December 15, 2011

SnoWest Newsletter - Dec 15

Mother Nature’s Hoar (Part 2)

Following up on last week’s report of the potential of depth hoar, we took and research to the steep and deep back in Mount Jefferson to see first-hand what kind of base was developing in the snow.

Just as we related last week, there was a weak layer of snow that has a potential of being a problem throughout the winter. Any west facing ridge also was blown clean by the wind, leaving a very thin layer of snow covering the ground and exposing rocks.

There was good snow on north-facing slopes above 7,500 feet elevation. This made for good riding. But it’s obvious the area needs much more snow depth.

Until we get more snow, riding at best is marginal. However, once we get the snow, we need to pay attention to that weak layer of snow that can cause potential slab slides.

A lot will depend on when we get snow, how much snow falls, and the composition of the snow (moisture content) before we know if Mother Nature will solve her depth hoar problem. Until then, be patient, smart and safe.

SnoWest Newsletter - December 15, 2011

Views 519
December 10, 2011

Tough Job

Most guys think of Dan Adams’ job as a clinic instructor as just playing on the snow every day. What will surprise you is: a) how little Dan gets to ride during the clinic, and b) how much physical labor Dan and the other instructors go through in a day with clients. We tagged along with one of Dan’s clinics last season and watched as Dan and his crew literally went from bomb hole to bomb hole, pulling out stuck sleds for four straight hours. One client would get unstuck just as another would bury their sled. So how does Dan make that part of the job easier? Snobunjes. Dan and his helper both pack Snobunjes on their sleds both when on the job and while out riding without clients. They could snap a stuck sled out of its hole in about 20 seconds, compared to about 3-4 minutes without them. Just something to think about before you head out this season.

Views 28
December 08, 2011

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Dec 8

Shape Up

Steve Janes

Shape Up

I’ve never been one to put forth any extra effort to get into shape. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m a huge coach potato blog (actually I prefer a recliner). But this time of year I tend to stay camped in front of the TV watching college football and stuffing my face with Oreos.

There is something about cold weather that makes the brain tell the body “it’s time to preserve energy and store up an ample supply of fats” to survive the winter. After all, the golf courses are closed, hunting season is over and the snow hasn’t stacked up deep enough to be overly inviting.

So there’s about a four week window between late November and mid December when all there is to do is watch football and eat junk food.

Well, the other day I saw my annoying neighbor out jogging. Now I know for a fact that he hates to jog. So the only reason he’s putting his body through such abuse is because he wants to be in better shape for our first big ride. He is anticipating that I will be pudgy and out of shape so he can ride circles around me.

Well I got news for him. He may think that I’m allowing my body to decay in front of the TV while I consume gallons of carbonated sugar and Oreos … but in reality, I’m drinking diet pop and watching Rasmussen’s “Schooled” snowmobile videos.

That’s right, I’m gearing up to get my butt off the seat and hang my body over the side of the sled. But while I practice, I can’t hang over the side of recliner too far … it’s too hard to reach my cookies.           


Views 117
December 08, 2011

SnoWest Newsletter - Dec 8

Mother Nature’s Hoar

Although we are all anxious to get out and embrace winter with our new snowmobiles, it would be wise if we pay close attention to the weather and more specifically this past week of clear skies and frigid temperatures.

            While most of us merely bundled up and watched the weather forecasts for the next storm front, we may have missed an important signal from Mother Nature—conditions have been optimum the creation of depth hoar.

Now, some of you may ask what this has to do with snowmobiling. Well, depth hoar is the main culprit behind most avalanche fatalities. It represents that weak layer of snow that tends to persist throughout the season just waiting for something to put enough pressure on it to break away and create slab slides.

Basically, this is how it forms. Early snow tends to provide an insulation factor for the ground. When cold temperatures freeze the surface of the snow, a hoar layer begins to grow, being maintained by moisture that is protected by the insulation of snow over the earth. This hoar has ample strength to sustain pressure from above, such as additional snow weight, but is very vulnerable to side pressure. And once it breaks away, it serves as ice beads that facilitate the sliding of heavy slabs of snow.

So all of this cold dry weather has just made our future base level a death trap for the next few months.

