Getting Smarter

With a little help from my friends

Published in the November 2010 Issue Column Steve Janes

I'm always up for learning something new. After all, the more we're willing to learn, the smarter and better we can become. The same holds true with snowmobiling.

There's not a time I'm out on the snow that I'm not watching what others do in certain situations and then trying to apply it to my own riding style. I watch snowmobile videos with great interest in observing techniques in different terrain. Anywhere that offers information on improving my snowmobiling experience, I'm anxiously engaged in learning.

That's why I spend a lot of my free time reading the SnoWest Forums.

It's surprising how much information is shared by snowmobilers from all parts of the world. There's a wealth of information from some pretty good participants of the sport. There's also a bit of whit, humor, sarcasm and about everything else available, as well. But that's for another column.

The other day I stumbled across a thread entitled: What did you learn this sledding year? Here is just a bit of the wisdom shared.

  • If it looks like a stump, it's a stump.

  • And if it looks like a rock, it's probably a rock.

  • A skid plate is a good investment.

  • When you have to order a replacement part mid-season, your season is over.

  • If your sled is broken down, it will snow.

  • Early season riding is a good way to break parts (A-arm, mounts and shocks, to be specific).

  • Never sell the extra sled no matter how bad things get.

  • Always finish building the sled before winter comes.

  • If you second guess yourself going into something then you're more likely to end up FUBAR in a tree someplace.

  • If you leave the brake locked on long enough and go fast enough, you can start a sled on fire.

  • Five 162-inch sleds will fit in a 4-place trailer but someone is going to lose some paint or plastic.

  • Having a girlfriend cuts into your riding time.

  • There isn't a single sled mod that will improve your riding like being in better athletic condition.

  • You can start doing "sidehills" on the shop floor before the season starts and learn how to switch feet without putting both feet on the boards . and after about 10 minutes you become sweaty as hell . great for losing weight.

  • As your body gets older, learning comes very slowly.

  • The throttle can be your best friend in deep snow.

  • If friends want to do stupid things, you DON'T have to follow.

  • You can ride 18 inches of powder midway into June if you play the weather just right and are persistent.

  • You can get unstuck by yourself . which means you're more likely now to pick your own lines and venture off by yourself when everyone is playing.

  • You can value snowmobiling more than your job . except for when you need to pay the bills.

  • No matter what kind of snowmobile you have, someone will always claim to have a better one.

  • It's costly to keep buying a new sled every year.

  • There will always be people trying to take away your riding areas . and there are not near enough snowmobilers that care enough to join the fight.

  • But no matter how sick you get of fighting the battle to keep your riding areas open, it's still worth it to keep up the good fight until the only option left is civil disobedience.

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