May 05, 2013|
Now I don’t want to be a party pooper … but is global warming still cool? I mean, for the past decade there has been a movement that asserts that if you are anybody important, you have to assume that global warming is hot. And anyone who doesn’t agree with this philosophy is not.
After all, the ice caps are melting, polar bears are floating out to sea and civilization as we know it is near extinction.
Yet, this spring marks the second-coldest on record … just slightly warmer than the spring of 1975.
But if you’re in with this whole global warming thing, you understand that global warming can also mean global cooling. Actually, it tends to mean whatever is happening to the weather at the moment.
Bottom line, the combustion engine has caused our earth to turn into an out-of-control thermostat set on high. Translation: We’re all going to go to die. (I’m not sure if these environmental extremists were aware of the fact that since the beginning of time, we have all been destined to die.)
Al Gore made a movie about the disastrous consequences of global warming (he also made millions of dollars with this scam as well), so it must be true. The CIA opened an entire investigative branch as part of national security to monitor global warming (although they really didn’t monitor much … mainly sent their top-ranked agents and political appointees to some beach in the Caribbean to work on their tans during two-week government paid “fact-finding” missions). (New York Times, 11/20/12)
Democratic lawmakers have even warned us that if we don’t give them authority to legislate global warming, then all our women will likely have to turn to transactional sex for survival. (The Hill, 4/29/13)
Oh, and for the record, when environmental extremists realized the phrase “global warming” was becoming a joke because anybody with any intelligence knew that the earth has always experienced climate change, these politically correct whack jobs hijacked the term “climate change” to adopt the meaning of global warming.
To lead the charge for the government to have control in everything we say and do, President Obama has invoked the name of God and science to call us to repentance. According to our president, science recognizes “climate change” (although that doesn’t necessarily separate the true definition that the earth goes through heating and cooling processes over time from the environmental extremist definition that the combustion engine has turned up the thermostat on the earth’s heating system). He also says that it is our responsibility to God to allow the government control to regulate our lives. (Obama Inauguration Speech 2013)
Perhaps if we were a more righteous nation, or a more righteous world, God would adjust the earth’s thermostat to be more moderate when it comes to weather patterns. Or perhaps we’re experiencing a cold spring because throughout the course of history some springs are warmer than others and some springs are colder than others. Fact is, there is no science that can separate facts from opinions. Environmental extremists have been predicting these meteoric conditions for the past 20 years … the Bible has predicted them for the past 2,000 years. Somehow the Johnny-come-latelies haven’t connected the dots with the words of God.
I just wish global warming (now known as the new climate change) wasn’t so cool. And that today’s “cold” isn’t the new hot. It’s just getting too hard to keep track of things.
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April 28, 2013|
Ever since I’ve returned from my snowmobiling trip to British Columbia, Lane|
has been whining about wanting one last ride. Although he had a chance to head north to ride with Carl Kuster (I always offer Lane the best trips to keep him happy), he chose to head south to ride Kawasaki ATVs.
But all he could do once he returned from the “land of the sun” was sulk around
the office saying he needed just “one last ride” to finish up his winter season.
So Wednesday I obliged him, taking advantage of a bluebird day to slip up into
Mt. Jefferson for a quick ride.
Lane was like a child in a candy store—excited and giddy. Packing all his
camera equipment, he wanted to make the most of this ride. There’s nothing like full
documentation of one’s last ride of the season … and Lane was going to capture it with still shots and video.
Actually, it was a great day for shooting. A recent snow storm put a couple of
inches of soft, sticky snow on top and a solid base. It was the kind of snow that made it easy to steer your sled, providing the track with great hookup and eliminating the jolting vibrations that emanates from your skis making contact with frozen surfaces.
So with the blue skies and fresh snow (and did I mention there were no track
marks on any of the snow that day) we took full advantage of our opportunity to meander throughout the area, taking photos from almost every ridge top and shooting video through every open meadow. I figure there is about 25 square miles of riding in the high country surrounding Mt. Jefferson. We managed to put tracks in every one of the 25 square miles.
Perhaps the best part of the day, unlike many previous “one last ride” days, is we
managed to keep the rubber side down and cruise back to our trailer without any broken plastic or bent metal. And best of all, both “low fuel indicator lights” were flashing on Lane and my snowmobiles. Finishing with no fuel left to burn makes for a perfect riding day.
The satisfying look on Lane’s happy face at the end of the day made me feel good
inside. It was time well spent out of the office. It was a good day at work.
