Before we get started you are probably all wondering what the trail conditions are up in Northeast Minnesota – let’s just say AWESOME! The base is great and the trails are groomed and are absolutely gorgeous. The snow hanging on all of the pines make it a picture that you will want to freeze in your memory forever. Expect a lot of traffic though as it seems everyone in the state that has been praying for snow for two years is out on the trails and they are getting worked over pretty well. Luckily we are getting some more bursts of snow to help prevent wash outs in the corners. If you venture off trail be advised that the snow is very deep and there is no solid base underneath which can result in your track spinning all the way to the ground and getting easily stuck quite often. Hopefully you or one of your buddies is riding a crossover or mountain sled to help break trail. Also there has been some slush reported on many lakes and there is some pretty thin ice out there so be careful.
This weekend some of the snowmobiletrail.com staff members went out on their first real extended ride, meaning this is the first time this season that any of us had put on some significant miles. Every year in the off season I promise myself that I’m going to get in shape before winter comes and every year it seems that sometime during or after that first ride I’m saying, “Man, I have to get in shape before the season starts next year.”
Ask any snocross guy and they will tell you staying in shape is a way of life for them- and if you want to truly enjoy your season it should be a way of life for you too.
If you’ve never been on a snowmobile before it looks pretty easy, you jump on a sled press the throttle and away you go, the only thing that could get tired is your thumb. After a while you quickly realize there is a lot of movement, weight shifting and over all jarring of the body. Depending on the condition of the trail, there can be quite a few washboard bumps and some huge moguls that can loosen up your bones as well. If you are an off trail rider then you have a whole other element to deal with- getting stuck. Bury a big four stroke or 800 and you are quickly exposed to the most physical aspect of snowmobiling. Unfortunately every year the Minnesota DNR registers a few heart attacks on their snowmobile accident report.
With this first big snowfall we had it all – lots of buried sleds as we were breaking trail through the fields and ditches got our heart rates going and then we added a good long day on the trails. The next morning every muscle in my body hurt- so much for getting in shape before the season started.
Since most of you are in the same boat as I am, I suggest a few simple things to help reduce the likelihood of injury. If you are going out breaking trail the more the merrier. You don’t want to bury your sled and be all alone – that always sucks. If you do get stuck, pace yourself- there’s no need to kill yourself digging out (literally). Take breaks and have some water with you- the cold dry air can dehydrate you very quickly and it doesn’t hurt to keep a couple of aspirin handy just in case. Regardless of age, the better shape you are in the more fun you will have. Build up your cardio and strength and endurance- they all play a part in a good day of riding. And lastly watch out for changing terrain- especially after a big snow. You can have a very familiar trail become unexpectedly treacherous with some huge snowdrifts and unexpected wrist breaking drop offs. My rule of thumb is: If you don’t know- go slow! This bit of advice can keep your sled and body in one piece.
Until the next blog ride safe and have fun. See you on the trails!