SNOWMOBILE BLOG

March 20, 2013

Letters To The Editor

Can’t Wait To Take Her Sledding

Dear Editor:

I had to share a proud dad moment with you. When I got my free trial issue of SnoWest this week my 2 year-old daughter wanted to look through the whole thing. Can’t wait to take her sledding. Thanks for all you guys do. SnoWest has been in my home since I was just a kid.

Chevy Lyon

Smithfield, UT

Could Not Be More Polar Opposite

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to a letter you published in your Western Guide to Snowmobiling edition (“Reign In Unruly Snowmobilers,” SnoWest, November, 2012, page 19) by a gentleman called Don Hill.

I found his comments very surprising and was very disappointed that his experience with snowmobilers had left such a bitter taste in his mouth. Mr. Hill did not mention where he lives or works, but I would suggest that he pay a visit to West Yellowstone, MT, where the relationship between the local businesses and snowmobilers could not be more polar to Mr. Hill’s experience.

Here in West we have a great relationship with the snowmobile community and welcome snowmobilers with open arms. I work at a hotel and have always found the snowmobilers courteous and have never encountered the problems Mr. Hill appears to have.

The visiting snowmobilers contribute a great deal to the economy of our town as is evident to anyone who visits any of the bars and restaurants in the evenings. The gift and clothing stores are also well-supported by visiting snowmobilers.

While Mr. Hill did make a somewhat valid point that the issues with the Park Service were partly the snowmobilers’ own making, overall, I find it hard to believe that the rest of his complaints have any grounding at all.

The future of the snowmobiling industry rests on the ability to build public and private partnerships for continued public lands access and sustainable destination locations. I am glad that West Yellowstone and the snowmobile community that visit us are jointly playing a large part in helping achieve this and am sure that together, we can continue to do so.

A concerned snowmobiler and hotel employee

West Yellowstone MT

$2,000 Ride

Dear Editor:

I want to tell you about this story. I went riding with two of my buddies near Zirkle (Washington). It’s about 10:30 a.m. and they drop into a bowl with a Polaris 800 RMK with a 155-inch track. They couldn’t get out so we’re talking on a two-way radio and they needed help.

So by 2:30 p.m. I had to call in a helicopter that cost $2,000 to lift them out of the hole and get their sleds and them back on top of the mountain. They were thirsty for a cold Coors Light beer so we all had one. Then we got back to the parking lot about 7:40 p.m.. It was a long day.

Carlos Candanedo

Tampico, WA

(ED—Ouch, that’s some expensive beer.)

Engine Problems

Dear Editor:

Just got my new SnoWest mag. Right away I read the article in the letters to the editor, “Why can’t they?” (SnoWest, January 2013, page 10) which talks about the reliability of the Polaris engines. I feel this guy’s pain. I started riding Polaris RMKs in 2011. Love the sleds. I’ve had three already. I’ve yet to make it a thousand miles on two of them without engine problems.

Just over the 2012 Christmas weekend right before reading the “Why can’t they?” article I blew the engine in my 2012 RMK in the first five miles of a three-day ride in Togwotee.

I’ve always been picky about fuel and maintenance. All my sleds have been stock. You would think Polaris was giving up horsepower for reliability but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure wish Polaris could do something about this.

Patrick

Via e-mail

Enjoy The Magazine, But Disappointed

Dear Editor:

First off, I really enjoy the products you offer (both in print and online).

Next I wanted to say that I am really disappointed that I need to purchase a subscription in order to view more than a couple of posts on the online forums. I could understand having to pay for this service if I didn’t subscribe to either of your magazines, but I have been subscribing to both for a couple of years.

It’s not like the subscriptions to your magazine are cheap either. Because I live in Canada I pay nearly double what subscribers in the U.S. pay.

I am sure that your money makers are the magazines and not the online forum. Maybe if you offered a free subscription to the online stuff with a magazine subscription you would get more subscribers.

Justin McIvor

Via e-mail


Views 21
March 20, 2013

2014 Model Year Sneak Peek Spring Tour

See them, touch them and even catch a whiff of that new sled smell as Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha unveil their 2014 models and showcase them from coast to coast as part of the 2014 Sneak Peek Tour. Touting all-new models, new technology, new colors and the latest spring early order programs to go with them, the Sneak Peek tour is your best and often only chance to see the new 2014 models in person before next winter.

With all four manufacturers showcasing their latest offerings under one roof, there will be nearly 60 sleds on display, plus a sampling of other products from each manufacturer including ATVs, motorcycles and side-by-sides. With so much to see, it’s the perfect opportunity for a night out with your family and riding friends.

Most shows are free to attend, and along with seeing the new 2014 snowmobiles, you can talk directly with factory representatives to get the inside scoop on the new models along with details on exclusive spring programs. The complete tour schedule, hours of operation and venue details and directions can be found at www.snowsneakpeek.com.


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March 20, 2013

Expo Right Around The Corner

Final preparations are being made for the 2013 World Snowmobile Expo in West Yellowstone, MT. This year’s event promises to be one you don’t want to miss. The Expo is Friday through Sunday, March 15-17.

