Lady Ripper: Jessica Humby
SW: Who introduced you to Snowmobiling?
JH: Like many Newfoundlanders, I grew up riding snowmobiles with my family. My father had a bravo for hauling wood and a Polaris Touring machine for trail riding. I have had several influences when it comes to being introduced to snowmobiling. My sister (Lori-lynn Humby) and I would often ride with our cousins who were more skilled than we were, so they were able to teach us a lot.
Once I purchased my first trail/mountain machine the real learning began. I am confident to say that Tom Caines of Sledcore helped me learn most of the basics that I needed to become a more confident and skilled rider. When I was exposed to backcountry riding, I attended Sledcore clinics because I knew I needed to learn as much as I could. Those instructors helped introduce me to the backcountry. My boyfriend, Tyrone Owens, has also put in many hours, helping me work on my confidence and teaching me the safest way to try some of the crazy things I wanted to learn. Having a mentor who is both skilled and patient is the key. I was blessed to have those things.
SW: Why did you become attracted to backcountry riding?
JH: After I went to the West Coast riding for the first time I was hooked. I was so fascinated with the deep powder and the trill of the big hills. Everything I knew about riding a snowmobile would be quickly put to the test. I knew nothing about riding in deep snow. I picked up several skills quickly because I would always be riding in the company of people who were more skilled than I was. I was always drawn to the challenge of becoming a better rider. Whatever the boys could do, I had to do too.
SW: How do you think more ladies could be introduced to backcountry riding?
JH: I attended several Sledcore Ride Clinics in the past but the Ladies Ride Clinic I attended last year was very special for me. It was amazing to be able to ride with other woman who were just as interested as I was in learning how to become a better rider. Attending a Ladies Ride Clinic would DEFINETELY be a huge step in the right direction for any woman who wants to learn. The instructors are so talented themselves that they are able to cater to riders of all abilities. They can teach you the basics all the way up to improving on some of the more advanced skills you may already know. We laughed, chatted, shared stories and cheered each other on. The energy was amazing. The atmosphere is very relaxed and there really was no pressure at all. Some ladies chose to observe a bit more and work themselves in slowly while other ladies never left the side of a hill. It was really up to you how involved in the clinic you wanted to be. The instructors supported you either way. Safety in the backcountry is very important. A ladies ride clinic is a safe way for you try new things and enjoy your day to the fullest.
SW: You attended a Sledcore Ride Clinic, tell us about that experience?
JH: I can’t talk enough about these ride clinics. Once you register for the clinic you start receiving emails explaining how the whole day will play out. That’s where the excitement starts. The feeling you have in the pit of your stomach while pulling up to the meeting location and unloading your sled is unbelievable. There will be people and sleds everywhere and you can feel the energy in the air. The instructors don’t waste anytime meeting you and making you feel comfortable. They take genuine interest in what you are hoping to accomplish in your time riding with them. They do verbal explanations of how to do certain things as well as riding demonstrations. It is always the most amazing thing to watch. How easy they can manoeuvre those machines as if they were a part of them. I enjoyed every part of it. After riding for a few hours, they find the perfect spot to settle in for a lunch where we can have a little fire to warm ourselves and maybe our lunches. After lunch you get a chance to practice some of the new skills you learned throughout the morning. By the time you start riding after lunch there is a good chance that you have already ridden deep enough into the backcountry that you have hit some really good snow. You’ll be happy to have lots of snow around you because you will fall off a bunch of times. I am convinced that I spent more time in the snow than on my machine. It’s all a part of learning. If you come with a great attitude and an open mind, you WILL leave a better rider than you were when you arrived. The saddest part of the day is by far the final ride out. You know your day is over. Before I left my last clinic, I knew I would be attending another one the following year. I made friends on those clinics that I still keep in contact with today. We shared photos and stories for weeks after the clinic. Sledcore has their own photographer with them on the clinics. He (Tom Caines) somehow manages to get amazing shots of everyone and it is so cool to have those images to show your friends and loved ones. I would highly recommend any of the Sledcore clinics. The scenery you get to see, the friends you make, the crazy amount of fun you have all go together to make memories you will never forget!
SW: What are some of your 2019 Riding Goals?
JH: Confidence is a big thing for me so that will always be something I will strive to improve on. I enjoy learning each skill very well before I attempt to move on. I am hoping to have better throttle and brake control while side-hilling and practice downhill turns. All of the instructors have heard me say over and over that I wanted to learn how to do a re-entry. Ever since I saw my first one I have been trying to work up the nerve to try. I will never forget how easy the instructors made it look. Maybe this will be my year!!!!!!!!
SW: Where do you presently live and what are you presently working at?
JH: I currently live in Benton, NL (Central) where the “hills” are flat and the snow is very minimal. I am a Peer Support Worker with Broadening Horizons in Gander, NL.