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Snowmobiling with the Pros: a Greenhorn’s Perspective

Snowmobiling with the Pros:  a Greenhorn’s Perspective

Snowmobiling, snowmachin’, sledding or brappin’ … it’s what Wyomingites call riding a snowmobile around the mountains and sage country.

An extremely fun sport indeed, consumes many and intimidates all at some point.  Whether you’re riding a packed trail or going off into the powder and “boondocking”, sledding presents many great and scary moments.  This is why we do it!

Riding a snowmobile presents the rider with endless opportunities to get the adrenaline pumping.  The greenhorn starts on a packed trail, then begins to dabble in the softer powder, only to find out that riding powder is significantly harder than what your buddies make it appear to be!

Before newbie rider knows it, he or she is faced with the inevitable moment of pushing the limits and going somewhere on the mountain that is…well, scary.

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My first time riding with experts presented me with a hill climb of several hundred feet where the throttle had to be pinned and RPM’s maxed in order to complete the climb in a stylish and safe manner.  Rocky mountain sledders refer to the throttle as a “friend” of the rider and the saying “when in doubt, throttle out” holds true…almost every time.

Once the rider is comfortable with high RPM’s, life of the rider will forever be changed.  I tell riders whom I am taking off trail “the magic happens greater than 7000 RPM’s.  Meaning the sled motor is virtually screaming until it responds the way you want.

When going out with friends or “the crew” whom are experienced riders, it is easy to be intimidated.  They show up over excited, running their tricked out machines up and down the parking lot at high RPM’s before the ride has yet to begin, while fashioning top of the line gear.

Then there’s you, with butterflies, outdated ski gear sitting on a sled you burrowed which you’re not even sure how to operate.  Defiantly not in one’s comfort zone being the newbie.  Not to mention the echoing term of avalanche or slides from your buddies.


Was a blast rippin the new @polarissnow #axys ✊#braaap #powturnsbro #gopro #509 #snowest #wyoming

A video posted by Tyler Carr (@tlc911) on Dec 21, 2015 at 3:58pm PST

Remembering a few things will allow you to keep up and put you on your way to becoming a safer and more skilled backcountry traveler.

1 – Getting stuck/wipe outs We have all been there.  You will get stuck and you will most likely wipe out, face this fact.

2 – Laugh at yourself along with everyone and the crew will appreciate you more.  Being intimidated and holding a straight face when everyone else is laughing is only going to prevent further invites.

3 – Weight distribution, throttle control and confidence will get you where you want to go, every time.  Sitting down, being timid with the throttle and being cautious only keeps you digging your sled from a trench and at the bottom of the mountain.

4 – Keep momentum while on slopes.  Slowing down only gets you stuck and puts you in a bad, potentially dangerous spot.
Don’t let go of your sled…just don’t.  The moment you think you should let go, grab a handful of throttle and witness the magic happen.

By no means do these 4 tips guarantee you will be going everywhere and riding everything.  But with a little know-how and a lot of confidence within your throttle you’ll be amazed at where you end up. And imagine those welcoming smiles that await you at the top!

Ryan Hudson guides adventure seeking individuals on snowmobiling trips for Green River & Bridger-Teton Outfitters in Daniel, Wyoming during the winter. He is also the owner and guide for Wyoming Fishing Company. Fly fishing in the warm season and sledding during the winter months, Ryan can tailor your trip from trail-riding to backcountry extreme, all while keeping your safety in mind.