January 27, 2012

Klim Extreme Bib

Another new design making up Klim’s 2011-12 lineup, the Extreme Bib improves upon the innovative pant/bib hybrid that has become a favorite of the most active off-trail riders. Combining the comfort of a riding pant with the deep-snow protection of a high-back bib, the Extreme offers ride versatility like no other. Klim built it right with guaranteed waterproof and supremely durable Gore-Tex Performance Shell technology.

Then, Klim added a more refined fit around the knees and bulked up on Cordura overlays where the pants touch the sled. Features include: Klim’s exclusive Seat Dry Tech Construction, 500D Cordura overlays on knees and inner boot area and underlays in high-abrasion areas, integrated Powder-Hater boot gaiter design and non-slip adjustable suspenders.

The bib is available in sizes S-5XL Regular, S-3XL Tall and S-5XL Short and retail for $329.99–395.99.

Contact Klim (208) 552-7433 or

Views 185
January 27, 2012

NEXTECH Torque Arm Easy Height Adjuster

NEXTECH has developed an adjuster plate to quickly change the height of your front arm on the rear suspension. This allows for change of approach angle and ski pressure easily and also reinforces the tunnel.

Five positions allow for more or less ski pressure as desired. Built with titanium aluminum and stainless steel for strength and long lasting good looks. Price is $89.95 CAD for the pair.

Contact NEXTECH (780) 983-5389 or

Views 156
January 27, 2012

Carbon Fiber Clutch Covers

Patrick Custom Carbon has used Indy Car technology to design and develop carbon fiber clutch covers for Polaris P85, Comet 102C, Belmont 4 Post and Arctic Cat clutches. The Polaris P85 carbon fiber clutch cover with titanium bolts fits on any year and can be done while mounted on the sled.

The average weight savings is approximately 300 grams of spun weight vs. stock. The lighter weight allows for faster acceleration.

Contact Patrick Custom Carbon (815) 721-5150 or

Views 189
January 27, 2012

White Out & Wide Open

Weakest Link

Steve Janes

Amidst the snow flurries on that cold January morning, a group of four snowmobilers wound their way through the rugged backcountry in the Salt River Range east of Alpine, WY.

Poor visibility due to the flat light made for difficult riding conditions as the group carved across the slopes and traversed the sidehills while picking their way through tight canyons. An old access road carved its way above a steep drop-off which fell down into a flowing creek. However, deep snow on the steep slope crowded the road to the point where even the slightest track wash would cost a rider the sidehill.

For the last rider in the group, most of the good lines had already been trenched out or polished down to the frozen earth, leaving little good snow to set the track or create new lines. Suddenly, the back end of the sled slid sideways across an exposed rock and dangled over the 100-foot drop to the creek. With a frantic grab of the throttle, the rider pushed the sled into a drift of snow which secured it to the mountain.

About 15 minutes later, during which time a lot of shoveling occurred to get the snowmobile leveled on a narrow platform where it could be driven back to safety, the other three riders returned to celebrate the scraping off of the tail rider.

Over the years I’ve learned one important truth when it comes to snowmobiling: You don’t want to be the weakest link in your group.

By being the weakest link, you usually find yourself in situations that are just a little beyond your comfort level. Regardless of where you start out in a ride—second, third or fourth in line—you usually work yourself back to the rear. This is both good and bad. The good is you can take a little more time to assess the terrain before you make a commitment on your line. The bad is that the trenches get deeper, the bumps get harder and the availability of fresh lines becomes much more scarce.

Being the weakest link also makes you vulnerable to the butt of the jokes. And the only thing worse than being the weakest link is being the weakest link and not knowing it.

Usually, riders assemble in groups of close equality in riding abilities. Although there is usually a “pecking order” in who leads and who follows, not everyone is always on the top of their game. In other words, the weakest link can vary depending on who’s riding well and who’s not (sometimes it’s whose snowmobile is running strong and whose sled is just not making power that day).

Regardless, it’s always good to look around your group before the start of each ride and try to decide who’s going to be the weakest link … and then do everything you can to be just a little bit better than that guy on that ride.

