Throw Back…”Ultimate Arrival” 2012
Going into any competition as the ‘underdog’ can do one of two things. First, you can embrace the odds and come with your best game or secondly, you accept it and just go with the flow. Justin House decided to keep it real and do his best. It’s that realism that makes Newfoundlanders a unique breed. Justin’s riding skills, passion and enthusiasm for all sides of the sport brought him the victory. This victory and the title of Ultimate Drop Winner became real when his 2011 Skidoo Summit FreeRide showed up at his local dealer –Central Service Station (St. George’s, NL).
DJ Callahan, owner of Central Service was present at the event when Justin was named the overall winner. “Justin was up against some tough competition. The line-up was stacked with tons of mountain riding talent.” Two competitors from Wyoming and another from BC. “However, the guy from the rock was making waves. My money was on Justin. When his name was announced, I nearly lost it – wanted to flip the table in excitement, glad that didn’t happen though. A Backcountry rider on an XRS – very cool indeed. Justin did an excellent job of marketing himself in a gentlemanly fashion. While at the competition, he attended his booth, which was by far the most loaded with articles, magazine covers, tons of pictures and proof of his volunteer initiatives. Why did Justin House win? Simple…he deserved to.”
We caught up with Justin eight months after the win and prior to the FreeRide arriving. Justin told us about his decision to sell his ’07 XRS. “I’m gonna miss the girl, the XRS and I had four winters of absolute fun. Her and I had a few spills, but most of the time together. If there’s a positive, she’s gone to a younger rider (Lewis Hillbillie) who I hope can take care of her and has as much fun as I did.” We asked Justin about his expectations of what the 33 extra inches of track will mean. Going from a 121” XRS to a 154” FreeRide. “From my experience riding the FreeRide in Montana, the largest difference I found was getting use to the turning radius. Also, it obviously takes a lot more jump to actually feel like you’re jumping. I’m sure it’s going to be a blast to drop with. All that floatation should cut down on the ‘bomb holedness’ like my XRS was guilty of.”
Justin took some time to explain to us how the trip to Montana to ride the FreeRide back in March 2010 really put things into perspective for him. This visit to another mountainous riding area made Justin appreciate what he has in his own backyard. Yes, Justin is from a mountainous riding area. The mountains mightn’t be as high, but the riding is limitless. In fact, at the competition in Florida, Justin was questioned on his pictures and videos as to whether or not the location was in BC. For the most part, everyone assumed Atlantic Canada, including western Newfoundland was flat – Thanks to Justin House, the Western Newfoundland snowmobile product got some much needed exposure. However, as Justin saw firsthand in Montana, fresh powder is hard to come by. Most of the main spots are tracked up. Well, that’s not the case in Western Newfoundland. And maybe we’ll keep this secret to ourselves for another couple of years. As Bob Island (formerly of Snow Goer Magazine) said,
“the Lewis Hills is the Rockies of the East, but better!”
We asked Justin if this win has changed him.
Not much has changed for me since I won the competition. I felt proud to represent provincial Sledders, and Eastern Canada for that matter. I was the underdog in the competition – that was a fact that I found out quickly when in Florida. The selection committee picked me to have a variety of competitors; I guess I was considered the flatlander of the group. Has the win changed me? I don’t ride sleds for a living, I ride them for fun and the social aspect. BRP are not paying me, I just won their contest and I get the FreeRide for a year. Not trying to sound unappreciative, but there are more important things in my life than status as “ultimate rider”. I live in the same place, I ride with the same guys, and I still don’t feel like I have to prove anything, that’s the way I like it. I have to say, BRP have been awesome to deal with, all around, and I feel like I’m talking to friends when I chat with them. I obviously wouldn’t have that relationship without this contest. I’ll never forget my experience, and who knows what’s to come with BRP this winter (I’m bugging them for another aggressive sled model), but at this point I’m looking forward to riding my “Free Ride” and seeing if I can get that thing airborne a few times ( I didn’t sign the “no jump” clause in the contract). But, as much as I’m waiting for snow myself, I’m just as excited to teach my kids how to ride the Mini Z that a young friend from St. John’s (NL) wanted them to try for the winter, thanks Hickey Jr.
The Sledworthy Crew is hoping to hook-up with Justin for a powder run in February. With confidence, I’m sure Justin will demo what that new Skidoo Summit FreeRide is capable of. Stay tuned to Sledworthy.com and the Sledworthy Facebook group for sneak peek pictures of that exciting trip.
Justin will certainly be blogging about his personal experience with the FreeRide at LewisHillBillies.com – this is a web forum dedicated to the local Lewis Hills and Western Newfoundland riding region.
Note: This piece was originally published in Sledworthy Magazine Vol 6 No 3 – 2012