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February 25, 2009
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
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 …
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