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Lane Has Some Sort Of "Condition"

Published online: Mar 02, 2008 Column LANE LINDSTROM

I must be certifiable. Or addicted. Or something. I'm wondering if my "condition" is something I should be worried about. I don't think so but others who don't share the passion I have for snowmobiling might think so.

On a recent trip from Idaho Falls to the Midwest to participate in one of the Big Four's January sneak peek events where we get to see and ride next season's snowmobiles, I found myself gazing (more like intently studying) out the airplane window at the numerous mountain ranges we flew over.

            As the plane climbed out of Idaho Falls, it immediately flew over the Big Hole Mountains. As we headed west to east, then came the always majestic Tetons. That day these mountains were shrouded in a thick layer of clouds at the lower elevations but the upper reaches were bathed in the rising sun. Truly spectacular.

            Then came the Wind River Range. Then there was the Big Horns. The last mountain range that was visible and the last mountains of any significance were the Black Hills.

            As we flew over each range of snow laden mountains, there I was "mapping" out my route-by snowmobile of course-up through this or that drainage to the top of a particular ridge or plateau where there was acre upon acre of untouched powder. Untouched powder on mountains and ridges I imagine have never seen a snowmobile track.

            From my bird-in-the-sky vantage point thousands of feet in the sky, I could spot countless drainages, ridges, canyons and other awesome terrain features I would love to explore.

            I was mesmerized by the mountains and snow.

            I'm certifiable, aren't I? Definitely addicted. Wishing I was on the ground on a snowmobile tracking up all that untouched powder. Not on an airplane flying over it.

            I don't even know if snowmobiling is allowed in all those areas I saw from high in the sky (well, I know much of the Tetons are off limits to sleds) but it was fun to look, scout and map out potential routes in my mind.

            I find myself scouting potential riding areas whenever and wherever I travel-winter or summer-the season doesn't matter to me, in the West.

            I'll never ride a fraction of those areas (although I'm doing my very best to try) but I love to dream anyway. Lots of folks dream of lying on the sandy beaches of Hawaii or some exotic Caribbean island. Me, I dream of laying my sled down in the deep powder of the Wind Rivers or the Snowies or the Centennials or (insert most any western mountain range name here).

            I worked potential riding areas through my mind's eye until the mountains ran out. After we flew over the Black Hills, the landscape gradually gave way to the plains of South Dakota and the expansive Midwest.

            That's when I went back to reading