Depending on how Mother Nature distributes its snow and cold temperatures for the rest of the winter will determine how safe the high elevations will be. But for a while, snowmobilers need to be on their guard, particularly on west and south facing slopes and near ridgelines where wind tends to keep snow levels close to the surface.

Although we often equate avalanche danger to deep snow, in reality it is a thin snowpack and cold temperatures that create the most dangerous conditions. A thick snowpack can actually do more good in the long run to eliminate depth hoar … but that’s in the long run. The next deep snowfall might be the deadliest. So pay attention to the weather.

SnoWest Newsletter - December 8, 2011

Views 84
December 01, 2011

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Dec 1

Annoying Neighbor (Part 2)

Steve Janes

Annoying Neighbor (Part 2)

I’ve never been one to get caught up with “first rides” when the snow is still marginal and the likelihood of “more bad than good” being the theme of the ride. But still, there is something nice about having that first ride to relieve some of that built-up summer stress.

And it’s always somewhat painful to have to listen to someone else’s first ride before you get to do yours.

This past week, while I was working around the yard getting my home buttoned up for winter, I watched my neighbor pull out of his driveway with snowmobile trailer in tow. I have to admit there was a bit of envy that he would be putting miles on his new sled while I was raking leaves off my grass.

So I was anxious the next day to have that conversation with him where he recounts the previous day’s ride.

“How was the snow?” 

“Not much too it. We unloaded on dirt and had to skirt the edge of the trail for the first few miles to find enough powder to keep the slide rails wet. And there was the constant click of the carbides hitting rocks.”

“Once you got high did it get better?”

“Not really, although we did come across the groomer. I don’t know what that guy was thinking … He was making more of a mess of things. And it was impossible to pass him because there just wasn’t enough snow off the trail to avoid the stumps and rocks.”

“Do any damage to your sled?”

“I did hit a stump or something in the trail that sent me flying out through the trees. I thought for sure my sled would be toast. Luckily, all it did was break off a handguard … although I hit pretty hard and have a good bruise on my shoulder and tweaked my knee.”

“Did the snow ever get decent?”

“Not really. And I had to spend about an hour after the ride just cleaning the mud off my sled and get it cleaned up.”

"So how was the ride?”

“It was great.”


Views 75
December 01, 2011

SnoWest Newsletter - Dec 1

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines (Part 2)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN=The most anticipated snocross race of the season didn't disappoint, as thousands of fans in attendance and tens-of-thousands more online watched newly signed Motorfist rider Ross Martin capture the early-season momentum with a pair of drive-away victories over Thanksgiving weekend.

With a mixture of rain, sleet, snow, and driving winds, conditions for the 20th annual Duluth National Snocross were anything but ideal. The legendary race has set the tone for the season time and time again, and if the performance by Martin is any indication of things to come, the competition has been warned.

Martin's weekend started off with a mega-pay-day Friday, as he bested long-time rival Robbie Malinoski in the new single-elimination Dominator race held under the lights. Up for grabs was $10,000 and Martin stuffed those greenbacks deep into the pockets of his Motorfist race gear after he beat out Malinoski in the final head-to-head battle.

Saturday was greeted with a steady rain and persistent north winds for the opening round of ISOC races. The show marched on however with Malinoski edging out Martin in the finals.

Sunday brought cold winds and a frozen track that proved to be even more challenging than the day previous. The weather however was impervious to Martin's resolve as he tore through qualifying, gaining top honors, and then proceeded to walk away from the field in the final, including his arch nemesis Tucker Hibbert, winning Pro-Open in convincing fashion.

It was a kick-the-door down start to winter for Motorfist, who after capturing the attention and respect of the western snowmobile market and its riders, looks to do the same in the performance trail riding markets of the Midwest and East.

SnoWest Newsletter - December 1, 2011

Views 79
November 25, 2011

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Nov 25

Annoying Neighbor

Steve Janes

Annoying Neighbor

The other day I was home enjoying some relaxing leisure time just lounging around the house while my wife was out shopping when it happened. You know, the peaceful sounds of fall are shattered by the rup.rup.rup of a two-stroke engine. There’s something about the sound of a snowmobile that just draws some men like a magnet.

