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All Work, More Play

Published online: Jan 22, 2014 White Out & Wide Open—The Blog Steve Janes
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White Out & Wide Open-The Blog

            During the past couple of weeks I've spent the majority of my working time riding and evaluating the 2014 800cc mountain sleds. (And by no means should you take that first sentence where I used the word "working" to mean that I was doing anything other than having the time of my life.)

            The March issue of SnoWest Magazine is anchored by our feature on the 800 class mountain sleds. This is where we match them up and pick which one has proven itself the best on snow for this season.

            In past years we use to bring in a bunch of dealers and take three days riding their sleds. The trouble with that was I had to plan 60 days out where and when I would hold the event. And whatever snow we got at that particular location was all we got. We had little control over the conditions.

            Nowadays, I still have little control over the conditions, but I do have the luxury of riding the 800s over a four week period, not just a three day period. I also can bring in others to ride these sleds and gleam from their opinions. (Don't bother asking . my waiting list resembles a New York City phone book.) So we test the sleds longer and in a greater variety of terrain.

            Anyway, that's what's been going on in my world. To date these sleds have logged a total of nearly 600 miles . and I still plan on logging another 300 miles before I reach any conclusions. (That will be over 300 test miles on each sled in a wide variety of conditions.)

            The weather hasn't been the most cooperative when it comes to snow depth . but we've had some pretty good rides in some decent snow. I've gotten stuck several times, and those who have ridded with me have all gotten stuck-all in the effort of pushing these sleds as far as they will go.

            To date I haven't broken anything on any of the sleds . but then, I haven't included Lane Lindstrom in any of my tests.  (It's not that Lane breaks things . it's that sometimes he doesn't noticed things like trees until one stops his forward progress.)

            The challenge this year is all three 800s are almost identical to last year's 800s. And last year we realized that all three tend to handle themselves well in most all conditions. But we still plan to create a few unique scenarios on the snow and see how each of the three sleds react.

            So for at least another week or two I will be focused on those three 800s and trying to put miles on them to see how they perform.

            It's a tough job . but we won't go there.      

--SJ