On Top Of The World
I cannot begin to express to you how proud I was to finally side hill to the top of that mountain. It took several attempts but there I was, sitting on my new Pro RMK, overlooking a group of riders patiently waiting at the bottom. My heart was pounding. I threw my arms in the air to express my excitement, the gesture was greeted with supportive cheers. I felt like I was on top of the world.
I have always been the outdoorsy type and have always been up for a good challenge. As many fellow Newfoundlanders, I grew up riding a snowmobile. The machines that were available to me at the time were built for the type of work they were expected to do; hauling firewood and family trail rides. Backcountry riding was definitely not what they were built for. If your machine happened to be on its edge, I can guarantee you that it wasn’t planned. It would probably then be followed by a scowling look from my father warning me to slow down and be careful. Boy was this clinic different, when you’re on your edge, that’s when you’re in control.
The very first machine I ever purchased was bought brand new and it was the perfect crossover machine for me at the time. It was a fabulous trail sled and was able to perform to the basic level of my riding ability on the West Coast of Newfoundland. It gave me the best of both worlds. I could go fast on the trail and I wasn’t getting left out of the trips to the West Coast. It was the perfect set up.
These trips to the West Coast of Newfoundland opened the door to my “soon to be” fascination with backcountry riding. Maneuvering a sled in the deep powder was something that I was not accustomed to doing. I am from Central Newfoundland where powder was almost non-existent. While on the West Coast getting stuck would upset me because it kept me from getting to where the other, more experienced riders would go. I wanted to be in the trees and on the sides of mountains and I was willing to try anything that would get me to those places.
I will never forget the first time I had the pleasure of riding a new Pro RMK. It was a completely different machine compared to what I was use to. It was taller, leaner, and a lot more willing to hold an edge. At the end of this test ride, I could get the sled on its edge with very little effort. Now all I could think of was how I could move away from my current machine and onto this new, more capable machine.
I was able to sell my “like new” machine in no time to a skilled rider who enjoys it to the fullest. Thank goodness for that because I had already snow checked my new 2017 Titanium and Lime squeeze Rocky Mountain King SE from Adventure Sales and Service in Gander, NL. The very knowledgeable staff there explored many options with me to make sure that the next machine I purchased was going to take me to a new level. After determining that the RMK was the only choice for me, they assisted in outfitting me in the most amazing KLIM gear. I was on my way.
If you are drawn to backcountry riding in Newfoundland then there is a good chance that you know of Sledcore and the awesome Riding Clinics that they put off to help riders advance their skills. You can only imagine the excitement when I was informed of the partnership between Polaris and Sledcore; the ROCK THE RMK promotion. They planned to offer a complimentary ride clinic to anyone that purchased a new RMK or SKS. If I hadn’t already ordered my new RMK this would have been all the incentive I needed to do so. I was able to purchase an amazing mountain sled and get professional instruction on how to properly ride it. It was a match made in Heaven.
It seemed like the time crawled by as I was anxiously awaiting the clinic. I was watching sled movies all the time and just waiting for the day to come. I couldn’t wait to see Nadine Overwater and Julie-Ann Chapman. Watching these Women dominating in this sport was an inspiration. Finally the clinic had arrived and I would get to ride with the Sledcore guys as well as several friends from Central Newfoundland who had also purchased new Pro RMK sleds.
We unloaded our sleds and were waiting at the end of Whites River road (Cormack, NL) promptly at 730. You could feel the excitement in the air as every new machine joined the group. We literally could not wait to head out. After a brief but very informative safety and information session we headed out in single file into the mountains, or as it turned out, to any bit of powder we could find. It was amazing how much I had already learned by the time 10 AM rolled around.
The Sledcore instructors didn’t waste any time offering advice or a lending hand. It is very obvious that they love what they do. They are right there to pluck you out if you get stuck or to offer tips to help make your efforts more successful. It’s actually amazing what a big difference it can make moving your foot further up, or further down on the running board. Picking up on those slight changes is very hard for the rider to notice alone.
When the clinic came to an end it was almost sad. We had been riding all day and having the time of our lives. The opportunity to watch as the other riders progressed so quickly was very exciting, and I was right there with them. I was so proud of myself and how far I had come. I was successfully doing things that I hadn’t dreamed possible before that day.
I would like to send a huge shout out to Polaris and the Awesome Sledcore Team; Andrew, Evan, Jonathan, and Tom. We laughed and smiled so much during the day that my cheeks hurt. Thank you for all of the support and instruction. I will be back really soon to work on that re entry.
*#1 tip of the day: Always remember to look at the line and never the tree.*