Almost immediately, I’m out of my recliner and pressing my nose against the patio window trying to look horizontally across my back yard into his. There’s not a snowflake in sight, yet he’s revving the throttle on his new snowmobile.

I think he could feel my gaze because about the time I managed to smash my face in the right position to see exactly what he was doing, he shut down his sled and slipped into his shop.

Since the show was over, I wandered back to my recliner to resume a peaceful afternoon.

Not 15 minutes later the sound of rup.rup.rup breaks the silence and once again I’m out of my recliner searching for another window which gives me clear view of what he’s doing. But the trouble with the configuration of my house and the activities in my neighbor’s back yard is that there is no straight line of sight. I have to look sideways out any window … which means once again my face is pressed flat looking out.

Once again, somehow sensing an extra set of snooping eyes, he shuts down his sled.

This goes on three different times, with the same reactions from my end, before he rolls his sled into his shop and disappears into his house. Now I’m finally left in peace and quiet—perfect for working in an afternoon nap.

But about then my wife returns home and notices face prints on three of her clean window.

I spend the rest of my day cleaning windows and cussing an annoying neighbor.



Views 100
November 25, 2011

SnoWest Newsletter - Nov. 25

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

            The nice thing about being a snowmobiler is that it doesn’t require Michelle Obama to tell us to start our engines … this time of year that just comes natural.

            Recent storms have left enough snow in higher elevations for the hardcore snowmobiler to officially start their season. You may have to travel a little bit … and the lower part of the area between trailhead and higher elevation might be a bit sketchy. But if you show just a little patience, there’s certain to be enough snow up high to make it worth your time.

            Remember, this time of year there are a lot of obstacles that tend to rearrange the front ends of snowmobiles. So show a little respect to the terrain; but from here on out things will only get better. Have a great winter.

SnoWest Newsletter - November 25, 2011

Views 74
November 10, 2011

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Nov 10

Airing Out For The Ride

Steve Janes

Many of us have a tendency to wait until the last minute to prepare for the riding season. It’s usually during that first ride when we threw everything into our gear bag at the last minute when we realize that we really weren’t prepared for the season.

            I don’t know how many “first rides” I’ve gone on where either myself or someone in the group forgot what you would think would be a necessity for a ride. Everything from helmets to boots, coats to goggles were missing from gear bags as we prepared for that first ride.

            So this year I took just a little extra time last weekend to go through my snowmobile gear to see if everything was where it should be. Here are just a few things I was able to find:

            My avalanche beacon was ready to go … but I had a battery life of about 10 percent. So new batteries were put in my beacon and my “backup” beacon (the one I keep in case a riding partner fails to bring his).

            My boots were caked with dried up mud from last year’s last ride. It was good to get them washed off and aired out for this season. I also have a pair of gloves and goggles in a water-tight bag that I carry in my backpack that could use some time in the open air to eliminate a stale stench to them.

            My helmet needed a visor bolt replaced and the helmet lining washed. And we don’t even want to discuss the balaclava that I found tucked away in my jacket pocket.

By taking about 30 minutes last weekend, I figure I’m now set for that sudden phone call that will come from a riding buddy who informs me there is 18 inches of fresh snow up in the mountains and he’ll be by in 30 minutes to pick me up.

            Not only will I have everything with me on my first ride … I won’t be packing some of last season’s smells—which will make the inside of my helmet a lot fresher.


Views 91
November 10, 2011

SnoWest Ryan Harris Blog - Nov. 10

Waiting for Winter..

Ryan Harris

Why is waiting for winter so hard? All it’s going to do is eventually get very cold and we’ll all have to shovel snow. But the days drag on forever through the end of October and through November until the snow piles up deep enough to ride.

Your neighbors think you’re weird. I’m sure every one of us has heard, “It’s too soon for summer to end. But you’re probably excited for winter,” as they roll their eyes.

You stay up at night with a bowl of cereal watching The Weather Channel with the volume turned way down low.

You do the math on how long it would take to get to at least six predetermined locations in neighboring states should it snow there first.

You wash your riding gear and lay it all out like your mother used to lay out your clothes for kindergarten.

You miss deadlines because you spent too much time on the computer finding the best deal on a lightweight muffler.

You sit in the back seat of the minivan while your wife drives the family to a restaurant—just so you can watch a sled DVD on the rear monitor.

