Meet Carl Kuster and see how he became the outdoor and powersports enthusiast he is today, and how he’s sharing that passion with others. READ HOW
By Carl Kuster, Ski-Doo Summit Freerider
I come from an outdoors and powersports family. My dad started riding motorcycles when he was nine. My mom when she was 12. My sister raced motocross. My dad was so impressed with Ski-Doo snowmobiles (he test drove early 1970s Blizzard race sleds), he opened a Ski-Doo dealership in 1983.
My first sled was a red metal flake 1970 Scorpion with a scarf-eating Sachs motor. I distinctly remember when the throttle was pinned it sounded like it would eat you alive or explode!
The winter of ’86 was the first time I got to go with my Dad to the mountains on a sled. That trip was to Valemount, B.C. with a killer awesome 1979 340 TXC (10,000 miles, haywire, duct tape AND bungee cords for a hood). It had a mix of 1-inch and 1/5 inch plastic paddles and a cut tunnel…oh yeah!
It’s funny to look back now and think, even the big snow banks on the highway got me excited and we didn’t even get to the parking lot at the base of the mountain! I remember the trail was not groomed in those days but broke by the “big” mountain sleds, so it was really more of a trench than a trail. I had been in the mountain dozens of times on dirt bikes, but this was my first time in winter and on the “trail” up I clearly remember glimpses of the alpine through small openings in the trees. I was so excited and charged by the beautiful landscapes I could hardly wait to see what the alpine was like! When we finally got to the cabin the view was so far beyond what I could have ever dreamed of! The mountains have such a different feel in the winter. Even any non-outdoor-type person would be impressed and possibly converted.
That trip changed me forever.
Over the years Dad and I would strive to find our own paths into the mountains and areas that had not yet been ridden by studying topo maps, logging maps, and aerial photos of areas that were not yet explored. In some cases, we used small planes, helicopters, GPS and weeks of summer hiking with chainsaws to make trails. This passion for new areas turned into an obsession and to this day we still have that same mindset.
There is something about sitting on some mountain peak overlooking a hundred miles in 360 degrees and seeing nothing but snow-pasted peaks 3,000 feet above the last lingering trees in the valley. There are so many times been up there and thought, “Am I the only human to ever be here?”
This feeling of accomplishment is something that is contagious; when you bring someone new to an area like that, they also enjoy personal highs. In the last 10 years, we’ve created a close group of four to eight people who search for untouched areas to go riding so we call all share that same feeling. That group is expanding as some of those people have young kids.
That now includes me. Carver (my 17 month-old son) is already an outdoor kind of guy. It doesn’t matter if its cold or hot, convenient to mom and dad or not, he needs to be outside.
In the morning, very first thing, he’s at the window and pointing outside at the garage, saying “bruum bruum,” asking mom for a quick bike ride. He has a full-on meltdowns when the ride is over sometimes. He’s been on the dirt bike around the lawn with me since he was seven months old. This fall he logged about hundred miles strapped in his custom car seat holder with Shelley, me and the dog in a Can-Am Commander…big smiles every inch of the way!
His first sled experience has been on my 2011 163 Summit with E-TEC 800R in early December. With him all bundled up, we head out in search of powder around the garden, flowerbeds, maybe even the compost pile…
Looking back, it’s easy to say that the outdoors has shaped me into who I am. I want to help share all these experiences with other people – especially my son. I believe that snowmobiling can be family thing that helps grow the love for the outdoors and makes people happier.
So be sure to take your kids, family and friends out riding. Help them experience the same passion and feeling of accomplishment and wonder that you so enjoy. Maybe this week — it’s Take a Friend Snowmobiling week.