By Jonathan Anstey
Ladies and gentleman, start your engines! The season of white gold and snowmobiles is upon us, and I couldn’t be more ready. I have said it before, and I will say it again, “I LOVE WINTER!” All summer, and especially during the fall, the snowmobile plans start to form. Your dreams and thoughts come together like snowflakes falling upon the ground. These plans usually include your friends and riding buddies. Some, you may speak to on a daily basis, and others arise when it is time to ride, but they all have one thing in common, sledding.
I am not particular on who I ride with, or when, as long as I am riding, but there are a select few of any “crew” that add a little extra excitement and that’s who we choose to share the stoke with. These people make the sport of snowmobiling what it is and turn it into something special, different and memorable. There is a bonding factor that goes along with it and when we share these moments with our riding buddies, these days are not soon forgotten. If you think back to your most enjoyable days tearing up the backcountry or trails, chances are your riding buddies were right there with you, hooting and hollering. When you have a compatible crew, you all share similar goals, timelines, and stoke for the day ahead. More often than not in the snowmobiling industry, most riders are just as happy to be out there burning the octane as you are, but it seems to me that when the crew is right, the day is right.
I have one riding partner in particular that I do 90% of my riding with and I even share some of my safety equipment with him because when I am riding, he is usually within arms length, shredding right beside me. It is almost like I can read his mind, and he can read mine. I know what he is thinking when he looks at a certain side-hill, or what maneuver he is going to do with as little as a head nod. It seems like we rarely have any close encounters, and I trust him one hundred percent of the time. We get ourselves into some gnarly situations from time to time, but together, we always manage to figure a way out of the mess we have created. I believe that this makes us more prepared for the next pickle we’re in, and believe me, there will be more!
Snowmobiling can be a very dangerous sport, and if some caution and common sense are not used, you can find yourself in trouble to say the least. This all reverberates back to choosing a crew that complements each other, and if something does not sit well with one member, they don’t mind speaking up. This may in fact bring everyone home safely, ready to ride again another day. Having a good crew has many other positive factors as well. Everyone knows different people, and through that social network of friends, you get the opportunity to meet new people. This opens up a whole new network of people who love to ride, and may expand your crew. These days, it’s hard for everyone to be on the same schedule, but even if one person can’t ride, they may know someone else that wants to. As long as you want to have a great time out there and enjoy your day in the woods, you shouldn’t have a problem finding someone else who’ll want to go ride.
Choosing a crew happens naturally and almost without you even knowing it. Some people just jive, and others, well…. not so much. Through this natural progression, people will come and people will go, but one thing is certain. When the pow is deep and your thumb is itching, your crew will be calling and the stoke will be high. All hands on deck will be screaming inside their helmets as you tear the backcountry with your “crew”.
Note: This feature was originally printed in the Nov 2013 edition of Sledworthy Magazine.