Getting the 2012 <i>Snow Goer</i> demo fleet in running order is a work in progress.Even though the weather across the Snowbelt is a bust for snowmobilers and other folks who enjoy snow or earn a living off of it, Snow Goer is trekking onward and getting ready for snow that will fall, eventually.

Our turbo-powered Arctic Cat demo sled finally arrived at the dealership, so we were able to pick it up last week along with the F 800 and fill out our fleet with eight snowmobiles: two Cats, one Yamaha, two Ski-Doos and three Polaris machines.

It’s pretty safe to say we won’t ride as many miles on our model year 2012 snowmobiles as we put on our 2011 machines, but we have a few trips planned for this season and we’re optimistic we’ll be able to spend quality time on the sleds and test goods from the aftermarket.

Speaking of the aftermarket, new stuff — including goggles, jackets, pants, helmets, gloves, studs, a loading ramp built specifically to ease loading snowmobiles into a pickup, various clutching parts (including a conversion kit for an F6 Firecat) and a flexible handlebar riser — is arriving at our office on a daily basis so we can outfit our machines and evaluate the products’ functionality, and then report about it in Snow Goer magazine next fall and on our (new!) website.

There are a few more things — suspension related, fuel controllers, body protection — on our list, but we need to hammer out a few details before those projects get the green light. Other things keeping us busy include getting trailers ready, riveting license plates to the sleds, studding tracks, installing storage bags, carbides and spare belts, though we haven’t figured out where an extra belt is supposed to go on Cat’s new ProCross chassis. We’ll have to dig deeper …

There are small, isolated patches of snow in extreme northern Minnesota, and trails near Twin Lakes, Michigan, are in good to excellent condition, according to reports on the Michigan Snowmobile Association website. Parts out west near Cody, Wyoming, and West Yellowstone, Montana, are rideable, though those areas are well behind normal snowfall totals, according to people we’ve talked to.

While the dry, warm pattern certainly is frustrating, we figure there’s no sense in getting bent out of shape about it: that won’t do anything to change the weather, and why let something that’s totally out of one’s control bring you down? So instead of moping, we’re pressing onward and preparing for the snowmobile season that’s yet to come. And we’ve got a snowmobile magazine to write, so that certainly offers motivation, too.

— Andy Swanson, Snow Goer Managing Editor

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