With nearly 2 decades of filming the Boondockers snowmobile series, we’ve logged a shocking pile of miles on our machines, met some pretty incredible characters and visited the most amazing riding environments on the planet. Witnessed many advancements in snowmobile technology, watched riders push the sport’s limits beyond our wildest imagination, and of course, developed quite a repertoire of ridiculous stories and outrageous experiences.
Needless to say, when someone asks about my favorite all time ride, I’ve got an awfully impressive inventory to choose from. When prompted, I often talk about the first time Brian Seaward tore his 1996 Phazer Mountain Lite around the side hills of Grand Lake. There’s the first “Big”, back country, cliff jump witnessed in Gros Morne National Park, when Jay Quinlan dropped nearly 80’ on his visit to Newfoundland. Any trip to Utah is worth noting but that inaugural trip with Dan Gardiner, Phatty, Ryan, Rick and Shane was completely off the hook. There’s been many close calls, some especially good luck. We’ve been awed, amazed, horrified, frightened, stressed, joyous, thankful, cursed and at times even, overwhelmed.
“… inaugural trip with Dan Gardiner…”
We’ve also enjoyed an opportunity to test nearly every single piece of snowmobile equipment and accessory available – so this story might surprise you, because I believe my most memorable ride was aboard a 2003 Arctic Cat Bear Cat.
Keeping in mind that this was no ordinary trip.
We were hosting our first entourage of professional snowmobile riders in Newfoundland, with the plan for a week-long film shoot in Gros Morne followed by a big freestyle aerial show in the town of Corner Brook. Everyone was in great form including an entourage of local kids who came to ride with the Sled Necks crowd.
“… week long film shoot…”
For the life of me I can’t remember what kind of machine I rode in that evening since my new Rev 440x was on loan to our guests. Just as well for there was so little snow that we made a straight B-line through the country. All the while praying the forecast would bring enough powder to properly showcase the destination.
We certainly got our wish, for a storm system descended on us that evening and we were grounded at the camp for the next 24 hours. Now, camp days in Newfoundland are most conducive to a ‘Day Boil’ and by 6 that afternoon we had annihilated a goodly portion of our alcohol reserves – most particularly the main ingredients for a new favorite the boys introduced to the cooks and wait staff. The ‘Pink Puppet’ was a huge hit with ingredients that included – vodka, Mike’s hard cranberry cooler (mix) and red ‘Sourpuss’ (more mix). Tangly
Rather than disappoint the crowd – and to maintain the party’s momentum, one of the boys got on the SAT phone and somehow managed to talk a club owner in Deer Lake into replenishing the supplies, and a taxi driver from the same town to make the delivery. Well, as far as the BnR cabins anyway. We’d have to figure out the next 100 kms of snow and storm on our own.
Thankfully I wasn’t drinking that day and together with four guys who also held back on the bottle, we made our way out to kilometer 46 in a raging storm. Here we climbed aboard our big 2500 crew cab and rally handled the brute of a truck down over the logging roads in a sliding drift that never stopped till we struck the bottom of Taylor’s Brook Road.
“… to maintain the momentum…”
Our cab arrived at the exact same moment and a quick transfer of cash and goods put us zooming sidelong back into the mountains. We reached the sleds in no time.
As absurd as it might sound, this is when the story really begins, for our buddy sent a lot more liquor than we expected, and with snow piling to monstrous depths, we had no choice but borrow the resort’s wide track snowmobile and luggage sled. A big slide with just enough room to pack in the entire liquor order.
With the help of the lads we got the tandem unit in motion and though concerned about breakage, I had no choice and let everything hang out. There was so much snow that stopping was not going to be an option and once started, gas would be my only friend. I kept her pinned and soon the big cat was pouncing along the trail, boondocking through the drifts, burrowing myself, sled and slide in a funnel of swirling snow pack. What a ridiculous run.
“… everything arrived in tact”
There were great shouts of cheer when we reached the camp – but they soon faded into silence as we made way to inspect the load, again praying that all was not destroyed. Well, can you imagine the cries with the realization that everything had arrived in tact? The drifting snow settled all about the individual bottles, creating a natural packing material that absorbed all the impact from the ride – and chilled the contents to a perfect icy cold.
Now that’s what I call a cool cat.
Sweat Your Brains Out