Snowmobiling is not just what I do, it is a sport that defines me. Right at the beginning, I knew it would be a passion. Year after year, my knowledge and expertise allowed me to have an exceptional professional life. Making a living out of my passion, wow! And I get invited to the largest snowmobile event in the world. What an incredible opportunity! For the second consecutive year, I am heading for West Yellowstone to see and try all the new models offered by the 4 snowmobile manufacturers. Over 80 models in 5 days, this is quite a job. Hey, nobody is complaining here.
Again this year, my journey started with a few sleepless nights before the departure date because I was too excited. Then, I packed very carefully to make sure I would bring everything I needed. Now that this great adventure had begun, I was feeling like a youngster on his last day at school ! At last, all the team members were heading together for the airport, smiling and daydreaming about the mountains. It is only when I was sitting in the airplane that I realized how magic this week would be. I talked with my companions about the models I was so impatient to discover. We also made plans for the week: where are we going to stay, who will be cooking, who will do the dishes, etc… Knowing my culinary skills, many people were looking forward to taste my gargantuan breakfasts! We also bet on some issues: Will our bags be in Bozeman when we arrive? Who will be the first champ to get stuck? This should be a great year for our friend Marc Thibeault !!!
It took a few hours from Bozeman airport to West Yellowstone and once again, we laughed at non-stop jokes all the way. As it was our second time here, we took the opportunity to have a delicious buffalo burger in a traditional Montana grill & bar. I must say that it was the best hamburger I ever ate; of course, I was overfull and I had to drag myself to the car. Then we left for our wonderful destination in the Rockies.
Finally, after a long day on the road, we arrived to our condo, our home for the week. We were tired but so happy, just like kids on Christmas day ! The only thing that was missing was … our luggage. Due to our numerous stops, the airline had lost it. A winning bet for Marc! A snowmobile trip without our snowmobiler equipment. Fortunately, after one phone call, our team manager announced that our bags would be delivered on our doorstep the next morning. We were relieved of course, especially as on the first day of the Snow Shoot, each manufacturer offers his technical presentation that describes the new products. However our photographer, Steve, has been very busy taking static pictures of the features and novelties of each model that would be tested on the coming days. We came back to the condo where our bags had been delivered as promised and believe me, we were all very relieved and so excited about our first trials on trail.
After one of my so appreciated breakfast, we were ready for our first tests and first photo session in action. Riding more than 80 models in 4 days, with static and action pictures, we had plenty to do. But nothing to scare the enthusiast members of SledMagazine.com team. In the afternoon, as we were coming out of a curve, we had quite a surprise. There was a buffalo right on trail and as lucky as usual, I was the first snowmobiler up front. So I really experienced a very close encounter! The picture is worth a thousand words.
The second day has been the best or the most exciting for me. We were riding mountain snowmobiles with very experienced guides who brought us to absolutely heavenly playgrounds. And we were riding with the Motoneige Québec team members. The more the merrier (right, Bob?) Many thanks to their photographer Michel Brault who took outstanding action pictures.
On our third day, I mostly liked our ride on utility models. I must admit that before, I was not really attracted by this category. But my good friend Marc Thibault made me discover a very exciting aspect of these machines with endless reverse challenges. I also liked to test my pilot skills in very deep snow on beasts that are larger and heavier than regular machines. So, I had a lot of fun and a lot of sweat!
The last day always makes us nostalgic; we have to face the fact that the Snow Shoot is already over. Mother Nature and the Montana mountains said goodbye to us with a wonderful snowfall all morning long. We even had to hurry up towards the airport as roads could be closed later on. Once in Bozeman, we enjoyed a delicious last meal at a great steak house and together we reviewed our 5 days of adventure.
We all came to the same conclusion: we will remember this great adventure forever.