7 tips for Sledding Affordability and Fun.
By Adam Hodder
Number 1 – Know your riding buddies and keep a good group! I haven’t had a year go by yet where I don’t hear about a fella contracting the man flu, or someone gets worked up about pictures of rain over west and backs out. When you drop a fella, costs go up. So whomever you plan on having in tow, make sure they’ll be on deck when you go to haul onto Route 1 West at 4 AM. Make sure you’ve got the guy who has no trouble taking the couch or floor too!
Number 2 – Clean out that deep freeze. No trouble to whip up some dandy suppers and next-day sandwiches with some leftover moose, or that sketchy buffalo steak a buddy gave you Christmas past. Throw it in a cooler, fill the rest up with bologna and Gatorade for the early mornings, and you’ve got some cheap race fuel for yourself to get through the day!
Number 3 – Have a game plan. Most of us have our tried and true play spots we’re heading for or zones to explore, but you’ve always got the “kids on Christmas morning” who veer at the first cutover they get to and tank a ¼ tank of fuel. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but plan out your day and destinations to get the most out of that 91 on the fun flipper. No one wants to be the guy looking for fuel around 1 in the day.
Number 4 – Get a handle on the wobbley pops. A cold beer is great after an epic day on the West Coast, but I’m sure everyone can relate to the “group members” that hit ‘em a bit too hard and are a little too cold to start the next morning. After driving 6 or 7 hours to get here, I’m not looking to spend the precious time lounging around until 10 or 11 A.M to get rolling. Get the most bang for your buck, get on the trail early and get all the hours of daylight you can. This will drop your cost of the smiles an hour.
Number 5 – Go prepared. Depending on the riding you’re doing, you want the proper gear to be at it. If that means shelling out for a TekVest, go for it. Wait a minute, this is all about cutting costs, right? Well, that TekVest will be worth every penny if you take a spill off what looked like a great little hit and come up solid in the bars to ruin a beauty blue-bird day – and that’s best case scenario. Same deal for riding gear. Fadder’s one-sie he got with the Light and Power years ago might be great, but she’s useless if she wicks water and has you sapped by lunch. That can make a priceless day turn worthless darn quick.
Number 6 – This is a huge one – MAINTENANCE. Especially us East Coast guys who might not roll a track until we see KM Marker 600. Don’t make the first time you check over your sled for the season the morning you’re loading it on the trailer. I’ve been there where some pre-season TLC could have prevented a costly sled rental when a tunnel had enough and spread apart a few too many inches, and I’ve been the guy who had to turn tail and run when a night-before quick fix on a fuel pump came calling with a vengeance while in over North Arm Hills. That maintenance is worth its weight in gold when you can pull off a trouble free trip!
Numero 7 – Have fun! No matter what the year’s trip throws at you, whether it’s some unlucky weather, poor running sled (Refer to number 6) or whatever, make the best of it all and enjoy it. The riding we’ve got here in Newfoundland is nothing to take for granted, between the conditions, play spots, and the scenery. Getting over there with a few good buddies, no matter what you run in to, makes for more than a couple timeless tales, and makes it all worth it. You’ll feel much better about what has to come out of Chequing Account to make it happen.
Follow these and you should be able to pull it off cheaper than a sketchy 3 star all inclusive down south!