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Famous Snowmobile Family Ride To Thunder Bay: Decker Sno-Venture Tours

by Scott A. Sumner
     It was my pleasure to meet and talk to Richard ( Dick) and Audrey Decker of Eagle River WI, who own Decker Sno-Venture Tours. The Decker family bought the Eagle River World Championship track in 1985 with their son Chuck taking it over in 1991. Eagle River is known as the World Snowmobile Headquarters and has held the famed Amsoil Eagle River World Championship Snowmobile for the past 48 years  “ We just held the Amsoil World Championship and the Vintage event on two weekends with great weather.  This year we had over 1000 entries in the Vintage weekend alone. It is becoming so strong. We are building up to our 50th event in 2 years time.” said Dick Decker.
   Audrey and Dick Decker focus mostly on the snowmobile tour business now. “ This is our 31st year in doing the tours, but we have been snowmobiling long before that even. This is the first time we will do the complete Lake Superior circle tour.  I believe this is the first time anyone on snowmobiles has done it as a group. The logistics and accommodations are kinda tough but I am glad we are doing it. We had 33 people sign up for the tour but I didn’t want to take that many because we didn’t know what to expect. It is going well and will be on our schedule next year.” said Dick Decker.
    Their trip started in Eagle River WI and went to Ashland WI, some 192 miles the first day. “ It was a long day with good snow conditions until we got into Ashland which wasn’t as good. Then we went to Two  Harbours the next day, Two Harbours to Hungry Jack’s and then Hungry Jack’s to Kakabeka Falls. So far we have 660 miles on the trip. There are 20 riders on the trail riding and Audrey drives the support truck. We have riders from Florida, Illinois, Iowa with 7 states represented overall,” said Dick Decker. “ I can't believe how good the trails were
on the Thunder Bay Adventure Trails. The conditions were warm but the trails were excellent. Those guys are just doing a perfect job. I was really impressed with the trails. We may have been the first on them. We've been  up to Ontario for years and they have a great  system, do a great job of grooming and the trails are not too busy during the week. We love Ontario and have done a lot of good sledding here. We all bought the week trail permits right here.”
    After a good nights rest at the Kakabeka Falls Hotel the group we up early and on the trials around 7am. “We’re going to Nipigon by snowmobile today and will stay there overnight. We were going to go along the lake to Marathon but they are advising us not to due to snow
conditions so we will go up to Long Lac, stay overnight and then across to Chapleau and then drop down to Wawa.  Then we will head south and cross the border at Drummond Island and go to St Joe, then Detour and back along Michigan to Eagle River,” said Dick Decker. “  It will be a 12 day tour in total and we will put on close to 2000 miles. Normally
we package a tour like this with everything included but we didn’t know what to expect this year so we charged a fee of $695 to sign on and they paid for their own accommodation and meals.”

    “  Audrey and I are not too young at almost 80 years old but I will never retire. I love snowmobiling and the people. Snowmobilers are a unique group whom role with the punches and I love being with them. I’ll do it as long as I can get my leg over the seat. I’ll be out riding with them!” smiles Dick Decker.

   “  All of our 4 boys wanted to snowmobile and race. We had Team Decker then and bought the World Championship track from the Lions Club, which was getting too big for them. Allen and Mike raced for Bombardier factory with the twin tracks,” said Audrey Decker. “  I love
the sport. I am reduced now to driving the truck because no one wants to it.  We  oncecarried a flag from President Reagan to Prime Minister Trudeau at the start of the first festival in Valcourt where we snowmobiled from Minneapolis to Valcourt.”

   Audrey and Dick do about 6 to 8 tours public and many private tours each year now. “ When we get home from this trip we’ll do the laundry and be off to Jackson Hole Wy 5 days later.  Then we go to New Mexico to snowmobile with Bobby Unser for a few days. He is a real gentleman. My favorite place to ride though is Iceland.” smiles Audrey Decker who was the first women inducted in the Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame.

    As a snowmobile enthusiast it was my pleasure to meet Audrey and Dick Decker. It will be fun to visit them during the 49th Amsoil World  Snowmobile Championship next year.

   For further information on Decker Sno-Venture Tours visit

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Scott Sumner