SNOWMOBILE BLOG

February 28, 2012

Polaris To Sponsor Iron Dog Ambassador Team

The Polaris Ambassador TeamFor a second straight year, Polaris will sponsor a team of Iron Dog Ambassadors who will ride the route of the legendary Iron Dog snowmobile race across Alaska to promote the race and thank volunteers for their help with the event.

Four Iron Dog Ambassadors on new 2013 Polaris snowmobiles will depart from Big Lake, AK, on Feb. 17, 2012, with the Trail Class teams. The Ambassadors will run throughout Alaska to Nome, the mid-point of the grueling 2,000-mile cross-country race. As they did during the 2011 race, the Ambassadors will stop in towns and villages along the route to thank volunteers and raise awareness of the 28th running of the race.

The race takes two-rider teams deep into remote areas of Alaska across punishing terrain. Polaris teams have won 13 of 27 Iron Dog races, including the past three.

The Polaris-backed Iron Dog Ambassadors for 2012 will be:

• Mike Bedard, Polaris Snowmobile Engineering Manager, Trail Performance and Race. This former racer from Roseau, MN, was a 2011 Ambassador as well.

• Lt. Col. Joseph Lawendowski of the Alaska National Guard, the race’s primary sponsor. Lawendowski was also a 2011 Ambassador.

• Evan Booth, who won the Iron Dog in 1992 and 1994 aboard Polaris Indy snowmobiles.

• Dan Zipay, a five-time winner of the Iron Dog—all on Polaris Indy models—who is a member of the Iron Dog Hall of Fame.

Booth and Zipay won the race as teammates in 1992 and 1994 and Zipay won it with John Faeo as his teammate in 1986, 1987 and 1988.

“It was an honor to take part in the race last winter and we look forward to spreading goodwill and appreciation to volunteers as Iron Dog Ambassadors in 2012,” Bedard said. “The race runs through some extremely remote areas and the residents of those towns and villages are vital to the racers’ survival and the race’s success.”

The Ambassadors team will not officially compete for the Trail Class victory, but they will doubtless maintain a strong, competitive pace to reach Nome in time for the Feb. 22, 2012, halfway ceremonies. The race ends for Trail Class teams in Nome and only Pro Class teams race on to the finish line in Fairbanks.

But the 2011 Iron Dog Ambassador team left Nome headed for Fairbanks, hoping to spread goodwill along the second half of the race route. A fierce winter storm near the coast forced them back to Nome, which they reached only after a harrowing overnight battle through sea ice and ocean overflow.

Polaris racers Chris Olds and Tyler Huntington teamed up for victories in 2010 and 2011, and in 2009, the Polaris team of Todd Minnick and Nick Olstad won the race.

Race fans can learn more about the 2012 Iron Dog and follow the race via real time tracking at www.irondograce.org.


Views 78
February 28, 2012

2012 Clean Snowmobile Challenge Record number of teams expected to compete

A record number of teams are expected to participate in the SAE 2012 Snowmobile Challenge, sponsored by the snowmobile manufacturers along with other supporting businesses, set for March 5-10, 2012 at Michigan Technological University.

Held at the university’s Keweenaw Research Center, the Snowmobile Challenge is a collegiate design competition of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Engineering students from participating schools take a stock snowmobile and reengineer it.

The snowmobiles will compete in a variety of events including emissions, noise, fuel economy/endurance, acceleration, handling, static display, cold start and design.

The university snowmobiles are expected to be cost-effective and comfortable for the operator to drive. The intent of the competition is to design a snowmobile that will primarily be ridden on groomed snowmobile trails. The use of unreliable, expensive solutions is strongly discouraged.

Modern snowmobiles are engineered to meet the current standards for noise and emissions. Teams are expected to add innovative solutions for improving on performance of the base sled that they start with. Design judges (written and oral) will be looking for innovations and incorporating that into their scores.

The minimum performance expectations for a trail snowmobile are set by the rules as a sled that by design will go 100 miles without refueling and can attain a trail speed of 45 miles per hour on a smooth trail.

Students will be trying to reduce friction and improve efficiency of the entire drivetrain.

The snowmobile manufacturers are major sponsors of the event.

More information is available from the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Michigan Tech Clan Snowmobile Challenge site and the Keweenaw Research Center www.mtukrc.org/.


