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How Motorfist Came To Be

Published online: Dec 04, 2009 Sledheads Mike Peterson
Eighty below zero is cold and when 
you're riding on the frozen ocean in 
Svalbard, Norway, the word frigid doesn't 
begin to describe the wind chill riding 
conditions.

Josh Skinner, of MotorFist, thought 
he knew everything there was to know 
about cold weather snowmobiling, but he 
had never experienced this kind of cold. 
Svalbard, one of a group of archipelago 
islands in the Arctic Ocean, north of the 
Arctic Circle, is literally the last settlement 
before reaching the North Pole.

The locals in Svalbard told Skinner that 
all his gear combined and layered one 
upon the other would still leave him inadequately 
protected for the ride they were 
about to embark upon. In addition to the 
cold, all ventures, snowmobile or not, outside 
the settlements of Svalbard require, 
by island law, that at least one person 
in the party carry a gun to protect from 
hungry and aggressive polar bears. So in 
Norway you get your choice: freezing to 
death, getting killed by a polar bear or, 
if your luck really runs out, both. What a 
great place to ride.

Luckily, there were no polar bear 
attacks and all Skinner had to worry about 
was staying warm. At one point during 
his ride, Skinner realized that if he didn't 
return to base camp within a very short 
period of time, he would be in serious 
trouble from the extreme, low temperatures. 
Luckily, respite from the cold came 
soon and, true to the predictions of the 
local Norwegians, Skinner had indeed 
suffered freeze-burned cheeks that resembled 
a five-year-old deer steak in the bottom 
of your freezer.

Most riders will never see these types 
of conditions, but this was an invaluable 
lesson. Skinner added this experience to 
his portfolio as one of the most extreme 
riding environments imaginable. Even in 
extreme cold, one of the greatest dangers 
is the accumulation of moisture inside 
your clothing and then freezing in your 
own sweat. In Svalbard, Norway, the balance 
between protection and breathablity 
is tested like few other places on earth.

Fast forward to July 5. It is a 90-degree 
F day. Some are recovering from firework 
hangovers; some are dreading the 
return to work after the Independence 
Day holiday. No one is thinking of snowmobiling-
except Brad Ball of MotorFist. 
According to Ball, these elements are 
perfect to load the snowmobiles, go sledding 
and test outerwear. At this time of 
year, one needs to be at the very top of 
a special mountain to find enough snow 
to test outerwear gear. Even after some 
coaxing, Ball would not reveal this "top-
secret" location. He did tell us, however, 
that it is "in the lower 48 states." His lips 
are sealed.

This summer day quickly turns snow 
to water as it flew up from his sled, leaving 
Ball literally drenched. It is more like 
waterskiing than sledding. The temptation 
to do a little water skipping across the 
melted lakes of snow becomes hard to 
resist. Cold is no longer the issue as it was 
with Skinner. Rather, staying dry in this 
reverse environment is the goal. Keeping 
the water on the outside, yet allowing the 
moisture and sweat to escape from the 
inside, is the great challenge. By the way, 
have you ever had bugs on the windshield 
of your snowmobile?

Ball has. Along with the wide range 
of temperatures from Arctic cold to summer 
heat, both Ball and Skinner ride in 
conditions that cannot be duplicated in a 
lab or testing booth. Tested in conditions 
that the average rider will never face, 
MotorFist doesn't do "average." Its real-
world testing assures you of this.

Ball and Skinner have traveled the 
world while snowmobiling in their own 
gear and that of just about every other 
outerwear brand currently being produced. 
Both men were involved in the 
shooting and production of the snowmobile 
film series Alticity. Wearing different 
gear while snowmobiling and filming gave 
them an accurate perspective as to the 
importance of quality outerwear for the 
dedicated rider.

For example, Ball and Skinner experienced 
Revelstoke, BC, after a 70-inch 
powder dump. This would test anyone's 
endurance and ability to ride. "It was 
the perfect storm," said Skinner. "We 
couldn't have asked for any better conditions 
to test waterproofness, comfort and 
breathability. It's difficult to imagine that 
we were riding for four days, as hard as 
we possibly could, in over six feet of fresh 
powder. I guess someone had to do it."