The first week of freezing temps seems colder than any day you spent on the snow previously, but you go out without a jacket on to try and acclimate your body to the cold.

Hang in there, we know exactly how you feel.

Views 98
November 10, 2011

SnoWest Newsletter - Nov. 10

Turning Off The Heat

            With a major winter storm slamming Alaska, it’s obvious that winter is coming upon us at a fairly fierce pace. And although you expect that a state that is as far north as it gets to be one of the first states to experience winter, the way this storm made its assault indicates what we may come to expect this winter.

            From the reports that we’ve been reading from various sources, this winter is expected to be good when it comes to snow fall. And the more snow, the better.

Last winter was good for the snowmobile industry. It came early, it stayed late and it provided plenty of snowmobiling opportunities across the snow belt.

You may not recognize the significance of an early snow. But those who work in snowmobile dealerships do. Early snow helps new sled sales, used sled sales and aftermarket part sales. These early sales provide the incentive and motivation for companies to invest in the R& D required to create new products.

Certainly there’s a downside with these storms. They play havoc on travel condition. But the upside is really good for the snowmobile industry. And anything good for the industry is going to translate into better snowmobiling experiences for the rest of us.

SnoWest Newsletter - November 10, 2011

Views 63
November 04, 2011

SnoWest Newsletter - Nov. 3

Now that your new sled is here …

Now that your new sled is here …

            After waiting all summer in anticipation for this year’s snowmobile, the call finally came from the local dealership to come pick up your sled. Now what?

            Well, we have a few more weeks before the snow depth builds up to the point where you don’t risk losing the entire front of your sled to a rock or a stump. But by darn, it’s here; you have your sled and you want to enjoy it.

            Now is the time to accessorize your snowmobile (even if it’s last year’s sled). Now is the time to add power, performance and/or bling—anything that makes your sled unique and more special than the snowmobiles your buddies ride.

            Good news. The latest issue of Mod-Stock should be coming in the mail soon for our subscribers … or to the newsstand for those looking. This year’s Mod-Stock issue is tucked inside the December issue of SnoWest and features hundreds of great products that will enhance your snowmobiling experience.

            It may be just a little too early to ride ...  but it’s never too early to prep your ride.

SnoWest Newsletter - November 3, 2011

Views 68
November 03, 2011

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Nov.3

Getting Serious Now

Fall is an awkward and confusing time when we are desperately trying to hold on to the last good days of summer while anxiously anticipating the approaching storm clouds which escort that glorious winter season.

Storms in October only serve to tease us. After all, we still have high school football and trick-or-treating ahead that seems to function better with good weather. So we like to see the snow … but we also want the weather to be pleasant for the kids.

But once November arrives, all bets are off. We’re done mowing lawn. For the most part all outdoor sports are over. The snow check sleds have arrived at the dealerships and it’s time for snow.

Although there is that pesky holiday near the end of the month where many hit the roads traveling to enjoy a turkey meal with family, we are willing to put up with questionable road conditions if it means we can spend the weekend out on our sleds. And each storm tends to deposit accumulative depth in the high country (read base).

So now that November is here, let it snow. Let the storms rage and the winds blow … just as long as it lets up a bit every four or five days so we can take advantage of the results. Let’s get serious about winter.


Views 81
October 29, 2011

Up and Away: Building a Better Snowmobile Track

YamaYama h a , Camoplast Camoplast team up to developlop the new Ascent tra ck

The track is one of the most critical parts of a snowmobile. Think about it. Without a track you’re not going anywhere. Choosing the right track to match your sled and the type of riding you do is critical and in the mountains it can make a huge difference in how your sled performs.

So how do manufacturers come up with track designs? SnoWest Magazine asked Yamaha some of these questions regarding its new 162-inch Ascent track found on the 2012 Nytro MTX 162 and not only did we get answers, Yamaha gave us a little peek at how it’s done.


A Successful History

Yamaha and Camoplast have collaborated on more than one innovative track design over the years. Among the highlights is the Rip Saw, which has been one of the best short-lug tracks on the market since it debuted in 2005. As soon as the exclusivity agreement expired, pretty much every OEM had at least one trail sled that spun this track as a stock part.