Views 104
February 28, 2012

Sletten Buys Into Bucky’s Outdoors

Now part owner with Gary Neely

Long-time employee Sandy Sletten has purchased 20 percent of the Polaris dealership he has worked at for the past 15 years, Bucky’s Outdoors in Pinedale, WY. Bucky’s has been in the Neely family since it first opened as Bucky’s Repair in 1961. Then, in 1975 the family bought a Polaris dealership and has been an incredible success story in the powersports industry.

The business/dealership celebrated its 50th anniversary last summer.

Gary Neely still owns 80 percent of Bucky’s Outdoors. “There’s nobody better than him [Sletten] to buy into this with me,” Neely said.

For more information, visit www.buckysoutdoors.com/.


Views 73
February 28, 2012

Snowmobile Program Seeks Grant

A the request of the Idaho City Snowmobile Program, the Boise County Commission will apply for a grant from the Off Road Motor Vehicle Fund to construct a lean-to type addition to the existing snowmobile groomer building located adjacent to the County Road Department shop in Idaho City.

The addition will be used to provide shelter for the groomer attachments not in use, for the snowmobiles and trailer used to support the program and for the truck used to haul the groomer when the machine is in the main building for service or repair. The addition will be constructed to withstand anticipated snow load. Having the groomer attachments readily available without having to dig them out of the snow will save significant man hours.

If the grant is approved, the construction will be subject to the County’s competitive bidding process. The money will be available about July 1, 2012, with construction to be completed for use next winter.

The OMRV Fund is administered by the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation and funds a wide variety of motorized recreation projects throughout the state.

The Idaho City snowmobile grooming program encompasses about 300 miles of trail with parking lots at Granite Creek, Mores Creek Summit and Whoop-um-up, providing access to the very popular play areas at Pilot Peak and Thorne Butte. Groomed trails also access the communities of Pioneerville, Centerville, Placerville and Lowman and connect with trails groomed by programs based in Stanley and Pine.

Persons seeking additional information or wishing to comment on this proposal should contact Greg Davis, Snowmobile Program Coordinator at (208) 375-4736, (208) 890-0404 or greghottruck@aol.com.


Views 57
February 28, 2012

Carver Performance Launches New Website

Carver Performance has launched an all-new website. The website still uses the same address at www.carverperformance.com.

The new site features more products and more features as well as online ordering.


Views 75
February 28, 2012

Yamaha Launches Facebook Page

Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. has launched its official Yamaha Snowmobiles, U.S.A. page on Facebook recently.

Cool photos, tech tips, trivia giveaways, video clips and more are available here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Yamaha-Snowmobiles-USA/268530009845790.


Views 71
February 28, 2012

Snowmobile Hall Of Fame Announces 2012 Inductees

The board of the Snowmobile Hall of Fame (SHOF) has announced the 2012 inductees who will be enshrined Feb. 18, 2012. They include Larry Bosacki of Minocqua, WI, Joel Hallstrom of Thief River Falls, MN, Toni Haikonen of Finland and Marcel Fontaine of Quebec, Canada.

The induction banquet follows the day-long celebrity trail ride, known as the Ride With The Champs, now in its 29th year. This year, the ride is sponsored by Modine HotDawg Garage Heaters of Racine, WI.

The Ride With The Champs has become one of snowmobiling’s most prestigious rides and includes two late model rider groups and two vintage sled rider groups. Two of these groups leave the Whitetail Inn in St. Germain, WI, after registration and breakfast at 7 a.m. and go to Fish Tales on Lake Gogebic in the Upper Peninsula for their traditional lunch.

One is the Vintage Challenge where older sleds attempt to make the 150 mile roundtrip ride. Those successfully completing the entire trip receive a Vintage Challenge Certificate at the banquet. The other two groups take shorter rides in the local Northwoods area.

The $130 fee includes breakfast, lunch, a souvenir bib, an event cap and includes the 6 p.m. cocktail and autograph session and the induction banquet at 7 p.m.

There will be a silent auction at the banquet and raffle tickets will be sold until 8 p.m. when the drawing will take place for the 2012 Ski-Doo MXZ 600 Sport snowmobile donated by Bombardier. Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $20 and can be purchased at the HOF or by internet at www.snowmobilehalloffame.com.

The Snowmobile Hall of Fame operates a year-round museum on Hwy. 70 W in St. Germain. The museum includes a gift shop, the wall of fame and a tour of the race shop for the oval race team of Brad Bettin, No. 20 of Woodruff, WI.

