So you’re about how to take friends snowmobiling for this Family Day Weekend or any other time. Maybe it’s a newbie or someone that hasn’t snowmobiled in years.
How you shape the experience will determine if snowmobiling wins another convert. So please make their first ride enjoyable, safe, comfortable — and during daylight hours. You won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression!
Here’s a quick clip from Snowmobiler Television followed by 8 valuable tips to make your ride enjoyable for everyone…
How To Take Friends Snowmobiling Tip #1 – Slow, Simple and Short
The first thing to remember is that your friend isn’t an experienced rider. Even if he or she used to ride years ago. What you take for granted may be totally foreign to that person. So start with the three S’s – slow, simple and short. Because chances are that your normal ride will seem like a marathon to an uninitiated friend. Remember, your goal is to make the person love snowmobiling, not be turned off it for life.
Take Friends Snowmobiling Tip #2 – Eat First
Before the ride, feed your friend well so their body has the fuel to stay warm (take a few snacks along, just in case). Keep your friend hydrated before and during the ride with water, energy drinks or hot chocolate. No caffeine or booze!
Tip #3 – Dress Properly
Many first-timers suffer cold because of regular outdoor or even ski clothing. Or gear that didn’t fit properly. So dress your friend warmly in outer wear that fits, is layered and made especially for snowmobiling. Err on the side of being too warm. Better to remove a layer than to wish for one you left behind. Be sure your friend wears a properly fitted helmet and has working hand and thumb warmers. Unless the temperature is positively balmy, put a chemical toe warmer in each of their boots and gloves. If your friend gets cold, that’s what he, or especially she, will remember most about your ride.
Tip #4 – Ride a Good Sled
Next, make sure your friend has the most comfortable snowmobile available, even if that means yours. Putting the person on an old clunker or a high-powered performance sled is asking for trouble. To optimize their experience, you want to showcase snowmobiling with the smoothest riding, easiest handling, cleanest technology, and comfort-loaded snow machine available. Take the time to adjust the suspension and handlebars as necessary for your friend’s weight and size.
Tip #5 – Talk About the Ride
Don’t start the ride without a thorough orientation. Knowledge equals confidence. So use a map to give your friend a complete prior briefing on your route, your intended stops (including potty breaks) and the proposed duration of the trip. Keep the person updated at each stop along the way. Be sure to plan a route that is beginner level easy, scenic, and above all, smooth. You want to make it fun and enjoyable, not fearful, uncertain or daunting.
How To Take Friends Snowmobiling Tip #6 – Keep It Short & Sweet
Whatever your choice, aim for under two hours, including several short breaks. And remember, you’ll be riding slower than usual, so plan accordingly. At the end of that time, you want to be back at your starting point or no more than half an hour away. Thus, if two hours is enough riding, you won’t be dragging a weary, cold and increasingly annoyed friend the long way back. The other alternative is to go an hour and a half, then stop for a leisurely lunch and ride an hour return. Remember, overdoing distance or duration could spoil their ride.
Take Friends Snowmobiling Tip #7 – Sled Orientation
Before departing, walk your friend around the sled to demonstrate controls and operation. Let the person ride around an open area to get the hang of it. Discuss what to expect, trail etiquette, hand signals and what to do if your friend is having a problem or discomfort. Arrange frequent breaks so that he or she will never have to ride for too long if something needs attention or fixing. Always ride with a rear view mirror to keep a constant eye on their progress. Riding in a group, ensure that your friend rides second, preferably with an experienced rider(s) behind who can also watch out and assist.
Tip #8 – Don’t Push It
Finally, you’ve had years of practice. So don’t show off, push the envelope or challenge your friend beyond their capabilities or comfort zone. Also, don’t be afraid to rein the person in if he or she seems to be taking unnecessary risks or trying too hard. After all, your goal to take friends snowmobiling is to deliver a fun experience that leaves them wanting more!
The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.