Me? I’ll pretty much go snowmobiling any day that I can get free of office and family life commitments. But I’ve heard something strange from friends and acquaintances:
“I don’t ride on Sundays. The trails are too rough in the afternoon.”
Such utterances usually come from those who are retired or otherwise are able to focus exclusively on weekday rides. The theory, of course, is that the weekend warriors go out en masse and pound the life out of the trails all day Saturday and early Sunday, and by Sunday afternoon the sport that we normally consider fun ends up being a back-breaking nightmare.
Yesterday was not one of those days in central Minnesota. Tucked behind the mid-height windshield of our 2014 Polaris 600 Indy SP demo unit, I spent my Sunday grinning and enjoying life while most locals were either getting ready for the holidays or inside watching the home-state professional football team get smoked for the 10th time this season.
The trails between Mora and Malmo were generally in very good shape, traffic was low and me and my friend Steve burned on a quick 110 miles on the sleds sandwiched between 152 clicks on the tow vehicle. With more snow and cold air on the way and no thaw anywhere in the extended forecast, it’s shaping up to be a great season (I write, then pause to knock on wood).
The sporty 600 Indy SP continued its two-year track record of exceeding expectations. It’s most charming feature continues to be the quick-reacting 600 Cleanfire engine. Dicing through the woods or charging through the swamps, the power hit was always invigorating. Running down a ditchline or attacking a rise in a field, the power allowed for exhilarating little jumps – give the throttle a poke, and the skis pick up and the sled feels momentarily weightless.
You may have noted I said the trails were “generally” in very good shape. Yeah, despite the lead of this story, the trails did get a little rough by sunset – nothing unmanageable, but more scattered than in the morning. Flat light conditions made some of those bumps a surprise. The Indy’s conventional rear suspension did a very good job. The only thing that was sore this morning was my lower back, and I think I tweaked that during the moving-the-sleds-around-on-the-trailer process.
The Indy wasn’t foolproof on this break-in ride, however. We’ll spend some time this winter trying to adjust out the amount inside ski lift it was exhibiting yesterday. Needing big leans and accepting some lift for some reason seems more acceptable on a Rush model, which encourages more driver input, than it does on the Indy, which in theory should be more about stability and enjoying the ride. Particularly when carrying speed on a serpentine course through a huge frozen swamp, I had to hang way, way off in turns and still had to account for ski lift that was predictable and controllable, but unnecessary.
Plus, that thirsty little engine gobbled up 8.47 gallons during the middle 91 miles of the ride – a 10.74 mpg rating. Not the worst mileage in the world, but worse than the 12.6 we got with last year’s Indy.
Overall, though, it was a great Sunday on great trails riding a great sled. Mix in some fresh snow and a decent lunch at the Good Life Bar & Cafe on the shore of Lake Mille Lacs (where Steve had the interesting Meatloaf Wrap — meatloaf, mashed spuds and a touch of gravy wrapped in a tortilla) and you’ve got a fine day spent not watching football or preparing the house for visits by relatives. Who says Sunday rides aren’t fun? Not me.