Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year’s Day 2007 at the ASC (Alaska Snowmachine Club)

With the all the fresh December snow we’ve had, Taylor and I decided to dust off the old snow machine the day before New Year’s Eve and prepare for some fun on the lake. First this meant we had to carefully remove the 4 foot mound of snow blower discharge from the snow machine and shovel out the trailer.

Of course the sled’s track was also frozen to the ground (poor storage technique Dad – it should be up on blocks!) which required quite a bit of time on hands and knees chipping and prying the beast loose. With that done, it fired up after a dozen pulls and gradually warmed up. I promptly decided to do a test run across the backyard and managed to get stuck – excellent recurrent training for getting unstuck!

Then it’s load the sled onto the trailer and roll it into the garage for a thaw and pre-ride inspection and service. Everything checked good, so with the fuel and oil topped off the trusty 1991 Skidoo Scandic II was ready to churn up some powder.

Early New Year’s Eve we went to the Fire and Ice New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Town Square. It was a lot of fun but extremely cold at 5°F with a biting breeze the whole time. Later that evening we gathered our gear and welcomed in the New Year safe at home.

New Year’s morning was cloudy in Anchorage and about 16°F. The Big Lake forecast was for 12°F with light snow. By 11:00 AM we finally had everything loaded and hit the road. Then the snow began to fall again! The Glenn Highway was single lane, with white out conditions the whole way, so the drive to Big Lake took over 2 hours.

By Big Lake the snow had stopped and the sun was trying to break through the lower clouds. We pulled into the boat launch area at 1:00 PM. By 1:15 PM the sled was off the trailer and warming up. With “Cat Crap” (anti-fog) carefully applied to spectacles and helmet lenses, we suited up and charged across the lake.

Taylor points the way

With about 3 feet of snow to play in our sled surged ahead with each push on the throttle lever. The road system berms are perfect for a little aerial work, but with two aboard (“veteran” on the back) our workhorse sled is a little too harsh on landings for my taste and my back. We trade off for some solo riding and warm ups back at the Tahoe main base.

Here come the sun!

The sun comes out and wow, what a difference! It’s easy to forget that it’s 12°F out. There are perhaps a dozen other machines either riding the lake or transiting for access to the outstanding Big Lake trail system. We quickly take a cruise by the Islander. There aren’t any customers parked outside but it looks open with at least one person inside.

Taylor at the ASC

Zooming back across the lake at 60 MPH, we veer off the main trails to try some banked turns in the deep powder around the club’s harbor and stop for a couple of photos. Everything looks ok at the club site but all the boats and trailers could use a good snow cleaning.

Paul at the ASC

1/7/07 Update
We rode at Big Lake again and stopped by to shovel off the RL. It looked a little precarious, with a slight list to starboard.

After a late lunch and warm up break we did some more runs and Taylor really enjoyed testing the top speed limits of the Skidoo.

By 4:00 PM the sun was setting and casting a pinkish hue across the snow. It was a great end to a great day. Time to load up the sled, secure for trailering and head back to Anchorage.

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