Not only does the Expo give snowmobilers an opportunity to get their first look at the 2014 snowmobiles, it offers some unique events wrapped into one exciting weekend—drag racing, snocross, freestyle and even some freestyle street bikes.

Expo weekend is also a great time to hang out with old friends and meet new ones. West Yellowstone offers an active night life with various activities like casino night.

A complete schedule of events is available at www.snowmobileexpo.com.


Views 20
March 20, 2013

Polaris Announces Changes To Board Of Directors

Wine succeeds Palen

Polaris Industries on Jan. 31 announced its board of directors voted to elect Scott Wine, Polaris’ chief executive officer, as chairman of the board. Wine succeeds Greg Palen, who has been chairman for 11 years and has nearly 20 years of service on the board.

“I would like to congratulate Scott on his election to serve in the additional capacity of chairman of the board,” Palen said. “Under his leadership, Polaris has delivered consistent and profitable growth while successfully executing the company’s ambitious strategy, generating record results and shareholder returns. Scott has accomplished tremendous things since he started in 2008, but I am convinced that the best is yet to come for Scott and the Polaris team. Scott’s stellar track record as CEO of Polaris, coupled with his experience sitting on the boards of Polaris and Terex, leaves me confident that the role of chairman will be in good hands.”

Wine will assume the role of chairman effective immediately. Palen will step down from the board following the annual shareholders meeting on April 25, 2013 .

“Greg has been a beacon of leadership and wisdom on our board of directors for nearly 20 years and his contributions were instrumental to the unprecedented growth Polaris enjoyed under his direction,” Wine said. “We thank Greg for the steady guidance and keen insight he provided as chairman and he can take great pride in the legacy he leaves, embodied by Polaris’ record of product, geographic and shareholder value expansion. While we will greatly miss his presence on our board, we wish him the best as he enjoys a few less challenges and more time with his family and friends.”

In addition to changes in the chairmanship, after nine years of service Bob Caulk announced his decision not to stand for re-election at the 2013 annual shareholders meeting. Caulk’s board experience across several industries, as well as his strong background in mergers and acquisitions, proved invaluable in ensuring that Polaris maintained a trend of profitable growth even as the company expanded its portfolio in recent years.

“During his time on the board, Bob has supplied valuable insight into strategic marketing and complex acquisition transactions, contributing significantly to our recent ability to accelerate growth,” Wine said. “We are extremely fortunate to have had access to Bob’s experience and we greatly appreciate the guidance he provided the company throughout his service on the board. We wish Bob the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Finally, the board also announced it has elected John Wiehoff as lead director. Wiehoff, who has served as CEO of C.H. Robinson Worldwide since 2002 and as the company’s chairman since 2007, possesses an extensive background managing complex corporate financial issues. This experience, along with Wiehoff’s many other talents, has contributed significantly to Polaris’ success during his time as a member of the Polaris board, which began in 2007.


Views 19
March 20, 2013

Super Bright LED Light Bars

Super Bright LED Light BarsSuper Bright LEDs has introduced its newest line of high-powered LED light bars and auxiliary lights. Designed for on- and off-road vehicle use, each waterproof light produces extraordinary light output, is highly efficient with a low power draw and has an operation lifetime of up to 50,000 hours.

Each light is IP67 (waterproof) or IP68 (submersible) certified and composed of a lightweight, durable aluminum housing with a virtually indestructible polycarbonate lens to provide years of reliable service. This superior casing will protect against scratches, rocks and debris damage in even the most extreme on- and off-road conditions.

A variety of beam patterns are available with spotlights down to a narrow 10 degrees and flood units up to a broad 130 degrees. Light intensities span from 300 to 5,400 lumens. The units are available in round, square, oval and rectangular shapes in sizes ranging from 4 to 21 inches.

Prices start at $39.95.

Contact Super Bright LEDs (866) 590-3533 or www.superbrightleds.com.


Views 21
March 20, 2013

Black Ice Snowmobile Lift

Black Ice Snowmobile LiftThe Black Ice snowmobile lift jacks up to 27.25 inches, making maintenance, service, repairs and storage of your sled easy. The sled stand evenly lifts the snowmobile with two rear rubber lift pads and a front support bar with a rubber grip surface. The rubber lift points securely grip the frame of the snowmobile and prevent against scratches. The lift folds down to a slim 6-3/8 inches in height, providing quick installation.

Simply slide the lift under the front of the snowmobile, apply the included hand crank to the jack and repeatedly turn the crank clockwise to lift up the sled. The snowmobile shop lift is constructed of 1- x 2-inch steel tubing with a black powder finish and features a 700-pound capacity. The Black Ice snowmobile lift is ideal for replacing the track, changing carbides, adjusting suspension and more. The lift requires assembly and comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Contact Discount Ramps (888) 651-3431 or www.discountramps.com.


Views 14
Model Year 2014 | Snowmobile News
March 10, 2013

Model Year 2014

Steve Janes Blog 031013

            This past 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.

            Well, 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.

            That isn’t 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.

            I’m not 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.

            With our 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.