An open house will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17 at the Hall of Fame for early arrivers, inductees and families. Refreshments will be served. The public is invited.

For additional information about the SHOF visit the above listed website or call (715) 542-4HOF.

Here are brief biographies of each of the inductees.

Larry BosackiLarry Bosacki

Date Of Induction: February, 2012

Career Span: 1967-Present

Brands Represented: All

Age At Induction: 79

By embracing and nurturing the sport of snowmobiling during its formative years, civic-minded people like Larry Bosacki transformed winter recreation and the Wisconsin Northwoods. The third-generation owner of Bosacki’s Boathouse eatery on Minocqua Lake in the town of Minocqua, Bosacki understood that the fledgling sport was about people, experiences and hospitality. For more than three decades Bosacki gave from his business and himself to foster those key elements.

By partnering with snowmobile clubs, grooming local spur trails at his own expense and promoting snowmobile tourism at every turn, Bosacki helped grow the winter economies of an entire region. To expand his local business and the opportunity to ride, he operated a Ski-Daddler dealership from his boathouse in the late 1960s. Bosacki also leveraged his many statewide political relationships to help forge important trail accesses and routes that would come to define the Northwoods snowmobile experience. Two breakthrough efforts included saving railroad trestle bridges for snowmobile trail use, as well as spearheading the first dedicated snowmobile trail crossing of an active railroad track.

His love of snowmobile competition took many forms, including supporting and working on several race teams and helping launch (and fund) the Snowmobile Hall of Fame. Bosacki’s accomplishments over three decades are testament to the power of people who act locally.

Joey HallstromJoey Hallstrom

Date Of Induction: February, 2012

Career Span: 1979-Present

Brands Represented: Arctic Cat

Age At Induction: 51

Combining a deep passion for the sport with the competitive heart of a racer, Joey Hallstrom built the Team Arctic Racing Program into a winning powerhouse, helped launch the iconic Jeep 500 cross country race and strongly influenced several pioneering Arctic Cat snowmobiles. The many accomplishments during his 25-plus-year career at Arctic Cat reflect his strong vision, persuasiveness and force of will.

An independent Arctic Cat terrain racer beginning in late 1978, Hallstrom’s career with a reborn-Arctic Cat began first as a racer then as Race Manager in 1987. Recognizing the talent of racers and technicians, and leveraging both in equal measure, Hallstrom built Team Arctic into a dominant force whose success defined the 1990s. Recognizing Arctic Cat’s need for race-focused snowmobiles, Hallstrom strongly influenced the creation of the iconic 1990 EXT Special and the legendary ZRs. He was intent to grow the sport of racing, spearheading the “boy racer” Jag Special in 1990 and launching a unique program that offered beginners the opportunity to freely compete on such machines in snocross. He dedicated similar support to Formula III and Mod class oval racing by commissioning small production runs of such chassis by T/S Racing beginning in 1989.

Hallstrom’s vision to grow the sport included helping launch the Jeep 500 cross country snowmobile race in 1987 and initiated the first NHRA snowmobile asphalt drag exhibition in 1994. He played key roles at magazine photo shoots and helped produce two books on Arctic Cat’s history. Hallstrom transitioned to Arctic Cat product manager in 1999, where he continues to influence the success of Arctic Cat snowmobiles now and in the future. 

Marcel FontaineMarcel Fontaine

Date Of Induction: February, 2012

Career Span: 1970-Present

Brands Represented: All

Age At Induction: 63

From racer to mechanic to race director, Marcel Fontaine lived, loved and dedicated himself to the sport of snowmobile racing for more than four decades. Most often cited for his undying passion for oval racing in Quebec, Fontaine masterfully guided eastern Canadian oval racing for 30 years. His influence extended to nearly all forms of competition as he added snocross, drags, hillcross and watercross to his palette of offerings, while simultaneously building both relationships and coalitions that have preserved and expanded snowmobile racing during good times and bad.

An oval racer from 1970-1976, Fontaine would transition to mechanic, then to race director for CCMQ beginning in 1983. It was as a race director and sanctioning body that Fontaine would fulfill his greatest achievements and lasting contributions. He founded SCM and Eastern Pro Tour, worked with ISR and Quebec race rules committees and raised the professionalism of snowmobile competition throughout North America. In particular, Fontaine’s efforts to improve safety and fairness made him a standout race director who was recognized by racers, peers and industry as one of the great leaders of the sport.

