“The best ride factors in the weather, snow conditions and riding buddies. If it was your one and only ride for the year, the rush and thrill you got that day would be able to carry you through until the next riding season.”
This is Doug Lahucik's description of his best ride ever on his snowmobile on Crowfoot Mountain in the Shuswap highlands.
Lahucik, who hails from Kamloops, can't think of a better ride.
“There was 2 1/2 feet of fresh snow, and only two other sledders on the mountain,” said Lahucik. “We rode all day and ran out of gas in the parking lot.”
Lahucik remembered the powder, the adrenalin rush and not being able to ride any longer.
“Our legs were like rubber,” said Lahucik.
He went out that day with a buddy and a New Zealander who works as a helicopter pilot in the New Guinean jungle.
“It was pretty cool to be able to take him there—he was blown away,” said Lahucik. “There was fresh powder, snow blowing up all over us and we got such a high out of it.”
Lahucik said he feels free when he rides on top of a mountain and can see from range to range.
“I have had my ups and downs in life,” said Lahucik. “I work really hard so that I can enjoy sledding.”
Lahucik's other favourite thing to do is to snowmobile with his kids.
“Every time I go, it is a new adventure,” said Lahucik. “When I take the kids I get so much enjoyment from that when I watch them smiling. You just can't beat that.”
His priority is safety and he said he is getting more practical as he gets older. He thinks the most important thing when a person is out sledding is keeping a clear head.
“We hillclimb a bit, and then if we come across a valley and think of how to get there, we take a Spot (communications device) so we can Google it later,” said Lahucik.
As well as his Spot, Lahucik also packs with him radios, shovel, saw, axe, probe and beacon.
Depending on weather and snow conditions, Lahucik rides either a 2005 Arctic Cat King Cat 900 and a 2005 Arctic Cat Firecat 700.
“I keep riding and will stay with Arctic Cat because of the great service and guys at Leading Edge Motor Sports in Kamloops,” said Lahucik.
When the going got slow
When asked about a memorable time when he found himself stuck, Lahucik recalled one spring day out sledding.
“We got stuck in a ravine in between a lake and the alpine on Pukeashun Mountain,” said Lahucik. “It was two years ago, in the spring when the snow was getting heavier and we were sinking a bit.”
Lahucik said that he and his buddies were trying to climb out and were taking turns travelling about 50 feet before each of them got stuck and had to dig themselves out.
“I was stuck and my buddy just came straight for me, and while I laid down next to my sled, he rode straight over it,” said Lahucik. “It took us four hours to ride an eighth of a mile.”