Too close

Too close


Sunday just seemed like another day for a group ride. this time we headed out to a new place near superior, Montana. The weather was suppose to be fair and sunny. Being in the spring we expected some bare spots on the trail. After unloading we started out with some dirt spots, not 'too' long, I guess about 500-1000 yards in places, about 4 of them, then we finally got on the melting snow pack. I stopped at the trail head to wait for the rest of the group, who was taking care of some last minute sled adjustments and such. Then all about 10 of us joined up at the first intersection and headed across the ridges with some serious boondocking. I was right at home with this stuff although the bumpy trail parts i could have done without, since this old body was still pretty tired and sore from the day before, working around the shop and on my truck.

After about 3-4 miles we got to the first play area, which was like a large bowl with lots of steep climbing, but with some freashies on top, making it kinda fun and challenging. We also came across a lake, which i had to do my favorite maneuver carving circles in the shallow powder. Not as much fun from last january, nevertheless got my "habit" fixed, well at least for a while. After about 4 bowls and playing, going up and down some pretty outrageous trails we pretty much settled in one of the last areas for the day. One guy who typically does fantastic climbs in outrageous chutes, performed for us, even doing a wheelie the last part of the climb. I did some too, but without the wheelie. At the top is a ridge, with small cornices but fairly safe if you stay away from the edge. I took a run all the way to the top; surprised the others didn't bother. I came back down, just to take another run at the main area the group was playing in. By then i started getting tired, but you know, dummy here, just can't get enough of a good thing, so i made another run, just barely making it near the top and topped out on the ridge. This time i decided to turn around on the ridge. Bad idea. This slippery new, sloppy snow gave away, just as I was siding ways, turning and lost it. It's a little unclear but i got thrown off just to see my sled sling around and slide downhill backwards. This was the opposite side of the ridge we were playing-for a good reason, almost vertical, cliffy and rocks everywhere. My first thought was this was the end of my sled. It slid between two trees (remember going backwards) with that horrible sound of whacking plastic/metal against bad things, then just before going over the "cliff" with the hungry rocks way below, about 200' down, my ski hooked on two little trees, plus a couple more just behind my sled which didn't even contact. it was like God was steering

My sled being through the first two trees and gave me another chance with the hook. There was a funny noise started so i ran down to shut the motor off. My sled had wedged between the belly pan (that was the awful bang of plastic) and one ski/steering post, etc. the belly pan had been pushed in far enough to rub against the clutch. I was almost in shock realizing how damn lucky I was. After a short prayer I called on the radio and got some help. In a few minutes two came up to help and we had my sled unhooked; I popped the bend belly pan back out, and headed back down to the basin with the group. After checking things over i realized how resilient this sled design is. The belly just popped the bad out, with a plastic bend mark, but otherwise, just had to repair the windshield mounts that came out, when the first tree starting ripping it off. Those mounts are perfect; just enough to hold it for normal ride, but will give away in an emergency. Man, I sure love my sled. plastics are truly amazing. wish I was 22 again and had more energy. They say it doesn't get any better than this. On the trail ride back to the trucks I put my gas stabilizer in the tank, endured the rain/sleet/snow and called it a day and a season.

[Karl's sled page]