Cold Snap in Ontario! Are You and Your Sled Ready for Multi-Day Snow Adventures?



buypermit print blacktextWith winter sledding knocking at our door, it seems like a good time to point out and remind everyone of a few sledding facts that can help you be prepared for a longer excursion in northern Ontario. Who better to ask than the people who know it best? To that end, we asked a few snowmobile dealers from the north a few questions, such as, what calls do you get most often from snowmobilers who are passing through your district on a multi-day tour? For example, what sorts of mechanical breakdowns, or what items of winter clothing or other products are these snow voyageurs tending to purchase as they pass through?

Over the years, I've toured all over Ontario's North, from Sudbury north to Cochrane and Sault Ste Marie north to Hearst. All of these northern destinations can be much colder than their southern counterparts. The best way to enjoy your northern sled trip is to be prepared for the possibility of extreme cold. When travelling in the North, dress in layers and prepared for very cold temperatures—it's often -40 C in the mornings!

DSC 1373Oh no... not another breakdown!

Here is what northern sled dealers had to say… First off, mechanical breakdowns do happen occasionally, but most calls are for recovery or to repair collision damage. Snowmobilers that go off the trail may hit rocks, stumps or other things that can cause damage. This happens frequently, probably more often than you would think. There are other considerations in poor snow conditions, with obstacles protruding on the trails that often cause collision damage. The best things to do are to always ride in control, and watch your speed on and off trail!

Worn-out carbidesNever start a big trip with worn-out carbides—these need to be replaced!DSC 8684  The sliders on this sled are worn out. There's a new one in front of it to     show a comparison on how much there should be.

A number of dealers all had the same advice: make sure that you start out with good carbides on your skis, and that they're in good condition. Another obvious check that is often over-looked is the track condition—there's no point starting a big trip with a faulty track.

During a big multi-day ride, snowmobilers that are passing through often buy spare belts and spark plugs to replace the ones that they've just been relying on out on the trails—carrying a few spares is always a good idea. Some people also like to buy OEM oil to maintain the consistency of the oil product that's been running through their machines, which I've always found to be a good idea.

Something that most southerners often don't think about is lid choice. Northern dealers are often amazed by how many helmets and heated visors they sell every year. Southerners often travel with an open face helmet because they're acclimatized to the warmer conditions in the south. These riders are frequently surprised by just how cold the north really is, especially in the mornings. Touring the north requires a good helmet that works well in very cold temperatures—be prepared for the extreme cold with lots of layers.

AAC 0124This open face helmet is great for milder temperature riding, but not so good on a cold morning. Buurrrrr!        BVS2 helmet2The Ski-Doo BVS2 helmet is well-known as one of the best, for cold weather riding. BVS2 helmetIt's warm in extreme conditions and it controls the the rider's breath, with no fogging.

Preparation is key both for yourself and your sled—having everything in good condition for a multi-day trip will ensure that you and your riding partners have a great time… after all, this is what sledding northern Ontario is all about!

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