Yellowknifer – Trail Report – Nov. 7, 2014
With the colder temperatures, a little ice on the lakes, shorter daylight hours and the odd flurry of snow it can only mean one thing – its sledding season. Yes, it’s that time of the year to dust off the old snowmobile, dig out the helmet, pants, jacket, boots and gloves.
It will be a few weeks before we can get out onto the trails so it is time to get the sled tuned-up. If you are a good mechanic you can go through the sled yourself following the manufacturers’ suggested checklist. Basically, change the spark plugs and drive belt, check track tension, check slider wear, carbides, oil reservoir, look for oil leaks, clutch operation, make sure the head and tail lights work, kill switch operates correctly and check the tightness of nuts and bolts through-out the sled.
If you are not a good mechanic take it to your local snowmobile dealer, discuss any mechanical issues with the service manager and hand over the keys. Depending on the amount of work required the dealer‘s mechanics can generally go over a snowmobile in a reasonable amount of time and if there are no issues the cost will be approximately $200 to $300. If there are problems with the sled the cost will go up but it is better to find the problem now and get it fixed than have the sled break down 20km from the city in the dark.
Should you be new to the sport and are looking at purchasing a new or used sled the best advice I can give you is to buy a lower powered 2-up touring snowmobile. They are more comfortable, easier to handle and generally have more options. They are a good snowmobile to learn on and you can take other members of the family with you. Unfortunately, there is a high demand for good used snowmobiles at this time of year and good ones are sold quickly.
More experienced riders will be looking at the new sleds on the dealer’s floor. One of the biggest decisions a buyer has to make is what kind of sled am I going to buy. There are 9 different categories of snowmobiles (mountain, freeriding, crossover, trail sport, performance, luxury, 2 up touring, utility and value). Within each category there are many options such as engine size, shocks, windshield height, storage bags and skis.
Now that you have properly working snowmobile, its insured and licenced (if you are going to ride within city limits) it is time to check out your tool kit. The tool kit should be stocked with all the items that came with the sled when it was new, spark plug wrench, spare pull cord, wrenches, screw driver, clutch wrench. It is a good idea to carry a spare drive belt and spare spark plugs.
Now we are almost ready to ride. Next week we will look at clothing, helmet and survival kit.
For more tips on snowmobiling log onto www.gssatrailriders.com
Ride Safe, Ride Sober