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Backcountry Adventure Riding, Labrador Style: Meet Jeffrey Hahn

By John Prusak

To become a “sponsored” backcountry rider, you’ve got to be able to huck a mountain sled off a cliff and live to tell about it, right? Wrong! In recent years, Ski-Doo has added some unusual but oh-so-interesting characters to its Backcountry Ambassador program, including Jeffrey Hahn of Canada’s far north. 

Hahn’s job has him delivering explosives to mines in Labrador’s iron mining business — tough work indeed. He also needs tough sleds, and has focused most of his riding on Ski-Doo utility machines. Below are his answers to our survey. Recently, we had a similar profile with Bret Rasmussen

Name, Age, Hometown: Jeffrey Hann, 38 years young, Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Other Occupation/Job: Bulk Explosives Truck Operator…..I make things go BOOM

Snowmobiling Tenure/Years Riding: As far back as I can remember as a kid. The past 10 years living in Labrador I rode Ski-Doo Renegades and Summits, but my true passion are the Ski-Doo Utility Sleds; Skandic and Expedition.

How/When You Got Introduced To Snowmobiling: Like father, like son. My father was an avid outdoors man and lived for the backcountry. I guess you can say I’m following his footsteps.

My Current Ride (machine, plus any notable modifications): 2017 Ski-Doo Skandic SWT 900 ACE. Modifications are limited, just a wiring modification to allow constant 12V on the accessory outlet, and a LED light install. However, I have a ton of accessories as it’s my workhorse for getting me through the backcountry of Labrador. Everything from a Heavy Duty front bumper, hitch, winch, skid plates, cargo boxes, axe mate, gun boot and more! I don’t travel light on the Skandic. For 2018-19 I will be riding the New Ski-Doo Gen4 Expedition Sport 900 ACE.

Favorite Riding Destination: The “Big Land” as we call it. Labrador has an endless playground of snow and backcountry riding. My favorite destination would be the Lobstick control structure here in Labrador. It regulates the smallwood reservoir which is 6527 sq kms. It’s an amazing sight to see and a 300 km journey on groomed and ungroomed trails.

My Perfect Day Of Riding Would Include…:  First, fresh snow, and lots of it. The kind you get after a good eastern Canada snowstorm. Blue skies, -10C (that’s asking a lot in Labrador sometimes), picking a destination and breaking a trail to get there, having a scoff (cookup), ice fishing, fire and friends to enjoy it with.

Advice For Riding Newcomers In Your Area: There are over 500 kms of groomed trails in Labrador, even more when you ride to the neighboring Quebec border. It’s very dry here in Labrador, and snow conditions are very different. The snow can be bottomless and like sugar if you break through the top, and ice scratchers are a must for lake riding at times. Dress for the conditions you ride in. If it’s -50C , wear a base layer and warm outer layers. Allow sufficient time on cold starts for your sled to warm up.

Something I Learned Last Season: I was amazed that people still ride alone and often long distances. Riding with a partner is essential. There were a few occasions last year where this happened, luckily, everything turned out fine. Last season I assisted a rider who became stuck and was on foot heading back for help in the middle of nowhere.

Dream Riding Partner:  Since I’m one of the “new guys” I have to say I’d love to ride with any one of my fellow Ski-Doo Ambassadors. They ride in completely opposite terrain of what I ride.

Off-Season Fun: Vacationing and soaking up the sun outside of Labrador. Fishing for massive trout or lakers, ATVing, boating.

A Lesson Learned The Hard Way: Be prepared, carry a tool kit and spare items. Something as simple as a spare heated visor cable can become critical when riding in the wilderness. A heated visor cable failed last season while riding in extreme cold temperatures, without a spare cable on hand it would have been near impossible to ride without the visor freezing over.

Why I Love Snowmobiling:  You know that feeling when you hop in your car on a Sunday afternoon, maybe go for a coffee and hit the highway with no destination in mind? Well, apply that to a snowmobile and you get the same thing. Nothing beats hopping on my Ski-Doo on a bluebird day with endless powder and no destination in mind. The hum of the track and motor,  that rush and adrenaline you get from squeezing the throttle, the snow flying through the air, carving up the snow and the camaraderie with other riders. That’s why I love snowmobiling.

What My Non-Snowmobiling Friends Don’t Understand About Me: If you don’t like snowmobiles you’re not my friend…..just kidding….or am I? I love snow. I LOVE SNOW. And I’ve loved it all my life. As a child, I could not be kept inside. Sun, rain or snow I was outdoors. Snowmobiling is a part of who I am. I talk snowmobiling all year round.

What I Carry With Me When Riding In My Backpack or Onboard Luggage: This is a loaded question for me and could be a story within itself. Here’s the essentials. I carry a Garmin GPS276CX, Inreach, snowshoes, snow bungee, tow straps, first aid kit, firestarter, food, extra gloves and socks, booster pack, shovel, tool kit.

If I Wasn’t Snowmobiling, I Would Probably Spend My Winters….: We get up to 8 months of snow in Labrador, if I didn’t snowmobile I would probably be in the mental ward.

Editor’s Note: Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door 6 times per year for a low cost.   

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