It is always fun when people ask us, “What do you guys do in the summer?”
Sure, we’re a snowmobile magazine, so the question and curiosity is logical. They often wonder if we have some other publication, or some other business venture that keeps us busy during the no-snow months of the year.
In fact, publishing SnowTech is our primary and full-time occupation. That’s not to imply we work full-steam ahead 52 weeks a year at it, at least not all of us at the same time. We do get the chance to relax and take a sigh of relief from about mid-April to mid-June, but other than that it is full-steam ahead the only thing we do. Snowmobiles.
Maybe they’re asking us what we do for fun the rest of the time. Some of our staff are avid bass fisherman, both sport and tournament, outfitted with Ranger boats and Evinrude E-TEC motors. Big ones (225 & 250). And they really work good for us. At least these new ones. The earlier ones with the old-style injectors were not as good, for sure.
Since we live in the Minnesota lakes area, we really enjoy being on the water when possible. Anything from kayaking to paddleboats to fishing to pontoon rides, or just plain swimming. It is a way of life around here for us just like snowmobiling. We still have a couple of GTX RFI Sea-Doo personal watercraft (the first SDI motors), but they have not seen as much use the past few summers with everything else that has been keeping us busy.
What about ATVs? We have some of those too, right now we’re down to a Yamaha Grizzly, a couple of Arctic Cats and an old Honda TRX. Can’t kill them old Hondas, they just seem to keep going and going. That’s why we ride Honda dirt bikes as well – and we have a really good Honda bike dealer locally (we lost our local Yamaha dealer, bad deal). We’ve had several side-by-side UTVs as well, from the Yamaha Rhino to Arctic Cat Prowlers to a three-cylinder John Deere (very tough machine).
And of course there are the Spyders. Both of the 2008s now have over 20,000 miles on them, with over 8,000 this summer alone. The cool year earlier this summer made for some sweet riding, from the Dakotas to Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan.
Those who walk into our modest shop are always delighted to see the mix of machines in and around the place. Boats, trailers, bikes, Spyders, and of course the place is still crammed with sleds. A couple of Ski-Doo E-TECs (the current industry standard in our eyes), a couple of trailing arm Yamahas, a 2002 BLADE (that hasn’t run much for maybe four years), an old Arctic Cat Z 440 (kid sled) and a red and black 2011 Polaris RMK 800. Just haven’t been able to part with this sled quite yet. It’s the standard model, not the Pro, so it is somewhat Spartan in many respects (shocks, fuel gauge) but use it in the conditions it is designed for – deep snow – and it excels.
But now that August is almost upon us, it is time to quit catching up on everything else (like servicing the trailers) and time to get back into the snowmobile mindset. We continue to scour the information we have accumulated and find the latest and greatest in technology to explain and introduce. Or shall we say, sort through the hype and B.S. and explain it in easier to understand “how does it apply to you” terms. We firmly believe in providing accurate information so you can better figure it out for yourself. We report the facts, honestly and fairly, and share our own knowledge and experience so you can benefit from it. That formula has worked well for us for over 40 years and has evolved into a trusted and respected voice.
Well, it has quit raining here for the first time in many days, so it is time to fire up a Spyder and go out for a ride. Not quite snowmobiling, but pretty dang close. If it gets hot we’ll hop on the watercraft. When it cools down we’ll go ride dirt bike. When it snows, then it really gets fun. The desire to ride must be hard-wired into our being. Doesn’t really matter if it has a throttle or not, it’s all good. The sense of exploration and adventure is a thrill every time out – what is over the next hill, what is around the next corner, always seeking new places and new experiences.
Time to ride.