Views 115
January 27, 2012

Letters To The Editor

Vintage Readers

Dear Editor:

I just perused the latest issue and had somewhat of an epiphany. You are a bright fella; I hope it struck you as well.

I think you found the guy to write about older sleds, junkyards, and “antique” performance parts. His name is Mike Lundberg [“How About Some Stories For Us?” SnoWest, October, 2011, page 10]. Your back-and-forth with him showed an eloquent writer, a passionate sledder and an overall intelligent man. I think an occasional quip or “article” in the mag from him would be a very welcome addition. It sounds like he has come up through the ranks in much the same way as most of our community has.

If nothing else, please forward this mail to him. I want him to know that some of us love and embrace the nostalgia … even if we have moved on to keep up with the Joneses. We all have roots somewhere. It’s nice to remember them on occasion.

Jeff McClure

Via e-mail from Wyoming

Closure Of Granite Mountain In McCall To Snowmachines

Dear Editor:

I am a resident of McCall and an avid rider. Following is my personal letter regarding the closing of Granite Mountain—our mountain. Please note that there are 4 million acres in Idaho closed off to snowmachines, but 0 acres closed off to backcountry skiers. This proposal will ruin our already dwindling economy as well as our businesses.

Angie Rittenhouse

McCall, ID


Rittenhouse’s letter:

Snowmobile Use On Granite May Become A Thing Of The Past

Originally Squaw, Granite and Hitt mountains were all open to any and all public use which included motorized recreation. Around 2004, Squaw and Hitt mountains were closed to all motorized use and only available to backcountry skiers. The Payette National Forest gave Brundage exclusive rights to the southeast side of Goose Lake and Soldier for their cat skiing program, later giving Brundage mixed use rights to the south side of Granite for the same purpose.

Most importantly, the south and east sides of Granite are the areas used for motorized recreation. Granite offers riding for beginners and intermediate riders as well as plenty of recreation for advanced riders. Its surrounding areas can be used by everyone in any skill set or at any age, local or tourist. The rest of the mountain is too steep or totally inaccessible for riding and much too dangerous for beginners and intermediate riders as well as children or those riders getting up in age to ride. Few snowmobiles and riders have the capability to ride this steep and rugged country.

Neither Squaw nor Hitt can offer enjoyable riding to anyone but very experienced riders. They are unfriendly areas to beginners, intermediate, young and older riders. Squaw Mountain is too steep for anyone not at expert level. It is dangerous for anyone who is unfamiliar with the area. Hitt Mountain is almost twice the distance of Granite and Squaw from the parking lot and will require extra fuel as well as extra time to access it. Most people will be too exhausted and cold once they reach Hitt to enjoy any of it. A select few will be able to enjoy the riding on Squaw and Hitt while the rest of us will have to park our machines and watch.

• This proposed “trade” will close Granite almost entirely.

• From Goose Lake up the mountain will be off limits.

• There will be no route to the Lookout.

• You will not be allowed to ride up the chutes from Twin Lakes.

• Granite is popular and enjoyed by all.

• Squaw is rarely used and by experts only.

• Hitt is not used at all and will require a whole day and extra fuel to enjoy.

The backcountry skiers who got Squaw and Hitt closed in the first place have complained for years that their areas were too far away from the parking lot on Brundage. With this proposal, they will give back what they took away in the first place and also take away a mainstay area for all snowmobiles, both local and tourist.

This closure is not year-round. It is only from January 15-March 30, which is the best snow conditions for snowmobiles as well as Brundage’s busiest time for the cat ski program. This move will further profit a private company, privatize public lands, thus denying the public the right to recreate in an area convenient, safe and well known with their families and friends.

During Segregation, most public businesses had signs that stated, “Whites Only. No Blacks Allowed.” There is already 451,200 acres of public land closed to motorized recreation. This draws a line on a map that states, “Skiers Only. No Snowmobiles Allowed.” These closings vastly limit a specific user group and are similar to discrimination and segregation.

We need to make a stand or give up our rights entirely.

(ED—For a little background information on what Rittenhouse is talking about, visit and navigate to the Sept. 22, 2011, news update titled, “Payette National Forest To Host Public Meeting On Proposed Special Order For Management Of 2011-12 Winter Snow Season.”)