            Thanks to 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.

SJ

Views 3823
February 28, 2013

Stomper boots

There are two types of snowmobilers: ones who wear out the seats of their suits and ones who wear out the soles of their boots.

For the first type, the only thing you need to stay warm when you plant your butt on the seat and go down the trail is some good insulation. Most any kind of snowmobile suit will do a great job if you have enough insulation.

For the second type of rider, the ones who are active and moving around their sled, breathability is critical. You want to keep the wind and snow out, but you also need to allow the sweat and steam created by your body to escape—from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.

So for those who are looking for a pair of boots that can keep your toes warm and dry while you dance around your sled, we’ve found great success with our MotorFist Stompers.

Utilizing eVent technology, the Stomper Boots are both waterproof and breathable—this keeps the cold/moisture out while allowing the sweat/steam to be wicked away from the foot.

The boots are comfortable to wear and provide the kind of traction and grip you need to “lock” onto your sled. Where most snowmobile boots tend to bind and restrict one’s movement, the MotorFist exclusive Hi-Flex design allows greater motion that gives you confidence that you can move around your sled without your foot slipping off the boards.

Durable TecTuff Technical Textured leathers (now there’s a tongue twister) provide solid upper foot/ankle support. And don’t forget the 600 grams of Thinsulate built into the boots for warmth.

There is a molded heel and toe cap for strength and durability. Also, the bottom of the boot features a “debris release” design which includes a power grip and oil resisting sole so snow doesn’t stick. There are multiple leather overlays in high abrasion areas to provide longer life to the boot.

Finally, replaceable Goodyear Welt Soles are available to extend the comfort life of the boot. This is useful because it will allow you to wear your boots longer during the day without discomfort, yet not be concerned about prematurely wearing out the inner soles.

At SnoWest, we have tried about every type of snowmobile boot made. And although there are a lot of good boots out there, this was one boot that seemed to be the glass slipper on our feet—the perfect fit. It’s functional. It’s comfortable. It works.

To add a final feature, MotorFist offers a moisture wicking thermal sock that keeps your feed snug and warm. It’s also impressive to see the thought and engineering put into a simple sock design … you may want to check it out. When you combine the boots with the socks, you just can’t lose.

MotorFist boasts a “rugged by design” motto in all of their products. These are guys who use and abuse their sleds, as well as their riding gear. So they make their products to last and withstand the constant beating of an extreme rider.

The Stomper Boots retail for $219.99 and the thermal socks for $24.99.

Contact MotorFist

www.motorfist.com.


Views 17
February 28, 2013

Klim Summit Tech T

The men’s Summit Tech T is designed as a performance-riding base or mid-layer shirt. Its new-for-2012 Polyester Micro-grid knit main body fabric and stretch panels of poly/spandex fabric make it ideal for all riding duties. Don’t compromise your layering system with a cotton t-shirt. Choose a Tech T and stay drier and more comfortable all day. Anti-microbial sweat zones fight the funk of the hardest rides while its anti-piling 4-way stretch fabrics keep it looking and fitting perfect ride after ride. 

Contact Klim (208) 552-7433 or www.klim.com.


Views 18
February 28, 2013

Venom Solstice Helmet

For lovers of the snow, Z1R Helmets has a helmet for the snowmobiler in your family with the Venom Solstice. Using the same technology tested and proven in the Z1R street helmets, the Venom is packed with features.

Starting with the advanced ABS/Polycarbonate shell construction that meets or exceeds DOT and ECE standards, Z1R keeps rider safety in mind. To keep riders comfortable, the Venom is fitted with a fully-removable moisture-wicking and anti-microbial Heal-Tec comfort liner. It also includes a chin curtain and a breath box in conjunction with the air diffuser that keeps the double-paned shield clear from condensation. After wearing the Venom Solstice, riders will be saying ‘bring on the snow.’

Other features of the Venom Solstice helmet include a dual-density EPS impact liner, double lens, anti-fog shield with no-tool quick release mechanism and D-ring closure system with padded neck strap.

The helmet is available in black, blue, orange, pink and red and retails for $164.95 (SM-2XL).

Contact your local Parts Unlimited dealer. To find a dealer near you visit www.Z1RHelmets.com.


Views 20
February 28, 2013

POWDER KEG LIFE KIT STORAGE BOX

Survive to ride again. Powder Keg has once again listened to rider input and now offers a new Life Kit storage box. The new lid design will allow Powder Keg’s lightweight, all-aluminum shovel to snap onto the top of the lid and be locked in place by a rotating aluminum disk. This new lid also has a 16-inch folding saw, an LED flashlight and a complete fire-starter kit built right in.

Powder Keg took special efforts to keep a smooth-shaped exterior with no hang-up points that could snag a rider or his clothing. These new items are built to last so you can expect to keep them to move from sled to sled over the years.

You can now order the low-profile storage box with your choice of the original lid or the new Life Kit lid. Both fit many models of Ski-Doo, Polaris and Arctic Cat sleds. The new Life Kit box comes complete with the shovel, folding saw, LED flashlight, fire-starter kit and all installation hardware for just $344.00.

