It's rare that I'd ever recommend a 20 minute video, I mean really, if you want to watch something for 20 minutes turn on the TV and start ignoring it... but this one is worth it!
So much soft fluffy powder (and in our backyard). It really was an amazing season last year if you could find treed areas to keep safe in with all that bad vis. Thanks to Tetongravity for sharing the best pow on the net!
The snow is falling all around us - in the mountains, down the street, or at the winter camp... or at worst the rain is teasing us in the cities. The one thing you can count on with these short days is that the snowmobile season is upon us. Whether you were born to be a mechanic or dread digging the tools out, it's time to get your sled into top condition.
Luckily, it's seem youtube was invented as the best ever teaching tool. It's easy to use videos to gain confidence to tackle a neglected part of your sled or even ideas of areas needing maintenance that we may never have though of. That first perfect day of the year is right around the corner, so get ready now so that day is not the day you start digging the sled out, Carpe Diem!
As I was saying, youtube is a gold mine for how to's and this vid above is a great overview of how to spend a couple nights this week getting your snowmobile into tip top shape. There are some great little ideas here from a Robinson Crusoe jack stand to stations dedicated for carbs and clutches. Lots of emphasis on good light and enough space to get the job done. See Andrews youtube page for a a whole host of snowmobile fixing videos.
Thanks to Nina over at the Clymb for this one... as I'm about to head out into the woods for my second (annual?) hunting trip, I only hope the poor deer is OK so I have a chance to miss it wildly with a long distance shot;)
The slowmo playback of the guy bailing after running up the but of this deer is priceless... props to the guy riding for keeping it in frame... looks like he's all Matrixed up gliding there!
Props to the Snomobile.com blog for turning us on to an amazing partnership between Arctic Cat and Amber Holt. As we all know, it's way easier to head down to your local snowmobile shop and buy some new gear and snowboard racks than it is to learn to ride the right way.
What Amber does is teach high level (and beginner) skills for backcountry snowmobiling. Every extreme sport is technical in nature, and few are more technical than snowmobiling in fresh powder and in steep terrain. There are mountain skills, mechanical skills, and riding skills all coming in to play and determining to a large extent how much fun and how safe we are in the backcountry.
A day or two learning the real physics and techniques from a pro can dramatically change a season or riding, or a lifetime. Personally, I'm looking forward to the location as well... the Seven Devils lodge looks like a snowmobiling paradise! There are plenty of other great snowmobiling lodges but this has got to be at the top of the list!
Way to go Amber, and thanks for doing what you do!
Sweet backcountry riding is one of the primary draws for getting into snow sledding or powderboarding. Mountain Sled magazine did a great feature on how to do that in style when they featured the Crystal Ridge development at Valemont.
Getting easy(er) access to great riding is a passion of mine so I was so excited to read about what the great folks at Valemont Area Recreation Development Association have done. Building an access road to the top of amazing terrain is the holy grail of snowmobile snowboarding. It's worth a trip to their page just for the amazing sled skiing photos.
What they have done is built a road at the right pitch so that when you're using snowboard racks on your snowmobile and doubling up it's super easy, and then you get access to great terrain. Honestly, when it's been dumping like crazy and you just wand those steep lines, it's the hardest to get there. In the pure backcountry it always ends up being a compromise where you shred the lines you can get to instead of the ones you really want to access. It's days like these that Crystal Ridge will be perfect for!
Now at Valemont, there's at least a chance of getting where you want to go! I can't wait, see you there soon. Here is a picture of the road so far and the ways down for the sledder.
First off, this is a very simple video... one go pro, one song, 2 camera angles... so why does it work? Tougher still, even though there is tons of snow, the light isn't great... so how did a good video get created? I think it's the framing... even with the bad light, that is countered by the footage having the skier square in the frame. On shots back from his ski pole, he front and center with just a trail of powder flying off his face! Awesome.
The video also has a good pace, not to fast, but balanced by the song selected, almost peaceful, but always moving forward. Also, gotta love the mountain credit at the end... Fernie is sweet, and since he made no effort to disguise using a chairlift for the day, it's appropriate to credit great conditions.
This video isn't 'epic' or 'insane' - it's a bunch of guys making the most of what they have... nice enough terrain, but flat... good enough light, but not epic views... these guys are pure though, just ripping around having fun and taking air off what ever they can. Props for the music choice and shadow boxing sequence... also, good use of slow mo at times.
