Column, Living the Dream

Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!!

By Merisa Sheman

The yard was covered in white. I mean, really covered in white. It wasn’t that pathetic little amount that we got on the first snowfall last week where you talk yourself into thinking that there’s probably enough snow to ski some laps around the yard before the snow is all gone. This was the first real snow, the kind you have to sweep off of your car and shovel the front walk because it will actually stick around. We measured almost 8 full inches and smiles about as big. Because snow that deep this early in the season only means one thing: it’s two-stroke time!!

We hook up the trailer, pull the pin, open the clamshell and gaze longingly at our beauties that have been hiding away all summer long. The BF and I cannot contain our grins as we look at each other before grabbing the rear of our sleds and drag them out of the trailer in unison. My skis, of course, don’t clear the trailer because I didn’t pull hard enough. That’s okay, I start my strength training for the season by lifting the dead weight of the rear and pulling back with all the strength that I only imagine that I have — but it still doesn’t move.

And so begins snowmobile season.

My engine, at least, turns over easily and I drag the skis around, growing stronger with each pull. Plumes of thick smoke rise up, twisting in the wind. As I wait for the engine to reach temp, I am captivated by the smoke dancing in front of the headlights like the Last Unicorn dancing before the Red Bull. It’s simply beautiful.

But nowhere near as beautiful as the tracks we would leave all over the yard. After a quick mental review, I’m off with one big loud BRAAAAAAAP. I lean my entire body off the left side of the sled, my knee hanging out as I shove the handlebars to the right. The skis catch on the snow, darting to the left around the bush and the rear slides sideways to catch up. I can feel the pure power from the engine flowing from my hands up into my arms and shoulders and I grow stronger, almost like She-Ra with the power of GraySkull.

I’m in a high tuck, basically doing wall sits while I feel the sled moving underneath me. In some ways, it’s like two skis locked in attack position and you throw your body to make the whole contraption get on edge. I can feel one ski lift as I come around the pricker tree, tightening my turn so I can get a good angle to launch from the culvert ditch. The skis slam back down and now I’m pumping the track, willing my sled to move quicker and faster, as I pull a donut around the picnic table covered in snow.

And oh the power, the raw power that comes from the sled is absolutely overwhelming and I find myself high on my connection with the machine. We move together, weaving around the rocks hidden under the snow that I know are there because I’ve hit them with the mower. I can’t get enough, as I slide my skis right next to the BF’s and we do our signature fist pound, thumb up before pulling away yet again.

Lap after lap, we find new routes to follow around the garden and past the park bench. My shoulders and arms are getting tired from maneuvering the sled, but I ignore the pain. I am only getting stronger and better as we track up the lawn. Faster and faster, I drag the sled around the NIMH bush making sure to leave enough of a buffer to the forest so I can make some cross country tracks in the quiet of the morning.

But I’m not thinking about that now. I have to focus on throwing my sled around the next turn and ripping the rear end around. I’m in the zone and there’s no time for anything but snowmobiling. I make my own “braaap” noises to match my sled and I know our song is being echoed by the valley. As I park my sled next to the deck, I cannot stop the hungry smile that’s plastered on my face. I swing my leg over and give my girl a little pat to thank her for the continued greatness.

It’s going to be a mighty fine winter.

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