Will these Intrepid Snowmobiler tours at a glance help keep you in a snowmobiling frame of mind? To date, I’ve posted these Ski-Doo tour articles on my sledding site, so click on the snowmobile ride you want to do next winter to help make it through the summer!
When I squeeze the throttle to go summer sledding, 260 horses power up like thoroughbreds bursting from the starting gate. I cut my trail across a table top-smooth surface and accelerate to cruising speed; the exhilaration grows with the thrill of the ride. I lean into the next turn and my machine corners like its on rails. The wind whips through my hair, the sunlight sparkles like a thousand diamonds on the water, and I’m off on another Sea-Doo tour…what a minute, isn’t this supposed to be a snowmobiling post?
In a way it is. Touring on our Sea-Doo watercraft is how my wife and I survive when there’s no snowmobiling. We’d go stir crazy without a power sports activity in our life every summer, and today, there are several good options like motorcycling, ATVing, PWCing. But if you live for snowmobiling as we do, I recommend Sea-Doo touring. Our “summer sledding” keeps us sane, active and hones our riding chops for the coming winter — and in my opinion, it’s the next best thing to being on the snow!
Over the years, I’ve had many different snowmobile trail encounters and here are just a few…
I saw a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye. The trail ran straight as a die along an abandoned railway bed and that startled partridge was beside it. At the last possible second, it flew straight in front of my moving sled. As if there wasn’t a whole wilderness of other directional options to choose from. I had no chance to stop or swerve.
With a sickening thwump, blood, guts and feathers splattered across my hood and windshield, spraying my visor and chest like special effects in some cheesy horror flick. The viscera froze immediately, so I miserably displayed the gory evidence of this untimely demise for the rest of my ride. Later, when a buddy joked that I should have eaten the bird, I replied that if I’d opened my mouth wider, I could have.
Thankfully, my trail experiences aren’t normally this traumatic – usually the wildlife and I co-exist peacefully. However, a few of my experiences underscore the need to be continually wary of unexpected occurrences on the trail.
2014 Ski-Doo Renegade Adrenalin? My toughest choices at the end of any season is what sled to ride next winter. Ski-Doo doesn’t make choosing any easier by adding so many new technologies and innovations to their new line up every year.
But I’ve been waiting for Ski-Doo to boost the horsepower on their ACE engine ever since I tried the ACE 600 when it first came out in 2011. At that time, I got about 425 kilometres to a tank of gas on tour, my best ever. So there is a lot to like about that 4-stroke power plant, but topping out at about 105 kph was a little light for me. Not that I usually ride that fast, but I’ve always thought that running any engine near the top of its power band for a whole season at the number of kilometres I ride probably isn’t the wisest way to prolong its lifespan. Enter the new ACE 900, with a claimed 50% power boost and 77% torque increase over the 600, while sacrificing only 18% of that engine’s unsurpassed fuel economy. What’s more, it runs on regular gas, quite a saving for me over the cost of using premium all winter!
Here are my end of season snowmobiling stats. What are yours?
As the winter winds down, so does my activity level at Intrepid Snowmobiler, so I invite you to join me at The Intrepid Cottager for a summer of Sea-Doo riding!
This winter, I had planned for 8 rides (3 personal + 5 Snow Goer Canada tours) from January to March, with some R&R time between each trip. Then Mother Nature threw in 3 major January melts and a couple of February rain days that really caused havoc with snowmobiling in Eastern Canada. Yeah, she cranked up winter for real from mid-February on, too late to salvage everything – but overall, it was still a great winter of snowmobiling on my Ski-Doo 2013 Renegade X 600 HO ETEC! Here’s how it shaped up…
Day One. Comfort Inn, Kirkland Lake to Thriftlodge, Cochrane via TOP A105Q/L103/TOP A111C/L31/L25/TOP C/TOP A106C/TOP A – about 300 km (Fuel: Matheson, South Porcupine – on L25, Cochrane). Thriftlodge is located on TOP A where it crosses Highway 11 at the south end of town. Extend this day by about 30 km by turning off TOP A106C onto L103 and ride to TOP A, then north to Thriftlodge. This route brings you directly to the Thriftlodge without passing through town.
I landed in Deer Lake for a week of snowmobiling on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula – riding the rock. For reasons known only to the secret order of travel agents, I’d flown Toronto-Halifax, where my companions deplaned for their direct flight to Deer Lake. Meanwhile, I was routed St. John’s, there to double back the length of one very large province to arrive at that same final destination hours later. Adding insult to injury, my baggage shared the direct flight. I would have done better to ship myself as cargo too.
I had journeyed to the island for a meeting of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO), and afterwards, to join about 40 other attendees for a snowmobiling adventure. I also wanted to check out recent developments: by all accounts, Newfoundland was at the brink of a major snowmobiling boom, spearheaded by a $5.9 million provincial investment in trail infrastructure. This trip would allow me to compare their starting point with whatever progress was to be made. Whatever the case, we “Come-From-Aways”, as our friendly Newfie hosts succinctly dubbed us, climbed aboard a van bound for Maynard’s Torrent River Inn, about three hours further north in Hawke’s Bay, our base for the week.
If you’re looking for a sledding adventure in Quebec, you’ll do no better than Chaudière-Appalaches snowmobiling. Located south of the St. Lawrence and the City of Quebec, Chaudière-Appalaches and the adjacent Centre du Quebec region have almost 4,000 kilometres of trails. They provide a wide variety of riding, from panoramic mountains and valleys to rolling farmlands and deep forests. Our Snow Goer Canada crew completed a memorable tour in these regions that will be a feature article in the magazine next fall, so you can get the whole story. Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot of where we stayed on tour…