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by Ashley Chaffin, Ski-Doo Backcountry Expert
It has been a tough tough winter here in Alaska, with warm temps, little snow and lots of rain. If you were watching the news, you might have seen the massive avalanche that actually blocked the road to Valdez where I live – we were stranded for several days!
Even though I have’t done TOO much riding (with so little light, we do most of our riding in the Spring anyway), I have set up my Freeride and taken it for some great rips. I’m trying a few new things this year, esepcially to reduce weight (I’m small!) so check it out:Read more
By Dave Norona, Ski-Doo Backcountry ExpertRead more
In January edition of SnoWest magazine, the tough editors compared the three extreme or “all-mountain” sleds and came to an interesting conclusion, saying they had found “…Perhaps the best all-mountain backcountry snowmobile ever made. The 2014 Ski-Doo Freeride 800.”
Here’s what else they said about our spring-only extreme mountain sled:
“We dont know if there will ever be perfection in any snowmobile class, but we do know that years from now, we’ll be talking about how close one sled got close to it in 2014.”
“What makes the Ski-Doo Freeride stand out in its class is that Ski-Doo abandoned the super-wide front end that made it a better racer than carver. With the 2014 Freeride 800, you essentially have a slightly wider Summit with all the right reinforcements and an outstanding shock package. And it’s offered in not one, but three track length configurations. Ski-Doo recognized the market potential for such a sled and ran away with it. And trust us, they’re running away with it.”
“On a rough hard-pack terrain, the Freeride hammers through moguls with straight tracking and maintains a flat pitch…The REV-XM RS chassis is very rigid and allows for a compliant suspension setting.
“Where other sleds in this class almost need to be pushed harder to maek theier setups shine, the Freeride is a blast to ride at any speed, any terrain and in any condition. It’s wider than the Summit, but still narrow by mountain sled standards. But it doesnt feel like it’s too narrow when bashing mogul runs or negotiating skechy drops.”Read more
Not every mountain rider starts as a mountain rider. Take Dave Harris. He was a backcountry skier in Alaska who raced dirt bikes as a kid. Then his friends beckoned him to go cross-country riding with them. Using borrowed sleds, he was quickly hooked on “snowmachining.”
So much so that when one of his friends asked him to race the Iron Dog (the 3,200 km/2,000 mile race across the Alaskan bush), he jumped at the chance. That was in 1998 and not only did Harris and his partner finish, they took 12th place.Read more
Because I’m a girl and pretty petite, I often get asked about my sled set-up. Here’s how I make my Ski-Doo Renegade sled work for me. More about my Freeride 137 in another post.Read more
Our own backcountry expert Carl Kuster has been riding backcountry powder for years, has been teaching others deep snow riding, and probably has more seat time on Ski-Doo REV-XM sleds than anyone. Here he shares his best tips for becoming a better mountain rider – if you’re a beginner or expert, there’s something here for you.Read more
Mountain snowmobiles have become so advanced, you can now get to places only imagined before. But that also can raise the risk – especially of avalanches. The best way to stay safe is to stay educated and aware. The Canadian Avalanche Centre has produced Throttle Decisions, an incredible video series on avalanche saefty. It isn’t a replacement for more formal avalanche training, but is a good foundation to build on.
Here are all of the series’ modules:Read more
Ski-Doo backcountry expert Dave Norona takes you through what you need and what you need to do to trailer your snowmobile safely to your riding area – including some helpful tips for making it easy.