Fall in Love with Snowmobiling
Some call it snowmobiling, but we call it sledding. Imagine hanging onto someone’s back, ripping along at high speeds, occasionally in the dark. These are some of my first memories on a sled. Not really my idea of fun, but for some reason I always went along, even though fear was at the forefront of my mind. What on earth was the appeal? How could someone enjoy hanging on to one of these heavy, noisy machines in the first place? What changed my mind?
It all started when I met this great guy, one of our first dates was a snowmobile outing. Just imagine how thrilled I was. Oh great, here we go again, I thought, hanging on to this beastly machine, with him in total control of my life, at break-neck speeds. Some mental preparation was involved, I told myself I can do this but I was definitely a little nervous. And then came the life changing moment. Andy was going to let me ride my own sled. First, how am I going to keep this thing on the trail without being sucked off into the deep, never-ending snow? Will I be stuck with no way out, while he is off having a blast? Or will I have to heave and pull and quickly become exhausted? Will I end up hating this sport even more? This wasn’t exactly meeting my expectations of a fun date! However, after being shown some tricks, something in me changed and I started enjoying getting out there and riding my own sled.
It was the beginning of a romance with both Andy, who is now my husband, and snowmobiling. Andy has been teaching people how to ride for years and has developed a bag full of tricks to make the journey enjoyable. Going right back to the basics, he taught me about body positions and where and why to utilize them. We would spend the day practicing throttle control, downhill turns, side hilling, and technical lines. If I didn’t want to be stuck up to my armpits in powder I would have to use these skills. I am not very big or very strong so I have to rely on these skills to get me places I want to go. This was a huge challenge for me, but one that I accepted and grew to love. It feels like I have found the perfect sport that keeps me challenged, and coming back for more, and I’m just lucky to live in the perfect part of the world for it.
Our sledding dates continued and now we both teach snowmobile clinics for Weir Boondocking. I understand how intimidating this sport can be, especially at first. I love these clinics because I can support and encourage the kind of growth I experienced through patience and determination. It’s amazing to watch a transformation in attitude and ability. From greeners to go getters! I’m so thankful that these skills I’ve developed have enabled me to thoroughly explore this beautiful place we call home, and teaching clinics has given us the ability to share it with the community we live in.
The last number of years have been a true adventure and sledding has turned into an unexpected passion for me. The places we have been, the epic scenery, the challenges, and the excitement, helps keep us alive and well. Not everyone enjoys sledding right away because there is a learning curve and some skill involved to it. However, you really don’t have to struggle and muscle the machine around and get stuck at every turn, if taught the proper techniques, sledding can be for everyone. I want people to know that it doesn’t have to be that hard. It really can feel more like riding a bike. So take the leap! Learn the proper technique and positioning, fast track the learning curve and fall in love with the backcountry that much faster.