THURSDAY JANUARY 16th
First a quick trail update: Snow, Cold, Snow, Cold, Snow, Cold- seems like a pattern. If you were wondering how the little bit of ice affected the trails in the Arrowhead this past week the answer is it didn’t. All we can say is that the trails seem to get better every week- we keep getting little dustings of snow that help the washouts and bare spots get covered up and this week is no exception especially north of Duluth. If you are planning on riding up here this weekend you are going to find some fantastic trails.
My first experience with a snowmobile came when I was just two years old. My parents had moved from Long Island, New York to (as crazy as it seems) Duluth, Minnesota. It was 1970 and there was a new winter activity taking the northern United States by storm- snowmobiling. My parents bought a house at the end of dead end road and my dad decided that he needed a snowmobile. He went out and purchased a brand new Ski-Doo Olympique 335. What followed were years of trips on the snowmobile to exotic destinations like Shakey’s Pizza. Just as I was getting old enough to appreciate having a snowmobile my little sister came along and the snowmobiles quickly disappeared in favor of diapers and formula, but I was hooked. After years of saving my allowance and baby sitting money I purchased my first sled at age fourteen, ironically a 1972 Ski-Doo Olympique 335.
Most of us have a story like this when it comes to snowmobiling. Statistics show that 95% of all snowmobilers consider it to be a family activity. 75% of all snowmobilers have children living at home with them and nearly all of them put their kid on a sled. Snowmobiling is truly a family sport and is definitely something that is passed down from generation to generation. That is what has perpetuated the health of our sport and has created over 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails in the state of Minnesota. As a father and a snowmobiler I can tell you that riding with your kids can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. It helps you break through the electronic jungle that teenagers immerse themselves in these days and get them out into the woods where there isn’t interference from cell phones or i-pods. There’s nothing like taking a trip to your favorite place on the trail to get a good burger or stopping at a shelter overlooking a landscape that is worthy of multiple digital photos. Another big advantage that you have is that when you get to a destination you are generally surrounded by other snowmobilers. Kids love feeling like they are part of a special group of people that all have the same interests. It doesn’t matter if you are 14 or 64, when you pull up on a sled everybody talks to you, everybody asks where you are riding from and everybody asks how the trails are. If you break down on the side of the trail people always stop to ask if you need help and they help you get unstuck if you’ve buried your sled. These random people that stop to help you and talk to you have never met you before but they all share your passion and they are all part of an extended family of snowmobilers and to a kid that’s cool. Take a kid snowmobiling now and one day they will be telling a story about how thier first snowmobile ride was on their dad’s old Indy 500…