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Each season I get the luxury of riding the newest, most exciting iron. I don’t pass this off as something I’m due. I realize it’s a huge blessing to do this and I appreciate the opportunity each season.

While anything with a motor, track and two skis will get me excited about winter, I always have my top picks for the season and the sleds I’m most likely to fight the rest of the crew to be on once we have enough snow.

Lucky for me I pretty much have my pick of off-trail shredders as Mark and Luke tend to gravitate towards the flat-top category, leaving me with at least a couple of good deep-lug shovels to get digging with.

Strangely, this season I’m most excited for not just one sled but a whole host of sleds that fit my riding style. I guess I have to include bikes in there now too because we have two Aro Timbersleds with the Trio front shock set up.

Back to sleds: I think the most enlightenment I’ll get is comparing the SKS to the Backcountry X. I’m excited to use both and see which one comes out on top.

I already have a good understanding of the Switchback Assault and I think I know where the limitations of the Freeride 137 will come in, too. Truthfully though, I’m just plain excited to tear it up on all four of these mint sleds!

I just wanna be off in the untouched snow, watching the powder fly off the ski tips as I carve and find some good natural jumps and transitions where a little bit of shovel work and the coaxing of some good friends builds up the nerve.

Right now, it’s the kind of snow base we’ve been waiting for and last week we had a single day above freezing that really caused the snow to sink.

Most times that seems bad but at this point, with the powdery fluff we’ve had and the continued sub-zero temps, it really will help get us that crusty structure that’ll stick to the landscape and be the barrier between immovable frozen earth and the sled.

With a few decent snowfalls, the backcountry and off-trail routes will start to be traveled and new and unique features will start to emerge.

If the snow stays heavy I think the Freeride 137 will be my first choice, however, if we get hit hard with fluffy powder and the depth builds I think I’m going to be putting in the majority of my time on the SKS 146 and the Backcountry X 850.

I’ve been tempted to do a little behind-the-scenes swap of the Freeride suspension into the Backcountry X and see if we can’t build it the way ‘d like to see it from the factory.

No matter how you look at it, I’m excited for this winter, and all I can say is bring on the SNOW!

AJ Lester
AJ Lester
AJ is a former CSRA snocross racer and Co-Host of SNOWTRAX TV which can be seen on Sportsman Channel across America and in Canada on OLN, Sportsman Channel Canada, Wild TV and REV TV and globally on our YouTube channel.

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