Yamafest 2017 — Good Times, Good People
Mountain Sledder | On 12, Apr 2017
This might sound cheesy, but I think Yamaha riders in general are some of the nicest people around. But there must be some connection, because every Yamaha employee, volunteer and the rider that we ran into at Yamafest 2017 at Boulder Mountain, Revelstoke on Saturday was just having a heck of a good time and pleased as punch to be at the event. No matter that it was nuking snow and pea soup visibility for most of the day, the Yamafolks and everyone around sure had a good old-fashioned time up in Sugar Bowl, hanging out, showing off and riding the 2018 sleds. And when the sun did show up, it was icing on the cake.
Yamafest 2017 — Good times, Good People
The parking lot wasn’t quite as packed as we expected when we pulled up to the Boulder Mountain trailhead for Yamafest 2017, but we were ahead of schedule for the day’s events. Still, trailers were lined up and there was a lot of shiny iron sitting around, ready to head up into the alpine.
Now, it can be said that different makes of mountain sled each perform best in different types of riding terrain. And there is possibly no better venue to showcase the high-output potential of the Yamaha mountain lineup than the open alpine and steeps of Boulder Mountain.
For that reason you’re likely to spot more Yamahas at Boulder than most zones, but on this day in particular, they were everywhere! Certainly there were more late-model Sidewinders and Vipers than anything else, but there was also no shortage of super-shiny custom and modified Yammys rolling through the parking lot as well.
Demo Rides in Sugar Bowl
Anyone who’s ever ridden Boulder in a whiteout can tell you that it can be quite a labyrinth when the clouds roll in. It took awhile to find, but when we finally crested the hill overlooking Sugar Bowl the event was just about underway with a decent crowd already assembled.
Yamaha had a couple of booths set up in the bowl, and an army of representatives talking tech with interested members of the public.
On hand were a number of 2018 sleds ready to be demo’d, which saw a lot of action as a steady rotation of sledders poured through the gates to test out the 2018 Sidewinder M-TX technology for themselves.
Sno Scoot Races
We’re not exactly sure how the Sno Scoot made its way into Sugar Bowl, but there it was. The only problem was that there weren’t any kids around to test it out. So it was left to the adults to have some fun on the pint-sized sled.
The Yamaha fellas had set up a little race oval in the bowl, marked out with yellow cones that were progressively more obscured by under the heavy snowfall that settled in around noon. The partially buried cones were the only source of reference when the clouds socked in the bowl, making it difficult to see the course and even harder to stay on it.
Nonetheless, goodtimes enthusiasts lined up for a shot at claiming the best time of a 2-lap spin around the course on the little 9hp beast. It was surprising how well it churned along through the soft snow, even off-course! The suspension is very plush, and we couldn’t believe how well it soaked up all but the biggest whoops, even with grown men-boys aboard. Impressive!
The short oval track certainly gave us “racers” an appreciation for the heroes of the SnoCross world as we stepped off the Sno Scoot out of breath and with burning thighs after only a short couple of laps.
Here Comes the Sun
Finally in the early afternoon, the sun began to poke out through the clouds so we decided to head west for a tour around on the new Sidewinder. As we made our way down the ridge, we found some fresh, untouched snow from the previous night that hadn’t yet been discovered during the whiteout.
It made for a perfect opportunity to test out the Sidewinder M-TX with some open pow turns, mellow sidehills through the trees and short pulls up some steeper stuff. The Sidewinder has a ton of power! The existence of a sled with this much jam—straight from the factory—was only a pipe dream just a few years ago. It hauls ass! The Sidewinder could easily pull slopes with half to three-quarters throttle that our 2-stroke stocker could barely make with wide-open throttle.
Our sidehill test showed that the 162″ would plant nicely on sideslopes, without the wrenching tendency to fall off the line downhill that was an inclination of Yamaha models of the past. Very nice.
And pow carves were easy to initiate and maintain through a turn. With a little weight shifting and not a lot of steering input required, it was easy to get the Sidewinder into a nice, controlled side-to-side carving rhythm in the open pow.
You’ll have to wait for next fall’s issue of Mountain Sledder Magazine for all the fine details of our test rides. But for now we can say that the Sidewinder M-TX felt quite natural and was a lot of fun to ride!
Good Times, Good People
It’s hard to have a bad time when the snow is fresh and the sun is on your face. That certainly contributed to the overall good vibes of the day. But it was the attitudes of the people there that really made Yamafest 2017 into an enjoyable day on snow. A community of not just Yamaha riders but sledding enthusiasts in general were congregated to enjoy what might have been the last day on snow this winter for some.
We’re already looking forward to next year!