Yamaha also worked with Camoplast to develop the Maverick deep snow track. The guys at Yamaha said the Maverick track worked very well for what it was designed to do, but suffered from poor public perception.

“The Maverick got a bad rap with the mountain guys, which was unfortunate,” Yamaha snowmobile product manager Rob Powers said. “It’s a great deep powder and soft snow track and it climbs like crazy in those conditions. But under extended trail and hard snow use, the lugs would bend and not give the traction some guys were expecting on acceleration.”

It was a classic conundrum for product engineers: the very design aspects of the track that led to its sweet deep snow and climbing performance, the ability of the lugs to flex and bend, were the same ones that turned out to handicap its broader consumer acceptance. More specifically, the columns molded in the track didn’t provide the forward acceleration riders were looking for on hardpack.


Back To The Collaborative Drawing Board

When Yamaha and Camoplast began work to create the Maverick’s replacement, they knew they would have to eliminate the unpopular aspects of the track but not abandon the key design elements they felt made it work so well in deep snow.

In fact, there were many qualities of the Maverick they wanted to retain.

“When the mountain development team set out to design the next track, we knew we wanted to keep the Maverick’s excellent soft snow performance, climbing ability and light weight,” Powers said. “But there were definitely targets for improving the track as well. We needed to have better durability, especially in the base areas of the lugs, without losing that flexibility that works well in powder. We also felt we could have a more versatile, consistent track for riding on the trails when a guy is heading up to his favorite bowls and hills.”

At its foundation the new track would have the same specs as the Maverick, a 3-inch pitch, 162-inch length and 2.25-inch lugs and it would be a single-ply design. Ideally the track would keep the lift qualities of the Maverick track lug, using the wide center belt of the track to provide lift, while improving forward acceleration and durability.


Track Science

There is more to designing a track than just sticking funky-shaped lugs on it. In fact, there’s a definite science to it. For example, with the Ascent track the total area of lug surface was figured into the design. To increase lug durability the new design called for 400 square inches of lug surface vs. 338 square inches found on the Maverick. This basically spreads the load across a broader area, taking stress off each individual lug.

The rubber compound figures in too, and Yamaha took advantage of a new compound Camoplast had engineered that showed better performance regarding “lug set” while retaining the same durability. It was lug set that dogged the Maverick track. The lugs folded over to provide lift like they were designed, but over time they stopped wanting to return to their original shape. The new compound is also less prone to cracking or heat issues.

A larger factor in eliminating the lug set problem and hitting the lug durability target was a new V-shaped notch design at the tips of the lugs designed to fold back at a 20-degree angle but not take a set. The lug shape would also be designed so it would force snow to the center of the track for the most flotation. Lastly, the towers that supported the lugs on the Maverick would be redesigned to spread loads more evenly to mitigate cracking and tearing.

Performance Is In The Details

The Ascent is a track unlike any ever designed. The first thing you notice is the lugs reach from the edge of the track all the way to the center. There are no “center lugs” or “side lugs.” The lugs are designed to force snow to the center of the track and the track actually builds its own dense base of packed snow to provide lift and acceleration in deep or soft snow.

One design element that is consistent from Maverick to Ascent is the 3-inch pitch.

“Our testing showed us that the wider pitch is the best design in terms of packing the snow for acceleration and flotation,” explained Powers. “We also tried a 2.86-inch pitch version of the Ascent track and it did not perform as well.”

The next thing you notice is there are no pronounced columns like the Maverick had; it looks like there are just lugs. But the lugs have support columns built into them that provide support on the base two-thirds of the lug for forward acceleration. This is a noted difference from the Maverick design which placed its pronounced columns only at the ends of the lugs. Also, the columns in the center of the Ascent track are designed to “migrate” to the edge to reduce stress at the base of the lug. Finally, the columns are only placed on the backside of the lugs to limit tension effects when the track is under load.

The top third of the lug controls lift. There are V-notches cut into the top third of the lug that allow the tips to fold back at a 20-degree angle to provide lift, but the notches and the lug are shaped such that the lugs will return to their original shape and not take a set. As for weight, the total package is every bit as light as the Maverick.


