As an enthusiastic adventurer, I’m always looking for new ways to explore new zones and for a long time, that’s meant mountain bikes, ski touring gear and my own two feet. I’ve always been more than happy to accompany people with more advanced (and louder) forms of transportation, but never felt the urge to splurge for my own two-stroke pony. They’re noisy, smelly, and generally obnoxious, and there’s no better way to access super-remote locations in the mountains, (excluding helicopters, but that’s a whole other level,) but there’s also a fairly substantial cost associated. That cost was the critical limiting factor behind my staunch refusal to ever want to buy a snowmobile, as almost every single person I know that sled-shreds has endless stories about ridiculous purchase costs, breaking parts and the less common but more financially-catastrophic helicopter retrieval of a dead machine. When a friend offered to sell his gateway sled (think gateway drug, but with 900cc of growling throttle) for a measly price, I initially scoffed. After the idea had time to ricochet around in my brain for a week or two, I ended up negotiating a shared purchase with a handy-dandy mechanic friend.
Unfortunately, the problem quickly becomes a one of transportation. Anyone that knows me, knows the Cream Dream – the 1989 Volvo 240 Wagon that has served faithfully for years, but is woefully inadequate when it comes to towing power. In fact, the ShittyKitty (our affectionate name for the recently purchased ’05 King Cat) has equivalent horsepower and only has to pull a quarter (more like a third) of the weight. I also happen to do a lot of work outside and have been thinking about venturing into the world of trucks for a while, and the purchase of a FatCat was just one more incentive to spend some money. Long story short, I have ended up buying an older Tacoma and paying as much to repair it as it cost to buy, but for a grand total of $7000 plus insurance I am the proud owner and operator of a glorious vehicular team. With only a bit of gas and a whole lot of effort, the mountains are open for business.
Vehicular tag-team, ready for action.
Fil, taking the long road back to pick up some weary shredders
Bryan, during a brief respite between getting-after-it sessions.
Bryan, mid getting-after-it, sideways.
It’s endlessly helpful to ride with the two previous owners of the sled because when it breaks, they feel obliged to fix it. Hopefully this practice also applies to getting unstuck.
There’s an incredible camaraderie among snowmobilers that often gets compared to the Mariners Code – basically, if someone needs help, you help them. Because chances are you’re going to need help at some point and you most definitely want people to step up. Because nobody like sleeping outside. Because it’s cold. Because it’s winter. And because you’re a wussy 21st-century mountain (wo)man. So, Cheers! And Thanks! To all those who are willing to provide a helping hand (or saw). Also, we managed to put close to 80km on the broken ski pictured above… Turns out that alders are as useful as they are annoying.
Surprisingly, burning calories is often less work than burning gas.
Stop and shop for ridge lines
A fellow SP getting some action.
Dylan performing an avalanche safety inspection. Yup, this avalanche is functioning as expected.
Ski runs? Nope, just some eager beavers.
Wide open glades for days…
I’m sure other people have more expensive weekend, but with all the money, time and effort that went into it, I couldn’t be happier. And at $3500 a day, it better be fun! On the plus side, the rest of the time on the sled will be significantly less expensive and even more fun… With the onset of March and a barrage of winter storms coming our way, stay tuned for plenty more two-stroke and granola bar filled adventures!