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HomeGeneralAny Day on a Sled is a Good Day – by Collin Marsden

Any Day on a Sled is a Good Day – by Collin Marsden

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Any Day on a Sled is a Good Day – by Collin Marsden

As a fly in/fly out rotational worker, one of my many challenges is balancing my limited time home between my recreational activities, and family. Although part of me wants to hit the snow every day I’m off during the Winter Season, doing so would not follow the Happy Wife, Happy Life model. I thought a simple solution and fair compromise would be to take my wife Leanne with me. I would get to spend some valuable time with my wife and hit some POW at the same time. However, as life often is, nothing is as simple as it appears. I had an extra sled, I kept my ’13 Backcountry X (BCX) when I upgraded to my ’16 Summit. However, Leanne simply had no interest in the sport. She had very limited time on a sled and had a bad experience a few years back. To convince her that the sport was something we could enjoy together was no easy task. The first­ winter I had the two sleds, the BCX sat dormant. In the fall of last year, I decided I would give it one more winter, and if we didn’t get out to ride together I would sell the BCX. Lucky for me, I caught a small break last fall. I had just written my first article for Sledworthy, and being the supportive wife that Leanne is, she decided to read it. Browsing through the magazine, she saw somethi­ng called “Couples Corner”, and it caught her eye. I remember her asking me if I knew Jason and Petrina Snow. I had never met Petrina but I had met Jason at a Sledcore Clinic the winter before and Jason and I had already made plans to get together during the upcoming winter to do some riding together. I don’t know if it was the article or the picture with Petrina and her pink riding gear perfectly matching her newly wrapped sled that caught her attention, but I didn’t care. I had an in.

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I knew I would only have one chance. If her first trip out didn’t go well, there would be no other. I started to think about where I would take her, I drew inspiration from some of the connections I have made through Sledworthy and Sledcore and Riverfront Chalets seemed like the perfect choice. I visited Riverfront’s website to familiarize myself with all their amenities and a did a quick search to make sure there were available dates to match my work schedule. I tend to get a little passionate when I get excited so I pitched the whole idea to Leanne in a manner that can probably be best described as late night infomercial. Leanne must have thought I was trying to sell her a ShamWow or Forman Grill. “So Leanne, I was thinking…Saltwater Hot tub….Weekend Getaway….4.5 stars….Saltwater Hot tub…”. I didn’t mention the sledding until I knew I had peaked her interest. Leanne didn’t commit right away, but whether it was her love for me, or her love for hot tubs, after a couple days of thinking about it she told me to go ahead and book the chalet for a weekend in February. When I was completing the booking, I noticed I could also book a guided tour with Paul Rose, the owner of the chalets. Without hesitation, I went ahead and booked that also. It turned out to be a very wise decision. At that time, I had never met Paul, but would get to meet him a short time later during the 2017 Sledworthy Writers’ Rip. Chatting with Paul during the Rip, I explained how Leanne was a Newbie and I was a little nervous about how the tour was going to go. Paul assured me that it would be a fantastic day for both of us and as I would find out later, he is a man of his word.

I knew I would only have one chance. If her first trip out didn’t go well, there would be no other. I started to think about where I would take her, I drew inspiration from some of the connections I have made through Sledworthy and Sledcore and Riverfront Chalets seemed like the perfect choice. I visited Riverfront’s website to familiarize myself with all their amenities and a did a quick search to make sure there were available dates to match my work schedule. I tend to get a little passionate when I get excited so I pitched the whole idea to Leanne in a manner that can probably be best described as late night infomercial. Leanne must have thought I was trying to sell her a ShamWow or Forman Grill. “So Leanne, I was thinking…Saltwater Hot tub….Weekend Getaway….4.5 stars….Saltwater Hot tub…”. I didn’t mention the sledding until I knew I had peaked her interest. Leanne didn’t commit right away, but whether it was her love for me, or her love for hot tubs, after a couple days of thinking about it she told me to go ahead and book the chalet for a weekend in February. When I was completing the booking, I noticed I could also book a guided tour with Paul Rose, the owner of the chalets. Without hesitation, I went ahead and booked that also. It turned out to be a very wise decision. At that time, I had never met Paul, but would get to meet him a short time later during the 2017 Sledworthy Writers’ Rip. Chatting with Paul during the Rip, I explained how Leanne was a Newbie and I was a little nervous about how the tour was going to go. Paul assured me that it would be a fantastic day for both of us and as I would find out later, he is a man of his word.

