Getting to the Next Level – With a Sledcore Ride Clinic
I’m lying in bed wide awake when my alarm finally rings out at 7 AM. Though I’ve been awake for hours in anticipation of today’s ride, I quickly jump up, shower and grab a quick breakfast as quietly as possible so that I don’t wake my wife and kids. Then I head out to load my sled onto the trailer. Today I’m attending one of Sledcore’s Technical Riding Clinics and though I’m excited, I’m also nervous as I’ve never attended one before and I don’t know anyone else in this group. I’ve been riding snowmobiles most of my life but never in any particular capacity other than for fun. So does that make me an intermediate rider or are my skills more novice? Will anyone else in this group be in the same category or will I be riding with pros and struggling to keep up all day? All of these questions pass through my mind as I drive towards the drop point in Cormack and the road seems to go on forever.
We were in two feet of fresh powder and the very first zone we hit; Jonathon gathers everyone and says, “Who wants to go first?”
Finally, I arrive at the White’s River Rd intersection and I’m the first one here…not eager I know! I decide to warm up my sled and get it unloaded, thankfully another participant arrives soon thereafter and we hit up a conversation to pass the time. Next to arrive is Jonathon Anstey, now if any of you are like me and fans of the Sledworthy magazine then you’ve obviously read many of his articles so we’re a little star struck at first and don’t approach him. Apparently nobody told Jonathon that he’s a bit of a celebrity in the Newfoundland snowmobile community as he just marches up and joins the conversation with us rookies. This immediately put me at ease as I could tell that I wasn’t riding with a bunch of pre-Madonna’s that just want to show off and strut their celebrity status. By this time, more and more participants are starting to pour in and then the convoy of Sledworthy/Sledcore vehicles show up. I swear, these guys must have practiced their entrance because it was cool just to watch them roll up and back into their “usual” parking spots as if they were reserved. For anyone that hasn’t meet Andrew Goldsworthy, he’s a fairly quiet guy that exudes confidence and people are just naturally pulled to him. Within minutes of arriving, all the participants had gathered around his truck and he’s very quick to shake hands, introduce himself and have a quick chat with everyone. Tom Caines and Evan Morgan joined the group and a quick introduction is done with a round table discussion of what everyone was hoping to get from the clinic. The majority of participants were focused on acquiring or advancing their Side Hilling skills, so we mounted up and raced in White River Rd. towards what I affectionately refer to as heaven.
[sc name=”HorizQuoteBlack” param1=”these guys are phenomenal riders with a wealth of information and knowledge that they are only too glad to share with their students” ]
We don’t get far before Andrew jumps off trail into some powder zones that act as a warm up for what was to come. We stop briefly at the warm up shack along White River Rd. and then proceed into Angus Lake. This is where the day really gets started, I won’t give away locations, but once we hit Angus Valley everything changed. We were in two feet of fresh powder and the very first zone we hit; Jonathon gathers everyone together and says, “Who wants to go first?” Everyone immediately froze, as I think we all shared the same fears regarding our skill level in comparison to the group. Andrew quickly jumped in to do a demonstration while Evan and Jonathon explained technique and offered tips on foot placement and throttle control. I don’t remember who went first but it was a steady stream of sleds attempting to side cut this particular slope and within minutes it was completely shredded! It was easy to see that the majority of us had either never attempted this before or only briefly as very few of us could make it the entire distance without washing out or falling out of the side hill position. Throughout the day we moved from one zone to the next, each area first being met with a few minutes of instructions, a quick demonstration and then an encouraging “get at er!” Evan, Jonathon and Andrew were quick to pull up and offer individual one on one help or to help anyone that wanted to push the envelope a little further. It was very informal, no different than a day with your buddies, except that these guys are phenomenal riders with a wealth of information and knowledge that they are only too glad to share with their students. Throughout the day, one thing that really stood out for me was just how quickly everyone was improving. It was incredible to watch, and my own comfort level with these new found skills went from 5 to 500 on a scale of 1 to 10. This continued throughout the day in zones that I would now refer to as moderate. By 4pm we had absorbed so much and were all completely exhausted so we headed back out to the trucks. That was just day one!
Day two started much the same way, and we rode into the Angus Valley region once again but in a slightly different direction this time. The terrain started out moderate but quickly advanced to difficult and these guys did their best to encourage everyone to challenge their comfort levels. At this point though, the restraints were off, guys were hitting everything in sight and eagerly following Jonathon, Evan and Andrew wherever they chose to go. We weren’t always successful and I think we all got stuck more times than we care to admit, since Andrew is a mad man with no fear whatsoever, but we were all grinning like kids in a candy store!
Personally, I had a blast! One of my best weekends from this past season and I will undoubtedly be attending another clinic for the 2017 season. Hopefully I can convince my wife to join me, if Sledcore decides to do another couples clinic HINT HINT!