Minnesota is home to two famous snowmobile companies, Arctic Cat and Polaris. We have the snow and we have the trails. It’s become big business in northern Minnesota and many other snowy states and Canada. It’s popular with men, but families and many women are discovering the thrills, too! It’s quite a rush to blast through a snowdrift or scream across an icy lake.
If you’ve never tried it, you can rent a machine at many lodges. It’s unbelievably fun. You don’t’ have to be a super athlete to run a machine, especially for a leisurely ride. And unlike motorcycles, snowmobiles (sleds) shift automatically.
On the other hand, a day in the saddle is an amazing workout. Steering works your shoulders and chest, while bumpy trails require a “pop up” standing position giving your legs a workout. If you are riding where there are a lot of curves you will start to lean into the curve working you stomach and core muscles. For a sport that consists of riding on a machine you will be surprised at how sore you might be after a 30 mile ride.
Safety comes first! Make sure you understand the type of terrain you will be riding. If you are riding through towns obey all traffic laws. Remember, cars can come up behind you and often sleds do not have mirrors. Check over your shoulder to make sure you have not lost anyone in your party and allow cars to pass. Trails are mostly 2-way, just like a car ride on the right. Always wear a helmet that fits properly. And if you are renting a sled make sure you ask for a demonstration on operation before starting out. Most rentals are more of the cruiser type of sled not racing sleds or high performance sleds. But ask just to make sure. Carry a map of the local trails along with a compass, matches and some granola bars.
What to wear? Warm clothing is essential! You will need warm gloves, woolly socks and lots of layers. As you can work up a sweat easily when the temperature is warm, anything over 20 degrees, a wicking base layer is recommended. Vests are a good idea as it allows your arms more movement, but keeps your core warm. Junonia’s three in one ski jacket is perfect over our highwaist ski pants. Toasty!