Advice From My Spouse About Women Snowmobiling…
What about women snowmobiling on snowmobile tours or snowmobile vacations? “I wish my wife loved snowmobiling like yours does,” one friend commented after reading one of my snowmobile tour articles. “How do I get my girlfriend interested in touring?” asked another.
I gather they aren’t alone in their dilemma about women snowmobiling. Which makes me wonder: Are there many female snowmobilers? How many share this touring reluctance? Why is my wife so different?
How Many Women Snowmobiling Are There?
To my knowledge, there is no accurate count of women snowmobiling. Probably because they’re almost impossible to distinguish while wearing a helmet. However, according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), 75% of snowmobile owners are married. Thus, the odds are that lots of women have a chance to participate.
ISMA has also indicated that about 30% of new snowmobilers are women, so their total number should be increasing annually. These tallies indicate more female snowmobilers than ever before. They generally don’t visit the dealerships, register the sleds, buy the permits, perform the mods, etc. This skews purchasing data. But they do have a significant presence in our activity.
For example, I see oodles of women on the snowmobile trails and at the pit stops. Sometimes they are snowmobiling with men, sometimes in groups of their own or with families. With this increase, it’s noteworthy that the vast majority of snowmobiling injuries and fatalities involve males, not females. Some could interpret this to mean there aren’t that many female riders. I think it’s more likely they’re aren’t as many irresponsible ones.
So there’s no shortage of female snowmobilers. But how do they really feel about riding? To find out, I queried my in-house expert, Marsha. Here are the factors my spouse identified to make her gender more comfortable on the trail. And more predisposed to snowmobile touring.
Being Warm & Comfortable on Snowmobile Tours
Cold is enemy #1, so warmth is mandatory, whatever that takes. High tech clothing like that available from FXR works best. Also check out boots and mitts, hand warmers, handle bar muffs, high wind shield, battery powered socks, chemical heat packs, you name it.
Also, She doesn’t want to ride all day without coffee breaks and indoor bathroom stops. A long day’s ride is okay, but not day after day, because she enjoys sleeping in or relaxing occasionally too. And when she does, it had better be in clean lodgings with all the amenities. After all, this is her holiday too!
Being Confident & Informed
My wife doesn’t like riding beyond her ability in order to keep up. Or feeling that she is holding our group up. She insists on riding her own snow machine. One as good or better than those of any companions. Each morning, she wants to know where we are going, when the pit stops are planned, and how long the ride will be. She prefers to arrive at our destination before dark. My wife likes to carry her own map too.
She enjoys riding with a spouse who is patient, understanding and willing to stop and smell the roses (Who is that?). And she likes following a leader who is safety-conscious, uses proper hand signals and stays in sight. Except when answering the call of nature. Most of all, she wants nothing to stand between her and that much anticipated rum and coke when the day’s ride is over. I have her boot prints across my back to prove it!
The surprising thing about this list is that most riders would agree with it, regardless of their gender. Sure, some of us like to kick up their heels occasionally with a high-energy endurance marathon, but more often than not, we would buy her list. And that’s the secret to persuading your wife or girlfriend to tour with you.
So what’s her advice for guys who want their gals to enjoy touring? Start slow. Buy the best. Arrange things on the home front so she can relax and enjoy. Ride with other couples. Try getting away for a long weekend to a resort where you can day trip while returning to the same base each night. Make the first saddle bag tour a one or two nighter. Gradually build up from there. And don’t force it: snowmobile touring is not for everyone.
My Last Word On Women Snowmobiling
Finally, it may be wise to downplay the whole male/female thing. It’s somewhat of a red herring. After all, once the visor’s down, we’re all androgynous. So maybe our challenge should be to deal successfully with the concerns, needs, capabilities and expectations of anyone new to touring on snowmobiles, regardless of gender.
Sure, people are different. Some need more of this or want less of that. But in snowmobiling, it all boils down to informed choices about personal comfort and knowing your limitations. If I want that new rider to come back for more, I should always do what’s necessary to ensure a pleasurable, safe, comfortable ride each and every time. Then let the beauty, majesty and serenity of winter work their magic. That way, I know that he or she will want to go snowmobiling again real soon!
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.