I just perused the latest issue and had somewhat of an epiphany. You are a bright fella; I hope it struck you as well.
I think you found the guy to write about older sleds, junkyards, and "antique" performance parts. His name is Mike Lundberg ["How About Some Stories For Us?" SnoWest, October, 2011, page 10]. Your back-and-forth with him showed an eloquent writer, a passionate sledder and an overall intelligent man. I think an occasional quip or "article" in the mag from him would be a very welcome addition. It sounds like he has come up through the ranks in much the same way as most of our community has.
If nothing else, please forward this mail to him. I want him to know that some of us love and embrace the nostalgia . even if we have moved on to keep up with the Joneses. We all have roots somewhere. It's nice to remember them on occasion.
Via e-mail from Wyoming
Closure Of Granite Mountain In McCall To Snowmachines
I am a resident of McCall and an avid rider. Following is my personal letter regarding the closing of Granite Mountain-our mountain. Please note that there are 4 million acres in Idaho closed off to snowmachines, but 0 acres closed off to backcountry skiers. This proposal will ruin our already dwindling economy as well as our businesses.
Snowmobile Use On Granite May Become A Thing Of The Past
Originally Squaw, Granite and Hitt mountains were all open to any and all public use which included motorized recreation. Around 2004, Squaw and Hitt mountains were closed to all motorized use and only available to backcountry skiers. The Payette National Forest gave Brundage exclusive rights to the southeast side of Goose Lake and Soldier for their cat skiing program, later giving Brundage mixed use rights to the south side of Granite for the same purpose.
Most importantly, the south and east sides of Granite are the areas used for motorized recreation. Granite offers riding for beginners and intermediate riders as well as plenty of recreation for advanced riders. Its surrounding areas can be used by everyone in any skill set or at any age, local or tourist. The rest of the mountain is too steep or totally inaccessible for riding and much too dangerous for beginners and intermediate riders as well as children or those riders getting up in age to ride. Few snowmobiles and riders have the capability to ride this steep and rugged country.
Neither Squaw nor Hitt can offer enjoyable riding to anyone but very experienced riders. They are unfriendly areas to beginners, intermediate, young and older riders. Squaw Mountain is too steep for anyone not at expert level. It is dangerous for anyone who is unfamiliar with the area. Hitt Mountain is almost twice the distance of Granite and Squaw from the parking lot and will require extra fuel as well as extra time to access it. Most people will be too exhausted and cold once they reach Hitt to enjoy any of it. A select few will be able to enjoy the riding on Squaw and Hitt while the rest of us will have to park our machines and watch.
This proposed "trade" will close Granite almost entirely.
From Goose Lake up the mountain will be off limits.
There will be no route to the Lookout.
You will not be allowed to ride up the chutes from Twin Lakes.
Granite is popular and enjoyed by all.
Squaw is rarely used and by experts only.
Hitt is not used at all and will require a whole day and extra fuel to enjoy.
The backcountry skiers who got Squaw and Hitt closed in the first place have complained for years that their areas were too far away from the parking lot on Brundage. With this proposal, they will give back what they took away in the first place and also take away a mainstay area for all snowmobiles, both local and tourist.
This closure is not year-round. It is only from January 15-March 30, which is the best snow conditions for snowmobiles as well as Brundage's busiest time for the cat ski program. This move will further profit a private company, privatize public lands, thus denying the public the right to recreate in an area convenient, safe and well known with their families and friends.
During Segregation, most public businesses had signs that stated, "Whites Only. No Blacks Allowed." There is already 451,200 acres of public land closed to motorized recreation. This draws a line on a map that states, "Skiers Only. No Snowmobiles Allowed." These closings vastly limit a specific user group and are similar to discrimination and segregation.
We need to make a stand or give up our rights entirely.
(ED-For a little background information on what Rittenhouse is talking about, visit www.snowest.com and navigate to the Sept. 22, 2011, news update titled, "Payette National Forest To Host Public Meeting On Proposed Special Order For Management Of 2011-12 Winter Snow Season.")
I Feel Mike's Pain
I feel Mike's [Lundberg, "How About Some Stories For Us?" SnoWest, October, 2011, page 10] pain. I love looking through your magazine and going to dealers to check out the new sleds. I even check out the new reveals that manufacturers do when hyping a new sled.
The hard truth is I can't afford to buy these cool new machines. I have a family of five and other obligations so buying new is just not an option. All my kids ride their own sleds but what they ride is at least twice as old as they are and nearing how long I have been kicking around.
I wish this side of the sport was looked at a little more--old sleds that have proven their worth, modifications that make old sleds perform better and what sleds work well for kids learning to ride. It's lame, but I got excited to see an older sled in the pictures of your article about Routt County ["Routt County: Powder Heaven," SnoWest, October, 2011, page 41].
Please just don't forget about the guys who are in it to enjoy time with family. My kids will be the next readers and buyers of snowmobiles in the future as long as the sport does not cease to exist.
Also, tell the manufacturers they need a good mid-size sled like the old 340s.