Contact Powder Keg (888) 758-7307 or www.powderkegllc.com/.


Views 17
February 28, 2013

Project Great White

SnoWest Magazine has been building a project sled for 19 years now. And with each sled comes new ways to go about getting the best balance of weight, handling and horsepower.

Project Great White is all about that balance. We started with a 2013 Arctic Cat ProClimb M 800 Sno Pro 153 and compiled a list of parts that covered weight, power, handling and rider comfort. With a few hundred miles on the sled by early January, it’s safe to say the recipe works.

So, how did we get from a 565-pound wet weight to 528 lbs., gain horsepower and improve ride quality? Here’s the latest on the build and its initial rides. We’ll have a full report next season. 

Project Great White Info

Arctic Cat

2013 ProClimb M800 Sno Pro LTD 153

www.arcticcat.com

 

Team Arctic

Build Team: Rob Kincaid & Dave McClure

 

Timbersled Products

Mtn Tamer Rear Suspension with Infinite Coupling

www.timbersled.com

 

Speedwerx

Fat Daddy Single Pipe, High-Flow Y Pipe, Lightweight Muffler, Head Modification

www.speedwerxstore.com

 

Patrick Custom Carbon

Carbon Fiber Tunnel, Carbon Fiber Clutch Cover

www.patrickcustomcarbon.com

 

C3 Powersports

Carbon Fiber ProClimb Hood & Dash w/ Integrated Airbox

www.c2powersports.com

 

Dynojet

Power Commander, AFR AutoTune, LCD Display

www.dynojet.com

Zbroz Racing

ARS-FX Backcountry Steering Post, Minus-1 Steering Assembly

www.zbrozracing.com

 

Racewerx

ProClimb Skid Plate / Front Bumper, Rear Bumper

www.racewerxinc.com

 

Fox

Float EVOL Front Shocks, Float Rear Shocks

www.foxracingshox.com

 

First Place Parts

Boss ProClimb Seat

www.firstplaceparts.com

 

Starting Line Products

Powder Pro Skis

www.startinglineproducts.com

 

JT Sports

No Snow Running Boards, Honeycomb Vent Kit

www.jtpanels.com

Mountain Addiction

TrackRack with Low Profile Tunnel Bag & Utility Jug

www.mountainaddiction.com

 

Power Addiction Racing

Clutch Balancing

www.poweraddictionracing.com

 

Boyesen

Rage Cage Reed System

www.boyesen.com


Views 26
February 28, 2013

A Fairly Well-Kept Secret

Not big and flashy, but definitely fun

When there is not one but two juggernaut snowmobile riding areas—Island Park, ID, and West Yellowstone, MT—in the neighborhood, it’s easy to miss a lesser known area just down the road, or lesser known trail, as the case may be.

The Big Hole Mountains are a geologic feature many sledders whiz by on U.S. Highway 20 (or Idaho Highway 33 through the Teton Valley) as they head north to the more famous Island Park and West Yellowstone riding areas.

Even we here at SnoWest Magazine might be a little guilty of that. Heck, the Big Hole Mountains are even in our backyard and one of the closest riding areas to our office. We have snowmobiled in the Big Holes numerous times, but we’ll admit we tend to choose riding in Island Park and West Yellowstone.

The mountains are a little taller in the Island Park/West Yellowstone area, the snow is a little deeper and there is more country to explore, but in all those categories, the differences between the upper reaches of southeast Idaho near Montana and Wyoming and the Big Holes are really fairly minimal.

To the passer-by (at least on the west side of the range), the Big Hole Mountains are a little deceiving. They don’t really look that impressive, that is, compared to other mountain ranges in eastern Idaho. They look a little more stout if you’re travelling on Highway 33 through the Teton Valley and looking west. But then again, take the same highway and look east and you’ve got the Tetons staring you in the face.

It’s not until you actually leave the highway and ride in the Big Holes that you appreciate them.

Rising Up From Farmland

The Big Hole Mountains are pretty much surrounded by farmland on the west and north sides and by the higher elevation Teton Valley on the east. The mountains gradually rise up from the farmland on the north and west sides, gaining elevation from the northwest to the southeast.

The mountains are bordered by several highways: U.S. Highway 26 (and the Snake River) on the south, U.S. Highway 20 on the west and Idaho Highway 33 on the east. Idaho Highway 31 snakes through on the mountains’ southeast flank, basically creating a dividing line of sorts between the Big Holes and the Snake River Range. All this combines to create a somewhat compact riding area.

Highway 31 climbs up and over Pine Creek Pass (elevation 6,779 feet), which has a small parking area where those looking for a non-groomed trail experience unload to ride. The only snotel site in the Big Holes (Pine Creek Pass, 6,720 feet) is just south of the highway pass.