Fontaine’s honest embrace of the snowmobile racing world as his “family” fostered a deeply loyal base of competitors and officials, and his unyielding professionalism leaves a legacy of success that will be felt for future generations of competitors.

Toni HaikonenToni Haikonen

Date Of Induction: February, 2012

Career Span: 1983-2002

Brands Represented: Ski-Doo, Polaris, Lynx, Arctic Cat

Age At Induction: 41

An international racing legend whose raw talent intersected with the rebirth of North American snocross, Toni Haikonen catapulted himself and the sport into new heights beginning in the mid-1990s. Haikonen’s fluid style and blazing speed would produce historic wins at nearly every venue, while his easy-to-like personality made him a fan favorite throughout the world.

With a snocross career that began at age 12, Haikonen scored a Finnish National Championship, Scandinavian Championship and hundreds of victories prior to his introduction to North American snocross in 1993. His success in the U.S. earned him a sponsored ride with Ski-Doo/FAST beginning in 1994. In a history-making night at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN, in 1995, Haikonen began double-jumping the course’s massive jumps to score a monumental victory that simultaneously launched the high-flying era of snocross.

In 1998 Haikonen notched another historic first by winning the inaugural ESPN Winter X Games snocross in Crested Butte, CO, setting the stage for another period of snocross popularity. During his eight years of racing in North America, Haikonen scored dozens of national snocross wins, European snocross championships, MRP championships and was a top finisher in select cross country events. His last victory came in 2000 and he retired from the sport after the 2002 season.


Views 125
February 28, 2012

Brite Lites Long LED Trailer Strips

A new and simple interior trailer lighting option is now available in a low power and super bright long LED strip light. Bluhm Enterprises has developed an LED strip that has a white backing and square flat super bright SMC LED to give maximum light inside an enclosed trailer or any other interior 12-volt area.

The LED strips are long enough for the typical enclosed trailer, are available in 12- and 25-foot lengths and only draw a fraction of what traditional interior lighting would. The bright thin LED strips provide enough light to light up almost any trailer inside.

The Brite-Lites Long LED Trailer Strips install on any flat smooth interior surface with 3M 2-way adhesive and a simple two-wire connection. The flexible strips can be bent to form to any smooth surface.

Retail pricing starts at $99.99 for the kit.

Contact Bluhm Enterprises (612) 812-5191 or www.britelites.net.


Views 130
February 28, 2012

IsoVibe SX Reduces Vibration

The IsoVibe SX absorbs shock and vibration by isolating your bars from the steering post with specially designed polyurethane bushings. IsoVibe greatly reduces the impacts normally transferred to your hands and arms, reducing arm pump and increasing endurance.

The isolator bushing preload is adjustable to enable the rider to adjust the amount of flex in the bars. This raises your bars by 1.5 or 2.5 inches over stock depending on how you mount it.

IsoVibe fits the 2012 Arctic Cat ProCross/ProClimb chassis and retails for $139.95.

Contact Grip N Rip Racing Products (207) 933-6279 or www.gripnripracing.com.


Views 156
February 28, 2012

E-Tec Turbo Kit

The BoonDocker turbo kit for the Ski-Doo E-Tec 800 R is now available. The pre-assembled turbo kit features BoonDocker’s proprietary, no-spill, vented oil tank, along with a turbo exhaust flange that mounts directly to the stock expansion chamber and a Garrett GT 2860 turbo charger that mounts inside the body panels.

Aluminum charge tubes feed an extruded aluminum intercooler that is mounted under the front hood of the machine and an electric fan ensures good air flow through the intercooler at all times. The E-Tec turbo kit uses a torque building air box with dual tubular runners that feed air to the throttle bodies. This design has proven to offer increased low-end torque.

Dual auxiliary injectors mounted in the air box feed additional fuel to the machine; these injectors are controlled by the BoonDocker Control Box. Adjustments to fueling can be made at the push of a button using the Control Box and 3D tuning allows for adjustments based on boost, throttle position and rpm for the most exact fuel mixture.

Turbo boost is adjustable, thanks to the Electronic Boost Controller. This electronic module allows for easy adjustments of boost, along with the option to use a handlebar mounted button that, when pressed, will further increase boost. The EBC also features TPS Smart, which controls boost relative to throttle position. The TPS Smart ensures instant boost at any throttle position and prevents over boosting with a closed throttle.

The kit retails for $5995.

