The weekend ahead is forecast to finally bring spring weather across most of the northern United States. This will have throngs of people outdoors sweeping garages, trimming trees, cleaning windows and barbecuing as temperatures are expected climb above 70 degrees F. Aah, yes it will admittedly be nice to soak up the sun and enjoy warm air again.
After a slow start, it turned out to be an excellent snowmobile season across the Snowbelt, and that enabled me to click more miles on sleds than I ever have during more than 20 years as a snowmobiler. Along the way, I snapped hundreds of photographs to capture the moments, and here are five of my favorites. Click on the images to make them larger. Enjoy!
Jeff & Tom — I get to work closely with these two smiley intellectuals every winter; that’s contributing writer Jeff Oberg in the orange coat and Snow Goer Associate Editor Tom Kaiser wearing highway construction-worker yellow. Here they shared a smile on a trail while we test rode a mix of 2014 snowmobiles. It’s a lot of fun to ride with these guys as they pick on each other and compare notes, and opinions. Popular topics for Oberg include illegal immigration, the economy and other heady topics like women’s high-heeled footwear. Kaiser likes to talk about trains and big cities.
Snowmobile Synchronization — The synchronization in this photo is cool, and it’s a reminder of the fun and adventure I experienced in March as a student at Dan Adams’ Next Level Riding Clinic near Alpine, Wyoming. Sidehilling was an important part of the curriculum, and Adams had our crew ride up this slope and wedge our snowmobiles into the hill so we could take a group photo showing the sleds and mountains in the background. After two rigorous days of riding and practicing in the western Wyoming mountains, I’m more confident about my ability to run a sled through the trees and deep powder, and I look forward to riding in the west again.
Spring Snowmobiling At Dusk — With daylight savings time now setting in a few weeks earlier, snowmobilers can enjoy longer riding days late in the season, including this one in March where I went for a solo ride to try out Ski-Doo’s new ACE 900 engine. I re-discovered this trail in December, and then proceeded to ride it a few more times over the course of this season. As the picture shows, the trail was in prime condition here where it weaved back and forth through the poplar and oak trees.
A Photogenic Place To Rest — Sometimes the best shots are by accident. This is a friend’s hunting shack in central Minnesota and it also makes for a photogenic rest stop during a day on the snowmobile trails because the trail passes through his family’s property. While this photo wasn’t an accident, per se, I hastily shot it. When I saw my buddy’s wife sizing up her shot, I quickly sneaked up behind her and pressed the button on my camera to capture her capturing the moment during this awesome late-winter day on the trails. This photo also recently appeared in a slideshow about spring snowmobiling.
Funny Guy — Hearty laughs are guaranteed whenever I go snowmobiling with Jeremy, the dude in the center of the photo. He’s one of the funniest people I know because his stories and delivery remind me of Chris Farley, but without the fistfuls of coke. On a ride this month, we cooked bratwurst on the exhaust of one of the sleds and stopped by these trees to enjoy lunch, and a few funny tales from Jeremy.