bottom of the bowl where we wanted to set up, but my buddy Marty did a great job wheeling the Snowdrifter while I snapped photos. Once we arrived, the kids on our team built a toasty bonfire and we had a front-row seat for a terrific day of non-stop action. Getting stuck was pretty much inevitable, but there was always another helpful driver ready to lend a hand. My buddy Jayman McLeod’s son Devon, who drives a massive GMC Suburban, was hopping all day and towed out more than 30 different vehicles — Scooter definitely lived up to his nickname. He did manage to get stuck, though, and was rescued by a tiny Toyota pickup!

According to the event’s main organizer, Steve Rempel, who we met up with on the trail on the way out, the day was a total success and he’s already looking forward to making the 2020 Manitoba Winter Mega Run even bigger and better.

If you want to check out some amazing video from the day, search for Ostacruiser on YouTube, he’s already got some great footage of the two young dudes crawling through the snow on their garden tractors!

willy@freepress.mb.ca

Ostacruiser’s Dave Ostapiw

Ostacruiser’s Dave Ostapiw

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free PressThis rig, complete with Remote Area Services graphics, brought a bit of Churchill to Seddons Corner.

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free Press

This rig, complete with Remote Area Services graphics, brought a bit of Churchill to Seddons Corner.

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free PressThat hill is much steeper than it looks.

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free Press

That hill is much steeper than it looks.

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free PressDevon McLeod helped out his fellow off-road enthusiasts when they got stuck, with a massive Chevrolet Suburban.

Willy Williamson / Winnipeg Free Press

Devon McLeod helped out his fellow off-road enthusiasts when they got stuck, with a massive Chevrolet Suburban.

David MussoA drone equipped with a camera shows one of several areas near Seddons Corner where off-road enthusiasts met up.

David Musso

A drone equipped with a camera shows one of several areas near Seddons Corner where off-road enthusiasts met up.