A Fact-Finding, Snowmobile Riding Mission

“The trails around here are shot.”

            “Yep, they’re done until we get a bunch of new snow.”

            That was the consensus opinion of pretty much everybody I’ve spoken with locally in the last week after a full day of rain truly dampened the spirits of snowmobile riders in the Minneapolis area eight days ago.

            This was not some drizzle or a little freezing mist – this was an all-day rain that ruined our roads, annihilated snow piles and put a hard polish on everything from cars to roofs to pets (sorry about that, Cooper!).

            And so, just about every snowmobiler I’ve talked with has assumed our trails were ruined. While I can’t claim that we’re ready to put together an expose for 60 Minutes, Associate Editor Tom Kaiser and I went on a fact-finding mission last night. (Not a joy ride, I assured my wife and kids before they ate dinner, did homework and went to bed at home while I was out cruising trails – we were doing important research!)


            So here are the results of our intense, four-hour investigation:

  • There’s A Cover Up – There was no bare ground that we encountered. The trails were more-or-less covered with white cement everywhere we went. We had to always keep sled cooling and hyfax in mind, but it was definitely very ridable.
  • Don’t Believe The Polls – A public opinion poll of snowmobilers would have told us to stay home. We didn’t, and we had a great time.
  • Feeding Us Information – I was reminded how good the burgers were at the Millside Tavern in St. Michel, Minnesota. Even this close to the city, we were able to enjoy some-town-tavern sort of grub.
  • Getting Behind The Scenes Testing – Every time we ride, we’re always trying to gather information on something. Last night was my first run with a set of Castle Racing Snow Force boots. When I first tried them on in the office, they felt light and, dare I say, maybe a bit cheap – like they wouldn’t be very warm. Well I really liked them last night: they were light, comfortable, supporting and warm. I’ll have to get more time on them for a formal write-up, but first impressions were good.
  • Get To The Point – Thank God for studs, and we’re not talking about the retired race horses that get to, um, reproduce for a living. The riding last night was fun, but icy. Those metal picks sure made the ride safer and more enjoyable, and they helped create some loose chunks for lubrication.
  • More Investigation Is Needed – We’ll be riding some more this weekend; not locally, but hundreds of miles away, where we’ll be able to further hone our fact-gathering skills. We hope you have a great weekend too, with some riding worked in.

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