Megan Render: For Love of the Climb

When 4-year-old Megan MacDougall climbed onto a snowmobile for the first time, she never thought she would be the first woman to climb some of the biggest chutes in Revelstoke, B.C. Or that she would be sought after by filmmakers and some of the biggest brands in snowmobiling. Or that she would be looked up to by a whole new generation of snowmobile riders.

She just knew that sledding was pure fun and that in it, she had found her passion.

While the now Megan Render, an Up North Sports sponsored athlete, has achieved a level of fame most snowmobilers never dream of, some things never change: It’s still all about the fun.

“The day it becomes not fun for me anymore is the day I’ll really have to reassess what I’m doing,” she says.

Fierce from the Start

There were signs of the fearless rider Megan would become with that very first ride on the Sno-Scoot her dad brought home for her and her sister. Calmly sitting on the back (and not holding on), her dad directed her to ease into the throttle.

“I pinned it, knocking him off the back end,” Megan remembers with a laugh.

She and her sister spent their childhood exploring the flat prairie land of their Lashburn, Saskatchewan, home by snowmobile. When she was in college, she bought her own sled, a 2008 Rev XP.

“It was brand new and my pride and joy!” Megan says. “It felt amazing to be able to pay for my own sled.  I worked hard for it. While most people always assumed that my daddy or a boyfriend bought me all the stuff I have acquired in life, I take great pride in knowing that I did it on my own. I sacrificed summers and weekends working my butt off.”

Greater Heights


As Megan became more advanced in her riding, she started riding with a group of guys who were into chute climbing. Not one to be content watching from the bottom, Megan bought a new T-Nytro sled (affectionately nicknamed “Pinky”) in 2011 and started climbing.

Chute climbing is a sport that intimidates even some of the most seasoned snowmobile riders. Chutes are steep, vertical crevices in a mountain. Riders can encounter rocky terrain, unknown snow and ice conditions, and sharp curves as they try to maneuver their snowmobile over the mountain.

Megan started by taking on some of the smaller chutes on Turtle Mountain in Revelstoke, B.C., eventually graduating to the Airport chutes before becoming the first woman to conquer Swenny Street. The chute was renamed Megs Street as a result.

All of this led up to her climb of The Monster. Prior to her climb, there had been a huge thread on the SnoWest Snowmobile Forum about who would be the first female over the chute.

“I tried it and didn’t make it,” Megan says. “I ended up making it a month later. It was pretty amazing. To be the first one is cool. It made my name, I guess. We were screaming, hugging. It was such a great feeling.”

She has now climbed more steep, snow-filled chutes than any other woman to date. See her in action in this video of her climbing one of the Bullpen Chutes in Revelstoke:

For Megan, there is nothing like that moment of reaching the top of a chute.

“I go crazy, I’m not going to lie,” Megan says. “I’m screaming, jumping. If you’re not going to get excited at the top, why do it?”

For Megan, snowmobiling has always been about challenging herself—whether anyone is there to witness her successes or not.

“I just do it for myself,” she says. “I don’t care if anyone else is there.”

Unexpected Celebrity

Be that as it may, plenty of people ARE watching. I offered her a sponsorship from my then-employer 509 after personally witnessing her Swenny Street climb. Since then, the sponsors have been lining up. In addition to 509 and Up North Sports, she is also a sponsored athlete for FXR, Highmark by Snowpulse, Boost-It Turbo, Bow Ridge Sports, BKG Powder Coating, Sound Obsessions, and Racers Edge.

She’s also been approached to be in movies and even appeared in Krazy Canadian Adventures 4.

“I did it a little, and it was fun,” she says. “I may pursue it, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s not my dream.”

Woodworking, Dirt Biking, and Surfing with a Dog


After all, she has plenty of other hobbies to keep her busy. For starters, she is a self-taught furniture builder, a talent she discovered after building her first home.

“I was down about the cost of furniture,” she says. “Any kitchen table I even kind of liked was $3,000, and that wasn’t even full wood. So I googled it and found a plan online.”

Megan is particularly proud of the outdoor sectional she built. The picture has “gone crazy” online, particularly on Pinterest.

Of course, most of her hobbies are of the outdoors variety. She enjoys wake surfing and can often be found enjoying the sport with her dog, Foxy, on board—literally.

megan render wake surfing

Most recently, she’s taken up dirt biking, a sport that helps her stay in shape for snowmobiling season.

“I’m slowly getting into it,” she says. “Just basics, not jumps. I can’t hurt myself for snowmobling!”

Breaking Stereotypes

Clearly, snowmobiling is her first and still biggest love. But being a woman in a predominately male sport hasn’t come without some struggles.

Megan first encountered the stigma against female riders when she was just a girl. Her father had taken her and her sister to Turtle Mountain, the very place she would eventually start her chute climbing adventures. With their helmets and gender-neutral attire, no one could tell they were girls…until they took off their helmets.

“My dad was talking to a local guy when we took off our helmets,” Megan says. “He said ‘Those girls have no business being here.’ Being a little kid, I was just like, ‘But I’ve been here before!’”

She continued to battle stereotypes as she advanced in the sport. When she purchased her Nytro sled, many, including the rather large man who sold it to her, asked what she was doing with such a big sled. And while she was getting used to the machine, she added a left-hand throttle, which led people to say she wasn’t a “true rider.”

“There’s always going to be people who have something to say,” she concludes. “I’m pretty sensitive, so I do take it to heart, but people in the industry have been very supportive, and I don’t like being told what I can’t do.”

She’s had plenty of positive feedback , too, to help counteract the criticism.

“Quite a few girls tell me I’m an inspiration to them,” Megan says. “That’s nice to hear. I really do it for the love of the sport, to push people out of their comfort zones.”

Keep On Keeping On


She’s not just inspiring young women but a whole new generation of sledders, including her own family.

“When my nephew comes out, it reminds me of being a kid,” she says. “Sometimes as adults, we can be snow snobs, but he just wants to ride, ride, ride. Watching him do it reminds me why we do it and to not be so stuck up about the conditions.”

Looking into the future, she doesn’t have any big plans other than to maintain that child-like enthusiasm for the sport she loves.

“I just want to learn new things,” she says. “I started learning tricks last year. Re-entries, bigger jumps. I just want to have fun and inspire people.

I can’t stop, won’t stop. It’s my passion, for sure. It’s everything I think about.”

And that’s why Up North Sports is proud to support Megan Render as one its sponsored snowmobile riders.

Shop Megan’s Favorite Gear:


Company Information

Up North Sports
2000 Division St W
Bemidji, MN 56601

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