The following morning when I walked into my office Lane was already there
waiting for me. “Do you think we could go out again next week?” he pleaded. “You
know, so I can get one last ride before summer?”
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April 21, 2013|
The thing about spring snowmobiling
is that the only things it has in common with regular snowmobiling are the
actual snowmobile and the white surface. The white may be called snow, but it
certainly isn’t what we were riding on in February.
The challenge with spring riding is
finding easy access to the snow. This time of year, any southwest facing trails
or slopes tend to be bare. Anything facing northeast tends to be winter. If you
could spend your entire day riding the northeast trails and slopes, then life
is sweet. But for most of us, that’s not always possible.
So that means somewhere along the
way you have to fight with the lower elevation snow—either with your truck and
trailer busting small drifts that haven’t melted, or with your snowmobile
negotiating dirt patches, rocks and stumps. And when you do get to the point of
the trail in the higher elevations where snow depth is adequate, then you have
to deal with the back wrenching moguls until you get above timberline.
But once above timberline, life is
good, snow is deep and winter lives on.
The benefits to spring riding are
many. You have longer hours in the day, milder temperatures and less crowd.
Many times you have the entire mountain to yourself. If you catch the right day
following a good rain storm in the valley you can find great snow. But you
better be quick, a couple of feet of powder on Monday can become rock hard by
Wednesday. (Remember the part about the days being longer? That means the sun
is working harder to settle everything down. Add that with cold clear nights
and you have the recipe for ice.)
The downside is that mistakes tend
to be magnified more during the spring. If your sled gets away from you, rather
than rolling 10-15 feet and softly coming to a stop in deep snow, it can
continue rolling 1,000-1,500 feet down the mountain … and usually its stop is
most abrupt. (We tend to have the most expensive repairs to our sleds after
Usually at a certain elevation the
snow base is so solid that you can go about anywhere you want. But keep in mind
two things: The tops of mountains tend to have lots of different angles to them
that can get you high-sided at any moment; and just because the traction is great
climbing up a slope, it doesn’t mean you will have that same traction coming
back down (say 500-pound bobsled with no brakes).
It’s a different kind of
snowmobiling in the spring. But it’s still snowmobiling. And keep in mind, each
time out may be your last ride for seven or eight months. Make it memorable.
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April 14, 2013|
I don’t know what the rest of you guys are doing, but Patrick Wilson and I are
north of the border in two feet of powder snow.
Patrick was the winner of 12 Days of SnoWest and not only did he win a new
Ski-Doo Summit 800, he’s up at and undisclosed location near Sicamous, B.C., riding snowmobiles with Carl Kuster.
I’m now sure if he’s having a good time, though. It’s hard to understand him
while he’s whooping and hollering and laying his snowmobile on its side, jumping
cornices and basically trying to put tracks all over Canada.
On Friday we spent the day riding with Darrell Trouton, mayor of Sicamous. He
wanted to show us the great trail system out of Sicamous … but there was just too much to show. It didn’t matter. All we could see was powder so we really didn’t care much to look around at all the other scenery.
I was unaware that April 12 is a holiday in British Columbia. It had to be …
because about everyone in the province was at the trailhead unloading sleds.
But what is unique about the area is that once you get out on the mountain, you
don’t see anybody. There’s more mountain than there are riders. So we spent the entire day busting through fresh snow. It was so fresh it was still being delivered from Heaven.
For Patrick, the snow was just a little deeper than where he calls home (McCall,
ID … where the snow is plenty deep for most people) and the mountain was a little
bigger. We kept climbing and climbing but we never did make it to the top.
Well, got to go. Still working out of our undisclosed location. Three days of
serious riding. Wow, Patrick’s thinking this might even be better than winning the
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April 07, 2013|
Six months really isn’t a very long time … but when it comes
to attitude, it can seem like a lifetime.
remember back to last October when everyone was religiously studying the SnoTel
site on the Natural Resources Conservation Page website to see how much snow was
accumulating at the higher elevations.
various chat rooms and social pages to see who was riding and where. We posted
the comments like “lucky dog” or “I wish my riding area could get that kind of
snow” and we expressed our jealousies and vowed that when the first flake of
snow fell, we were calling in sick and hitting the mountain.
all six months ago. The most important thing in our life was snow. We wanted
it, we searched for it, and we vowed that when it came we were going to be all
came. We rode. We enjoyed. And then we did something very interesting: We quit
happened in those six months? What turned us from diehard sledders to lawnmower
Did we just
get sick of snowmobiling? Impossible. Did we ride so much that, like after a
Thanksgiving feast, we just couldn’t stand another scoop of the mash potatoes?
