The following is from the “Editor’s Page” of the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of SnowTech Magazine. By virtue of reading this magazine, you have qualified...

The following is from the “Editor’s Page” of the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of SnowTech Magazine.

By virtue of reading this magazine, you have qualified yourself as a true snowmobiler. You want to learn as much as you can about the machines, the sport, the hardware, and now days the software as well, and most everything that has anything to do with snowmobiling.


The big companies that do research on us know that snowmobilers are a very passionate user group. We love our sport. We love our sleds. We love the camaraderie of sharing the experience. And most of all, we love to ride. It’s what we dream about. In color, on your favorite sled, in your favorite place, with fresh snow and no tracks in sight. I’m always amazed at how vivid the dreams about snowmobiling can be. You can feel the cold. You can hear the sled’s engine, you can hear the skis skipping across the top of the snow. You can see the snow coming up over the hood and onto your goggles. It’s all so real.


I often times describe snowmobiling as the “great escape”. It’s private time where you get to be alone, no cell phones alerting you to urgent communication, no computers beeping to announce the arrival of new mail, nobody bending your ear about wanting you to say good things about their products or services. Just you and your machine.

March 1974; editor Kevin at age 11 on a family ride at West Yellowstone, Montana on the Two Top loop trail, just south of intersection 14. The 1974 Yamaha TL 433 had a push-pull hi-low 2-speed transmission, a unique feature even today.


The time inside of your helmet is some of the most precious time there is, something that none of us can get enough of and wait for all summer long. That’s passion. This kind of dedication is what makes us a special breed, and a special user group. It is the shared passion for the love of the ride that makes the snowmobiling community so strong. How else could we be blessed with such a large core of volunteers who sacrifice their time, money and energy to provide the same opportunity to so many other snowmobilers?


Having somewhere to ride your snowmobile isn’t an easy task. Whether it be out on the open slopes of the West, down the perfectly groomed trails of the Midwest and East, or through the forests all across the country, keeping these areas open for our enjoyment is getting more and more difficult with each passing year.


It takes the combined efforts of thousands of snowmobilers, many of them just like you and me, who donate their time to their local trail clubs to open and maintain trails. It takes the efforts of the state snowmobile associations, working with the branches of government, to keep the system alive and functioning. And it takes the efforts of lobbyists and anti-closure groups to stay on top of the ludicrous lawsuits and attempts at closing our riding areas. The latest attacks are now on being able to ride through National Forests. There are groups who, right now, are actively trying to close our National Forest lands to snowmobiling. At a minimum, they want you to only be able to ride on designated routes, with no off-trail exploring what-so-ever.


Don’t be a pacifist. We need each and every one of us to be active, somewhere, somehow. Join a local club. Join several where you ride. Send them money, be counted. Join a state association. Join the Blue Ribbon Coalition. Donate your time, donate your knowledge and resources. If you love to ride, do everything within your capability to protect what you love and hold so dear to your heart. Do it now.

By Kevin Beilke

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