When you think about it, every exceptional snowmobile experience has something that stands out above all and is the first memory that comes to your mind. In the extraordinary experience that was Snow Shoot 2013 in West Yellowstone Montana, that memorable moment for me was my first “real” mountain experience. I’m not talking about a memory of any ordinary steep hill with some fresh snow on it; I’m talking about an almost spiritual connection to one of the most fascinating places that I’ve ever seen. The experience featured bottomless amounts of snow that would easily flow over the windshields of the latest and greatest mountain snowmobiles ever produced. This high altitude action occurred in some of the most magnificent mountain settings on the face of the earth.
My mountain journey was preceded days earlier with a mandatory “Avalanche awareness” seminar. Massive amounts of recent snow caused high avalanche warnings and each Snow Shoot attendee was instructed in ways to minimize being the trigger for “something bad”. One instructor quote which stayed in my head, was “if it looks like it would be an awesome amount of fun to climb, that should be an indicated that it could be a bad situation, to be avoided”. We were assured that if we used a reasonable amount of good judgment, had an adequate sense of self preservation and stayed on slopes of less than 36 degrees, all should be fine. This seminar and these wise bits of information only increased the anticipation, excitement and butterflies for the coming adventure.
“We all listened”
Anyone who knows me, knows that I would like to consider myself an experienced, time and mileage tested, trail expert. I pride myself on always staying predictably on my side of the trail, making all the turns with as much precision as possible and avoiding situations which can result in me getting stuck. “Stuck sucks” is one of the rules. I would soon find that each of these lifelong trail riding goals would be in direct conflict to the mountain experience.
In the deep and steep, precise control and exact vehicle placement are not attainable goals and stuck is a “to be” accepted part of the game which requires a whole new set of problem solving skills.
“Soon to be stuck”
Mountain skills and instincts appear to be experience acquired and I am the first to admit that I was not very good. Fortunately, my extreme enjoyment was not connected to how graceful or non-graceful my moves were, it was the feeling that it gave me that was incredible. The exhilaration of successful turn and climb maneuvers on the most highly specialized sleds ever, intrigued and elevated my spirit beyond my imagination. The snow would fly, the engine would scream, my heart would pound, my muscles would pump, my breath would deepen and my face would smile. Now that I have been exposed to it, I definitely want to do it again.
“A picture is worth 1,000 words”
An equally pleasurable part of this adventure occurred once my success percentage began to plummet and my energy level at our 8,000’+ elevation was depleting. As I took a break, I was able to enjoy the unique combination of grace and power, by those with higher and highest levels of skill at making freestyle magic between the trees and on the open mountain. The effortless control and power moves were things of absolute beauty to my eyes. Sometimes you could not even see the machine that was being ridden, just the rider floating above it. It was awesome! The incredible mountains, scenery, snow, machines, images and memories are now a part of me.
“A thing of beauty”
“Twice as nice”
Beyond having the opportunity to ride the 2013 offerings, one of the main missions of the whole 2013 Snow Shoot event are the technical presentation, informational part of the experience. We must keep in mind that this is a media event put on by the manufacturers, ultimately for the manufacturers positive exposure benefit. The participants typically don’t speak about previous year product short comings, prototype to production disappointments, premature component failures due to cost saving attempts, over using customers for research and development or a lack of response to consumer desired updates. It is mostly all good news and you must listen closely with a cautious ear and read between the lines.
Based on my complete experience of Snow Shoot 2013, I believe that the sport and passion of snowmobiling are alive and well. After a far less than incredible winter, positive improvements and interesting innovations were easy to find.
For 2013 we have engine efficiency/performance improvements, bold new approaches to suspension and drive systems, handling refinements from geometry and ski design changes, ergonomic, convenience and styling enhancements and an interesting new model introduction. Model year 2013 should have something positive for most everyone. Visit Motoneiges.ca or Sledmagazine.com for our upcoming articles featuring impressions and highlights on snowmobiles from each of the 4 manufacturers.
During both formal and informal exchanges, I found it very interesting and exciting to read the following above and between the lines:
Polaris is without doubt on a dedicated mission to take trail model market share from those who enjoy it and to preserve their top position in the mountain segment from those who are making significant moves to take it. Polaris’ media presentation and marketing materials were not shy about making direct reference to the competitor they are targeting. I love competition.
With continued innovation and forward focus, BRP is definitely prepared to strongly defend their trail segment market position and has taken laser beam aim at increasing their share of the fastest growing mountain market. Let the competition begin.
These two industry giants seem ready to rumble and this type of spirited and focused competition can only benefit snowmobilers.
“Game “ON”, may the best snowmobiles win!”
Throughout the coming months, I invite you to read Motoneiges.ca/Sledmagazine.com articles on the personal Snow Shoot experiences of other team members, highlights from Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-doo and Yamaha for 2013, our test rider impressions/best picks and our complete buyers guide information. Snowmobiling is our passion and it is our great pleasure to offer accurate, experienced based information to snowmobilers from snowmobilers.
“The 2013 Snow Shoot team”