Did we just
forget about the snow once the roads in the valley dried up and the lingering
drifts melted? More than likely.
But if you
take the time to go to those coveted SnoTel sites to check out the snow depths,
you may find there is still more snow in the high country than there was in
January during the heart of winter.
With weather getting warmer, you tend to forget about what you love to do
during the winter and start looking at what you love to do during the summer …
although you can’t quite do that because it’s not quite summer.
we sit around waiting for summer, we’re wasting a lot of time that we could
still be enjoying winter. And yet, in six months, we’ll likely be back to the
routine of checking out SnoTel and searching out the social media to see who’s
April. There’s at least four more weeks of winter somewhere within a two hour
drive (if you live in the West). Let’s
lose the attitude and find some altitude. After all, we really only need five
months of summer.
Comments 1 | Views 1282
March 31, 2013|
With this past week of pleasant weather, it appears if you want to find winter you’re|
going to have to look up high … like on the tops of the mountains.
Pretty much everything lower than 6,000 feet in our part of the country is brown turning
green. You have to get above 7,500 feet elevation to find the snow depth. And then you find that the snow is actually quite good.
The trouble with this time of year is that it’s hard to get the desire to go looking for snow,
especially when you’re just starting to walk around without a jacket. Although one still sees a sled in the back of a pickup or on a trailer around town, many times it’s in the process of being traded in to the dealer or to be placed into storage. But there are a few diehards still out there keeping winter alive.
This past week I was traveling by automobile through western Montana and it was hard
to keep my eyes focused on the road while there were so many snow-covered mountains all around. I couldn’t help but wonder how a person accessed the snow since most of the lower elevation was dry.
But as I drove, I found myself picking my route up a distant snowy ridge and working my
way back into some of the visible bowls. I was longing for a few extra hours in my day and a good snowmobile so I could do some exploring.
But like most during the spring, I had places to go and things to do. So I could only look
at the snow and dream. But one thing is for certain: I haven’t had my last ride of the season yet. I just need to prioritize my time a little better and get a few more days out on the snow. After all … that’s what I’m paid to do.
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March 24, 2013|
There’ve been better winters. No, this one wasn’t necessarily a bad one … it just wasn’t necessarily a good one either. On one hand, I was riding the best snowmobiles ever. But on the other hand, the snow was mostly less than average.
Now, I’m not one to complain. I’m grateful for every opportunity I have to snowmobile. But over the past 30-plus years one tends to recognize good snow from not so good snow. And this year it was the latter.
Some may point toward global warming. I don’t accept that premise because I believe in natural climate change—the kind that isn’t affected by what man does, but tends to follow natural cycles. And the natural cycle for the past few years has been somewhat dry.
This year it was dry when it was cold, and wet when it was warm. In other words, the moisture we got came often in liquid form rather than the nice white fluffy form that can be measured in feet.
The good news was that there were a few more days with blue skies and sunshine for snowmobiling. The bad news was that the snow wasn’t very deep and sometimes it took a couple of weeks just to cover up the tracks from a day’s ride. For some of us, there is something urgent in riding on clean untracked snow. Tracks leave you with the impression that you’re bellying up to a buffet after the fat people have already eaten—it’s slim pickings and the best stuff is gone.
Now this time of year there usually are a few great rides just waiting to happen. But after a long winter of searching for snow, it’s kind of hard to create the desire to leave the warmth in the valleys to go up to the mountains looking for winter.
But as long as Mother Nature keeps refreshing the higher elevations with a layer of snow, some of us will just leave our lawn mowers in winter storage and continue to do our best to beat the fat people to the buffet.
There’ve been better winters. But we’ll still try to make the most out of the one we still have.
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March 10, 2013|
|Steve Janes Blog 031013|
week the staff at SnoWest Magazine (and every other snowmobile publication,
website or other various media) had a chance to get our first look at the 2014
model year snowmobiles.
technically, these are prototypes of what the 2014s will be … and this year
there wasn’t a big effort (at least with the mountain sleds) to fabricate the
new models. Basically, the 2014 mountain sleds are extremely similar to the
2013 production sleds with just a few simple variations.
necessarily saying that the snowmobile manufacturers took this year off. But
rather, with all the changes over the past couple of years, we’re not yet due
to new body styles or major changes. And to be honest, the 2013s were pretty
solid units built from the latest technology.
sure there are too many things that I would have expected to see changed. Both
Polaris and Ski-Doo have focused on refining their product line. Cat went the
extra mile for 2014 in an effort to shave more weight of the sled. Yamaha is
still standing pat with its mountain line. So the only real noticeable change
will be BMG—bold new graphics.
