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Building on a Passion

Building on a Passion

Sledworthy readers are typically passionate snowmobilers. Think back to your first ride on a snowmobile and how you started. Whether you were a 5 year old on a kitty cat, a 14 year old on an Enticer, or a 22 year old on an MXZ, you can picture that moment in your mind. Life can change in an instant and sometimes it makes us realize how precious our time really is. For those of you that have children, you know how fast things change, how busy life becomes and how important it is to find time to do what you love and to experience life with your kids. Getting your children involved in snowmobiling is one of the greatest things you can do to build on your passion and strengthen your relationship.

Taking kids snowmobiling requires some work. They will not get themselves ready, load their gear or prepare for the day ahead… that’s all on you. The younger they are, the more work you need to do to ensure a trouble free day. Remembering items like small toys, snacks, drinks and extra clothing such as socks, gloves and pants will make things go a lot smoother if someone gets hungry, cranky or wet. After all the extra work is done and you are finally on the trails or in the country with your kid(s), it is hard to compare the feeling to any other. Snowmobiling allows us to explore parts of the landscape that would otherwise be very difficult to access. It evokes feelings of freedom, excitement, and independence that are amplified in children. Teach your kids that it’s ok to get stuck, and how to work smart and get out of the situation. Teach them to stay calm if a problem arises and how to fix a machine, navigate the country and find their way back. Teach them how to make a fire, cook food and dry off. When your child experiences these things for the first time, you will also be experiencing them in that element for the first time, and that is your reward. They will look back on those moments as you look back at yours.

Of course… there are some economics to consider when involving your child in your addiction – no… I meant hobby! You may simply choose to let them ride with you, or perhaps you wish to teach them to ride as well. It is important to pick the right machine for them to learn on and one advantage is that their machine won’t depreciate as quickly as yours. The 120cc models from the big manufacturers are all virtually the same machine and are very dependable, low maintenance machines that hold their value when taken care of. A brand new machine will cost you around $3,800 on the snow in Newfoundland. That same machine will still be worth around $3,000 a year later and will still fetch $2,000 when it’s 10 years old. If you choose to make this investment, it does offer an attractive end-value as far as snowmobiles are concerned. These sleds allow your child an easy entry point into your world and the speed control, tether arrangement and light weight will make it very safe for younger kids. It is typical to see an improvement with every ride your child takes and with your help they will learn to respect motor-vehicles and always choose to wear the correct protective equipment.

Please make a big deal of helmets and always fasten the chin straps, this will ensure it becomes their habit later in life. Teach them to respect nature and always be sure of their surroundings before venturing off trail or onto a pond. Teach them sled-etiquette and for all of our sakes, please teach them that we should NEVER litter or leave any trash in the country… if you carried it in, you can carry it out!

As your child advances through the years, they will need to upgrade to bigger snowmobiles and this will be a very fun experience. Everyone loves getting a new machine and the process of picking one out will be a great experience for you both. When they are ready, they can be taught how to take a jump, how to fall off, how to side hill, powder turns, load and unload, etc. It may seem odd to show your child how to get their snowmobile off the ground but let‘s face it, they will try it at some point anyway and it is better if you have taught them the proper regard for safety while stepping up their game.

You can take it as far as you want, and your child will likely grow up and take it further, but the most important thing is the journey. Snowmobiling is one of the most enjoyable things in this world, so be sure to teach it and share it with the most important people in your world. Our kids are the only thing we really leave behind in this world so be sure to give them as many memories as you can.

Life is short… and winter is shorter, get outside and ride.

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Steve Furlong, from Plate Cove West, Bonavista Bay, residing in Bloomfield with my wife and 2 awesome boys. Snowmobiling is a passion of mine and back country riding is my favourite. A mountain sled is a must to access the beauty of NL's back country, but I also enjoy a simple ride through the trails for a boil up with the family. I enjoy writing articles about our crazy trips that came up unexpectedly or had some unique quality about them. It is always nice when a trip comes together and the weather works out for you. I also enjoy writing articles around sled and equipment purchases and trip planning, which are two things I do a lot of and take seriously. Always looking to find my limits and improve upon them, snowmobiling offers an endless challenge. Life is short and winter is shorter! Get outside and ride!

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  • Love seeing the young ones being introduced to the sport correctly….good work here Furlong!

    September 23, 2016
  • I was 18 months when I had my first ride on dad’s brand new 1980 Arctic Cat Jag. My kids were roughly the same age and they continue to ride today. I’m hoping to enstill in them a respect for nature and lifelong love of snowmobiling so that I have future riding partners! Lol

    September 25, 2016

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