Early season riding pits itch to ride against desire to stay injury free

by • December 9, 2015 • UncategorizedComments (0)1184

Courtesy Cory Davis Professional snowmachiner and X-Games medalist Cory Davis lives in Soldotna.

Courtesy Cory Davis
Professional snowmachiner and X-Games medalist Cory Davis lives in Soldotna.


I’ve never been one to care about being the first on the snow, mostly due to the risk associated with riding in low snow conditions (rock strikes and stumps) and the repercussions of getting hurt before the season even begins. That being said, that doesn’t mean I’m not into riding gravel, as I do plenty of that late into the spring searching for snow to finish filming — or worse yet, during Iron Dog.

Every year it seems like once snow falls it’s a mad dash to be the first one to ride. I get it, summer wears on you, that brand-new sled sitting in your garage is taunting you, and  that new set of gear is hanging up looking way too clean. Plus, how many times can you wash mud off your four-wheeler and side-by-side before you’re ready to lay down in traffic?

I saw the pictures, people riding early October. My thoughts?

Who cares, they are probably bouncing off rocks wrecking their sleds and more than likely faking the pow shots. I was perfectly content waiting for a base and letting the snow stack up, but I wasn’t the only one who’d seen the snow pictures.

Hybrid Color Films along with Motorfist had ideas for an early season edit. Despite all my chirping, and worries of bending my new sled, I was talked into it. We loaded up the sleds and started the brutal drive from Soldotna up to Summit Lake — all nine hours of it.

I was 100 percent convinced that we would show up to a gravel parking lot with 6 inches of snow, and that was the case the whole drive up: nothing but a dusting of snow, until we pulled into the parking lot. To my surprise, though, there was a decent amount of snow and lots of other riders.

We started the ascent toward the “tit.” Every foot we climbed in elevation, the snow got better and better. About halfway up I could taste the shoe laces of my boot and had to concede I was wrong about the snow conditions because it was awesome. Definitely still a little iffy at lower elevations, but the payoff was well worth it at the top.

This trip hasn’t changed my mind on early-season riding, though getting proven wrong in this circumstance had its advantages.

It was awesome laying down some respectable pow turns for the 2015-2016 season. But to continue my cynical viewpoint on early season riding, I still feel lucky no one in my group banged up a sled. I will even admit it felt good to be headed home with smiles on our faces after obtaining some amazing powder footage.

Well, until we realized how far home was.

Until next time, I hope everyone is having fun and is wad free this early season. Remember, beacon-probe-shovel-pack every time.

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