All of the groomed trails—340 miles in all—are on the northwest side of the mountains and provide plenty of access to play areas, hillclimbing and boondocking. About three years ago the trail system was extended to the north out of the Teton Valley to connect with the Island Park trail system with its 500 miles of groomed trails. That trail basically heads east out of the Big Hole Mountains along Packsaddle Creek, drops down into rangeland as you head east toward Tetonia along Packsaddle Road in Teton County, crossing the Teton River along the way. The trail then turns north to Tetonia and picks up the old railroad bed, which as been turned into a trail open to snowmobiles in the winter. The trail passes just to the west of Tetonia on its way north, eventually crossing Bitch Creek on a new trestle that allows the Big Hole snowmobile trail system to connect with the Island Park trails. From the trestle, the trail follows the Conant-Fall River Road to the Jackass Loop Trail. It’s about six miles from the trestle to junction of the Conant-Fall River trail meets the Jackass Loop.

Not only does the Bitch Creek trestle provide access to Island Park’s trail system, but also West Yellowstone’s trails, which interconnect with Island Park trails in several locations. So if you’re looking for a monster trail ride, this is your ticket.

Hanging In The Big Holes

Or if you are content with hanging in the Big Holes, there’s plenty of terrain to tackle. You can access that terrain from a number of trailheads/parking areas scattered all over the flanks of the Big Holes, which cover parts of three eastern Idaho counties: Teton, Madison and Bonneville. On good snow years you can even ride from the towns of Rexburg or Driggs, which have groomed snowmobile trails to the mountains. Most riders, though, park closer to the mountains at one of the trailheads.

One of the most popular destinations in the Big Holes is Red Butte (elevation 8,108 feet) and Thousand Springs, popular because it’s a great hillclimbing area with plenty of off-trail riding and boondocking through the trees and drainages. Along the windswept ridge that leads to Red Butte you get some amazing 360-degree views of the Big Holes and beyond.

That includes the tallest peak in the Big Holes, 9,016-foot Garns Mountain to the east; Temple Peak (8,219 feet) to the southeast; Hell Hole Canyon to the south; and the Thousand Springs valley to the north and east. You can also see acres and acres of farmland in the distance when you look northwest and south. It is one of the best vantage points in the Big Holes. Some might argue that point if you were riding on the east side of the Big Holes with the Grand Tetons across the Teton Valley.

On a recent ride in the Big Holes--in mid December--we rode from the Clements parking area to Red Butte. It’s a 17-mile jaunt from that trailhead to Red Butte. We’ve made the ride on several occasions in all kinds of snow and trail conditions. The last few miles are on an ungroomed forest service road that can get pretty interesting at times (read: big moguls and an off-camber hillside in one part) but fun to ride. While it’s not an extremely technical ride, it’s not a sit-on-your-butt ride either. You gain about 900 feet from the bathrooms to the ridge leading to Red Butte. So from where we parked, at about 5900 feet, we gained about 2100 feet. That was the difference between a few inches in the parking area to several feet up near Red Butte.

A popular ride is to start on the west side of the Big Holes and ride over to Green Canyon Hot Springs and soak and swim at the hot springs. You can park your sleds at the resort.

One loop we’d like to try is a new groomed path that leaves and returns to the trail that connects with the Island Park trail system. About three miles south of the Bitch Creek trestle, the trail—labeled the Jackpine Loop—heads east toward the Idaho/Wyoming border, actually crosses into Wyoming into the mountains along the west edge of the state and then loops back to the main trail, coming in about a mile from where it leaves the main trail.

There are dozens of forest service roads--groomed and ungroomed--you can explore. We’ve overlooked Kelly Canyon Ski Resort and Heise Hot Springs, we’ve boondocked through thick stands of trees and down into and out of mild to seriously challenging drainages and climbed all sorts of hills. Rarely has it been what we would consider “crowded” with other sledders.

Some might argue the Big Hole Mountains don’t have the “sex appeal” of more famous riding areas. Perhaps, but the Big Holes definitely have an appeal all their own.

And they’re in our backyard.


Views 17
February 28, 2013

Five Questions For Klim’s John Summers

Unless you were hiding under a rock early this winter you no doubt heard about Polaris Industries’ purchase of Klim Aggressive Wear. If, somehow, you missed it, go here: Polaris Press Release.

Indeed, the announcement created quite a stir in the industry. Questions (and internet chatter) immediately arose with such queries as, “What exactly does it mean?” and “How will this affect dealers (Polaris and non-Polaris) who carry Klim gear?” or “Why would Klim do that?” We saw and heard a lot more questions than that.

We too wanted some answers so we asked Klim’s Director of Marketing John Summers five questions. Here’s what he told us.

SnoWest Magazine: Explain in some detail why the partnership with Polaris.

Summers: The Klim and Polaris partnership is very simple. The primary impact is on the business financial side which, in short, enables Klim to continue to grow at the fantastic pace it’s enjoyed for the last 10 years or so. Klim founder, president and CEO Justin Summers has built this brand from the ground up and with the exciting announcement last week he and the rest of us at Klim can focus on continually designing and developing the best gear in the world independent of financing the company. It’s great to have such a solid foundation so we can continue pushing the limits of what Technical Riding Gear means.

Polaris will have minimal involvement in the brand from a day-to-day operational standpoint. Klim got to the top doing what we do best: creating the best gear in the world. And the last thing Polaris wants to do is come in and affect that negatively or turn it into something it’s not. Klim will run independently and with the same people that made it the premium brand in snowmobile apparel.

