This Virtual Reality Snowmobile Video Will Blow Your Mind

When you can't actually be out there on the trails, the next big thing is the next best thing.

You’ve probably heard of virtual reality as the next big thing. Some of you might have already tried it, but we’ve got a new film about snowmobiling that is filmed specifically for VR to help you really understand just how awesome this technology is.

This video features the charming Katie Erb guiding her riding buddy on the snowmobile experience of a lifetime. Of course, it's a big surprise for him just exactly where they’re going. Nothing gets you closer to the action than a totally immersive 360-degree VR film, especially when you’re snowmobiling.

For this experience, you can watch it on your phone as a 360-degree film—which just means you can watch it and scroll around in every direction—ORyou can put it in VR mode (the little goggle icon at the bottom right will do it) and watch it in your VR headset!

We shot this last year in the glorious Mattawa Voyageur Country, staying at the recently re-opened Mattawa River Resort. You can read the article and see the video about the resort right here

What are virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) exactly? And why are they going to be the next big thing for powersports? 

Virtual reality is the creation of a completely computer-generated reality that you can interact with. It is a fully functional reality that you can experience through visuals, audio, and sometimes through actual touch feedback through controllers.

Augmented reality is a form of virtual reality that combines the real world with elements of a computer-generated world. It’s often seen as an overlay. You might be looking at the room you’re standing in with a table in front of you. If you look at the table through a headset or phone with AR, you might see a computer-generated map on the table, or a miniature army under your control, or a computer-generated dinner companion eating at it. AR blends reality, and the virtual, while VR is completely created by computers. 

There’s nothing that gets you closer to the action than virtual reality—if you want to see and feel exactly what riding in a specific area is like, or what the throttle response and handling are like on any number of new sleds, VR can take you there. Imagine just picking a destination and a sled and getting to ride the exact conditions you want, any day of the week. The only thing better is being there!

How Can I Get Virtual Reality?

Most smartphones are capable of becoming VR displays. You will need a helmet that holds your phone in front of your eyes, but these can be found on Amazon from $5 to $100—the fancier once have earphones built in and some buttons to reset your perspective when in VR. 

If you’re really into this idea and want to get in deep, there’s the Oculus or Vive. These are two of the most advanced machines for VR right now, and both allow you to explore massive interactive worlds of all types, including ones with other live people in them, as well as play games and use them for illustration or design. Right now they need to be connected to high-spec computers, but expect them to come out with standalone units shortly. They both have joysticks that track your hand movements so the feeling of immersion is more complete.

Check out this bloodcurdling VR video created for Operation Lifesaver Canada's Look.Listen.Live campaign:

What Other VR and AR things are available for powersports?

We’re all used to going on YouTube for tutorials on how to fix specific issues with our bikes, quads, boats, or sleds. Imagine being able to hold your phone up and film your vehicle, with augmented reality overlaying the information we need on the display? This is a very possible future, where just holding your phone up will show you what parts need fixing or adjusting and what make and model you’re working on. 

There are lots of VR films on YouTube in the motorsports category—last year we rode with Jessi Combs, and she recently released a 360 VR film of her Race of the Hammers

So if you're desperately itching for the first trail to go green this year, this film might just be the next best thing—experiencing an epic ride in Mattawa with a new friend.

Thanks to our amazing partners for helping make this happen.

About Mike Jacobs

Mike is an avid Northern traveller, having spent years traversing its backroads, and visiting its remote lodges and fun cities by car, RV, motorcycle, and boat. There's always something new to discover in the North and Mike never shies away from the next great adventure. Mike is the chairman of the board for the Tourism Technology Company.

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