Photo courtesy of John Syslak
Ever since I started snowmobiling a few years back, I have entered into what I call the “powder zone.” Each and every time I go out I still cannot believe how much wicked powder I encounter. It is what actually gets you addicted to this awesome sport.
Whether we ride all day or use our machines to get to our favourite backcountry ski areas for some epic touring, snowmobiles are a ton of fun and allow us to get to areas within an hour that would normally take days.
Ski-Doo has led the charge with new lightweight machines that are incredibly agile in our steep mountainous terrain. The newest version, the Rev XP, has dropped 22 kilograms of weight and will float over the deepest powder. It has gained this advantage by using computer design, which has also helped increase its strength and durability.
Contrary to what most people think, riding snowmobiles is not easy. First, they are heavy, especially when not under power. You also need to keep them moving in the deep snow because if you come off the throttle for a brief moment in deep snow you will sink and be digging it out. Carving and side hilling on a snowmobile is done by counter steering which is not so intuitive at first, however, once you get the idea you will be well on your way to experiencing one of the most incredible sports around today.
Most people have no idea how to try this awesome sport yet there are a ton of great companies within the Sea-to-Sky corridor that can take you out for a few hours or a few days, depending on your skill level.
Cougar Mountain, just outside of Whistler, has more than 18,000 acres of backcountry wildness terrain. Since 1983 they have operated different adventures through the most stunning terrain around Cougar and Showh Lakes, Rainbow and Cougar Mountain, and the Soo Valley. Their top-notch guides will arrange a terrific day out that will complement your trip to Whistler. Contact them at 604-932-4086 or visit them online at cougarmountain.ca.
Canadian Snowmobiling operates within Whistler/Blackcomb and has trips for the experienced or young families. The coolest trip involves a guided trip up Blackcomb Mountain through forest trails and wide open play areas before arriving at the 1,800-metre high Crystal Hut for hot chocolate under the stars. Find them on the website at whistlerblackcomb.com.
If you’re more experienced and looking for the ultimate sledding trip then check out Fresh Adventures, located between Sicamous and Revelstoke. They get 18 metres of snow annually and have 80-square-kilometres of epic snowmobiling and ski/snowboard terrain. Their certified guides will get you into the deepest snow for the coolest wintertime adventure! Details available at freshadventures.ca.
Ski Doo Rev XP Sled
Description: The ultimate sled just got better in 2008 with the new Rev XP. It’s 80 kilos lighter, 37 per cent stronger and has a 151-hp 800-cc engine that will pull through the deepest snow.
Where to find it: www.gvps.ca
Oakley Ultimate Jacket
Description: Keep warm and stylish this winter in Oakley’s Ultimate jacket. Storm skirt keeps out the elements, lycra-stretch panels for mobility and tons of easy accessible pockets for goggles, an iPod or just about anything else.
Where to find it: www.oakley.ca
Bell Moto 8 Helmet
Description: Protect your noggin with this lightweight Kevlar/carbon fibre/Fiberglas composite helmet from Bell. Velocity Flow Ventilation system for maximum cooling, adjustable visor, and removable, washable Dri-Lex liner.
Where to find it: www.ogc.ca
CRF Metal Bracket Snowboard Rack
Description: Skiing and snowboarding off your snowmobile is all the rage these days if you’re looking for endless backcountry powder. CRF’s snowboard rack is the best on the market and allows you to carry your board on your sled with ease.
Where to find it: www.cheetahfactoryracing.com