Contact BoonDocker (877) 522-7805 or www.boondockers.com.

View product video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBf6e1LxzSg&feature=channel_video_title


Views 135
February 28, 2012

Snobunje Hand Guards

Most new sleds don’t offer much in the way of hand protection. Hand guards do a lot for keeping the wind from driving through your gloves and might even help keep your knuckles out of a tree. This kit contains two PowerMadd TrailStar Series Hand Guards with aluminum mount kits.

Available in any color you want, as long as it is black. The hand guards retail for $54.95.

Contact Snobunje (877) 250-2015 or www.snobunje.com.


Views 73
February 28, 2012

Arctiva Evaporator Base Layer

A smart way to start any kind of layering is with a good base and the Evaporator Base Layer Jersey, Pants and Socks are the first layer in Arctiva’s layering system that provide the first level of warmth. The Evaporator Base Layer is worn directly against the skin and is made from a wicking quick-dry material to minimize moisture and keep riders warm and dry.


The jersey and pants are made with a two-sided micro-denier knit, creating air pockets for improved insulation. The jersey also has a crew neck design to provide comfort. The pants feature the same two-sided micro-denier knit as the jersey and both offer an EC2 Quik-dri electrostatic process that pulls moisture away from the skin.

The multi-panel socks are engineered for extreme riding conditions with a Coolmax lining to wick away moisture and keep feet dry.

Both the jersey and pants (SM-XL) retail for $25 a piece. The socks retail for $20.

Contact Arctiva www.arctiva.com.


Views 92
February 28, 2012

C3 PowerSports SyncroDrive

C3 PowerSports’ new SyncroDrive system allows you to convert the stock chain drive on your sled to a lightweight belt drive system. This bolt-on, performance-enhancing conversion features the latest carbon fiber Synchronous belt and a C3 carbon fiber guard to reduce weight.

With the SyncroDrive, there is no need for chain oil or lubrication. It reduces rotating mass and resistance, which allows for a more efficient delivery of power to the track. This system also allows you to switch between gear ratios for different types of terrain in order to maximize your power/torque. Switching gear ratios can be done on snow and can take as little as 15 minutes.

SyncroDrive is compatible with the Avid XP Extended chaincase kits. This will allow your XP to fit an 8-tooth, 3-inch driver and 3-inch long paddles. The improved drive belt is stronger and will withstand higher operating temperatures.

The SyncroDrive retails for $1,045.

Contact C3 PowerSports (250) 833-3538 or www.c3powersports.com.

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Views 182
February 28, 2012

Klim Alpine Parka, Bib

The most technically advanced women’s outer shell on the snow is here. The all-new Klim Alpine Parka features a unique combination of Gore-Tex two-layer performance shell technology to deliver maximum toughness, breathability and Klim’s Guaranteed To Keep You Dry Promise in a style and fit perfect for the female rider. The Alpine parka and bib are patterned for highly active riders. 

Perfectly matched to the Klim women’s line of performance layering products, Alpine clothing is exactly what active female riders have been asking for: unbeatable waterproof/breathable shell performance, high-end features and fabrics, supreme functionality, unmatched durability and the highest level of motorsports fashion.

Klim innovation continues in the Alpine Bib. Starting with an all-new, high-waist bib design built in tune with real-world female body shapes, the bibs are non-insulated to take advantage of supreme breathability and Klim’s layering system versatility while featuring Gore-Tex three-layer performance shell construction.

This is the first full-featured premium shell bib built for women that incorporates all the proven men’s Klim-product technology: wrap around full-length side zips, Klim Seat Dry Tech construction, high wear fabrics in key zones, intelligent gaiter design and more.

The Alpine Parka retails for $329.99 (XS-2XL). The Alpine Bib retails for between $329.99 and $349.99, depending on size.

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

View product video here: http://youtu.be/M2D3PHua0IQ and http://youtu.be/C1xDD4lhYMY.


Views 113
February 28, 2012

Runnin’ On Empty

In Need of a Ride

Lane Lindstrom

I don’t know about you but there have been times that I’ve needed to snowmobile. I’m not talking about most of the time when I just want to go riding or times when I’m riding because of my job.

Through October and November, when the deadlines and pressures of work were mounting and providing stress in my life, I was feeling the need to go riding.

That day finally came when we got out on the snow Dec. 9 in Island Park, ID. There was okay snow in the lower elevations of Island Park and decent snow up high, but it was good enough for me.

