October 20, 2009

Together We Ride



Then we eat, tell stories, and have fun

Tasty warm meal(EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of its participation at the Utah Snowmobile Show, the Davis County Snowflakes earned the right to have one of its club rides featured in SnoWest Magazine.)

Driving south from the Salt Lake City area, it appeared to be a very nice Saturday morning in March. Recent rain in the lower elevations promised to equate to snow in the mountains. And there’s nothing like fresh snow for a snowmobile club ride.

The Davis County Snowflakes snowmobile club was holding its monthly outing in the mountains east of Fairview, UT. Most of the participants were driving up that morning, seeing the same blue sky as they started their ascent up Fairview Canyon on Highway 31 to the summit near Huntington Lake, elevation 9700 feet.

But as the snowmobilers neared the summit, the blue sky was quickly covered by a thick, dense cloud; to the point that even the entrance to the parking area near Fairview Lakes Overlook was difficult to see.

However, as the morning progressed, vehicle after vehicle with snowmobiles in tow pulled into the parking lot to prepare for the day’s ride. By 10 a.m. there was little room left for any more vehicles. By 10:30 a.m., dozens of sleds had been unloaded and were starting to congregate, just waiting for the cloud to lift.

Standing around in a parking lot during a cold morning in March for 10 minutes is about like standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles for hours. As more sleds collected, riders were becoming impatient, yet the cloud persisted in hovering on the top of the summit.

It Was Time To Ride

"Cold fire"Eventually, the club leadership decided that the cloud sitting on top of the summit had no intention of going anywhere anytime soon. The chances of someone dying from boredom were much greater than someone getting lost in the fog. It was time to ride.

So a staging area was established in the parking lot to get the group assembled and organized. Ten minutes later a second staging area was established just outside the parking lot (making certain everyone was able to find his way out of the parking lot). After what seemed like another hour in line at the DMV, a third staging area was then re-established about 50 yards from the second staging area to make sure everyone was truly ready to actually go on the club ride.

After a couple more post-staging staging areas, and much like how a caterpillar inches its way across a leaf, the group of about 30 snowmobilers began inching its way out of the fog and south toward Huntington Lake.

Although clouds continued to hover on the summit, visibility greatly improved just a mile or so away. Patches of sunlight made it possible for riders to take advantage of some hillclimbing and sidehilling as the main group worked its way back toward the higher elevations (reaching up to about 10,000 feet).

Pick And Choose

Last-minute instructionsFairview is known for great hillclimbing with wide open hillsides and deep powder. But the layout of the land allows riders to pick and choose how adventurous they want to be. Many of the participants avoided the steep and deep and stayed at the bottom of the slopes, while others peeled off and challenged the terrain.

Traveling southeast past Huntington Reservoir, the Snowflakes turned west up the South Fork of Lake Canyon. As the snowmobilers ascended in elevation, the weather improved. But when the group worked its way to the top of the South Fork of Lake Canyon, the clouds increased.

The snow was great, however, so the group found a nice central location to collect and build a fire. This way the snowmobilers could branch out and play on the surrounding terrain, yet stay close enough so those not familiar with the area wouldn’t get lost.

Even for those familiar with the area, the sometimes white-out conditions made it challenging to navigate open ridges. Playing around in the patches of trees provided the best options. Smaller groups would peel off to explore the various drainages, including North Fork of Lake Canyon and Spring Canyon in the Manti la Sal National Forest.

As the group enjoyed each other’s company and picked its way through the clouds for about a 35-mile ride, club president Larry Sanders kept busy at the parking lot making sure all stragglers were pointed in the right direction for the ride and preparing a festive meal of beef stew and chili.

A Warm Meal

Sled of a different color.There’s nothing like finishing out a good ride in great snow with a warm meal. Most of the participants were back to the parking lot by 3 p.m. for lunch.

Snowmobilers in the Kaysville, UT, area organized the Davis County Snowflakes club in 1987 and currently there are about 50 family memberships. It is a member of the Utah Snowmobile Association and is very active in community events. Each year the Snowflakes hold a special ride for the kids of Camp Kostopulos. It is a family-oriented club, with entire families participating on rides.

The Snowflakes meet the first Monday of every month at Blaine Jensen RV in Kaysville at 7 p.m. The club organizes a monthly snowmobile ride during the winter (December through April). It’s usually held the first Saturday after the monthly club meeting and usually has between 25-30 club members participating. The rides are held at different locations and usually separate riding groups into skill levels so everyone can ride within their comfort zone. At the end of the ride there’s usually a hot meal prepared and plenty of time for socializing.

Although the weather doesn’t always cooperate, it doesn’t take much for the Snowflakes to make any day out in the snow a great day for riding.








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