Proving It

Yamaha tested the Ascent side-by-side with the Maverick and what it considered the best competitive track, the Power Claw, and it consistently outclimbed both of them. Its deep snow performance was notably better than them as well. In fact, Camoplast and Yamaha reps both think the new track is a huge step forward in the world of mountain tracks.

“You ride the Maverick, the Power Claw and the Ascent side-by-side and you can feel how much better the Ascent works,” Powers said. “Camoplast told us they feel this is the best mountain track they make. On our end, we made a big improvement with the Nytro MTX 162 basically with a simple track swap, so that’s a big deal for us.”

During the photo shoots last February and March, the SnoWest SnowTest staff was able to ride the 2012 Nytro MTX and we found the sleds to be the best-riding Yamaha mountain sleds to date and at the top of the heap for pure climbing machines.

What the Rip Saw track did for flatlanders, we think the Ascent is going to do for mountain guys.

Yamaha and Camoplast have set another highmark with the Ascent track. 

Views 242
October 29, 2011

Product Test:Klim and FXR

FXR Vertical Attack Bib and Jacket

This past winter we did an extended comparison and product review between the Klim Powerxross Pullover and Togwotee Bib with the FXR Vertical Attack Bib and Jacket. Both brands are specifically designed for aggressive mountain riders.

Usually during the season we tend to gravitate to one product or the other. However, this past winter we found that both brands delivered what they promised—functional protection and comfortable fit.

Similarities—Both FXR and Klim recognize the need to provide a lightweight breathable suit for active western riders, while still offering enough insulating features to keep one warm on those cold mornings. Although both offer styles of jackets which are designed to maintain body warmth in a cold environment, the Powerxross and Vertical Attack jackets are fairly light and work best when the rider is more active.

In other words, if you’re merely sitting on your sled and driving, you may get cold. If you’re active and riding, you will likely generate enough body warmth to keep you comfortable. Your riding style will dictate whether you should consider these jackets or whether you should consider something of a heavier design. And naturally, layering is a preferred option to both.

Likes—Both are breathable and wear well in mountain riding conditions. Both are just light enough that you can layer on colder mornings or if you’re spending a bunch of time on the trail. Once in the trees or when temperatures warm a bit, you can remove your inner layer and be comfortable for the rest of the day.

Dislikes—Whoever thought of designing the bib zipper to rotate from the hip to the back of the heel must have been extremely flexible. But for us overweight, out-of-shape guys, twisting and turning our upper body to reach the back to our heels after riding all day is not an easy thing to do.

In other words, when you get dressed (all nice and dry), you are starting in an area that is easy to reach (at the side of your hip) and you pull the zipper down (which is easy since you’re pulling down against something that is secure). But at the end of the day when you are tired and wet, you start in an area difficult to reach (the back of your foot) and you are pulling up against a frozen zipper which becomes less secure the more you pull.



If you like functional pockets, both Klim and FXR offer you standard pants pocket plus the cargo pockets that are positioned midway between your waist and knee. The FXR may be slightly lighter weight, but both offered sufficient protection throughout the winter. Both have distinguishable features that make each special. The FXR has belt loops and a built-in waist adjustment to offer a slimmer fit. The Klim bibs feature pockets on the chest area that are perfect for glasses or cell phones.

Both offer leg gators. The Klim gators tend to be a little more sufficient for keeping the snow from slipping up the legs when stomping around in the powder. The FXR bibs are probably designed more for trail riding protection. Also, both bibs provide knee padding.



As for the jackets, we had two distinct styles. The Klim is a pullover with a large kangaroo pouch in the front. The FXR is a standard jacket which zips up the front. (Both manufacturers offer both styles.) The jacket style lends itself to smaller pockets … but there are four of them on the coat.

Both jackets feature arm gators that allow you to hook your thumbs in the inner liner and keep the wind and cold from sneaking up the arms. Both also zip up the front collar to make a mock turtle collar protection. Both also provide ventilation zippers under the arm pits.

Each set of clothing has its strengths and very few, if any, weaknesses.

The Klim Powerxross Pullover retails for $279.99 and the Togwotee Bib for $389.99. The FXR Vertical Attack Jacket retails for $299.99 (although at the time of our deadline it was on sale for $259.99 on the FXR website) and the Vertical Attack Bib for $299.99 (on sale for $279.99).

