January 1, 2009
Chris Burandt: j & l Train’s top 10
Last year in a column I wrote the top 10 reasons why I love snowmobiling. It was a fun article to write and I decided it would be cool to hear from you all on why you love this sport so much. Being the competitive person that I am, I of course had to set up a competition where the person (or in this case persons) with the best top 10 list would win a Slednecks Bomber coat. The response I got from you all was great and it was tough to pick just one winner. That was until I got this e mail form the dynamic duo of Jamie Petrick and Lane Pletan. Here is the letter and their top 10 list that earned them a spankin’ new Slednecks coat to rip through the pow with. Enjoy!
(Side Note: I actually had the pleasure of meeting these two diehards as they came down and rode with me on a trip with Burandt’s Back Country Adventure. It was one of the most fun trips of the year not just because of the incredible snow we had, but mostly because of the new friendships that were made. You guys will be my friends for life and can’t wait to see you this year again. You both are the true definition of “diehard snowmobilers!”)
I just picked up the new SledHeads mag (my favorite by the way) and read your article. It was good as always but I really enjoyed reading the Top 10 list. Dead-on! I had some time and a few ideas in my head so I decided to turn out a Top 10 list J&L Train style. Hope you like it... Lane and I talked a bit about our favorite things about sledding and came up with this.
We’ll have to fight over the jacket if you pick ours the winner. Enjoy:
J&L Train’s Top 10 Reasons We Love to Sled:
The Trips We can’t even tell you how much fun we’ve had on our sledding adventures. Our trips usually consist of the following: Trying to smoke cigars in the truck (not a good idea by the way…), stopping every hour to pee (dammit L-train, get a tank would ya?), eating crappy gas station food (not sure why Big Al’s pickled eggs looked good), listening to the half-ton Chevy downshift 300 times (Santa, this year I want a Duramax for X-Mas), catching each other knowing the words to songs we shouldn’t, going through all of our treats and getting cranky when they’re gone (work on it L-train), trying to watch scrambled TV in the hotel (yep, that scrambled TV), and being fully geared and sitting on our sleds two full hours before we meet the rest of our riding party (we get excited). The trips are legendary and something we look forward to all year. Nothing better!
The Night Before One of our favorites: we call this “Training.” This usually consists of the following: 1. Kicking the ladies out of the house (no distractions); 2. Ordering a pizza; 3. Calling the ladies back to the house briefly to mix us drinks; 4. Hitting the couch before the dogs get the good spots; 5. Attempting to watch all 14 sledding videos we own to complete the “training” regimen! At least a couple hours sleep before the big day rounds out the night before we’re up and off to the mountains!
The People We’ve met and/or talked to some of the most amazing people thanks to this sport. The Boondocker boys, the Krazy Canadian, Big Air Burandt, J Lowe, Flyin’ Joe, Bodazafa, Jim-Jim from the Gym… the list could go on and on. You guys are awesome and I’m honored to call you friends. Thanks for all of your help and patience with a couple of rookies. See you all on the hill (or in the tree on the way to the hill…sorry). And remember, J&L Train always buy steaks and beverages after the ride. It’s the least we can do for all the digging you’ll do on our behalf.
Garage Time Now for most people this means putting some serious time in working on their sled. Since we’re the equivalent of 2 chimps in a spelling bee when it comes to wrenching on our sleds, our definition of garage time is somewhat different. Our version is telling our wives we’re “cleaning the garage,” putting on all of our gear (even the beacon for some reason) and jumping back and forth on our sleds pretending to side hill. We’re two of the best garage riders of all time, trust us.
Computer Time Can’t beat SnoWest and good ol’ email during the warmer months. We’ve learned a ton from the forums and can now at least sound like we know what we’re talking about. Can’t say thank you enough to everyone who’s helped us out. We still have no idea what most of you are saying but we’ve learned to talk the talk to our other friends and family members. They think we’re sledding geniuses so play along if you run into them.
The Trail Up Alright, alright, stop throwing things at me! I’m just kidding of course. Although riding of any kind is better than almost anything, we view the trail as a necessary evil to get to the good stuff. They’re long, bumpy, and make our sleds overheat…we don’t get along very well. However, you can’t usually unload in two feet of fresh and rip up the hill right off the trailer. So Mr. Trail, we salute you as well. Keep getting us to the sweet stuff and we’ll make this relationship work.
Pow, Pow, Pow Can anyone think of anything better than tipping your sled up on one ski in two feet of fresh powder? Didn’t think so. This sport is one of the most addicting things we’ve ever tried and it absolutely couldn’t be done without the deep stuff. For crying out loud, even getting stuck in the stuff for an hour is fun somehow. I bet we’re not the only ones checking Snotel every night to see if our prayers were answered. Gotta love the deep stuff.
God’s Country Some of the most beautiful places on this planet can only be viewed properly with the help of a good mountain sled. Few things can beat taking a break after two hours of hard riding and eating a sandwich with a view from 9000 ft. For us, it’s usually time to realize how lucky we are. Some of the places we’ve ridden seem like they were made just for snowmobiling. We tip our hats to the mountains everywhere. Let’s keep our riding areas open!
The Machines Good God these things are getting ridiculous. We started out on a 1978 Yamaha 292 and a horse-drawn Polaris, thinking that these things were the greatest sleds on the planet. Sure, you could get stuck in six inches of snow and they came without any suspension whatsoever, but it was a sled and we were riding. Fast forward to today, we now own M8s with a few goodies on them and these sleds are amazing. Only today’s technology could make a couple yahoos like us look like we know what we’re doing. Climbing, racing, flying, boondocking, these things can do it all and make it look somewhat easy. Stock 150 hp from a machine that weighs less than 500 lbs? Sign us up. Then the fun begins as words like turbo, pipes, cans, nitrous and race gas are thrown around. Yee haw!
The Smiles If you want to put a smile on your face, hop on a mountain sled and hit the hill. You can be as tired and beat up as you’ve ever been on the ride home after a day of mountain riding and I bet you still have a huge smile on you’re face, right? Our advice would be to give this sport a try if you haven’t already. We ride in the West Yellowstone area so look us up if you need some riding buddies. Grab your sled, hit the mountain and get ready for the time of your life.