On a side
note, as I was driving up to West Yellowstone
to ride the new models, I couldn’t help noticing as I drove past the Arctic Cat
R&D facility that there was a Yamaha engineering trailer parked out back.
For those who don’t know, Cat and Yamaha are working on some joint ventures
that have brought Cat suspensions to some of Yamaha’s trail sleds and Yamaha
engines to some of Cat’s trail sleds. This may be something interesting to
watch to see how things unfold.
three days of riding the 2014s, we must say we were impressed on how well they
all performed and on how class the 800 mountain sleds are with their
performance. We were also delighted to see Ski-Doo throwing out a 600 to
compete with the Pro RMK 600. That’s an intriguing market that really should be
getting more attention to many mountain riders.
Ski-Doo, we have a 2014 Summit
6 to ride for the rest of the season. You can bet there will be a lot more
head-to-head comparisons with our RMK 6 as the season winds down.
If you want
to see all the 2014 mountain sleds, be sure to attend the World Snowmobile Expo
in West Yellowstone March 14-16.
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February 24, 2013|
About the time you get around to reading this, the SnoWest staff will be heading|
to an undisclosed location (which looks very similar to those undisclosed locations we’ve gone to in years past) to test ride the 2014 model year snowmobiles.
This is our first and only time to get on all of next year’s sleds for comparison
purposes. It won’t be until we do our Deep Powder Challenge next winter before we see the difference from what the manufacturers promised to what they actually delivered. So the few days we have to ride become very precious.
Naturally, we try to cram as much technical riding in as possible in a very short
time and with some significant stipulations. For example: We cannot use any measuring device (such as a radar gun) in head-to-head comparisons. Also, since these snowmobiles are prototypes with the main intent for photographic purposes, we must refrain from any style of riding which could alter their appearances (read: avoid hitting trees and rocks).
All we can do is ride them hard enough to get a feel for their design while
recognizing that in the 3-5 months prior to the actual manufacturing of these models
there will still be several dozen significant changes made to the sleds—engine
calibrations, shock calibrations, types of metals uses, etc.
Sometimes we wonder if the manufacturers aren’t using us for one final focus
group to figure out last minute changes or problems. Throughout our rides the factory reps are checking constantly with us about the performance of their products and making whatever adjustments possible to create the best ride for us. The difficulty for a rider is that every snowmobile has multiple adjustable features that can change the handling characteristics of the sled. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the adjustments are incorrect or whether the sled merely has design flaws that create a certain type of ride. In other words, can a bad handling sled be adjusted into a good handling sled, or is just plain bad.
So for the next few days, we’ll be riding, comparing, note-taking, photo-taking
and doing all we can to acquire enough information to write about the 2014 model year sleds next fall. It’s during this week we acquire the information we will share with you next fall in SnoWest Magazine.
Obviously, there is a lot of work involved … but bottom line is we’re riding next
year’s sleds—how much fun is that?
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February 17, 2013|
It’s the middle of February and by all accounts we should be in the prime of the winter season. Every blue-bird day should be a riding day. That’s how it works; snowmobiling at its finest.
So how come I’m sitting at my desk pounding away on the computer instead of out busting power? The answer is simple—the snow sucks.
We are presently going through a weather pattern which has brought little or no snow to the higher elevations during the past two weeks. The little snow in the mountains, particularly at elevations lower than 8,000 feet, has become dehydrated, crusty or hard … not the snow you really relate with busting powder.
Temperatures have gone up and down—cold, warm, cold—which leads to deteriorating snow conditions. Basically, riding conditions are just not good.
So that means there has been no real desire to go out and fight with nature. And with the lack of fresh snow along with the already low snow depths, there’s just not that much ground cover to protect your sled from rocks and stumps. (This is speaking from experience—I’ve already replaced three A-arms this season.)
Don’t get me wrong—I’d rather be riding in bad snow than sitting at my office fingering a keyboard and watching winter slip away. But now I’m just content biding my time and watching every storm front move across the radar maps.
The snowmobiles are all fueled and ready to go. I’m working ahead on assignments to free up my schedule. All it will take is one fat-looking snowflake to float down from heaven to get me up out of my chair and heading for the mountains.
After all, winter is half over … but I hope I’m just getting started with the riding season.
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