Contact Klim at

Contact FXR at 


Views 326
October 29, 2011

Product Test: FXR Women's Clothing

FXR Women's Snowmobile Clothing

Outside of an epic season for riding in Colorado—well into July—I had the opportunity of riding in 2012 FXR snowmobile gear. I was lucky enough to test the gear before it even became available to the general public.

I wore two different sets of gear last winter: the Velocity Jacket and Pants and the Fresh Jacket and Blizzard Pants. The Velocity gear is already in FXR’s clothing line (and will be updated for 2012) but the Fresh Jacket and Blizzard Pant are new products for the upcoming season.

I was very pleased with my experiences with the Velocity Jacket and Pants and the Fresh Jacket with the Blizzard Pants. The Fresh Jacket and Blizzard Pants are hands down the most favorite gear I have ever worn. This gear is warm, made with quality material, durable and extremely flexible for a variety of riders and different skill levels.

Some things I liked about the gear were the waterproof upper sleeve pocket, cold-stop multi-placket magnetic/snap front closure system, inner chin placket, dry vent system, zip off removable hood with adjustable shock cord, shock cord adjustable hem, adjustable inner windskirt, hook and loop adjustable cuffs, Lycra cuff extensions and tether retention D-ring.

The Fresh Jacket comes with a hood so my initial thoughts were that I would be uncomfortable or that it would get in the way. However, I found it was nice to take my helmet off after a long day of riding and not have to search for something to cover my head to keep me warm. The hood actually turned out to be a plus for me. The hood does detach for warmer days. Overall, it was good quality, easy to ride in, warm and stylish. It is very unique-looking and is all over great riding gear.

This winter I also wore the 2012 Velocity Jacket and Pants. Some of the features I liked were: the lining is moisture wicking, quick dry mesh, warm back micro fleece insert, two inside lining pockets, Thermal Flex insulation in the body and sleeve, Vislon front zipper, cold-stop multi-placket, magnetic/snap front closure system and inner chin placket. It was warm and is also made with good quality. I found this particular set of gear very likable as well as good to ride in. There is no hood with this jacket and it’s not as unique-looking when it comes to style.

The materials are different between these two and for my style of riding in the backcountry, the Fresh outfit was a better fit for me. The Velocity Jacket did not have as much mobility as the Fresh Jacket did but I still enjoyed this set as well. They were both great, but for mountain riding I think the Rush Jacket would be the best choice for 2012 FXR gear.

No matter what kind of riding they were made for, I loved the Fresh Jacket and Blizzard Pants. They were accommodating to me personally. Both sets of pants kept me dry, warm and comfortable. I had no complaints or problems with either pair, although I would like to see the bibs detach for overall convenience.

All in all the versatility and the quality in the materials for FXR‘s 2012 gear will exceed riders’ expectations. When it comes to riding and the true importance of having quality, comfortable and versatile gear, I have to say I was very impressed with the gear I got to ride in last winter.

I look forward to 2013 gear for FXR as it seems every year FXR strives for rider satisfaction and will make necessary changes for the best possible riding experience. 


Views 189
October 27, 2011

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Oct. 27

Give Me A Cold One

Steve Janes

Fall is a great time of year. Something in the air tells you winter is just around the corner and you need to take advantage of the time left to celebrate the passing of summer and prepare for oncoming winter season.

There’s nothing like a crisp fall day. Everything is better, cleaner and calmer. The air is pure and fills your lungs. The colors of trees are vibrant. The sky is a richer blue. It’s just the perfect time to enjoy life.

But what I like best about fall is although the days can get nice and warm, you literally feel the temperature change every time the sun ducks behind a cloud or sets in the evening. And every morning you have a chill in the air to the point of literally being able to see your breath.

This is the time of year where you gleam the weather forecasts searching for cold fronts packing a lot of moister. It’s the time when each cloud could be packing snow—and this is the kind of snow that anticipates lingering in the higher elevations for the next six or seven months. It is base snow … the foundation of great riding.

Yes, I love Fall. I love the beautiful days, the brilliant colors, refreshing morning air. It’s the time to put away the summer toys, lawn mower and garden tools and prepare to be tucked in for winter. And when the sun goes down after a nice pleasant day, the night gets long …please, give me a cold one.


