So I just got done reading Ryan’s editorial about all the SnoWest project sleds and how through
the evolution of technology and the never changing goal of wanting to go higher
and faster the demand for performance out here in the West is absolutely 100
percent responsible for all the debt that I accrued in my younger years.
My taste for performance started with my 1990 Indy 500 SKS. That
black and blue honey was the first sled I ever bought by myself. I was 15 and
my parents actually co-signed on the loan for me. How cool is that? Who cares
about your first car when you’re that age-I bought my first sled! I rode it in
stock form from the owner’s house to my dad’s trailer when we picked it up. See,
when I was in school there was not one day that I didn’t look at a snowmobile
magazine, picture of a sled on my folders or dream about owning my very own
snowmobile. So when that day came I had my mod list all ready to go. I worked two
jobs to mod that thing out with twin pipes, low windshield, bigger tank,
machined head, deep lug track and SLP skis. That Indy 500 was my pride and joy.
I actually still have that bad boy. There are 9,000 miles on it and you should
hear that thing when it’s ripping up the hills at 8900 rpm.
I rode the ol’ Indy 5 for two years and then decided it was
time to upgrade. The SnoWest project
XLenT issue showed up at the house and it was all over. In ‘96 I pre-seasoned
my first brand new sled, an XLT RMK. I must have read that project build 100
times. It got so bad I had SLP’s phone number memorized and those poor guys
must have gotten sick and tired of talking to me. That sled was awesome! Triple
pipes, milled head, SLP Intake, SLP skis, Fox Shox, Mountain Flexi-Bar and one
of the coolest-sounding sleds ever built. I actually recorded the sound of the
sled on a cassette tape so I could play it on my radio before I went to bed. I
wish I was joking about that little fact, but unfortunately I’m not.
After having an awesome year on the XLT the rumors of a “big”
700 twin was all over the place. I knew I had to do something to stay ahead of
the game. I ended up calling Jack Struthers after reading about some 654 big
bore kit that he had been running on his race sleds. Custom paint, big bore
motor … look out 700s. Or so I thought. My lack of tuning ability and a really
good running stock Indy 700 led to sending the poor XLT down the road.
So in early 1997 I was a proud owner of a ‘97 Indy 700 RMK. I
actually rode this one stock for a bit (because I was a broke teenager). That
year riding a stock sled against all my buddies’ mod sleds really made me a
better rider. Not to mention it felt pretty good to out-climb those modded
Summits on a bone stock sled. (“Um, yeah … I need to raise the clickers …” I
heard that a lot.)
I’m going to have to speed this column along as I’m just
realizing how many sleds I have built throughout the years.
In ‘98 I snow checked another new 700 RMK. Took SLP’s
catalog and ordered everything I could. I ended up wrapping that one around one
of the biggest trees in Washington.
In 2000 came my new 700 RMK. This was about the same time
that I found out credit cards were just as good as cash. Boy was this a cool
sled, but man did I use that plastic card WAY too much.
In 2001 I made the switch to Arctic Cat and got hooked up
with Erik at VOHK performance. Erik took my mod fetish to a whole new level. It
was like walking into a Mod-Stock
magazine every time I stepped foot into his shop. From 2001-2004 Erik built me
some of the trickest mountain sleds on the snow. With products from Holz, Fox,
D&D, VanAmburg and so many of the other aftermarket innovators, my pile of
stock parts kept getting bigger and bigger each year.
In 2005 the mountain segment was blessed with the
introduction of the M7. This sled would change my thinking of backcountry
riding forever. With Erik’s hand-built goodies and all my sponsors building the
trickest, lightest stuff for these already-cool sleds, the M sled took my
riding to a whole other level.
All these sleds and memories bring me to the next chapter in
my life and career. I have teamed up with Boondockers to create something that,
as I think about it, is something I have been trying to do my whole life … build
my version of the perfect mod sled. The Chris Burandt Back Country Edition 800
RTR (Ready to Run) will not only be my weapon of choice for next year but will
also be available to the riders who share this same passion for not letting
your machine be the limiting factor in the back country. Check out www.boondockers.com
and click on the 800 RTR to start drooling.
Until next time …