I Feel Mike’s Pain

Dear Editor:

I feel Mike’s [Lundberg, “How About Some Stories For Us?” SnoWest, October, 2011, page 10] pain. I love looking through your magazine and going to dealers to check out the new sleds. I even check out the new reveals that manufacturers do when hyping a new sled.

The hard truth is I can’t afford to buy these cool new machines. I have a family of five and other obligations so buying new is just not an option. All my kids ride their own sleds but what they ride is at least twice as old as they are and nearing how long I have been kicking around.

I wish this side of the sport was looked at a little more--old sleds that have proven their worth, modifications that make old sleds perform better and what sleds work well for kids learning to ride. It’s lame, but I got excited to see an older sled in the pictures of your article about Routt County [“Routt County: Powder Heaven,” SnoWest, October, 2011, page 41].

Please just don’t forget about the guys who are in it to enjoy time with family. My kids will be the next readers and buyers of snowmobiles in the future as long as the sport does not cease to exist.

Also, tell the manufacturers they need a good mid-size sled like the old 340s.

Clayton Karp

Belgrade MT

Views 105
January 27, 2012

Yellowstone Will Be Open For Sledding This Winter

NPS to implement one-year rule for 2011-12 Winter Use Plan

National Park Service planners will implement a “One-Year Rule” for the upcoming 2011-12 winter season, in order to allow time to better address significant public input regarding the proposed long-term regulation.

More than 58,000 responses were received during the 60-day public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that closed on July 18, with significant input on the long-term proposal’s requirements and approaches. The goal had been to have a new long-term final Winter Use Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and regulation in effect for the park by December, 2011.

Among the issues that NPS wants to analyze further before issuing a long-term regulation are:

• Variable preset use limits

• Air quality and sound modeling assumptions

• Proposed Best Available Technology (BAT) for snowcoaches

• Adaptive management framework for emerging technologies

• Costs of avalanche mitigation efforts on Sylvan Pass

• The 10:30 entry time requirement included in the preferred alternative

• Opportunities for non-commercially guided access

In the near-term, the NPS plans to issue a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) that will select only the “transition year” portion of the preferred alternative. In addition, the NPS will issue a final rule—allowing winter use for one year—allowing the same use levels with the same restrictions as the interim rule that was in place the past two seasons.

The rule will allow for up to 318 commercially guided BAT snowmobiles and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches per day in Yellowstone for the 2011-12 season. It will also continue to provide for motorized oversnow travel over the East Entrance road and Sylvan Pass.

Following the issuance of the ROD and one-year rule, the NPS will immediately begin work to supplement the FEIS. The NPS intends to have a final supplemental EIS, a long-term ROD, and a long-term regulation in place before the start of the 2012-13 winter season.

Views 87
January 27, 2012

10 Ski-Doo Models BAT Certified For YNP

Sleds also meet BAT for GTNP

BRP has 10 2012 Ski-Doo snowmobile models certified for use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks where some of the toughest emission standards are enforced. These BRP products stand alone as the only 2012 models to be certified with no modifications or kits.

Snowmobiles must be certified as Best Available Technology (BAT) by the National Park Service to enter Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. BAT certification is one of the most stringent standards for air and noise emissions in the world, requiring hydrocarbon emissions of less than 15 g/kW-hr, carbon monoxide emissions of less than 120 g/kW-hr and sound level limited to 73 decibels.

These 10 Ski-Doo snowmobiles are all equipped with four-stroke engines, either the ultra-quiet and efficient Rotax ACE 600 engine or the more powerful Rotax 4-TEC 1200 powertrain. The certified Ski-Doo snowmobiles require no modifications or throttle limiters to meet the BAT standards.

“BRP is committed to providing responsible recreational products that meet or exceed our customers’ needs while being as environmentally friendly as possible,” Robert Lumley, vice-president, sales and marketing, Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo, said. “Unlike our competition, these 10 machines require no modifications. All customers using these models across North America are getting this same kind of fuel economy and efficiency, not just sleds limited to Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks.”

BRP’s Rotax ACE 600 engine was designed for efficiency, with every aspect focused on maximizing output, minimizing fuel consumption, reducing maintenance and extending longevity. Fuel economy on some models is an industry-leading 8 L/100 km (29 mpg).