On one Revelstoke trip Ball was not 
able to go with the film crew, so he 
loaned his new Ski-Doo Rev to Wade 


Soss. Soss' sled was down for repairs 
and he needed one for the filming event. 
It was common knowledge in Montana 
riding circles that Soss rode hard, hard 
as in the-sled-he-borrowed-could-be-
advertised-as-clean-one-owner in the 
classifieds. When he returned the sled, 
the ad would then have to read, "still 
runs (kind of) sled." Ball was aware of this 
and figured, with Soss' riding ability, the 
great film shots would be worth it. Ball 
closed one eye and imagined Soss polishing 
the sled at the end of the day and 
putting it to bed with a warm blanket on 
it every night.

Several days after Soss was in Canada, 
Ball was at a friend's business and he 
invited Ball to see a You Tube video that 
he had discovered. It was a great crash 
of a Ski-Doo Rev. Ball watched the video 
and was impressed as sled parts and rider 
were ejecting like parts at a swap meet. 
However, it didn't take Ball long to realize 
that this mountain yard sale of sled parts 
looked familiar. It was his sled. A quick 
call to Soss confirmed the worst and Soss 
admitted only to "rolling it once," as in a 
singular roll. He must have sustained head 
damage because he somehow forgot the 
other 23 rolls and the scattered parts sale 
at the bottom of the mountain, but all was 
good. Soss made it right with Ball on the 
repairs and the footage was awesome. 
It was just another day of riding with the 
best riders who tested themselves and 
their gear-or borrowed gear.

The deep powder days in Revelstoke 
and the surprise-your-loaned-sled-is-on-
You Tube video teach us things about real 
riders, real experiences. These are just 
a few of the authentic events that have 
helped shape Ball and Skinner's vision for 
MotorFist and have influenced them to 
produce "tough" outerwear. If they won't 
wear it, MotorFist won't make it.

What does "tough" mean to 
MotorFist? Tough is a relative term. Some 
people may call you tough if you enjoy 
being out riding in 20-degrees-below-
zero weather. If you can jump your sled 
50 feet through the air and land sunny 
side up, your girlfriend might say you are 
tough. One could say that the ultimate 
toughness test is to purchase mod parts 
for your sled without the significant other 
in your happy home finding out. It takes 
"financial planning," like money stashing 
in your truck or mattress and a few white 
lies. Now that's tough.

When MotorFist says it makes tough 
gear, it starts with the fabric. The outer 
fabric is thick, yet very flexible. It will 
resist stumps, wrecks and hand-to-hand 
combat-unlike the leading high-priced 
waterproof outerwear. It is tougher than 
any other product. Period. MotorFist outerwear 
is constructed with higher strength 
fabrics than other brands. Others may 
use it in certain areas, but not throughout 
like MotorFist. The seams on a MotorFist 
product are sewn at 12-14 stitches per 
inch while all others use 8-10 stitches per 
inch. This is an excellent example of a 
detail that matters. It is sewn tighter and 
tougher.

Again, MotorFist doesn't do average. 
The snowmobile enthusiast wants his 
clothing to be overbuilt and expectations 
exceeded. MotorFist gear is built for 
hard-working guys or gals who have come 
to expect hard-working gear when it's 
time to ride. The company commitment 
of no-holds-barred testing and product 
development allows it to make exactly 
what you want: toughness, warmth and 
leading-edge styling at an affordable 
price, along with the industry's only true 
lifetime guarantee.

MotorFist features a no-nonsense guarantee 
covering "106 years or until you are 
six feet under"-whichever comes first. 
Your back is covered and no one stands 
behind their product like MotorFist.

As a rider you may someday find yourself 
in extreme conditions like those mentioned 
earlier. MotorFist will be there to 
provide the ultimate in comfort and protection. 
Every piece will be inspected and 
signed off on, in the USA, by the hands 
of snowmobilers who enjoy what they 
do just as much as you enjoy the perfect 
powder day in the mountains.

For more information, log on to www.
motorfist.com.