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Published in the January 2012 Issue Published online: Jan 02, 2012 Sledheads Ryan Harris
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There's a saying that if you like sausage, don't ever watch how it's made.

The same goes for some of the jobs that exist within the snowmobile industry. People on the outside think it's all glamourous and high-roller stuff, but the people doing these jobs know the truth.

Take the job of a snowmobile engineer at one of the OEMs. I've heard dozens of people tell me how cool it would be to travel the continent looking for snow, testing seven days a week, designing cool new parts and features and knowing what's coming out three, four or five years before anybody else. I'm even guilty of thinking that would be a good career path.

Then I got to see the reality of that position. Do they travel the continent looking for snow? Yes. In the crammed seat of a six-year-old pickup with three other engineers, driving all night, working all day, riding occasionally but always under pressure. They test non-stop, but what you might think defines that process is not reality. Testing means gathering and interpreting data. If you're not doing that, you're just riding. Some of these guys ride with laptops hooked to the sled. Durability testing is even worse--hundreds of miles a day around the same two-mile loop in a field behind the factory. Do they know what the 2015 or 2016 models look like right now? In most cases, yes. But it's like changing time zones--once you're used to working on sleds that are three years ahead of the current year, they are your current year. Plus, if you tell somebody about it, no more job.

How about a race team manager for one of the factory disciplines? You get to travel, go anywhere you want on the course, talk to drivers about sled setup and all that cool behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on at races. That part is cool, but you spend 95 percent of your time resolving everybody else's issues. And by issues we mean people bitching about stuff. You're the babysitter, the decision maker, the scheduler, coordinator, head honcho and the guy that dumps the trash all in one overworked package.

What about owning a dealership? Huge overhead.

Wholesaler at the snow shows? Not just at the one show you went to... all of them.

Pro racer? It's a part-time job for all but a few, and the other part-time job better be good, because it gets expensive.

Honestly, the best position to be in is just to be some regular guy who gets to pick his own sled, choose his own gear, ride when he wants to and stay home when he doesn't.

You've got the best job in the sport.