Monthly message, by Kevin Hite, president, Alaska State Snowmobile Association
January is here. While by the time this goes to print all of the normal Christmas activities at our hacienda have faded into what still sounds like a hurricane just moving over the horizon, there will remain dozens of reminders of the season. Those of you familiar with the Hite household festivities will no doubt know that I will be discovering fugitive ornaments that escaped the ritual reboxing that occurs, accompanied by the sounds of an old country dirge while being marched back to their off-season resting place in their new storage location.
Since Cindy and I have become lodgeowners, you would have thought that the ceremony of the holidays would have lessened. You would be wrong. What has happened is that Cindy has a lot more square feet to decorate and display. What used to take us a day to decorate and about the same to take down, now gets spread out over several days and includes transporting of Christmas trees from Los Anchorage to Willow. Look for the tree to be on display until approximately Iditarod weekend.
It is also the time of year that our recreational and overall winter choice of activity really gets in gear. Grooming efforts are firming up the trail systems, rides are being expanded to cover more miles and new destinations are being sought out. As our holiday season winds down, it is the time of year that we look back on the resolutions that we made and choose how we approach them. For the last couple years, one of my resolutions has been to visit more of our partner lodges and club areas that I haven’t been to yet.
The Caribou Hills to East End trail systems that the Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers and SnowMads have created deserve a full week of exploration. Same for the Denali Highway system through our friends at Alpine Creek. Or a long weekend in the Curry Ridge area with Gate Creek Cabins or any one of the other areas and destinations that are strong proponents of riding in Alaska.
In some regards, having a place on the Susitna River here in the Mat-Su, and being able drive right out the front gate onto the Iditarod trail to thousands of acres of riding has rendered me conflicted on my choice of destination. Before we built this cabin, She Who Must be Obeyed and I would routinely load the trailer and flip a coin to see which direction we would go from Anchorage.
Don’t get me wrong; there are still thousands of swamps and rivers for me to explore on the west side of Susitna. And I plan on making tracks in each and every one of those. At the same time, I miss the change of terrain and riding philosophies that go with each area. From the foothills of the Denali Range to the Alphabet Hills, from the Monument to Skwetna Roadhouse, the riding areas available to we here in Southcentral is amazing.
And one more thing
While we are bombarded daily with cultural pleas of diversity in our everyday work and lives, take a moment to appreciate this diversity: This is the month not only to “Take a Friend Snowmobiling,” but also to expand that philosophy to include “Take yourself Somewhere New.”
Choose a new place and make it something to remember. You can find club rides in each area in this issue of the SnowRider. The likelihood of making some new riding friends expands each and every time you make that choice. Then, and only then, drag those new friends back to your back yard and do a bit of showing off yourself.