I was born and raised in Gunnison, Colorado. If you don’t know where Gunnison is, just look at a weather map. It is normally one of the coldest spots on the whole map – especially in the winter.
We own a cattle ranch, so I grew up feeding cattle in the winter. I don’t like being cold – and if you have ever fed cattle by hand out of the back of a truck you know it is so incredibly cold. I snowboarded (like any good Colorado kid does) but I did not love winter. I just tolerated winter because our summers are so amazing.
I have never been a powersports person, but when I met my new husband, I knew my life was about to change. He owns RMD Powersports in Gunnison, and I was immediately immersed in that world! He took me snowmobiling two winters ago. I was immediately hooked. I remember telling him, “I will do whatever it takes to own a sled”. I borrowed his extra last winter, and then he gave me a new Polaris 850 Matryx this year for my birthday! It truly is like nothing else. I never thought the day would come when I am excited for winter, but here we are! Before you go out, here are a couple things to know, in my very not expert opinion.
You are going to be stuck. A lot. Find someone to go with who is patient and strong to help get you out. A good friend goes a long way when you bury your sled… The pin and wiggle will become your best friend.
You are going to be exhausted. It might look easy, but it is a workout. I have never felt so out of shape in my entire life than when I am trying to dig my snowmobile out. Come into season in shape. Personally, I love crossfit. The short bursts of intense activity seem to mimic snowmobiling for me.
Commit. Remember me talking about you being stuck a lot? Most of those stuck experiences come from not committing fully. I am the queen of not fully committing, and I cannot tell you the number of times I have gotten stuck because of it. As you will find out hesitation will be your greatest enemy.
Don’t be afraid of your throttle. It is your friend. The more you use it the less you will be stuck.
It’s mostly a mental game. Especially since you will spend a good part of your day stuck, it is so important to stay out of your own head. Once you lose that mental battle, your day will go downhill. I can’t tell you how many times I want to just cry and be done, but once I got out of my own head and back on my sled, I could go on to have a blast. Similar to any other power sports activity, don’t look at the object you want to avoid. This seems to be my kryptonite. If you look at it – you will hit it. Ask me how I know.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It might feel intimidating to enter a male dominated sport, but I have never found another sledder who wasn’t willing to help me out. Ask for tips and tricks. I also think its important to seek out other women snowmobilers. I have a lot less upper body strength than my husband and I have had to learn to do things differently. I cannot muscle through some things he can.
Invest in good gear. I discovered DSG Outwear last year. Since Lane owns RMD Powersports I naturally shopped around quite a bit. I remember looking through a gear catalog and the vibrant colors of the DSG monosuit catching my eye. As a woman in a male dominated activity, I wanted to stand out, and I also wanted something that would be flattering. I looked at lots of brands, and DSG did such a good job ensuring that their gear fits women’s bodies, but it is still roomy enough to allow you to be athletic. As I mentioned before, I hate being cold. The DSG gear allows you to stay warm, even on our brutal days here in Gunnison. I had sizing questions and I reached out to their customer service. They were able to answer all my questions and were so incredibly kind at the same time. I cannot recommend DSG enough. Not only should you have good gear, bring extra of that good gear. An extra set of gloves is a game changer at the end of the day when your hands are cold and wet!
Lastly, enjoy yourself. Snowmobiling is amazing. Go out and enjoy the great outdoors and have an amazing time doing it!