The Rotax 4-TEC 1200 engine is designed more for performance. This engine meets the demands of experienced riders across the world by delivering a lightweight and powerful four-stroke package that translates to easy handling and quick acceleration in the Rev-X chassis.

Ski-Doo models certified for BAT are offered in one-rider and two-rider configurations, including: the Grand Touring SE, Grand Touring LE with the Rotax 4-TEC 1200 engine, and the Grand Touring Sport, MX Z Sport, MX Z TNT, Renegade, Tundra LT, Tundra Sport, Expedition Sport and Skandic WT, all equipped with the Rotax ACE 600 engine.

Views 144
January 27, 2012

Chris Brown Signs With Yamaha Motor Canada

Chris BrownSlednecks rider Chris Brown is one of the world’s best backcountry freeriders and Yamaha Motor Canada announced recently that Brown will be riding an FX Nytro MTX this season.

“I want the most reliable, most capable sled out there,” Brown said when asked about his desire to ride Yamaha. “I sometimes ride 100km from the nearest road and breaking down is not an option. Getting there and back is crucial to our sport.”

Google “Chris Brown” and you will see some very impressive and highly skilled maneuvers on a snowmobile. He’s headlined many of the industry’s best films, including Sled Heads, Thunderstruck and Nitro Circus. He bought his first snowmobile in 1996 with intentions to use it for sled-skiing. It wasn’t long before he ditched the skis.

“I love it,” stated Brown about his passion for backcountry snowmobiling. “Once it gets into your blood, it’s with you forever. This winter I hope to ride at least 150 days and show people that a 4-stroke snowmobile is more than capable of doing things that I did on a 2-stroke.”

As you can imagine, it takes a high amount of courage and skill to do what Brown does. Fortunately, for others, they can speed up the learning process by attending one of Brown’s riding camps.

“Riders may sign up for one-on-one sessions or you can arrange a group ride through your local Yamaha dealer,” Brown said. “We’ll work on everything from technical boondocking to exploring untouched powder. It’s all about having a good time and trying something new.”

For more information, visit or get in touch with your local Yamaha dealer. Brown does recommend that everyone who rides in the mountains enroll in an avalanche safety training course. For Canadians, refer to; Americans visit

Views 137
January 27, 2012

Lincoln County Customs Now Offering Snowmobile Training Courses

Lincoln County Customs owner Troy Johnson is offering a variety of snowmobile training classes at his Greys River location in Alpine, WY, just minutes from the Greys River Snowmobile trailhead.

Enrollment is currently open for Avalanche Awareness, Basic First-Aid, Backcountry Safety and General Snowmobile Repair/Maintenance classes. Customized classes are also available to cater to your specific private group or snowmobile club needs.

A class group ride will be conducted at the conclusion of the class, free of charge, so you should bring your sled to participate.

“We have a strong snowmobile community locally and coming through Alpine, WY,” Johnson said. “I would like to share my knowledge of 20-plus years snowmobiling so people can have a more memorable, enjoyable and safe experience in the backcountry.”

LCC specializes in the customization and performance enhancement of snowmobiles, motocross race bikes and side-by-sides and services Yamaha, Polaris, Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo, KTM, Kawasaki and Honda makes and models.

Space is limited. Call (307) 654-6637 or visit for more information.

Views 120
January 27, 2012

DynoPort Summit E-Tec Pipe

DynoPort’s E-Tec Summit Big Volume Pipe can pump up your sled by 3 hp at peak rpm and 5 hp at mid-range. The pipe offers strong torque and horsepower and holds rpms on long climbs. Add a port matched, symmetrical Y pipe for 2 hp and more torque. DynoPort pipes offer real world heat soaked horsepower.

Contact DynoPort (315) 253-9631 or

Views 133
January 27, 2012

TAGear Handlebar Bag

TAGear’s Handlebar Bag securely attaches to most mountain bars and sleds with bar risers. TA Gear has attached the bag to the handlebar and number plates on dirt bikes and to racks on both dirt bikes and ATVs as well.

