Baller crapped out, so it's just Gerbil and me this year. Luckily Baller is saving all his mojo to really do The Group Ride up right, so his absence is forgiven. We've been up here since Saturday and surprisingly enough we've ridden every day.
We rolled down from Bozeman on Saturday, buffeted by a 50 mph breeze. We tolerated those conditions because the forecast called for epic quantities of snow. Mr. snow optimist, John Dee, must have been forecasting for NOAA because the forecast storm totals, which exceeded 36" at one point, never materialized. We got about 7 or 8 inches down here in the lodging area. A couple thousand feet higher there was a little more, but not that much. There is no base though, so in some places the snow rides super deep.
Saturday test and tune revealed Gerbil's Piece of Shit Arctic Cat Handful Assault didn't want to run at all. It was like some kind of messed up limp mode that felt all weird and stuff. Sunday with the tether unplugged, we rode for 25 minutes before it crapped out. It sporadically caused problems, enraging Gerbil when he'd bog out in a technical sidehill right above trees. Those stucks weren't pretty.
Next day it rode the trailer to the dealer for a hot date with the digital wrench. Nothing was revealed, but a tightened throttle cable and new plugs courtesy of the dealership made the Handful rip hard down in the potato fields of Ashton.
Got back and headed out. Sled ran like a champ until Gerbs started hammering on it hard in the deep stuff. There seemed to be a pattern emerging where the sled goes into shit mode whenever it's under a heavy load at full throttle.
Tuesday, Gerbil gave his P.o.S.A.C. another tow down to the dealer and they put in a fuel filter. This seemed to really help during test rips across the golf course, but when we got deep in the shit, the problem would show up every now and then. We were working over the top of a burn canyon that we usually hit, but we got owned by it this year. What a mess! We got stuck so much it was retarded. You'd run over a buried tree and there would be a void in the snow that would collapse and utterly bury the sled. It was super fun to step off the sled to dig out and sink up to your chin. Gerbil may have broken Baller's record for sawing down trees in that area. They may need to compare notes to confirm that. Further around the loop, we found some really sweet untracked snow. Tons of untracked terrain was up there, but twilight in the fog limited our attempts to track it all out.
One of the multitude of stucks in the forest of miniature predatory trees:
Today we headed up into the hills on the other side of the valley. Weird snow. You'd be riding along kind of on top of the snow, with the snow breaking over your spindles, and all of the sudden you'd initiate a turn and the snow is breaking at your windshield. We almost got stuck going downhill a few times. Odd thing was, the snow wasn't heavy or dense. It was kind of a granular consistency that sometimes felt light, but other times it took tons of power to trench through. Gerbil's sled crapped the bed a few times, but most of the time it seemed to go hard. Snow wasn't really deep down at valley level where we took the following pictures, but it wasn't bad. We had fun ripping up a little creek bed. Too bad it was getting dark.