Whether you are an advanced rider with years of experience or a newbie looking to explore the world of snowmobiling, renting a sled can be a great option. Some sledders travel great distances to get to the deep pow and can't bring their own sleds with them, while others are beginners who have the desire to try out the exhilarating world of snowmobiling and don't have their own machine—yet. Other sledders simply would like to try out a different brand to see if it would be worth purchasing. Either way, there are a few things to think about before renting.
Aaron Bernasconi, owner of Mountain Motorsports Inc. and Golden Snowmobile Rentals & Tours in Golden, B.C., gave SnoRiders his tips on renting a sled and making the most of the experience.
Make sure the machines are current.
It's a great opportunity to try a different manufacturer, or to ride the latest editions of the company you love.
Take the time to go over the machines tip to tail in the morning.
The sense of urgency is always there when renting snow machines. However, a diligent once-over in the morning will equal a fast and happy machine return at the end of the day.
The power of technology.
Use your phone to take pictures of the machine in the morning.
Make sure the snowmobile is full of gas, has a spare belt and a tool kit.
Snowmobiles are amazing pieces of engineering; however, they are used in the harshest of conditions. Anything is possible.
Keep in mind when renting that you are truly on your own.
Extra gloves, a toque, food and fire-starters along with the usual riding gear and mountain safety equipment (beacon, probe, shovel) are all recommended.
The cheapest deal isn't always the best option for your vacation.
There is usually a reason some companies are cheaper.
Snowmobiling can be a physical activity.
Be prepared to break a sweat. Especially riding in the mountains can be strenuous, yet extremely rewarding.
Hire a guide.
If you don't feel comfortable negotiating the backcountry or your friends have too many "get rad" stories, hiring a guide can provide a safe and unforgettable experience.
Renting can be an alternative to owning.
With storage fees, finance rates, depreciation and general wear-and-tear being expensive, many sledders are now renting new machines for their three or four trips to the mountains per year.
Most snowmobile rental companies require a significant damage deposit.
Don't be scared: like cars, snowmobiles don't crash themselves. They are sturdy machines that are now built tough to withstand general rider input.