There are experts who conduct regular classes and clinics in backcountry snowmobiling to help you prepare and perfect your skills. If you’re anxious to get off the trails and into the mountains, consider taking some instruction first. You’ll ride easier and have the knowledge necessary to stay out of trouble.
It’s a great return on your time and effort to learn the fundamentals of mountain riding, and practicing them repeatedly also helps build muscle memory and improves strength. While the driver is boosting cardiovascular health, he or she is also becoming more aware of what they are capable of, and learning the limitations of their sled. Improving basic technique rewards these students with the ability to handle new and ever more challenging terrain.
Instructor-led drills for mountain and backcountry riding usually begin with an in-depth discussion about avalanche safety and how to physically prepare for mountain riding. The air is thinner in the high country altitude, so you’ll learn to conserve your strength and stamina: this is the end goal of improved technique. Mountain riding offers a lot of spectacular scenery, but it’s far more than a joy ride. You’ll be increasing your skill set with some unfamiliar moves reserved for use on very steep inclines with rough terrain and deep snow.
For example, drivers might learn how to flip their sled up onto a single ski and balance it there while stepping into the snow alongside the machine to make a 180 degree turn. It’s not a simple trick to learn or master, but it makes mountain riding easier and safer, and allows the rider to pass through narrow corridors of trees. This particular technique can be exhausting at first, and most drivers fall over and wear themselves out by repeatedly having to right their sled. And just when you’re ready to celebrate that perfectly executed right turn, the instructor will remind you that the process needs to be repeated until you can make the same flawless move to the left! It’s more difficult than it seems, but once the skill is finally mastered it can be done with very little effort.
A solid foundation of mountain driving skills pays off in fun and satisfaction when you are able to carve out a smooth deep powder turn in a pristine landscape, or when you immediately recognize a potentially risky riding area that should be avoided.