It’s also a fanny pack. New stretch Cordura pockets and a stretch cord on each end will hold a small water bottle. New quick-release accessory strap and webbing loop allows for a better fit on more sleds. All zippers on the HandleBar Bag are YKK water-resistant. Large padded main pocket hold cameras or tools. There are also three smaller outside zip pockets and an interior zip pocket and key hook. This bag gives you lots of ways to attach extra gear.

Outside dimensions are 12 inches wide by 9 inches high by 4 inches deep

The Handlebar Bag retails for $59.95.

Contact True Adventure Gear (208) 562-1391 or

Views 200
January 27, 2012

EVS SV1 Trail Vest

EVS Sports has launched its first line of snow vests. The SV1T is perfect for the trail or mountain rider who is looking for great protection without sacrificing comfort.

The outer shell of this vest is constructed of durable ballistic nylon and ballistic mesh. It has an extremely compact and lightweight design with a zipper front closure for easy on/off applications. The removable wind stopper fleece is great for those cold and windy ride days, but is easily removable for warmer climates.

For precise torso fitment, the adjustable side straps make the vest perfect for your body shape. It is also equipped with puncture-resistant internal EVA and polypropylene armor construction and the RECCO Avalanche Rescue System. Lastly, the SV1T has an ignition kill tether attachment as an added safety feature. The SV1T retails for $200.00.

Contact EVS Sports (888) 873-8423 or

Views 288
January 27, 2012

Rear Bumper Upgrade For Pro RMK

Holz Racing Products now offers a new aluminum bumper for the 2011-12 Polaris Pro RMK and 800 Assault. This is an affordable direct replacement for the stock carbon fiber tube.

Made of 6061 aluminum, this part won’t break. The bumper features a knurled surface for better grip, black anodized finish and includes replacement rivets for installation.

The replacement part retails for $34.95.

Contact HRP (360) 398-7006 or

Views 248
January 19, 2012

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Jan 19th

Finding Snow

Steve Janes

 Last week I actually spent three days out on the snow … and the riding wasn’t too bad. One day I was in Togwotee, WY, where the higher elevations have about as much snow as anywhere around. The downside is that there was no fresh snow so you had to look hard to find areas without tracks.

Later in the week I was riding along the eastern Idaho/Western Wyoming border. Again, the snow was marginal in the areas under 7,500 feet elevation or on any south-facing slope where the sun and wind could cut it.

In the tight canyons that don’t get much sunlight (and many snowmobilers), there was some pretty good riding. But you had to work to find it.

It will be nice once winter finally arrives when we don’t have to search to find good snow. But until then, the best riding is for those who work the hardest to find it.


Views 139
January 19, 2012

SnoWest Ryan Harris Blog - Jan 19th

Stupid kill switch

Ryan Harris

Having something stupid happen when you're doing something stupid isn't much of a shock. But when something stupid happens when you least expect it--such as riding cautiously through a meadow in marginal snow--it really catches you off guard. Apparently, after all the tree limbs I've run through blindly with the throttle tapped in the past 12 months, brushing one at 20 mph did me in last Friday.

Views 121
January 05, 2012

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Jan 5th

Balanced Winter

Steve Janes

            So far I’ve done a fairly good job at balancing out my winter. I’ve spent one day of the new year on the mountain slopes, and one day on the golf course. To be honest, I know I’ll get about 100 rounds of golf in before the end of the year … that means I’m really going to need to pick it up if I expect to get that many snowmobile rides in.

The beauty of both golf and snowmobiling is that you can usually always find grass or snow somewhere, it just depends on how hard you’re willing to look.

Usually during January, we tend to have to search harder for a golf course than we do for a mountain loaded with snow. However, this year it seems to be just the opposite … at least for the time being.

On January 2 I was working hard trying to tune some ski lift out of my snowmobile. On January 4 I was trying to fix a shank from my chipping game. I think right now I’m more content working out the ski lift and letting the shank sit idle for a couple of months.

Although there isn’t a lot of snow in the higher elevations, there are some pockets of pretty good riding. But after saying that, I must also include that there are also a lot of pockets with unstable snow. And we’re likely to battle those unstable snow conditions for quite a while.

So be careful as you take to the slopes.    


Views 125
December 23, 2011

SnoWest Steve Janes Blog - Dec 23

Failing The Test (Part 2)

            Last week we talked about the job of product testing here at SnoWest … and some of the risks that go along with it.

