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Runnin' On Empty

Snowmobiling Makes Everything "Right"

Published in the February 2011 Issue Published online: Feb 26, 2011 Feature LANE LINDSTROM
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A day on the snow riding a snowmobile seems to make everything right-at least while I'm riding.

It doesn't matter what's going on in the world around me, snowmobiling helps me to forget most everything else. It seems like I'm in a different world when I'm in the backcountry busting powder or picking my way through the trees or just riding.

My mind could be full of all sorts of stuff but once I squeeze the throttle, it just melts away and I slip into some coma-like state of snowmobiling.

Instead of worrying about my next work deadline or how I'm going to handle the next teenager crisis that comes up at home, I find myself gawking at the amazing scenery that surrounds me and my sled or trying to figure out how I'm going to shoot the gap on a tree-littered hillside. My mind is a million miles away from the office when I'm on the seat of a snowmobile.

While shooting a gap in the trees might be stress to some riders, I'd take that kind of stress most any day rather than a magazine deadline. Ironically enough, they're both "work-related" for me.

Bear in mind, unlike most of you who read this, I'm working every time I'm on the seat of a sled. I'm not looking for any sympathy (not that any of you snowmobilers will cough up a tear for me anyway), it's just that I'm one of the lucky few who gets paid to snowmobile.

When I'm riding, I'm always looking for a great photo op or testing some new product, either on my body, back or on the sled-or all three. So it's maybe not as carefree as many of you while you're riding, but it's still pretty stress-free. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to be in my "outdoor office."

About the only anxiety I feel on a snowmobile is if I'm facing a particularly tough line that might mean greeting a tree up close and personal if I don't ride right or dropping off something that would be better suited with a parachute, not a 500-pound-plus machine.

Other than that, I'm usually carefree and gliding along the powder.

Yes, sometimes the snow conditions are less than desirable, but I'll usually take that over sitting behind a desk. And there are times when a sled breaks down or something else goes awry on a ride that puts a damper on things, but that happens pretty infrequently these days so I can honestly say there are very, very few times when I'd rather not be in my outside office than the inside one. (I hope I didn't just jinx myself with that last statement. However, if I did, I'm sure you'll read about it in some future column.)

Just the other weekend, some things happened before and after our snowmobile ride that could have ruined a good day of riding (which just happened to include the new 2012 Polaris RMKs), but the day wasn't ruined because the ride itself was so good and the snow was awesome. In fact, the riding was so good that even having the fuel in our diesel truck gel up and result in me and the truck getting towed off the pass to a repair shop in Jackson, WY, could not make me say it was a wasted weekend.

Snowmobiling just seems to smooth out the bumps (sometimes more figuratively than literally, however).

It's almost embarrassing to say this-being a writer and all-but I'm not sure quite how to explain why or how snowmobiling makes me feel the way I do. It just does. I'm sure it has something to do with being outdoors with very few people around and usually far into the backcountry surrounded by mountains. That and the fact that I love snow and being on snow and being surrounded by snow. It's all that and more.

Yes, snowmobiling seems to make everything right.

And most of my fellow snowmobilers know exactly what I'm talking about.