Riding Clinics – The Right Direction
Trust is critical. Knowing your own abilities is one thing, but putting your safety in the hands of someone else, that involves trust. Rule number one about technical riding…you never do it alone. Rule number two, you have to trust the person(s) you’re riding with.
Last winter, Evan Morgan, Jonathan Anstey and I (Andrew Goldsworthy) set out on a journey called Sledcore. We had a plan in place, vision, drive and motivation. We wanted to position Sledcore as the first Atlantic Canadian based riding clinic operation to offer hands-on instructional clinics. Not the “follow-me” kind of clinic but teach folks real technical riding skills. We saw it as an opportune time and the right direction to head in.
For me, this was part of a bigger vision. Having started Sledworthy Magazine ten years prior, I’ve had the opportunity to snowmobile in some awesome spots and with some incredible riders. This was where I wanted to be. Instruction for me came natural. I currently teach in the Business Faculty at the College of the North Atlantic and I do Aerial Work Platform training on large construction sites. However, for my two counterparts, this would be their first time instructing but the guys make up for that with riding talent. Ride Clinic participants are there to become better technical riders. We quickly saw the benefit of having three instructors. This allowed us to split groups for more focused attention based upon the needs of all.
Back in the fall of 2013, we put word out there that Sledcore would be offering a series of Ride Clinics here in the province. With focused attention on the marketing of the Ride Clinics, we stress key areas of attention like finding the balance point on your sled, side-hilling with control, completing downhill u-turns and doing controlled descents. The messaging hit with folks immediately and we filled up the first scheduled Ride Clinic before the end of the year. As a result, we scheduled two other events for the 2014 season. Along with another two-day Ride Clinic, hosted at Snowy Cabin Adventures, we hosted a Couples Ride Clinic from Riverfront Chalets in central Newfoundland. All events went over with success and we learned a ton about event hosting. The Riding portion of each Clinic was the easy part. Ensuring all hands were having a good time, that’s absolutely critical. Lodge selection is so important. For example, on the two-day Clinic, not only are you riding for two days, but you’re spending the nights with the same crew. So food and accommodations are so important.
Earlier this summer, we had a chance to chat with Cory Bailey. Cory attended not only one Ride Clinic with his buddies, but his wife Paula joined him on the Couples Clinic. Here’s what Cory had to say about his experience….
When a buddy asked if I would be interested in taking part in a ride clinic put off by sledcore, I asked myself…Would it really be worth the money? Would it make me a better rider? What skills would I learn? What will the instructors be like? Will the other participants be much more advanced than me? Knowing I would be making a few trip to the west coast to ride regardless, I decided to bite the bullet and try out a Sledcore Ride Clinic.
The day came, my buddies and I headed for the parking lot. Upon arrival, we were greeted by three of the Sledcore guys, all of which were quick to approach and introduce themselves.
After a quick meet and greet, it didn’t take us long to get ready for departure. With the adrenaline pumping, we left for the lodge. We quickly unloaded the unneeded gear and headed out for what ended up being one of my best evening rides of my life.
As we left the lodge, some of my questions were soon to be answered. It was obvious very quick that the instructors were very knowledgeable and experienced riders and very willing to teach. I was very impressed with how down to earth all three of the guys were, not in any way did I once feel belittled or not good enough for the group. All the participants were at different riding skills and levels but the Sledcore guys were quick to pick up on this and divided us up, working with each and every one of us one on one as they saw necessary.
Upon arrival back at the lodge, we were greeted with yet another warm welcome from the lodge owners (Edgar & Gaye Randell – Snowy Cabin Adventures) . As we opened the door, the smell of a home cooked meal made my jaw drop. Before long, supper was served. And let me tell you this; if you got up from the table hungry, there was nobody to blame but yourself. The food was fantastic to say the least; one might even say it was as good as mom’s. After a few stories, it was bedtime.
The next morning we were quick to wake, only to the smell of fresh bacon. Yes another cooked meal. We were told not to worry about food. We had no worries about food. We took our freshly packed lunch and hit the hills.
Still wondering what new skills I would learn, I was quick to have that question answered. I thought I knew how to sidehill… Well I knew what it was. It was a pleasure to watch these guys navigate their machines.
After a few lessons and some simple pointers from the instructors, sidehilling became much easier. Next it was controlled decent, something I was unable to do before this Ride Clinic. Next they were quick to teach me another technical maneuver called the downhill U-turn. Another move I was unable to complete before.
After spending most of the day teaching us these maneuvers, it was time to use some of our new skills in the trees. With personal confidence at an all time high, it was a great way to put all we had learned to the test.
The next day was as good or better then the first. The three instructors were always close by, watching and giving helpful hits and showing us the tricks of the trade.
The big question that I originally had, was the Ride Clinic worth the money? Well, it was so worth the money. So much so, that the next month my wife (Paula) and I took part in the Sledcore Couples Clinic.
Back when we received this note from Cory, it made the three of us so proud. This was real feedback. We all agreed that seeing participants progress was super exciting for us. Last season, we witnessed some good riders become sound technical riders. The kind of riding skills you want your riding friends to have. That’s where riding trust starts.
For this season, two Sledcore Riding Clinics are schedule. An Advanced Tree Riding Clinic for the Feb 27th weekend in this amazing Tree Zone that we found in Central Newfoundland. Tune into the January 2015 edition of Sledworthy Magazine because Jonathan Anstey will share that experience with you. That one will be hosted from Riverfront Chalets again. Sledcore has the entire place booked to ensure participants have a place to stay.
The other Ride Clinic will be a two-day Couples Clinic hosted from Stump Lodge on the West Coast of Newfoundland for the March 27th weekend. The ride zone for that clinic will be the incredible Lewis Hills region.
For those of you wanting to do this kind of Ride Clinic, but you don’t have a Mountain Sled, we have a partnership with Rob Clarke Motorsports. Rob and his team can hook you up with a rental from his fleet of Skidoo Summits. This works well for folks wanting to travel into Newfoundland (fly). Rob will deliver the sleds to the location. You’ll get to experience the “Rockies of the East” and learn some technical riding skills too.
For more information, drop over to Sledcore.com or email [email protected] or call 709-690-2609.