By: Mike Lester
My brother Matt and I have been riding snowmobiles since before we could walk and, living north of the border, tally up thousands of miles riding the impeccably groomed trails lacing the countryside of this province each season.
To us, this is what snowmobiling is all about: Lake honing, destination rides, overnight saddlebagging. It’s all we crave from the moment the first cool breeze brushes our cheek until the last bottle of Sta-bil is pulled from the mouth of our sled’s tank and the mower once again occupies prime positioning in the garage.
Therefore, it seemed strange to us that trail riding could be totally foreign to the group we rode with in Sanpete County, Utah.
As one of the guys commented, “So, you guys just drive on a trail? Is that fun?” I thought to myself, “This ride will have to be pretty awesome to top the riding we’re used to.” At this point, a spoon was being polished so I could officially eat my words later that day.
Our guides for the day included Glen Zumwalt, head honcho at Big Pine Sports, the local Yamaha and Arctic Cat dealer and our sled provider for the day, and Scott Stevens from Diamond S Manufacturing.
Also riding with us was our host, Kevin Christensen, from Sanpete County Tourism and a slew of Scott’s buddies who had either called in sick, washed a week’s worth of dishes or administered exhaustive foot rubs to their wives in order to get the all-clear to come riding this day.
As we broke off trail, the trees opened up to mountain scenery sharper and better than 1080 HD.
The clouds were actually settling below us as we looked over the edge of the mountain. We had broken through to sunlight and the first play area of the day.
While the more experienced mountain riders had some fun, I experienced getting stuck not once, but many times that day. Digging out at altitude absolutely drains your strength and breath.
I was a bit discouraged the first time and by stuck numero 3, I was downright exhausted. “Okay give me my flatlands.” I thought to myself. “Leave this mountain riding to the mountain-heads.”
But, by the early afternoon and following a belly-filling at a top-secret lunch stop, I was getting the feel for mountain riding.
What’s great about mountain riding is that you begin to understand how your body melds with your snowmobile. Body positioning is everything and throttle control is critical. You quickly learn how to use body english to get the sled to point where you want it to go.
Matt has had previous mountain experience and was carving up the powder already. After I got one leg over the seat so both boots were on the same rail and began pulling the sled into the turns, I was carving like a champ at Pete’s Little Hole – at least, inside my head I was.
Read more in an upcoming issue of Supertrax!
Special thanks to: