"You're Not As Daring As You Used To Be"
I'm sitting here writing this letter as my husband and his guy friends are out having the epic ride of their life, one of whom is on my sled. Why am I so upset you may ask?
Last weekend we went on a poker run. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time with the new riders and did a little off-road stuff. However, as we were riding along, my husband pointed to an incline with tons of little trees and no turn out and told me to go. As I inspected it and tried to see what line I'd pick between all the little trees and where I would turn out, I shook my head "no."
Not long after that we came to our first poker stop where he told me, "You're not as daring as you used to be." Those words have echoed in the back of my mind ever since. I really was hurt by this comment, but I didn't know why until today. Then it dawned on me.
By a show of hands, guys, how was it that you came to be a good rider? I can guarantee it wasn't from road riding and every so often getting off the road. Let's face it . you had someone to take you into the backcountry where there were wide open spaces and room to make mistakes, room to practice hillclimbing, sidehilling, turn outs and all the necessary skills to climb anything "from the road." I just wonder how good you would be if all that you did was what you took your wife to do.
The final straw was the words of encouragement he gave me before he left, "We are going tomorrow, just the family" (my eldest daughter has been once), "I don't understand why you're so upset." I feel a little lousy, but it had to be said. I told him I was upset because I really wanted to ride with Rick (his guy friend and the one that made me love sledding) because he takes you places where you can practice and he knows his way around. His response was, "We're going to the same place we always go and I know my way around."
There is something really wrong with that answer . and I'd love for anyone out there to tell my husband what it is.
Frustrated and stagnant wife-rider
(ED-Well, I'm no marriage counselor ... but I'll bet there are plenty of our readers who would love to give "advice." Let's keep it civil, though, folks.)
I love your magazine and love the new machines even though I can't afford one anymore. My last new sled was a 1981 MX Blizzard 5500.
I only buy wornout sleds now and rebuild them.
Anyway, the article in Volume 36, No.1 ["Change. Why?" SnoWest, January, 2009, page 20] about the Yamaha Phazer, you wrote in the specs it has a Polaris engine.
I'd love to have one of these machines someday, but I'll wait `til I find a fixer-upper like the ones I buy now.
My son is mechanic at a Yamaha dealer that doesn't have demos for the staff, only the owners so I can't try one out.
I bought a brand new sled from 1971 to 1981 but when they went past $2,000 I started getting used sleds. I've found Polaris to be the best, due to ease of parts. I would really love to try the new Phazer MTN, but it's the $$$$ again.
Thanks for replying. Most mags don't that I read.
(ED-Thanks for the catch. I ran a letter to the editor in the September, 2009 issue pointing out the same error. You may not be able to buy a new sled, but one cool new program most of the manufacturers are doing are demo rides. You just show up and they let you try and ride for free. It's kind of fun. To find out where the demo rides are, you just go to the individual snowmobile manufacturers' websites.)
I just finished reading March (2009) SnoWest and feel compelled to comment. I agree with Lane's "Runnin' On Empty" and how we must convey that we leave no impact to the land we ride on.
Why then would Steve write an article with references to tree bashing and the need to carry saws to cut down trees?
My concern is how the environmentalists could use your printed words to discredit your publication and all involved in our sport as nothing more than hypocrites who say we do no damage and then brag about how we bash and cut down trees.
I have been snowmobiling for around 30 years and have been mountain riding for 18 and consider myself a very capable off-trail, backcountry, and powder rider. I am fully aware of the need to carry a saw and the rare occurrence of small trees and limbs being run over while navigating the backcountry.
For our own sake, what happens in the backcountry should stay in the backcountry. Please consider this in future editing of your magazine.
Really Enjoy 800 Story
That was a very good article comparing the stock 800s in different riding conditions with different riders ["Battle of the 8s," SnoWest, March, 2009, page 22]. Your regular riders are young and have yet to learn how painful and difficult recovering from really bad events can be. It is nice to put some more normal guys on riding and their impressions of each snowmachine. Besides, some of us older riders have more body mass and can manhandle machines easier than your skinny riders who usually do the testing.
I can understand the complaints about Ski-Doo's windshield, having ridden Summits for years. The windshields have always been low and mostly ineffective. The solution is Ski-Doo sells some really good gear that is windproof to make it more bearable to ride Summits. Your temperatures were warm by our standards in Alaska so I think you need to work on your riders' gear. The only change you need beyond standard Ski-Doo gear at 0 degrees F and lower is adding glove liners to your gloves like I do.
The hillclimb was interesting, but a 33-degree slope is scary. From a slope angle aspect you are in prime avalanche terrain although I can't tell anything about the snow pack from the pictures. I assume you looked at the snow pack and knew something about the snow before you decided to go up. It must have been alright since you show multiple tracks without an avalanche, but it would have been desirable to say something about avalanche safety in the article. In Alaska we kill people almost every year who decide to play in the steep and deep without having enough respect for avalanche dangers. You ought to keep reminding your readers that avalanches kill.
One thing you did not test was overflow. We don't have the power loss from altitude you do since we have more low terrain to ride in, but we do get overflow on both lakes and rivers. Getting stuck in overflow can wreck your whole day since it makes digging out of powder look easy. Most paddle tracks with enough power solve the overflow problem, but not all machines are equal.
Do you have any overflow you can test your machines thru and then report on how they do?
(ED-We don't have any overflows where we usually do our Deep Powder Challenge. But we'll keep that in mind to try and see what we can dig up for future testing.)