This vid is just wicked... and subtly innovative. Upbeat tunes bring non stop, deep powder action... most of which is downhill. Most of the footage is fall line stuff and cliff jumps filmed by a proper camera not too far away. I'm guessing these are former ski/board pros who have moved over to sleds... can't wait to see more!
This vid is a skill showcase... there is more tree than snow here, and there is a lot of snow... mad skills to navigate these routes (almost) without incident;)
We've got a 2 trick pony to finish off, but both are nicely done. First trick is the really sharp slow mo shots. What you may not notice is is the great camera placement, with snow blowing back and sun from behind really help these shots. The second trick is the nicely mixed music complilation. Nice attention to detail there!
No matter what you're doing on the mountains, head on over to our snowmobile accessories shop to set yourself up. Bring up all the gear you want, camera gear, snowboards, skis or fuel, a Port Tack Rack can carry it all.
Number 1: Our first featured snowmobile race is the Volga River based cross country world championship... yes, I know it won't be in Russia until 2015, but how cool would it be to race up the Volga river! They're only doing snowcross right now, but cross country is on the way!
Number 2: The the Sault - what a place... paradise in the summer and winter, with beautiful countryside and fantastic lakes. The International 500 is a great race, it gets the whole community out and the party is possibly the best part! What's not to like about that! While I'd be more partial to this race if it was across the countryside instead of in an oval, I do see the draw!
Number 3: Anything in Northern Quebec!... and the reason, they call the races RAIDS! How cool is that. The most famous but now extinct Harricana has been somewhat replaced my more casual and smaller raids on a year by year basis... no seriously, they are organized, you can just roll up and do something legendary!
Number 4: Cains Quest is probably my favorite long distance snowmobile race... and that's for one defining characteristic... you get to choose your own route. It's one thing to be able to hurtle a snow machine at incredible speed. The combination of going fast and choosing a smart route makes for a better adventure though, so that's why this epic race gets my vote... don't forget to carry some spare fuel if you end up doing some unplanned exploring!
Number 5: And the grand daddy of them all, the world famous Iron Dog. This event is truly a cultural classic in Alaska. For many who work in Alaska, the lure is the change to be isolated from the populous and at one in nature. It's a place where if you want to ignore the rest of the world, it's not only possible, is encouraged.
In a world where organized sport is shunned for the great outdoors, and you can go weeks without hearing a thing about Baseball, Football, Hockey, or Basketball, anyone on the street can tell you who is leading the Iron Dog and whether they will be able to hang on for the win!
So, for those of us who just like to explore but are all fired up by these legends who race accross this land, don't forget to act like a pro and carry spare fuel on your sled.
2012 brought such a mixed bag to North America, you can talk to snow machine riders coast to coast and it's like we weren't even on the same planet! Will 2013 be much better, lets hope so.
The farmers almanac doesn't suggest much help for the west predicting dry conditons. At least out East is says there should be good cold spells with systems dumping some of the fluffy stuff. Only problem in that the farmer almanac is total BS so we can't trust it.
Thankfully, other more scientific predictions state that a cold winter is expected... lets hope it's a cold WET winter. Apparently, the pacific ocean has cooled after last seasons La Nina conditions so all those days that were just above the freeze-thaw barrier last year should be below it this year. No more beautiful dumps of snow followed by melting, that should also help the base remain more stable from Avalanches. Some of my worst rides last year were after awesome amounts of snow fell but then melted too soon to be useful.
Some Norwegian scientists are calling for yet another La Nina winter, which should mean in increase in precipitation on west coast... Snowmobilers all over can hop the temperatures stay down a bit and still have plenty of precipitation this coudld me a magic combination for backcountry activities.
In any case, we're bound for some fun, and it's only a few months away. Every year we wonder what the conditions will bring, and every year that first ride of the season seems so sweet... lets just hope there are plenty of follow up days this year! While there isn't yet snow now is the perfect time to be prepping your sled for the season and what better way to prep than getting a snowmobile jerry can rack or a snowboard rack for your snowmobile!
Port Tack Racks make the ultimate in snowmobile cargo racks to help you go further on your sled.
Fits all sleds - Ski Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Yamaha. Accessories include snowboard and ski holders and jerry / gas can straps.