I just needed a break from the office grind and needed what only snowmobiling can offer—an opportunity to get far away from most everything and be way back in the mountains where you can only get to by sled.

The word that kept running through my mind as we were gaining elevation on our way past Sawtelle Peak toward Mt. Jefferson was “therapeutic.” Call it corny or even crazy but to me, snowmobiling can be very therapeutic and that Dec. 9 ride was one of those that helped clear my head and made the world look better. There’s something about sitting on a ridge at 9,300 feet with bluebird skies overhead and impressive mountains all around you that will do that for you.

The snow wasn’t even that great. It was very decent in spots but in others you had to be on the lookout for barely hidden rocks, stumps and downed logs. The ride was still mind- clearing and refreshing.

Snowmobiling does that for me. Not every ride, but darn close. You’ve read about some of those rides that were, well, less than mind-clearing for me. I’ve had my fair share of bobbles on a sled. I even had one on Dec. 9, when one of those barely hidden stumps unloaded me from the sled, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the day.

Ironically, when the time between rides has been too long, I sometimes forget how therapeutic snowmobiling is for me. My last ride of last season was May 26—about six months from my Dec. 9 ride. While I may not have completely forgotten that sleddin’ feeling, I did know it had been too long and I was in need of a ride.

It didn’t take long for me to remember when I squeezed the throttle in early December.

While there may not be much ever studied or written about the health benefits of snowmobiling, on occasion there is something that emerges that reaffirms what I’ve know for dozens of years: snowmobiling is good physically and psychologically.

I ran a story on www.snowest.com a while back about the health-related benefits of off-road vehicle riding. Here’s a link to the story from the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association: http://www.snowmobile.org/pr_10_2010_health.asp. In a nutshell, researchers at Canada’s York University found that indeed, off-road motorized riding “is not only fun, but contributes to individual and family emotional and physical well-being.” To read more about the study, go to the ISMA link above.

While the study is nice and enlightening, honestly, nobody has to tell me about the physical and psychological benefits of snowmobiling. I know it because I’ve experienced it and continue to do so on just about every ride. I’m not revealing my age, but even as old as I am, I still get excited to go riding.

In fact, I can’t wait until my next ride.

I need it.


Views 77
February 23, 2012

SnoWest Newsletter - February 23rd

Don’t Lose Winter

            This hasn’t been a banner winter when it comes to snow. In fact, in some parts of North America, this hasn’t been winter at all.


          
For whatever reason, expectations didn’t match reality. It’s not that winter didn’t come with cold and moisture. It’s just those two key ingredients to making snow didn’t come at the same time.


           
When we got our cold temperatures, the skies were clear and blue. When we got our moisture, it rode the back of warm fronts and erased the remnants of any snow that might have been on the ground. Most of our “winter-like” storms only lasted a few hours and didn’t fulfill meteorologists expectations.


           
So here it is the end of February, spring right around the corner, and many have less than 500 miles on their snowmobiles. What do you do?


          
Our first suggestion is to not give up on winter. You may have to look a little harder, climb a little higher—but there is good snow out there. You also have the World Snowmobile Expo coming up in West Yellowstone, MT., March 16-18. This would be a good excuse to plan a week-long vacation to West and do some serious riding for a few days. There is good snow in the area and the trails can get you back to some spectacular country.


           
Face it. If you give up on winter, it will be gone until next December. That’s a long time to go without your douse of snow. It doesn’t have to happen that way. You don’t need to lose this season merely because it didn’t come to you. Go to it. It’s well worth the extra effort.

View the SnoWest Newsletter – Feb. 23rd 2012


Views 97
February 23, 2012

Next Morning Pain

Steve's Blog Feb 25th

Steve Janes

            You can measure how good a ride is by the pain you feel the next morning when you try to get out of bed. The more it hurts, the better the ride.

            And by that standard, Monday’s ride must have been epic.


           
Usually I don’t like groups larger than five. When you get too many people, you tend to have a lot more problems. And that was no exception on President’s Day. Trying to keep track of eight in some extreme mountainous backcountry (located east of Idaho Falls, west of Alpine and just south of Hell) proved to be a challenge throughout the day. And that’s even taking in consideration that we were the only tracks out there. Not once did we cross tracks with anyone outside of the group.


           
This in itself tells you two things—first, we had all the fresh powder to ourselves; second, where we were riding was too extreme for anyone with common sense to venture.


