Bad Winter, Good Winter
Luke Rohde | On 31, Mar 2016
Justin Befu Photo
When you think of a bad winter, you think 14/15.
Last season was probably the most frustrating season in my entire career of snowmobiling. Some areas in the United States were never even legally opened. I think that’s why the beginning of this winter was so great, not just because it was the beginning of the season after a long summer and a really disappointing winter. But because my first ride happened at home. During the 14/15 season, I rode in my home state only about 10 times. The rest of season was spent on the road chasing snow. I know a lot of my friends have been doing that for years but Washington State usually has very good snow, and I had never seen it as bad as last year.
My first ride happened on November 11th and there was 4 feet of very unusual snow for Washington. Washington normally has pretty heavy snow, but this was different. It was the extremely light and sugary kind, the snow we all love. We definitely weren’t expecting to have such a great ride our first time out, not to mention a break-in ride on two brand-new sleds! That set the bar high for snow, and it hasn’t let up since.
I rode more times in the month of December this season than I did all of last winter. I started working nights right around Thanksgiving and it could not have been a better time for that to happen. Snow was stacking up. I would work at night and get a few hours of sleep, then hit the hill. I was able to catch so many deep sunny pow days because of the night shift. I would ride during the week when I don’t normally get to ride, and having all those areas with deep pow really spoiled me! December was amazing; I didn’t ride one day that month that was less than two feet deep. That right there really makes up for last year!
One day that really sticks out for me this year was New Year’s Day. I hadn’t planned on going riding on New Year’s, and I hadn’t asked anyone to go riding. But I called my buddy Ethan at around 10am and he wasn’t doing anything, so I asked him if he wanted to go for a quick rip up to one of our close local spots. He said yeah sure why not. I loaded my truck with my sled, and loaded all my gear into my truck and I was on my way. He is about an hour away from me and the riding area we were going to is about 20 minutes from his house. I got to his house at about noon, helped him load his sled and pack his gear and we headed up to the spot.
Where we unloaded was pretty low altitude and it had rained on all the snow making it pretty icy. Heading up the trail I was a little upset that the conditions on the trail weren’t as good as I had anticipated. But as we got a little higher in altitude the snow started getting a lot better. This area has a pretty long trail into the riding area and as we started getting into really good snow on the trail, we started going faster up the hill. Now I am no trail rider, but with 2 feet of pow on the trail, it makes for a pretty fun trail ride. Just being able to carve up the hill on the trail makes it that more fun. We were carving in and out of each other’s tracks as fast as we could up this trail. Carving into corners and completely dragging shoulder. It kind of reminded me of riding a street bike.
We got up into our area and had 3 feet of fresh and the whole place to ourselves. We explored into a zone that we had never really looked at and found quite a bit more riding area that we didn’t even know was there. Perfect for when the popular areas are pounded out.
This winter has been great, and so much better than last year. Lately we have had a little bit of a warm and wet spell, but I am going to stay optimistic and keep doing my snow dances for the rest of what’s left of winter. Let’s hope it stays cold and wet for good spring riding weather and snow!