North

Friends, bonding and a lot of grease at women's snowmobile repair course

The next time Megan Pizzo-Lyall’s snow machine breaks down while out on the land, she’ll know how to get her machine back up and running again thanks to a small engine repair course in Rankin Inlet.

'There was a sense of camraderie, togetherness, being able to feel comfortable,' says Megan Pizzo Lyall

A women's-only course for snowmobile repair taught the basics of keeping a sled running, an important skill in Rankin Inlet, where much of life happens out on the land. (Maro Simik / Submitted by Megan Pizzo-Lyall)

The next time Megan Pizzo-Lyall's snowmobile breaks down, she'll know how to get her machine back up and running again.

Pizzo-Lyall lives in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, where getting out on the land is a major part of life — whether its taking out the sled in the winter or the boat in summer. She's one of eight women in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, who finished an introduction to small engine repair course exclusively for women earlier this month. 

"It was really special, where this was all women," Pizzo-Lyall said.

Being in a course with other women made for a warm, welcoming, positive atmosphere, Pizzo-Lyall said.

"We became really close and there was a sense of camaraderie, togetherness, being able to feel comfortable, and learn about things that we never really learned before," she said.

Silu Ittinuar, left, Megan Pizzo-Lyall and Qovik Inukshuk take a selfie next to their sled. They learned everything they need to keep a sled in good condition. (Silu Ittinuar / Submitted by Megan Pizzo-Lyall)
 

There have been other courses on sled repair held in Rankin Inlet before, but this was the first one specifically for women, she said.

"The dynamic is a little bit different," she said. "Where it was just us women we were all pretty much on the same wavelength."

Pizzo-Lyall says she's never gotten into big trouble because of a broken sled. But while out on her first polar bear hunt, a belt on her snowmobile kept breaking and she needed help.

Now, she says she's able to handle those repair jobs on her own.

A look at the workshop where they held the training course in Rankin Inlet. (Submitted by Megan Pizzo-Lyall)
 

During this week's course, the women worked on sleds in a garage, checking oil, changing spark plugs, adjusting belts and clutches.

"I'm definitely satisfied. A whole bunch of us were satisfied. I think that we're all pushing to have an intermediate or advanced course," Pizzo-Lyall said. "It was really positive."

Written by Alex Brockman, based on an interview by Marc Winkler

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