Why Am I Even Riding, Bro?
Oh. man. You’ve been literally waiting for this day since you took your last ride of last season. Do you remember that last day? You had to drive really far to even reach the snow. It was hot, bluebird and slushy and you went through a new set of carbides while blazing down the trail shirtless with only snow pants on. Yeah, sure you do. You loaded your sled on your deck, exchanged helmet and goggles for your NW Sledder flat brim and shades, cracked open a can of Mt. Begbie and toasted… well… yourself. You good-naturedly shared a tailgate beer with all your buds as you reminisced on all your best days, “Man, do you guys remember that day we were tits deep in the trees? Those guys tried to keep up with us…ha!” resounding laughter echoed through mountain passes as you thought about those poor souls you lost deep in the bush while doing “cabin laps”. Story after story poured out of everyone in overlapping disorder, you and your buddies vying for the spotlight to recapture the highlights of your seasons. “Wait.. wait…wait… do you guys remember when I launched off that cliff in Joss? That was so epic! I easily went 20 feet farther than Buddy…”
Yes, everyone was strewn haphazardly on snowmobiles, dirty snow banks and pick ups as you all recounted every. single. detail from your “very best season EVER!” but as the spring sun dipped behind the mountain tops a touch of sadness descended over your group. It really was your last ride. And as you convoyed off the mountain - a lifted Super Duty with sleds on a deck in front of you and a lifted Super Duty with sleds on a deck behind you in the rearview you were already counting down the days when you’d be heading back up the mountain for your very next “very best season EVER!”
Well, friends. The wait is over!
Or is it…
You scroll through social media and it’s sledding photo after sledding photo after sledding photo (be sure to check out @sledrevelstoke on Instagram y’all ;) ). Everyone is all “#winteriscoming #letitsnow #5morefridays”. You get your annual text message from your November-April Friend “Bro! ARE YOU READY? I checked out Gnorm the Powder Gnome and he was COVERED. Winter is coming. Let’s ride!” You open your window one day and see freshies dusting the mountain tops and decide hell, enough is enough, today is the day.
You make some phone calls and a few of your friends are just crazy enough to join you. On the way out of the house as you make your way to your garage you glance at the Jack-O-Lantern grinning at you on your doorstep. What was a jubilant grin last night welcoming trick-or-treaters now looks more like a mocking sneer or a knowing smirk - it is as if the pumpkin knows this is a bad idea and you’re probably going to break shit. But you shrug off that ominous feeling and open your garage door. Suddenly all looming doubts vanish as you cast your eyes on that brand new 2018 Freeride! Just look at her! All those crisp white panels and pristine tunnel! You give her a pull and she turns over with ease. The sound of that 850 purring is akin to a siren song whispering “Oh yes, let’s ride. It doesn’t matter if there is barely any snow… this is a good idea.” The smell of two stroke is heady and fills your garage full of exhaust. You’ve craved that smell since April and one hit and you’re a sled junkie all over again. Now it’s not even a matter of wanting to ride - it’s a need.
You meet at a gas station. You and your boys are all fuelling up sleds and rigs when your only non-sledding friend, Rebecca, pulls up in a topless Jeep. You’re not the crazy ones though - don’t worry. It’s all her. Sure, there is plenty of snow up there.
You drive for hours and your mind flashes back to that last ride of last season. Are you experiencing deja vu? You’re still in the same convoy, you’re still heading up that very same logging road and you’re still driving for way too long up a mountain to find - let’s be honest - not enough snow. But wait. This time is different, this time you’re hauling up your brand new machine and she doesn’t even have a kilometre on her yet.
Finally! You reach enough snow that you can (maybe?) safely unload. Most of the ground is covered with grass and fallen leaves but still you gear up. High five. Fire up those snow-ponies and proceed to ride that beautiful new machine over exposed rocks, roots, dirt and gravel. Every crunch and grind of your ski smashing off another rock is a dagger to the heart and for the first time you actually ask yourself “Why am I even riding, bro?”. Surely the alpine will be better though, so you press onwards. Several times up the trail you’ve stopped to either make sure no sleds are overheating, to rest your sore summer legs or to haul your machines over strewn logs and debris after months of unuse.
You reach the alpine! Oh heck yeah! Time to ride! Your buddy, Larry, can’t even contain his excitement. The meadow in front of you is covered with fresh and he just has to be the first person to carve through the deep. Except wait. What is happening? Mid carve Larry’s sled comes to a complete halt and as if in slow motion you see Larry scorpion hard over his handlebars before flying, without grace, in front his sled. He rolls end over end yard-saling a few items before coming to a dead stop. Is he breathing? What happened? AND WHY ARE WE EVEN RIDING, BRO?
Despite the aerobatics Larry is untouched but even worse his sled, sadly, is not. Larry wasn’t crying from the pain of injuries but now a sob escapes beneath his helmet as he takes in his sled wrapped around a wayward stump the size of a Volkswagen Beetle — a broken A-arm, destroyed ski and crinkled bulkhead. A stream of curses are issued around the group, now formed in a loose semi circle surrounding the damaged machine. At an attempt for humour in the misery Ben pipes up, “Larry, it’s called Break-In Mode not Break-It Mode.” Nobody is laughing, Ben. It is too soon. It is too soon.
After some alpine innovation - mostly the combination of man tears, chewing gum, a stick, some broken rope and bad ideas - Larry’s sled is hauled down the mountain. The air once filled with jubilation is now tainted with despair. Larry hasn’t said a word on the way down. Surely his mind is calculating the price of new parts even if his buddy Joe Snowflake Emoji can get him dealer cost.
You load up the machines and make your way down the mountain stopping at a pub for dinner - someone, anyone pick up Larry’s tab - and finally the question we all asked in our heads is voiced “Why were we even riding, bro?”
The answer is simple. We love this sport. We love the adrenaline, the adventure, the relentless progression. We dream for months about snow, mountain families, best days ever and fun. And when you dream so hard and wait so long the soon can never come soon enough. Every single day is an eternity and every single day there is snow on the mountains and you didn’t ride is a day lost. And because you know that every day you ride, regardless of setbacks, injuries or broken parts is one more day contributing to your “very best season EVER!” and laughter on a tailgate under a spring sunset with your best friends.
That’s why even after yesterday’s catastrophe when you wake up in the morning and see even more fresh you call all your friends (except Larry) and say “So, are we even going riding today, bro?”