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by Courtney Bamford
Looking back I think I was always interested in snowmobiling, I grew up with a 70-something Polaris triple in the machine shop on our farm and by that point it wasn’t in great running order, but was so fun to play “pretend” on, my dad was big into snowmobiling before we came along.
When my brother got older he got the Polaris running properly for a while and that intrigued me even more, something about the sound and smell just drew me in. The snowmobile didn’t run long, but it always had a home in the back of the machine shop. I knew one day I was going to have my own sled, and that goal never stopped. I bought an ATV first and got into it, but in the back of my mind I knew it wasn’t anything like snowmobiling. Don’t get me wrong I love riding my quad, but it’s just not the same.
When the opportunity finally arose for me to get my own sled I was so excited. I went to the Ski-Doo dealer and picked out a floor model MXZ 550F, the perfect starter sled. It was 2012 and I was just buying my first sled, but I didn’t care I had finally done it. By the end of the first winter I knew that I needed a bigger sled for the riding I wanted to do, but I kept it for another winter before I went in to spring order. It was an exciting day driving to the dealer to order my Freeride and a huge test to my non-existent patience, (I’m pretty sure Virden Recreation heard from me more than anyone, thankful for their patience!). When October came my sled finally arrived and I went to get it as soon as I could. I had made another dream happen! I have rode two winters on the Freeride and I’m even more hooked on snowmobiling than ever!
Snowmobiling is an addiction, a passion and an all-around obsession I’m not ashamed to admit to. There is something about the sound and smell of a snowmobile and riding through fresh fluffy untouched snow that is so freeing, any problems or anything weighing on your mind instantly disappears. It’s a connection to my dad who passed away in 2004 who was an avid snowmobiler. Beefore he had kids, he and my mom would ride in snowmobile derbies. Riding a sled makes me feel closer to him and I know he's cheering on my triumphs and pushing me passed failures and falls. My friends and family are big supporters of my riding, always listening to me even when they don’t want to (sorry, enna LOLl), I've also met so many friends because of snowmobiling, especially my friend Sasha who is always pushing me forward. My boyfriend Grant is the one who rides with me most and pushes me passed my limits, making me see that I can do more than I thought possible.
There are a few things any rider should have on them when going out for a ride. I always carry extra fuel, a spare belt. I always give me sled a once over before I get on it to ride, checking the oil, and belt and just looking it over to make sure everything is good. Most sleds have a toolkit they come with and I make sure it's always on the sled. On a tunnel bag of backpack its important to be carrying a first aid kit, food, water, and I usually carry spare socks because my feet usually sweat (it happens honest). Avalanche gear is so important for mountain riding, I don’t have experience mountain riding yet, but an air bag, beacon, probe, shovel and making sure it's all in working order is essential! Taking avalanche courses and being aware of the area you are riding and never riding alone is something that can’t be stressed enough! A good base layer is important as well as outerwear that keeps you warm and is waterproof because being cold and wet makes the day less than enjoyable.
Since Fall is getting closer, it's time to get the sleds started and checked over so I'm ready for when the snow falls. To get it ready for the season, I usually start my sled and make sure it is running right, I check the belt and carbides to make sure they’re not worn. I will give the whole sled a once over looking for any damaged or worn pieces that need fixed or replacing before winter. I also check all my gear for any rips tears or holes in it. And then its time to just wait for the snow to fall! Shred on sisters!
Nice Blog! TryMini Snowmobiling in Colorado
Awesome Blog! Great job Courtney!