SW: How will this new ownership by Polaris affect Klim in the short-term and long-term?

Summers: First and foremost; Klim will continue to operate on its own. Klim will continue to run as normal. The way Klim products are designed, developed, manufactured and distributed will remain the same. Klim’s industry-leading warranty process and repair services will remain the same and will still be handled in-house in our Rigby, ID, facilities. In fact, every aspect of business and product development by Klim will run as it was prior to this announcement. To say it’s, “business as usual,” around here is an understatement.

In both short term and long term the Klim brand will remain the same premium apparel brand it always has been and remain independent of any other brands of apparel in the marketplace.

In the long term, Polaris—as a parent company to other brands—has some exciting plans to bring its other apparel divisions to Rigby, ID, as part of the Polaris Center of Excellence for apparel. This may mean more jobs in the area and significant positive economic impact for the local community. Polaris knows Klim’s design and development model is the best in the industry and they hope to emulate that through some of their other brands’ apparel businesses right here in Idaho.

The exciting part of this long-term prospect is that each brand will have its own, focused product development team—ensuring each brand will continue to have unique attributes, positioning and product characteristics.

SW: Of course, now people will associate Klim with Polaris, so with that in mind, how do you anticipate non-Polaris dealerships will react and how will it affect them this season as well as next season?

Summers: From day one Klim has been about building the absolute best snowmobile clothing that keeps you dry and comfortable no matter what you ride. Klim stands for the highest quality and most functional clothing in the world. Klim offers real, durable, waterproof and breathable technologies combined with the toughest proven materials and the most innovative designs. Klim is what snowmobilers wear to stay dry, comfortable and out front. These associations with Klim aren’t changing because Klim isn’t changing.

Klim is very dealer-focused. As such, much of our success is directly credited to the dedication of our expansive and select dealer network. Our dealer model, sales team and focus on the dealership will stay the same as it has always been. Every Klim dealer is valued and they will get the same treatment from the same Klim family they always have.

We have great faith in the dealer base we have built up over the years and do not see our relationships changing.

SW: What will non-Polaris customers think and what will you do to keep them as customers?

Summers: Klim is for snowmobilers who demand the absolute best regardless of what machine you ride. People really need to understand that nothing is changing here with the Klim brand, Klim products or Klim people. The product we make tomorrow is the same as we’ve made in the past. We have thousands of non-Polaris customers enjoying the Klim experience and expect our products’ performance to keep them as long-term customers. It’s our business plan from day-one: Build the best so customers come back. That’s what we’re doing every day here at Klim.

SW: Is there anything in the past few days that has come up (i.e., on the Internet, from customers, etc.) that you would like to dispel? Rumors? Myths?

Summers: The internet has definitely been abuzz. Most of the real nonsense dies on its own or is corrected by other enthusiasts. There are a few real concerns below that we’ve seen come up repeatedly.

Co-branding of Polaris and Klim products

Polaris will not be co-branding Klim with their existing apparel products. All of Polaris’ apparel brands will remain independent of each other. Polaris does not want to change what Klim is doing to be successful—which is being the premium technical riding gear developer.

Klim Dealerships

Klim dealerships are the heart and soul of Klim’s success. They have invested great amounts of time and money into selling the Klim brand and that will never be taken for granted by the Klim family. There will be no changes to the Klim sales staff, strategies, dealership agreements, etc. More importantly, there will be no changes to Klim dealerships’ status or standing regardless of what type of machines they sell.

Klim’s industry leading warranty and customer service 

Klim and Gore-Tex still offer the only Guaranteed To Keep You Dry promise and Klim still has the best warranty in the industry across our product line. We stand behind every product we make with premium customer service. None of that is changing. We even have the same phone number: 208-552-7433. Call us if you need anything.


Views 16
February 28, 2013

Winter Driving Tips

Get there and back safely

There’s a new blanket of fresh, untouched powder and you can’t wait to be the first one to lay tracks down. The sleds are loaded, your gear is in the truck and you’re ready.

But the new snow that fell in the mountains also covered the valley and the roads on the way to the mountains. You can still get to the mountain, but if you want to get there safely, here are five tips to help you do so.

1. SLOW DOWN. When you see snow, ice, slush or packed snow on the roadway, traction will be reduced. This includes the ability to start, stop and make turns. Whether you use the accelerator, brakes or steering wheel, do it smoothly and slowly. Start stopping sooner and avoid waiting to the last possible moment to stop. When you figure out you can’t stop, you may be on the other side of the intersection or worse, in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Be careful when crossing bridges and overpasses. They tend to freeze up sooner than the roadway. Be careful in areas that are in the shade. Fresh snow can provide traction, but packed snow can be as treacherous as ice.

2. Wear a seat belt. Statistics tell us that seat belts save lives. The odds of surviving a rollover crash are much greater if you are restrained inside of the vehicle. Wearing a seat belt keeps you from striking objects inside of the vehicle or going through the windshield.

You should hit the airbag instead of the airbag hitting you. The airbag deploys at 200 mph. Keep children restrained in age-appropriate safety devices. The law also requires occupants to be restrained.

3. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. Watch weather and road reports in the area you plan to travel to and through. If the forecast calls for severe winter weather you may want to rethink your travel plans. Tell someone of your destination and your proposed route of travel although that may change due to weather conditions.

4. Make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter weather. Have your vehicle checked, including the fluids, battery, charging system, lights and wiper blades. Wipers tend to be forgotten until they are needed. Check the tires for the proper inflation and tread depth. Tires with the proper tread depth provide better traction on adverse conditions.

5. If you have the terrible misfortune to get stranded in severe weather, stay with your vehicle. If you leave the roadway, try and go off in a straight line forward. There is protection in the front end of the vehicle. You may also be able to avoid a rollover. Run the heater in short intervals to stay warm.

Make sure to keep snow from building up and covering up the exhaust pipe. Carbon monoxide poisoning could occur. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Include items such as a first aid kit, food, water, flashlight with extra batteries, extra clothes, boots, socks, gloves and other items that you believe are necessary.

Carry a cell phone along with a charger. Calling for help could save you from a long night or two in the snow. Most 911 systems can pinpont your location.

Above all, drive safely and arrive alive.


Views 13
February 28, 2013

Snowmobile Suspensions

Not Such A Mystery After all

Understanding The Modern Mountain Snowmobile Rear Suspension

Most snowmobilers have little or no understanding as to what a rear suspension does other that allow the track to rotate around it. They have no clue how it works and why a properly tuned rear suspension can make your sled go better than the next guy’s sled.

It’s kind of like the black art of clutching. So we have provided some questions and simple facts to help you understand how they work and what to do to make improvements.

How Does A Rear Suspension Work?

A snowmobile rear suspension is the most complex suspension of any powersport machine. There are two slide rails that support the length of the track with a bunch of suspension-looking parts tucked in the middle. The suspension has two arms that connect from the sled’s tunnel to the slide rails with a shock on each arm to control them independently. The front arm controls the front to back movement of the rails to properly maintain the tension of the track as the suspension is compressed. The back arm is on a 3-point scissor arm so it does not interfere with the movement of the front arm but does carry the majority of the sled and rider weight. This allows the front and back half of the suspension to move up and down independently and change the angle of the slide rail accordingly.

How Does The Suspension React In The Snow When Riding?

As you ride, the suspension moves up and down in the front and back independently to keep the length of the track on the snow without bridging the gaps to maximize traction. When you go uphill or punch the throttle, the power of the engine and the angle of the hill cause the weight of the sled to transfer to the back portion of the suspension where it gets the most traction. The movements are fine-tuned with the proper combination of suspension mounting point, arm length, shock valving and spring rates. These are all things that the sled manufacturers and aftermarket companies like Timbersled have figured out through the years. They are calibrated to what we think is the perfect ingredients to a suspension that works well in the backcountry and offers a smooth ride on the trail.

What Should You Do To Make Your Suspension Work Better Than Your Buddies’?

Today’s modern suspensions are fairly good in comparison to a few years ago. However, there are several things you can do, from improving your stock suspension to replacing it with an aftermarket suspension.

Sleds come from the factory set up with a universal calibration that will work decent for the masses. They have very little tuning adjustment. The first and cheapest thing to do is get your spring rates set to your body’s weight (including the 30 lbs. of gear you pack in your backpack and on your sled). Most OEMs will have options for different spring rates from softer to firmer; ask your dealer for a recommendation if the chart does not specify rider weights.

The second thing is with the combination of the proper spring rate you can re-valve your stock shocks to match the new springs. There are only a few select companies in the mountain sled industry that can do this properly.

The third option is to replace the shocks on your stock suspension with a custom tuned set of aftermarket shocks that have added external adjustments such as compression and rebound adjusters.

The fourth option is to replace the suspension with an aftermarket one. There are several companies, along with Timbersled, that specialize in aftermarket suspensions.

The aftermarket suspension will offer all of the above shock improvements and added adjustability to get the sled on top of the snow faster while providing an even smoother ride than the stock suspension is capable of (even with aftermarket shocks).

Aftermarket companies can do this with improved geometry to best fit our design and added adjustment that the OEMs don’t do, due to the manufacturing cost and keeping the product simple and easy to use.

What Will These Upgrades Do For You In The Mountains?

A stock suspension that is not calibrated for your weight can cause trenching when you take off from a stop or climb a hill. It will also make your sled ride rough on the trail and can make for a bad-handling sled.

If the suspension is too soft, your sled will sit low to the ground when all loaded down with snow and will trench because it has lost all of its ground clearance and will drag on the running boards. It will also ride rough down the trail because you have very little suspension travel left and it will potentially bottom out on bigger bumps.

If it is too stiff, it will trench and the track will spin and feel like it has no traction because the suspension is not moving enough to keep the track evenly weighted on the ground to maximize traction. It will also ride rough simply due to the suspension not moving easily to comply with the bumps.

