2012 Archives: Burandt Basics
5 Steps to Improving Your Downhill Controlled Descent
By Chris Burandt (originally published in the Jan 2012 Edition of Sledworthy Magazine)
There are not many things better than climbing a steep hill on a snowmobile. Defying gravity with HP is a favorite past time of mine. However, as the saying goes, “Whatever goes up…must come down.” In some cases coming down isn’t that big of a deal. Use a little bit of brake, pick your line, and look ahead and safely down to the bottom you go. Now that’s all fine and dandy on the small hills but what if you find yourself not wanting to go all the way down to the bottom either because you’re afraid of going too fast and losing control or maybe because there are some obstacles you need to avoid. This is where a downhill controlled descent is a huge skill to have in your bag of tricks. Here are a few tips to help with taking control of your sled on steep inclines:
#1: First and foremost you must commit to the maneuver. To do this, start at the top of the hill in a countersteer position with your “wrong foot forward” on the running board and hand on the brake.
#2: Blip the gas with your handlebars turned in the countersteer position and pull the sled towards you. This will help to pull the machine on its side in order to use the spindle (ski spindle) to slow you down rather than just locked up the track. Note: You must do all 3 of these motions described in this step at once in order to get the sled on its side.
#3: It’s also very important to have a finger on the brake to help you slow down after giving the throttle that initial blip that helped to get your sled on its side.
#4: Now that you have your snowmobile on its side and in a countersteer position you will now be able to manipulate the throttle, brake and handlebars to effectively change your direction while coming down a hill rather than just pointing your skis towards the bottom and just hoping for the best.
#5: Make sure that you practice this on a mellow slope with no obstacles below you. Try testing with different foot positions on the running boards, the effects of over steer and understeer while on your side, and as always look where you want to go.
This may be a more advanced maneauver but with a little patience and sled control you will be doing circles around your buddy on any hill.
Let it snow!
(this was the original spread from Jan 2012)
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