Views 89
October 27, 2011

SnoWest Ryan Harris Blog - Oct. 27

Fall is... Show Season

Ryan Harris

We've been going the rounds at the fall snowmobile shows, just finishing up the Intermountain Snowmobile Show last weekend. As much work as one show is, I really feel for the carnies who hit every major fall show from Hay Days to the World Snowmobile Expo. That's dedication.

 What most show goers don't realize is what goes on before and after the regular show times. Like two days before the event, trailer vendors deliver trailers and park them in the exhibit hall. The day before the event, vendors show up early for setup and stay all day. Setup doesn't conclude until the next day, about five minutes before the show is scheduled to open. After that, the vendors stay throughout the show and don't leave until about half an hour after the show ends for the day. Then it's dinner time.

Most vendors are back at the exhibit hall half an hour before the second day of the show opens. For the next 8 to 10 hours, its talking, selling, listening and standing. Knowing the whole time that when the show ends, the work begins. It takes another one to three hours to tear down most booths and get them loaded in the truck, depending on the facility. Maybe they come back the next morning to finish up. And after all that is over, they get to drive home. It doesn't matter which show we're talking about--somebody's got a 20-hour drive back home.

But if you think about it, you don't come across a grouchy face while you're at a show. These guys and girls love what they do and love meeting the people who drive the sport by buying their stuff.

There's a few more shows yet this fall, including the Idaho Snowmobile Show in Boise, Idaho, November 18-19. Don't miss out.

Views 103
October 27, 2011

SnoWest Newsletter - Oct. 27

Getting Ready For Winter

            You could see the bags loaded with snowmobiling accessories go out the door during the Intermountain Snowmobile Show this past weekend in South Jordon, UT. There was a lot of enthusiasm as snowmobilers showed that a slow economy isn’t going to slow them down this winter.

            The two-day Utah snow show provided a great opportunity for snowmobilers to visit with key industry people about sleds and other products. All four major snowmobile manufacturers had people on hand to answer questions about the new 2012 snowmobile line.

            Even one of the radio DJs who was at the site to promote the show got into the action as he purchased a new snowmobile. This shows us that when we expose people to the great sport of snowmobiling, people get converted.

            For those who haven’t had a chance to attend one of the several shows around the West, plan now to attend the Idaho show which will be held in Boise on Nov. 18-19.

SnoWest Newsletter - October 27, 2011

Views 66
October 18, 2011

Thacker Update:

Getting back on two feet

Monster Energy/Slednecks athlete Paul Thacker was seriously injured in late 2010 with a back injury that left him with little or no feeling from the chest down.

Since then, Thacker has had an amazing rehabilitation process and has been able to attend several events, keeping close ties with his favorite sports.

Thacker sent us this update at the end of August:

Hello all! Its PT checkin’ in!

Wow things are crazy as usual. I have been traveling all over. I have been doing physical therapy daily and rehab like you read about. Things are really going well. Things are improving and I am doing my best not to let this injury slow me down one bit.

I was able to get to Craig Hospital and trial the eLEGS. Berkeley Bionics has developed an exoskeleton that helps people in my similar situation actually get up and walk! I spent a week walking around and getting used to the device. Very cool for sure. I am looking forward to working with Berkeley again in the future in some sort of ambassador aspect. Not going to lie, I rather enjoy walking around!

After Denver I was able to sneak over to LA for summer X Games. Summer is always a great time to relax and take in the events without the pressure of actually competing like we have at Winter X. This year was no different. Great to catch up with friends and get a chance to check out how far everything is progressing. It’s is pure insanity now. The athletes in every sport are pushing the limits like we have never seen. Crazy!

After Summer X, I headed back to AK where I currently am. Enjoying this great state and wishing we would get a little more sunshine than what we have seen. But staying busy with the gym and trying to stay in the best shape I can. I have been mixing in a bit of fun and lake time as well.

Very much looking forward to this new upcoming season. Things may be a little bit different for me at the moment but I plan in tackling it head on. We have all kinds of things in the mix already. Shows, events, definitely planning on being at Winter X in an athlete capacity as well as several other ideas brewing! Hay Days is right around the corner and I will be there in body and spirit. Can’t wait!

Until next time, keep ripping!

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