Aftermarket suspensions can work much better in a lot of conditions because they have different geometry and can stroke the shock at different speeds at certain points of the travel to help increase traction and improve ride quality.

For example, the front shock and arm can be made with a higher pre-load pressure but have a more linear spring rate to better hold the front of the sled up but have a softer ride through the bumps, making your sled feel less bouncy. The back shock can be made to have a softer pre-load without having a bunch of static sag like stock suspensions. It can have a more progressive compression rate to hold the weight of the rider.

A lot of aftermarket suspensions also feature a suspension coupling, not found on stock suspensions. This is what the Timbersled Mtn. Tamer suspension specializes in. Coupling will control the amount of transfer your sled gets. It does this when the weight transfers to the back of the suspension.

When the coupling takes over the back arm will mechanically pull up the front arm a monitored amount, depending on how you have it adjusted.

Two beneficial things happen when it couples. First, it flattens the front approach angle out and keeps the track parallel to the ground where it can get the most traction by using more paddles on the snow while resisting trenching. The second thing it will do is keep your ski close to the ground when climbing a steep hill, giving you more control to steer when you need it. Coupling works amazingly well on a stock sled and is mandatory for a turbo sled to get the power to the ground while maintaining control.

How Should You Make A Decision On What Will Work Best For You?

If you are buying a new or used sled, first ride it and then make changes. Weigh out your options because you do not want to spend a bunch of money on shock upgrades if you plan to buy an aftermarket suspension later on because aftermarket shocks for the stock suspension will not fit onto an aftermarket suspension.

Also, if you plan to install a turbo and want to make suspension modification, your best money spent will be for an aftermarket suspension that has the ability to control higher horsepower.

At the end of the day, after you have made your suspension improvements, you could have the advantage over your buddies.

Like we say here at Timbersled, a good working suspension is like having traction control when everyone else doesn’t.


Views 23
February 28, 2013

509 Carbon Fiber Helmet, Polarized Stealth Aviator Combo

Introducing the highly-anticipated 509 full Carbon Fiber Evolution Helmet. This bad boy is one of the lightest on the market, starting at just 2.7 lbs. It features a durable full carbon fiber shell and premium stealth liner. It also comes standard with a removable cold weather breathbox.

Pair this beauty of a helmet with 509’s all new 2013 Polarized Stealth Aviators and you’ll not only be the best-looking rider on the mountain, but you’ll have the industry’s best performing helmet and goggle combo. These 509 Aviators feature a rimless frame design that maximizes your field of view by eliminating excess frame from your vision. Combined with a top-of-the-line polarized smoke lens, you’ll have unmatched performance with these Stealth Aviators.

Contact 509 www.ride509.com.


Views 37
February 28, 2013

New Snap-in Pre-Filter Kits From BRP

BRP Genuine Accessories offer the advantage of being designed hand in hand with the vehicles so their fit is exact and their finish is the same quality you expect from BRP and the new snap-in Pre-Filter is a prime example of this.

The Pre-Filter kit fits both Rev-XM and Rev-XS platforms so mountain and trail riders benefit from the easy snap-in installation. The fine mesh of the pre-filters repels snow, preventing it from entering the bottom pan and hood openings while still allowing air to flow through.

And for days when snow infiltration won’t be a problem, the filters come off almost as easily as they went on.

The kit includes five filters: bottom pan grill, lower pan cover plugs, hood grill and air box pre-filter.

The Pre-Filter Kit retails for $99.99 USD/$114.99 CAD.

Contact Ski-Doo www.store.ski-doo.com or visit your local Ski-Doo dealer.


Views 25
February 28, 2013

Vapour Jacket Boondocker Edition

This ain’t your daddy’s cardboard parka. Aggressive riders can cut in the all new Vapour Jacket. FXR’s proven MMT “Two Stage Dry” System utilizing two layers of our HydrX Pro laminate is guaranteed to keep you dry.

Experience premium interior comfort with FXR’s Thermal Mapping System. Go powder bound all day with FXR’s exclusive Dry Vent System which offers more than 38 inches of venting to keep you cool without snow ingestion. Step away from the straight jacket feel of other waterproof products and enjoy the versatile, comfortable side of the mountain.

Contact FXR www.fxrracing.com.


Views 14
February 28, 2013

Black Ice Three-Piece Dolly Set

Store or glide your snowmobile across the garage or shed floor with the greatest of ease when you have the assistance of the Black Ice Three-Piece Snowmobile Dolly Set from Rage Powersports.

The set of steel-constructed dollies includes two carbide runner dollies that measure 10-1/8 inches L x 7-7/8 inches W x 4-3/8 inches H with a strap and buckle to securely affix the snowmobile runner and a track dolly that measures 7 inches L x 7 inches W x 3-1/2 inches H, perfect for mobilizing the back end of the sled. All three snowmobile dollies have a raised edge, four 2-inch swivel casters for portability and can be used for single or double runner skis. The dollies assemble in minutes and come with a one-year warranty.

Contact DiscountRamps.com (888) 651-3431 or www.DiscountRamps.com.


Views 16
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Dyno Port Racing
Rockin' M Ranch


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