           
By the time all eight sleds made it up (and sometimes down) the steep slopes of non-descript locations called Red Ridge, Fourth of July, Bear Creek and Big Elk, the landscape would resemble a war zone with trenches, craters and some non-essential parts scattering the terrain. And each time as we reached a new peak or ridge line, the thought in everyone’s mind would be “I sure hope we don’t have to come back this way.”


           
About midway through the ride we realized that we didn’t have enough daylight (or strength) to complete our projected route, leaving us with the frightening realization that we were going to need to go back some of the way we came.


           
It’s remarkable how slopes that seemed almost vertical on the first go round suddenly become even steeper and more trecherous on the return trip. Within a few short miles it felt like we assaulted pretty much an all-star line-up of hillclimbs resembling the RMSHA circuit … without the hill crew to catch your tumbling sled. Our snow suits were soaked from the outside in as well as from the inside out—sort of like hot and cold running sweat.


           
Although the seven-plus hours of riding only netted just over 50 miles, you can bet we earned every one of those miles during the day.


           
And Tuesday morning, when we rolled out of bed and dragged our sorry bodies off to work, you can bet we felt all 50 of those miles.        


SJ


Views 94
Night Riding | Snowmobile News
February 23, 2012

Night Riding

Ryan's Blog Feb 23rd

Ryan Harris

It's been years since I've been on a good night ride (that was intended to be a night ride, anyway). But last weekend I took a friend out on a loop through the mountains in Island Park. We left at 10 at got back around midnight.

The first thing I noticed is how we have taken headlights for granted in our mountain sled tests. Since we weren't on a trail and we were going up and down the whole time, snow buildup and having a wide beam of light are big issues.

The other thing is that if you're going off-trail, you better know the area better than the walk from your bed to the john, because when it's dark, you lose all your landmark points of reference. There were a couple spots where I was looking at snow drifts trying to confirm that we were where we were supposed to be.

In a cycle of rides that seem to run together, a night ride reminded me just why snowmobiling is such a fun sport.

-RH


Views 227
February 16, 2012

Fine Line

Steve's Blog Feb 16th

Steve Janes

            Wednesday morning Lane Lindstrom and I left the Bone parking lot on two 600-class snowmobiles for a 120-mile ride to Alpine and back. Others were invited, but felt that the ride sounded like too many miles on groomed trails for their liking.

            However, within a half-mile of the parking lot we turned off the trail and for the next 40 miles only rode 120 feet of groomed trails (we crossed it about 10 times). The rest of the time we went from ridge to valley and across sidehills. It was one of those rides where you were going up, down, sideways, or a combination of the three, the entire time.


           
With the exception of a few tight places through trees, you could see by the tracks that there were only two sleds. There were two distinct sets of tracks, each one picking its own parallel line across the landscape.


           
Another advantage of the ride was that with two people, we covered a lot more country at a fairly decent pace. We would have covered even more country if it weren’t for a couple of incidences with Lane’s sled getting stuck and one poor line down a steep canyon through the trees that ended in a nose-plant in a creek.


           
Obviously, if you’re riding 120 miles in a day, there is going to be some trail miles—about 40. But that leave 80 miles of cross country in fresh powder snow.


           
What a perfect day.


SJ


Views 89
Easy Ethanol Test | Snowmobile News
February 16, 2012

Easy Ethanol Test

Ryan's Blog Feb 16th

Ryan Harris

Don't trust your local gas station about whether or not its premium unleaded really contains ethanol? Neither do we.

Idaho, for example, recently became victim of allegedly having 100 percent of its gasoline shipments be an ethanol blend--regardless of octane rating. Some stations have been able to work their own arrangements for ethanol-free premium gas. However, many stations still display stickers or labels claiming that their premium unleaded is ethanol-free.

How can you be sure? Here's a quick and simple test that Ride Rasmussen Style's Tony Jenkins showed us. All you need is a clear bottle and some water. Put about an inch of water in the bottle and then add the fuel you want to test to the bottle. Shake it a little and watch what happens. Since ethanol absorbs water, the ethanol will take on a milky appearance--a dead giveaway. If there's no ethanol present in the fuel, the gasoline will separate itself from the water (pictured) with a distinct line between the gasoline and the heavier water below it. We've found three of our old standby gas stations claiming ethanol-free premium do in fact have ethanol blends instead. Bummer. But we carry a couple empty water bottles in the bed of the truck now.


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