Or are you? These new products may help
The new sled is on the trailer, fresh snow has dusted your favorite locale and your riding buddies are champing at the bit to break out into open fields and high mountain valleys.
But, are you really ready to roll? Have you gone through your preseason checklist (from trailering safety to snow safety and everything in between)? If not, stand down and take a minute to reflect on what will make this a truly great, and safe, season of riding. Our panel of experts offers up of few brand-specific, and in-general, items that should make it on your pre-ride list. As always and whenever possible, buy local and support your dealer who supports your pastime.
Communication is key
“One thing that struck me was communications, and how necessary they are for safety, not to mention the convenience they add when coordinating intent of destination and who’s keeping an eye on whom within our riding groups. For the past 15 years we rode with zero communication devices, relying on stopping, removing helmet or some basic hand signals while riding to signal intent whether it was for what line to take through the trees, which mountains to cross, or alerting other riders to potential hazards
“The standard in backcountry communications has become the BCA Link radios, which are commercially available at Alaska Mining and Diving. These have become very popular to the point that many times a guy can hop on a channel at his favorite riding area and call for help getting unstuck or troubleshooting a problem with his or her machine, as well as obviously designating a riding channel for your group to stay in touch with. They have become very popular and we often find ourselves wondering, how did we ride without comms before this for so many years? We have also used them in the past two seasons during some unfortunate accidents to include injuries or coordinating search efforts, probe lines and beacon searches when avalanche burials have occurred. In my opinion these communications are an absolute necessity for these reasons, as well as the obvious safety gear: beacon, shovel, and probe. Not to mention the required proper training to be proficient in usage to save the lives of others and yourself.
“With that said I think it’s important to highlight the amount of avalanche training currently available through Alaska Avalanche School, aided by Friends of the Chugach National Avalanche Information Center. I had the opportunity to take a Level One Avalanche Safety Training snowmobile-specific training last season with a group of my peers and the information, training, and experience provided through that class was so valuable. It is my opinion that if every backcountry rider had this training we could avoid a lot of injury, damage, heartache and deaths every season. The class was not expensive, maybe $350 and many of us who are members of the Anchorage Snowmobile Club enjoyed their yearly $250 credit toward avalanche safety training that they provide to every member of the club. That means, after being reimbursed by the club, this course cost only $100! That, my friends, is bang for your buck. So I do encourage everyone to become a member of the Anchorage Snowmobile Club, become a member and contribute on the CNFAIC website, because together we can save many lives and enjoy a safer experience every time we go out riding.
“As for sled accessories, I am a heavy proponent of every rider equipping their sleds with a tether if not factory equipped (currently only Ski-Doo offers a factory tether on every sled sold), as well as a nice, heavy-duty front and rear bumper to minimize damage to sleds and persons when making contact with obstacles, which is inevitable.
“As for performance mods, it cannot be argued that most sleds can benefit from a clutch job and or kit from A2D Sledworks as we are known to lead the pack in this area, and everyone enjoys having a sled that runs great, or better than their other riding partner’s sled which may not be so equipped!
— Chad Winberg
Owner, A2D Motorsports
Helmets, apparel, storage
“Riding with an ill-fitting helmet can ruin a great day of riding. When it’s time to change out your old helmet — one of the most important pieces of rider gear — you might want to check out the Eclipse Modular Helmet from Polaris. It comes with a host of great features such as the helmet flips open without having to remove it, rubber silicone breath box for a better contoured fit, push-button air ventilation and optional electric heated shield.
“For apparel, again one of the most important piece(s) of gear, check out Klim’s technically advanced, incredibly deep line-up of jackets, bibs, pants, gloves, packs and more. They’ll keep you warm, dry and in comfort all day long.
“And finally for storage, because there’s never enough, you might check out the new Polaris Windshield Replacement Bag. It’s a combination of windscreen and storage bag that adds function and style. Perfect for deep-snow applications where over-the-hood sightlines are required. Or maybe a Low Pro Defrost Bag that provides warm, dry place for gloves, goggles and more with its rigid construction. Or a Mountain Dash Bag that provides convenient protected storage for two bottles of water, goggles and gloves.
— Tony Gatts Jr.
Business manager, Alaska Cycle Center
Off like a SHOT
“Probably the coolest thing to hit the snowmobile market ever is the Ski-Doo SHOT restart system. You literally push a button and it just starts running, it does not require a battery or a starter. It’s crazy and it’s a must-see!
“Ski Doo is also killing the accessory game with the invention of the LinQ mounting system. You can mount dozens of different bags, fuel cans and more with the twist of a lever, and it’s on and off in seconds. They even just released a LinQ cooler, seriously cool! LinQ is so popular we sell just as many LinQ accessories to non-Ski-Doo riders as we do to our own Ski-Doo customers. You have to come down and see for yourself to appreciate it, we’ll show you how it works.
Alaska Mining and Diving
Fill ’er up
“One of the biggest necessities for Alaska riders has to be our new four-gallon fuel caddy, allowing even more land to be covered with the spare fuel you can now bring.
“Along with that, the new Adventure front bumper has already been a huge hit, with is aggressive styling and drastic increase in protection.
“Finally, the new addition for those backcountry riders is the Extreme Skid Plate for additional protection while reducing snow and ice build up.”
— Alex Reimer
Team CC Ski-Doo
“It’s very important to always have a tow rope for your buddy. It doesn’t really even matter what brand you are riding as long as you have your safety equipment. Everybody on a snowmachine should have a shovel, and no matter where you ride, you will need safety equipment. Also, it’s always fun until something happens, so make sure to always carry a first aid kit as well.
— Andrew Smith
Anchorage and Performance Yamaha
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New helmet designed for longer, more comfortable riding