            One time we were asked to test a digital thermometer that is attached a key chain. This is a simple enough test—certainly our crackpot crew could hand this product review. So one of our SnowTest riders attached the thermometer to the key of his snowmobile and we went for a ride.

Well, apparently the manufacturer of the thermometer didn’t foresee the vigorous jiggles and jolts associated with being affixed to a snowmobile. So somewhere along the ride our thermometer key chain morphed into your basic key loop with a chain that was at one time attached to something. (I guess it could have been worse … we could have kept the thermometer and lost the sled.)

Another time a turbo manufacturer asked if we wanted to install and test his turbo. I asked how difficult of an install it would be. His reply: “It’s about like putting in a car stereo.”

So he shipped us the turbo for testing.

When I opened the package, I swear there was over 200 parts and an installation
manual about the size of a Los Angeles phone book. And he thinks that guys who screwed up a thermometer test could install this thing?

Well, after collecting dust in my shop for about a year, I gave the turbo to a local snowmobile mechanic and told him if he ever used it to let me know how it worked out. About two years later I bumped into him and asked him if he was ever able to install the turbo.

“No … I could never figure out the instructions. But I did use a few of the parts to repair my car stereo.”


Views 118
December 23, 2011

SnoWest "12 Days of Snowest" Blog

12 Days of SnoWest Winners

The 12 days of SnoWest giveaways are in full motion.  LISTED Below are the winners for the past seven days leading us to the Ski-Doo Summit and Carl Kuster’s Camp getaway.




View winners

Views 102
December 18, 2011

Product Test: HPS Muffler

HPS mufflerOne of the easiest and most affordable ways to improve the performance of your snowmobile is to add a lightweight muffler. This past winter we installed an HPS muffler on our stock Ski-Doo Freeride and were extremely impressed on how simple it was to bolt on performance.

The HPS muffler is 12.2 lbs. lighter than the stock muffler and takes up about half the space. You will find it more challenging to remove the stock muffler than to install this one. And once you fasten it in place, you have accomplished two things—reduced frontend weight and increased performance.

We could talk horsepower numbers, but what really matters is what you actually feel when you grab the throttle. What we found was that once the rpm hit around 6,000 then the sled really comes to life. It makes maximum power (on the 2011 Freeride) between 7,900-8,000 rpm.

We were able to put about 80 miles of hard deep powder riding on the HPS muffler at elevation. This is where you want performance instantly. And by taking 12 lbs. off the nose, you find it easier to throw your sled around.

The HPS muffler is a little louder than stock. In deep snow, you will hardly tell the difference. It has a nice base tone yet not too loud. On pavement or a hard surface, however, it does get your attention.

Installation is very basic. It fits right in with plenty of room to spare. The biggest challenge was removing the stock pipe on the Ski-Doo. There is one spring that is nearly impossible to reach since it’s inside the pipe and has no good access.

The lightweight HPS can costs just less than $350. For more information contact Scott Hillam at (208) 357-3343.

Company: HPS

Views 198
December 17, 2011

Product Test: JT Sports Bumper

JT Sports BumperSnowmobile bumpers are designed for two specific purposes: first, to withstand a bump; second, in case of a big bump, bend before the bulkhead.

However, you still want a bumper that can take a modest bump without bending. And we found the strength of Ski-Doo’s bumper just a little on the light side. That’s why we were pleased to discover JT Sports Rev XP Heavy Duty Bumper.

Made from one-inch square aluminum, the JT Sports bumper is about twice the thickness of the stock Ski- Doo bumper. Bumpers come with a semi-gloss black powdercoat finish or you can request an unpainted bumper that you can polish.

The bumper design provides an additional 1.5 inches of nose clearance, making it a little easier to get a hold of it. It also offers a unique design that is very attractive, yet designed to give some bump absorption in case of impact.

The bumper was easy to install. It offers excellent handles for grabbing the front of a sled in case you need to roll your sled out of a hole. It costs about $135. JT Sports also offers a uniquely designed rear bumper as well.

Company: JT Sports, Kalispell, MT

Views 186
Yellowstone Adventures, Inc.

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