The Magic of the First Ride of the Season

It’s 1:30am and I’m wide awake, I can’t sleep knowing that in just a few short hours I will be embarking on my first snowmobile ride of the season. I close my eyes in an attempt to try and force myself to sleep but my eyelids have become gigantic screens that project images of wintery adventures of the past. Seconds feel like hours as I lay in my dark room dreaming of the trek that is only a few hours away, somehow I’m able to finally doze off to catch some much needed ZZZZZs.

The above is a frequent occurrence for us snowmobilers, the anticipation of that first ride is incredibly powerful. We have waited months for this day, it’s been especially aggravating this year with Mother Nature and Old Man Winter playing a continuous tug of war with the thermometer. Looking back this roller coaster scenario that occurs in December and Early January is in fact quite normal, however this year the highs and lows seem to be enhanced perhaps due to the reliability of the past two seasons, nevertheless it’s time to ride.

The morning is brilliant as the light hits the snow covered trees, a quick check of the OFSC iSnowmobile App shows that a just over 1000km of trail are now available for riding. It’s go time and I feel like I've never been more prepared. 

As we fire up the sleds to head out, I remind our small group that the conditions are limited and snow cover is minimal. I reiterate to use extra caution and to expect the unexpected. It’s very easy for the excitement to get the best of you and I want to see everyone and their machines back in one piece at the end of the day, after all this is only day one of what could potentially be another epic season of riding.

jeffs sled

We adventure through the trails until we come upon a bridge over a pristine river, the water rushes by as it meanders over rocks and around the bends, I reflect on how much I’ve missed both the tranquil scene as well as the peaceful audio track of this remote destination—this is what it’s all about—it’s one of the driving factors of why I snowmobile.

Mattawa area 3 pics

The serenity of the scene is invigorating, the water is en route to somewhere new and so are we. I fire up my Ski-Doo and proceed on to the next godly destination. The trails look and feel perfect even though they are far from the quality of peak season condition, it’s the best there is for now and it’s good enough for me.

We traverse through the stately forest. Everything about this adventure is BIG; the trees stretch tall towards the sky and trails seem never ending. As we ride around corners and over hills we climb in elevation and head toward
one of my all-time favourite destinations – the Boulter Lookout.

The lookout gives us a panoramic view of the wild landscape, and I notice that my brightly coloured customized snowmobile both contrasts and fits perfectly with the backdrop landscape. Does it get any better than this?

Kim 2

I think to myself: I want to remember this moment in time and how privileged we are to be able to adventure to places like this, a few quick photos will help to trigger a full days’ worth a memories when I look back at this ride in the future. It’s thumbs up all around from the riding crew and that means a lot as I’m riding with my wife Kim and my father.

dad1 2

This is my first ride of the season, but for my Dad it’s his only ride as tomorrow he will return to Florida to work on his golf game. Perhaps as he tees off next week with his golfing buddies he’ll share the story of his ride in the wilderness of Ontario. I hope that when he does it sends chills down the spines of his fellow snowbirds and for a moment gives them a break from the relentless humidity.

I hope your first ride is as memorable as mine. I know you’ve waited many months for this day and like me are extremely excited. Remember to take your time, ride according to the conditions, appreciate the opportunity, recognize the hard work of our club volunteers and of course snap a few photos and tag #OntarioSnowTrails so that we all can enjoy your first 2015-2016 snowmobile experience.

See you on the snow!


About Jeff McGirr

Jeff McGirr is a powersports & marine enthusiast who loves sharing Northern Ontario experiences with you through his articles and videos.

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