Father & Son – Best Winter Ever!
By Donnie O’Keefe
December 2016 I purchased two (2) – 2016 Polaris Pro RMK’s, my initial purchase plan did not start with that in mind, but that is where it went. Thanks in part to some left over stock and a great deal from our local Polaris Dealer (Western Motor Sports).
Why two you might ask…. well, one for myself and one for my 12-year-old son. A snowmobile was something I had promised him the year before, but things don’t always go as planned, a year later, even if it was a used ELAN I was having him a sled to ride. He returned from a Christmas vacation on the 2ndof January, 2017 and that friends, began the “Best Winter of My Life”.
The look on my sons face when I gave him the key can never be copied. He had no idea. Then, to walk outside and see this amazing sled…no words…no words.
Growing up I was always blessed to have something to ride, albeit my Dad’s 12 ELAN, I still rode sled as a young lad. Later in life, my passion never diminished to the extent that I eventually worked in the industry for several years. I have ridden just about every part of this island and thanks in part to my previous jobs as well as “Sledworthy” I have ridden quite a bit of Canada.
So, with very little sleep, the morning came, I’m not sure he actually slept but he was up bright and early. Not a single piece of “Brand Name” clothing was to be seen as that was not important… (Yes, there was a helmet), what was important was he had his own snowmobile….and one that he could only dream about prior to this morning. A Polaris PRO RMK 600 155” track, a mountain machine that he could climb like no other, learn, explore and spend time with Dad. The trip to the local gas station only got better as the one just across the road was out of gas this day, which meant we had to travel around Marble Mountain all the way into Corner Brook to get gas, this did not make him sad. Not sure who had the bigger smile, me or him. To be able to do this for my son made me quite proud. Something I had done just about all my life was now something I could share with him. Watch him learn, explore and grow into a better, safe rider. The terrain we have here in Newfoundland and the freedom to ride just about anywhere our skis will point, is world class and now, now we could do this together! Every time we stopped, he would just sit and stare off into space or at the sled…when asked what was wrong, he simply said “Dad, I can’t believe she’s mine”.
So, I watched my son grow. Grow a little older, wiser and a better smarter rider. The 1stfew trips I cannot count all the times I would look back and see him over on his side. Did he get frustrated? Yes? Did he quit, NO! At 1stwe simply stuck to the local trails, but I will admit the place he really learned to handle this “Mountain” sled was on the power line behind Marble. Here, he could learn how to transfer his weight, the power and the control needed to keep this sled “Track side down”.
We are lucky, we live at the base of a Ski Hill with the “Groomed Trail” right next to it. This gives us access to a beautiful backcountry and the freedom to ride not long after the first snow fall. That winter we did venture beyond our back yard. We eventually made it to the infamous “Lewis Hills” where he got the opportunity to show me and some of our friends his newly developed skills. I would be riding down low and turn around looking for him, only to look up as this is where he now was, side hilling as we call it. Carving the snow with what I am sure is a smile so big it would light up any dark night. My friends and family would often comment, “How can you let him do this and that”? My reply, he will do it with or without me, this way I can teach him hopefully the right way of doing things, and if he were to get hurt, there is no better place to be than by his side to help him out of the situation. Thankfully, three plus seasons in, we have not had any unfortunate events.
There was a lot of gas burned that winter, oil too. Many a ride and every single one it was he and I. Those times go by quickly and I have no regrets only smiles and memories. Lucky for him and I, I’m a picture nut and thankfully I have a lot of those to reflect on.
We did a fair amount of riding, most of its backcountry and it was a season I will never forget. We forged a bond never to be broken, Father and Son. Today, I believe he is a more capable rider than I, dare I say that? I love my son, and I love this sport. Put the two together and you have one amazing unforgettable combination. We are heading into a new season….he since has taken up riding with friends (Although he always asks Dad 1st, or even if Dad wants to go), but we still have that bond, not just the “Father and Son”……..but the riding…..the snowmobile bond…you …we….those that ride…we all have that….that….bond.
“Many Hands Make Light Work”
& Son: Colby O’Keefe