5 New Year’s Resolutions for Sledders

Commitments snowmobilers can make—and actually keep—to make the 2019 season one to remember!

Every year we make New Year’s resolutions to eat better, lose weight, spend more time with family or to further our careers. This year, however, I’ve decided to make my resolution all about snowmobiling! 

The best way to make a New Year resolution stick is to pick something attainable and worthwhile. So let’s break it down to my Top Five New Year Resolutions for Sledders.

1. Go Somewhere New

Instead of riding in the same area year after year, considering loading up your sled and trailering somewhere you’ve never been before. Check out this list of out-of-the-way destinations in Ontario—four of them can only be reached by snowmobile! There are thousands of kilometres of snowmobile trails across Ontario, and they are all worth checking out.

If you regularly ride in Northeastern Ontario, consider heading west and taking on the epic 906-km Wilderness Loop. The Algoma Region—think Sault Ste. Marie, Dubreuilville, and Wawa’s Top Secret Boondocking Location—is home to gorgeous trails, deep powder adventures, and tons of snow! Or for something closer to home try the classic R.A.P (Round Algonquin Park) Tour instead and cut your trailering time down significantly. If the winter cooperates, check out some of the trails located closer to the Greater Toronto Area. 

2. Stay at a Snowmobile-Friendly Resort

Big smiles at Cedar Gables Lodge in Bonfield, Ontario

When deciding where to stay on your next snowmobile trip, look for a resort that caters directly to snowmobilers. Places like the Relais Magpie Relay, Halfway Haven Lodge, Cedar Gables Lodge, Horwood Lake Lodge, and the newly reopened Mattawa River Resort pride themselves on being prime destinations for sledders of all ages. With special sled-friendly features like heated garages, fireplaces, boot dryers, and more, these snowmobile-friendly resorts will bring your next trip to an all-new level!

Good times at Halfway Haven Lodge outside Wawa, Ontario

3. Safety First

There are a few key items that everyone should be carrying with them in case of an accident or a tough situation. Would you rather spend a night in the woods with a campfire and emergency blanket or freeze in the dark? Stop putting off buying the important safety accessories! Pick up a First Aid Kit online or at your local outdoor store. Pack a small gear bag with a fold-out saw, flint, or waterproof matches, a tow strap, emergency blanket, spare gloves and socks, and emergency rations like protein bars and a bottle or two of water. Simple and easy-to-pack items can make a huge difference in an unexpected or life-threatening situation.

When you get way out there, you want to be sure you've got what you need to get back

It’s also important to know how to take care of the basic mechanical aspects of snowmobiling. If you don’t know how to change your belt, learn. If you don’t know how to change your fuses or spark plugs, learn. A few hours spent learning these basics can save you hours of downtime on the trail. Click here for eight often-overlooked snowmobile maintenance tips and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. You can also ask a friend or head over to the University of Youtube! Click here to see the OFSC list of Driver Training opportunities in Ontario for 2019.

4. Invest in Better Gear

If you find yourself or your significant other are uncomfortable in your current gear, consider investing in warmer and more durable outwear and under layers. Cutting corners and being cheap with your snowmobile gear can really make or break a ride. If you want to enjoy what nature has to offer in the dead of winter, upgrading your gear or investing in high-quality base layers is a great way to keep it enjoyable for everyone. No one likes to be cold, and no one wants to hear someone complaining about it. 

5. Get Back to Nature

One of my favourite parts of snowmobiling has always been late-season cookouts with friends and family. If you’ve never had a cookout with your snowmobile crew, 2019 is the year to do just that. When temperatures begin to rise and the sun makes standing around outside enjoyable, pick a secluded spot on a nearby lake and spend the day enjoying winter at its best. For a basic cookout, all you need is some firewood and a pack of hot dogs. Or you can go full-out like our sled crew. We not only have a custom-built charcoal grill on skis, but we’ve been known to bring out an outhouse on skis as well!

Spice up the menu with chicken burgers, sausages, pierogies, sardines, fish sticks, ’smores, and more! The options really are limitless. After all is said and done, make sure you respect the land and take all your garbage with you.

And if you’re still not sold on the outdoor lunch, you can still eat trailside with one of the Top 50 Snowmobile-Friendly Restaurants in Ontario

Bonus New Year’s Resolution

Volunteer with your local club! If you find yourself with some free time volunteer for a day of trail maintenance or at a club fundraiser. Every little bit helps! 

I think I just started a new trend for myself. Snowmobile New Year’s resolutions just sound a lot more enjoyable than dieting and going to the gym! No matter what you decide to do for your New Year’s resolution, have a happy, healthy, safe, and awesome 2019!

About Shelby Mahon

Growing up snowmobiling in Northern Ontario has been a defining aspect of Shelby's life. She is now the owner of Backcountry Motorsports Media and travels across North America photographing and documenting motorsports events and tourism destinations. Check out her Facebook, Instagram and website for more info.

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