My 2018 Snow Shoot experience


by : Mathieu Lavoie
Read all articles from Mathieu Lavoie
Publish on : 2017-04-26
 

Wow! This is already my 3rd Snow Shoot held again this year in West Yellowstone, Montana. After 3 935 kilometers by car and plane, I am back in this quite particular town to attend this event specifically meant for medias of the snowmobile world. This year, I chose to present my report in the form of a diary.

 

Tuesday, February 28th 

After a short night’s sleep in Bozeman where our 3rd plane of the day has landed, it is time to hit the road for West Yellowstone. A two-hour drive is nothing after a full day spent in planes and airports!

Like every year, there is not much snow in Bozeman. Even if many said that snow was abundant in West Yellowstone, we still wonder if snow conditions will be adequate during the coming week. So, we leave in a wonderful scenery.

Breathtaking landscapes in Montana

Wednesday, March 1st 

The first official day of the Snow Shoot offers the technical presentations prepared by the four manufacturers and it is always a very interesting day. Even if we have carefully read the media kits, there are always some aspects that we missed. Also, it is the proper time to ask our more technical questions to the different representatives of each company. And it is quite special when manufacturers ask us to check out some specific points of a snowmobile.

Along with the different technical presentations, we attend the famous avalanche awareness meeting. It presents the risks of adventuring in mountains. Even if we do not ride in risky areas, it is still appropriate to be advised by experts in case we face an avalanche!

The avalanche awareness meeting

To end this beautiful day – and by the way, to officially start the Snow Shoot – the manufacturers invite us to the traditional supper at The Buffalo Bar Lounge & Casino where we are treated like kings and where food is great! It is always great to meet and chat with the representatives from all companies outside the snowmobile environment. Furthermore, games had been organized for an even more pleasant evening!

 

Thursday, March 2nd

This morning, I smell bacon even before opening my eyes! Once again this year, Julien takes good care of his boys by cooking a full breakfast to start the day with energy. And we are going to need this energy as today is the first day of tests. The real job begins!

Today, we are going to ride trail snowmobiles all day long. So, I will try to save some energy for tomorrow afternoon, my favorite half-day : mountain snowmobiles!! I still have a lot of fun testing 13 trail snowmobiles today.

Action shot during one of our numerous photo sessions 

What a great surprise when I saw that nobody else but Dan Adams would ride with us in the morning! All week long, different representatives of the manufacturers like pro-riders, engineers or marketing officers, ride with us to get feedback right on trail. It is always great to chat with them about their job!

 

Friday, March 3rd 

Very big day today, with utility and mountain snowmobiles! It is going to be a long morning, not due to the utility machines, but rather due to the machines of the afternoon. Effectively, on the second part of the day, we will ride mountain snowmobiles!

As I very rarely pilot utility snowmobiles, I really have fun during my half-day of utility models. We put to the test machines that are rather made for cottage purposes. So, we ride among trees to check out the snowmobile handling in deeper snow.

Having fun with utility snowmobiles!

Finally! After dreaming about this for weeks, time has now come : we are going to test the 2018 mountain snowmobiles! Our friends Jim and Paul, who presented the avalanche awareness meeting, lead us in a great spot with snow hole and places for sidehill adventure. Ready, go!

 

Tons of fun!!

One after the other, we all go for it, switching snowmobiles from time to time to pilot each mountain snowmobile. Mostly Vincent and myself put the machines to the test, but it is exhilarating to see Clément passing by me, skis pointing to the sky!! That’s Snow Shoot too, the chance to pilot types of snowmobiles we are not used to.

 

Myself in action

Saturday, March 4th

Another big day ahead of us, but we save energy for the afternoon : snowmobiles made for bumps and also the famous SnoScoot and ZR 200!!

During the part with snowmobiles designed for bumpy sections, Clément and I rode in parallel with the boys in order to take photos from the side of the snowmobiles working in bumps. Mission accomplished, the shots are fantastic!!

Bumps

Then, the moment of truth arrived. We felt like being kids again as we left with the small 200cc, at full throttle, towards the race track specially set for testing small snowmobiles. You would not believe the fun our 4 pilots had during the race. It was like the final of the SCMX snocross championship, only more slowly!!

 

Big pilots on small snowmobiles

Sunday, March 5th

The fourth day is always physically very demanding. We have piloted dozens of snowmobiles, we have sweated all week long, we have filmed hours of videos in daytime and at night. Also, as we must return to Bozeman almost right after our last tests, a kind of stress is added. 

Furthermore, a snowstorm is expected on early evening, right when we will be leaving. And effectively, large snow flakes fell all afternoon long during our tests. Fortunately, we have been able to leave without problem to come back home.

Do you want snow? Here it is!

Once arrived in Bozeman for a short night’s sleep, it is time to get ourselves a treat with a famous Montana steak and one or two beers!

 

Now, that’s a steak! 

Obviously, this third Snow Shoot has been my favorite by far for the fun, the snowmobiling and the work as well. Our team was very united this year with the same goal : to bring back as many photos, videos, articles as possible all while having the greatest fun possible. Boys, thanks to each one of you, we can say : “Mission accomplished!!”

Once again, thanks to SledMagazine.com for making us live such an experience, and also to the four manufacturers who take so good care of us all week long! 




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