Letters to the Editor

Published in the December 2008 Issue Column
Viewed 790 time(s)

Is It Time To Update Hand Signal Descriptions?

Dear Editor:
Greetings. I live in Minnesota and also ride Michigan and Wisconsin trails. I'm 43 and have been riding for 20 years and 12,000 miles.

I bumped into your site and looked around, found some good information and interesting statistics. For instance, the states I ride in constitute approximately half of all registered sleds in the U.S.

Then I came across the official hand signal section and wondered (as I have many times over the years) why do they show the "backwards hitch hiking motion" (BHHM) for sleds following. I have never seen this used. Then I think how would this system work in practice: first sled BHHM, second BHHM, third BHHM, fourth, what, no signal? Wait a minute, did he forget the BHHM? Was that the last sled? Are there more around the next corner? Of course, the last guy is usually the least experienced, maybe he forgot. I sure wish the second to the last guy could have signaled that the guy behind him was the last . why am I distracted?

Wow. That was annoying. Luckily the world we live in isn't like that. Everyone signals how many riders are behind them, always have, always will.

So why not indicate and train the evolved and logical system that is the default.

Please consider replacing this antiquated process with what is actually in practice. It will certainly help newcomers get up to speed.

Ken Jarosh
Via e-mail

(ED-Jarosh also addressed his letter to the American Council of Snowmobile Associations.)


Avalanche Aware

Dear Editor:
I read every issue from cover to cover many times before the next issue arrives.

I have just recently taken an avalanche awareness class that was given by the Idaho Department of Parks and Rec. The instructor for this class could not make it so the Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center stepped in to teach the class. The instructor that we had for this class was the author of "Have A Clue" [SnoWest, January, 2008, page 76].

I found the class very informative and useful and I think that every snowmobiler, whether a trail rider, extreme rider, boondocker or just a casual rider should take it. The class teaches how to spot the signs, beacon usage, shovel and probe usage and how to dig and read a pit.

It only takes a day to take this class and there is plenty of time to ride after it's over. But knowing that you only have 15 minutes to find and recover a fellow snowmobiler or loved one, this class had invaluable information. So what is one day? That is a question that everyone should ask themselves.

Again, thanks for the great magazine and many years more to you. And thanks to Chris Lundy and the other instructors from the Sawtooth NF Avalanche Center.

Charles Meissner
Eagle, ID


The Perfect Sport

Dear Editor:
I was recently flipping through an old issue of SnoWest and was conflicted about one of your articles. The article was "Give Me A Perfect Day" [Runnin' On Empty, November, 2007, page 10].

The article was about your perfect day. I was thinking about my perfect day and I couldn't narrow it down. I love riding. I love everything about it. If I can start my sled it is a perfect day. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy deep, fresh snow as much as the next mountain rider, but the simple fact is if it's white outside it's perfect. This is coming from the guy who wears out the runners on my skis in the first little snow of the year.

With that being said, I do have a reason why I think the whole sport is perfect.

Your article made me reflect on some of the amazing things I have seen while riding in the Colorado backcountry. All the sunsets over the western San Juans, the endless parks of powder, the seemingly endless hillclimbs and all with good company.

I truly don't think it gets any better. Our sport has to be nothing short of a glimpse of heaven.

What it boils down to is there is no perfect day, but rather an absolutely perfect sport.

Thank you very much for your continued support and dedication to it. I am ecstatic that you care about snowmobiling enough to give the effort that you do. If you're ever in Creede, CO, looking for the steep, deep and the breathtaking, I'll hook it up.

Your friend in sport,
Jeff Carpenter
Via e-mail


Where Was The 2009 Cat M8?

Dear Editor:
I was wondering why the 2009 AC M8 SnoPro was not featured in the Deep Powder Challenge but an `08?

As soon as the DPC article was finished, the `09 M8 was featured with refinements, lighter weight and a new track design. Why wasn't it out there?

It's still shy in horsepower compared to others but would the new weight, refinements and track give the sled a better showing than the `08 M8? Most likely yes. Would it have performed better in your challenge? Most likely yes. I need data.

I loved my `06 M7 and rode three seasons with 800s and never had a problem keeping up or setting the pace. It sold a few weeks back. So how about the newly tracked 2009 M8? How much better is it than the 08?

Matt Alexander
Coeur d'Alene, ID

(ED-Matt e-mailed his letter last March, right after the March issue of SnoWest came out. I responded to his question and then he responded back. Here's my response, followed by his.)

Hi Matt:
We agree, the 2009 M8 is better than the `08 M8. We can't wait to ride the `09 version again.

At the time of the Deep Powder Challenge, the `09 M8 wasn't available. Besides that, we feature the same model year sleds as the year we're doing the challenge . so in `08, we test the `08 sleds. It wouldn't be fair to the other manufacturers to feature an `09 version against their `08s.

You'll just have to see how it stacks up in next year's Deep Powder Challenge.

Having ridden the `09 M8, we can say it really is a better sled on snow than the `08 version. The telescoping handlebars make a huge difference. And with the option of the Boss seat, it will make it even that much better. One of our complaints about the `08 is the low seat. It seems like it's a big "jump," if you will, to go from sitting down to stand up riding compared to the Summit and RMK. The Boss seat should help that. And you can really boondock with the `09 version of the M8. The `08 version wasn't bad at laying down in the powder and working through the trees but the `09 is that much better. We also agree in the power department, but it's not always about horsepower. Cat's power delivery is smooth and very predictable, important traits if you're asking us.

Cat's new track is awesome. It holds a sidehill like no other and it chews up the powder while keeping the sled on top on the snow and not trenching down. If I were forced to pick just one thing that really makes a difference on the `09 M8, it would have to be the track. It really works well in most every snow condition.

Thanks for your e-mail.

Matt Alexander's response

Very good. After I wrote you I realized that all sleds were the same year. I thought that an `08 was getting tossed into the mix with other manufacturers' `09s . not the case.

Thank you for your 2-pennies regarding the `09 M. The new track is getting me excited. I'll take a look at all the new `09's this Friday in Spokane . put down my $500 . and hope we have an epic winter again next year. Bang-for-the-buck, in my opinion, is AC. Did I mention that I got $6,500 for my `06 M7? What a great resale.


Do Not Appreciate SnoWest

Dear Editor:
First of all, your magazine is great BUT I do not appreciate the secret of Big Horn Mountain snowmobiling being out through the media.

Therefore it will get crowded with snowmobilers, making the room reservations much harder, plus it invites some troubles like last March when too many snowmobilers showed up at the Big Horn Mountains and several snowmobiles left outside overnight got vandalized.

I was one of the victims and it never happened before in the last 10 years until this year. Now I have to go to different places with fewer crowds.

I think I will not read your magazine any more.

Loren Geiszler
Via e-mail


Sport Pink

Dear Editor:
PinkSince I'm a recent survivor of cancer, I wanted to show support in my own special way. Sport pink.

Michelle Ferrier
Portland, OR

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