Shorter is Funner
Ron Jeremy doesn’t go snowmobiling very often.
But when he does, he whips out his 174” track and starts ramming it into all the nastiest zones.
Of course that’s not true. The guy’s a chubby, senior citizen pornstar. And even though he’d fit right in at the Quartz Creek parking lot, the only thing he knows about riding lines in the mountains is snorting cocaine off a stripper’s tits.
My point is this: Ron Jeremy would probably suck at snowmobiling, even though he’d be famous for having such an abnormally large track.
Anyways, it’s a well-accepted fact that the typical Caucasian male runs a fairly average size track on his mountain sled. 154” thereabouts. And while many will state blindly that bigger’s always better, there’s a growing movement towards hammering backcountry terrain with a much, much smaller unit.
Take Golden’s own Riley Suhan for instance. His go-to steed in W14/15 was a 146” Ski-Doo. And he blew people’s minds by doing shit that would be next to impossible with a bunch more inches danglin’ around. “In my mind, sledding is all about riding the piss outta the thing,” says Suhan. “You can’t just rely on your horsepower.”
This movement towards slayage with a shorter sword is having an explosive impact on the small world of mountain freeriding. It’s less about seeing if your unit goes farther up a slope than your buddy’s does, and more about whipping the thing out in the middle of a filthy pillow line.
“It might suck on the deep days going uphill, but uphill’s not as fun as downhill anyways,” says Brandon Weisener, who went all-in on a Ski-Doo Freeride with a 146” track last season. He’s used to wielding a more average-sized sled. But he’s pumped on letting a bit more MTB, ski and snowboard influence into his riding style. “Momentum is everything,” he says. “I’m have to put it to the bar and come in hot on everything.”
That being said, Revelstoke’s Rob Alford says it all depends on the conditions; 2014-15 saw much shallower penetration than previous seasons. So the guys with smaller units weren’t sinking into the deeps. But Alford, who’s set up with both a 163” and 174” has seen his less-endowed buddies have to turn around before, missing out on epic days of rooping while the big boys got all the action in a hot new area.
“And when you’re exploring new zones (with a longer track), you can kinda putt around and see where you’re going instead of just pinning it,” adds Alford.“You can still go through the deep snow,” says Riley Suhan of his shorter track setup. “You just gotta pick your lines a little better, ride the humps and keep your flow going.”
In other words, it’s not necessarily the pipe, man. It’s the dude who’s laying it. But it doesn’t really matter what you’re riding out there, as long as you’re not sending pictures of it to your buddy’s girlfriend.
– Dr. Richard Breath