Land Use Debates
I don't know if you are the right person for this, but I love your magazine and love the sport of snowmobiling. I like how you keep us informed on land use issues that can effect our sport, but I am like a lot of other snowmobilers who try to just mind our own business and enjoy our sport and let others enjoy theirs. But I see a lot more articles on issues that could and are affecting our sport. I want to be more involved in issues but don't have time to do it every day. I think for a lot of us, if we had more info on what we could do and who we need to contact then we would get more involved.
I don't like politics much and so try to avoid them which I know is wrong but the issues are usually over my head and so I don't know where to start to be able to make a difference.
So I guess what I am saying is if you could give us more guidance then we would get more involved.
(ED-You thinking more about the issues facing snowmobiling is a start. I'm afraid there are far too many snowmobilers not willing to get involved in land issues because it can be time-consuming and frustrating. If we are to save the sport then we do need to be involved. Just a couple of suggestions would be to join your local and/or state snowmobile association. Those groups should be very involved in working to keep public lands open and by joining you can lend your support to them. Second, if you see a land use issue on www.snowest.com, usually there is an action item toward the end of the piece you can easily and quickly complete to give your opinion on why a certain area should be left open to snowmobiling and other motorized sports. It doesn't matter if the proposed closure is in your area or not-take action and respond. The absolute worst thing you can do is nothing.
Helping A Fellow Woman Rider
I'm writing in response to "You're Not As Daring As You Used To Be" [SnoWest, December, 2009, page 10].
First off, why is a "guy friend" riding your sled? If he can't afford his own, then he can't afford to fix yours if something should happen.
Second, I don't know how old your daughter is, but my daughter started riding when she was about 9 and is now almost 26. She has good riding skills and now has some good common sense (not so fearless anymore). I, however, didn't start riding until about 2001-02 (I'm now 50). I had sleds before that but my daughter rode them all the time. I don't know how to say what I want you to understand without writing a novel.
Suzanne, you're not a guy and no matter how good a rider you are, it is not the same. I know we have a large group that rides together and when the ladies go that are good enough to "keep up" with the men, it is still different for the guys. They still have fun but it's not the same.
Suzanne's husband: don't be a jerk. Surely you have friends who have wives, girlfriends and/or kids who ride too. If so, get them together for a family fun day. That is what we do. We get together and hit the trails, then the guys will slowly meander off and we follow. If we get stuck there is more than one guy to help. In fact we just did our first "family" ride about two weeks ago. There were 11 of us. One of the men is always in the lead and one of them always stays in the rear. That way no one is ever left behind without help.
The rest of the guys would wander in and out of the other riders making sure everything is ok with riders and machines. As the day progresses (and the riding season, too) we get better and go to more daring places. But most important, the men folk know our riding skills and limits.
It is a lot of fun. When the snow conditions are good we do this about once a week. The rest of the time the guys are out doing their guy ride. Like today, the ride they are on requires creek crossings and some seriously deep snow, not for the faint of heart. We gals who are not up to that are happy to let them go, but some of our lady friends are right there with them. Sounds like your wife at one time was one of them. You really need to get your family involved in riding with you. My husband and son-in-law are awesome riders-they love deep snow, boondocking, alders and creek crossings. My daughter has done it and prefers not to. I, on the other hand, have never had to cross a creek and my husband knows better than to take me there.
But we all find a common area for our skills. You would be surprised at how much fun you can have with a couple of families riding together.
One important thing. Everyone needs his own sled because riding double is no fun at all.
Hope this helps. Safe riding to all.
What About Women Riders?
I really enjoyed reading your latest issue of SnoWest. I especially found the article on rating the new mountain sleds with guest riders interesting ["One On One On One," SnoWest, March, 2010, page 18].
It's great how you found a combination of new and experienced riders who prefer different brands of sleds. There was only one factor missing in your group of test riders: the female perspective. What about the women riders? We have some definite opinions on what works best for us as well.
I think all of the manufacturers need to take notice of what Harley Davidson has done for the woman motorcycle rider. There is an untapped female snowmobile customer base out there just waiting for the manufacturers to recognize them.
I'm fortunate to have a husband who listens to my comments on how my sled performs and puts the effort into setting it up to my preferences (working full-time and having three kids means I haven't taken the time to learn how to do it myself-yet).
(ED-Point well taken. This idea of having "guest" riders only came up this year after we changed the format of the dealer shootout to not include dealers. We may go back to that format next year if the economy improves, but if we decide to stay with what we did this year, then we have discussed using women riders. I assume you've filled out your "Can You Ride" entry and sent it in. That's your chance to show what you can do.)
She Nailed It
Michelle Ostroski nailed it with her description of a snowmobile trip outside of Park City ["Extreme Mountain Adventures With Marty," SnoWest, March, 2009, page 86]. My spouse and I, along with our sons, have been on similar adventures in the Cle Elum, WA, area where we always bring back lessons learned. It's nice that real professionals go through the same process. We all enjoyed Michelle's article.
Cle Elum, WA