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Runnin' On Empty

Is Lane Too Picky?

Published in the March 2011 Issue Published online: Mar 26, 2011 Feature LANE LINDSTROM
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At the recent sneak peek for the snowmobile media this past January, one Polaris official asked me what I thought of the format the four snowmobile manufacturers had used the past couple of years to introduce their new models.

Under this format, the snowmobile media go to a snowmobile company's conference room or a hotel ballroom or other similar venue for a presentation and then to see the new models. We do it in two days. Prior to that we would usually go to some sort of presentation and then ride the new models for at least a half-day, usually an entire day and usually somewhere in the Midwest or eastern Canada. Occasionally the sneak peeks would be in the West somewhere.

Anyway, back to the question of how I liked the current format of new model intros. My comment was that I understand the current financial climate in the snowmobile industry and that it costs a lot less for the manufacturers to do it the way they're doing it now, but that I much prefer riding to sitting in a conference room somewhere. To my response, the Polaris person said, "You like riding the trails?" My reply was that, yes, I much prefer riding snowmobiles-even if it is only trail riding-to sitting inside. He was a bit surprised when I said that.

I love to snowmobile and I'm not usually too picky about where. Easy now, I didn't say I would want to ride trails all the time, but I have been on some really fun trail rides over the years.

That brief conversation got me to thinking. Do I really love snowmobiling that much-to admit I would rather ride trails than sit in a meeting or was I just saying that because it had been a few days since I had been riding and I was itching to go anywhere to ride.

As I've thought about that I've decided there are a handful of situations where I would probably, maybe, perhaps, possibly, as a last resort, say, "No thanks, I have to work in my inside office today." I'll admit those would be rare times. But here are a few.

 Riding with sledders who have no fear-because I still have a little when I ride in certain conditions and situations. Now if there was one rider without fear in the group and it was Christ Burandt, well, then that probably wouldn't hold me back because the few times I've ridden with him he wasn't really with the group anyway. Oh, we started out together but I rarely saw him. I'm sure he was in the vicinity somewhere but I think he was way off in the trees playing.

 Riding with self-claimed environmentalists (their real moniker should be preservationists or land-locker-uppers). Well, maybe scratch that. On the other hand, I think it would be very satisfying (notice I didn't say "fun") to take a handful of preservationists out for a ride. Do I have to bring them all back?

 Riding with any flatlander (or any rider for that matter) who boasts he can ride anywhere in the mountains we can-even though he's never ridden in the mountains before. Unfortunately, been there, done that. Ugh. Those were a couple of really miserable rides. I don't mind helping someone out who wants to learn how to ride in the mountains, but when the fella shows up with a short track and points to a peak and says, "I can go there," well..

 Riding in big groups. Look, I know some out there love to ride in big groups and can have a really good time doing it. That's just usually not for me. When I say group, I'm talking about 10 or more riders. It's been my experience that no matter how good the riders are, it just takes more time to cover a lot of ground. And it seems like you end up stopping a lot more often to regroup. I'll admit I've snowmobiled a couple of times with a big group and somehow it worked out and it was a lot of fun-but those were exceptions to the rule. (I'm sure I'm going to hear about this one. Before you sit down to blast me an e-mail, I am not anti-social. Really.)

 Riding when the powder is really deep. Just kidding. Those are the days I long for.

That's not too picky is it?

I have a lot of good memories of snowmobiling and that includes trips where things didn't go so well (remember the Arctic Cat award I got last winter? It was a pretty good ride until then).

For the most part, I'll snowmobile anywhere, anytime.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to work in my outdoor office. 

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