Although originally planned as weekend getaway for just the two of us, the subject came up one night when a friend of mine John Smith and I were enjoying a couple wobbly pops and John and his wife Janice happened to be both free the weekend we had booked, so last minute plan change, John and Janice would also be joining us. I quickly contacted Paul to see if there was room on the tour for extra riders. We were in luck because the other riders he had scheduled for the Saturday had changed their plans, and nobody else was booked only the four of us.

When we arrived at Riverfront, to say we were impressed would be an understatement. Everything was perfect and without a doubt above expectations. We quickly unpacked and settled in. We enjoyed a few adult beverages and played a few hands of cards before the four of us relaxed in the hot tub under a beautiful starry night with a light snow falling straight down. After a few more beverages we called it a night as we had planned on an early start in the morning.

We awoke the next morning to overcast skies and mild temperatures. A light dusting of snow covered the three sleds that were all prepped and ready to hit the trail. I was just clearing the breakfast dishes from the table and enjoying my second cup of java when I heard the familiar sound of an 800 etec warming up outside the chalet. I threw on a jacket and met Paul outside to say hello. Although I knew Paul was a passionate rider, I was blown away by the amount of excitement and enthusiasm I was greeted with. Although this would be a simple tour, with my wife being a beginner and John and his wife riding two-up, I got a real sense of “any day on a sled is a good day” from Paul.

After quickly introducing my wife and friends to Paul, we were nearly ready to rock. While our sleds were warming up, Paul took a few minutes to talk to Leanne, and it became evident to me that Paul’s passion for the sport was more than just riding. The way he began coaching and teaching her, it was clear that introducing new riders and growing the sport was also very personal for him. Also quite amazing, was that Leanne was really following his instructions. I swear if I were giving the same direction, there is no way in hell she would follow it. I think all of us men encounter a situation similar from time to time, getting frustrated trying to show or teach our significant other how to do something. Well I believe I just found the answer, get someone else to show them instead.

With Paul leading the way, Leanne following him, John and Janice behind her, I formed the rear of our little pack and we were off. This proved to be a whole new perspective for me. My entire riding effort for the past 4 years had been spent in the backcountry, pushing my limits, searching for more powder, improving my technical riding. I had not been on a ride like this for a very long time. From the back of the pack I got to watch all of the other sleds, and I got to take in all the scenery around me as we traveled. When technical riding, I had been so focused on what was coming up in front of me, I rarely took the time to look around. Touring is a completely different perspective. Backcountry riding will always be first and foremost for me, but touring was a welcome change of pace.

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The day progressed as it started, smiles and laughs on every stop. We stopped for a nice break, along with a pot of hot soup at Paul’s camp. Add master chef to Paul Rose’s repertoire, as it was beyond delicious. On another break, I got out of touring mode for a moment and followed Paul in the trees. Of course while trying to impress Leanne with my backcountry mad skillz, I did the unthinkable and “looked at the tree”. Leanne thought this was quite funny and did not hesitate to keep bringing up my “fail” as a topic of conversation throughout the day. Later in the day we were able to get up close and personal with a herd of caribou while crossing a large open bog. This was another highlight as the animals were very accepting of us and we got some great snaps. Paul’s tutelage continued the entire day, every break he had some advice and pointers for Leanne. Her comfort level grew as the day went on. Most importantly, she truly enjoyed herself. We capped the day off back at the chalet with BBQ ribs, a few beers, and a nice soak in the hot tub. The weekend was a complete success. We all had a great time, and most importantly for me, Leanne is looking forward to Winter 2018, and getting out on the snow with me more. Now that she has gotten over the initial hurtle, I probably will have to give up a scattered day with the boys in the backcountry to cruise the trails with her instead, but there are far worse sacrifices to make. Who knows in a few years she may tearing up the high terrain with the best of us, or she may stick to the trails. Either way I will be spending more valuable time with her and “Any day on a sled is a good day”.

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Sledworthy Magazine is Atlantic Canada's Snowmobile Magazine. Started in 2005 with the goal of creating a strong voice for the Atlantic Canadian Snowmobile scene and ensuring Atlantic Canada gets recognized throughout North America as a key player in the snowmobile industry.

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