Our first snowmobile adventure in Canada
Newfoundland, Tourism, Travel Guide
Since years, I wanted to try snowmobiling. I am from old Europe and this sport is banned in most countries.
I learned how popular it is in North America and that many families own one or more snowmobiles. Especially, if they have a cottage as a retreat. Whenever, we traveled through Ontario, we failed to experience this adventure.
End of March, 2003 when we visited the "Humber Valley Resort" in Newfoundland we finally had a chance. We became a marketing partner for this resort and a free tour was offered to us as well as to a group of people who were interested in purchasing one of the chalets in this wonderful area. Unfortunately the partnership between the German marketing company and the Canadian builder broke up - but not our love to this province. Er came back a few times.
A good chance to take some more pictures and to talk
One of the snowmobiles
Being the first time on a "Skidoo" we decided that Elizabeth, my wife, was safer to ride with our guide on our tour guide. I was a fanatic biker with motor cycles in Germany with lots of experience. I followed our guide without any problems.
Soon, I got familiar with this kind of transportation and slowed down to increase the distance to our guide with Elizabeth on his back seat.
As an old biker, I was surprised about the acceleration of the "not so powerful" vehicle.
I was flying over all the bumps in the trail and in a few seconds I was tailgating our guide again.
Only in the curves I was cautious because I did not want to end in the ditch or on a tree. It takes more time to be familiar with the steering of such a vehicle.
Despite the not very pleasant weather we enjoyed the scenery
As soon as Elizabeth learned about the electrical heated handles, she removed her gloves to warm her hands. It took only a few words and she began to move the snowmobile. I was a little bit anxious but she did very well.
She mastered an u-turn, returned smiling and told me that we have to move to Newfoundland and purchase two snowmobiles. I agreed. She even became more exited when our guide told her that heated boots are also offered for snowmobilers.
We proceeded with our adventurously tour and climbed even on a mountain top. On our way we met an other group of snowmobile fans. They waved us friendly.
We learned that approximately 1200 kilometers or 750 miles groomed trails are available in the Humber Valley for snowmobiling.
When we returned there was no need to remove the ignition keys. Newfoundland is almost free of crime. Houses and cars must also not be locked. I hope this will never change.
Elizabeth's first trial
A snowmobile provides normally seating for two people. However, the real fun is when everybody can drive his own machine.
Most snowmobiles were still powered by powerful two stroke engines. The reason is less weight. However, four stroke engines are the future, because of less noise and environmental reasons.
Most of the snowmobiles are manufactured by experienced North American companies, but there are also high quality Japanese products available. We use skidoos made in Canada by Bombardier. According to our tour guide they were less powerful models with approximately 60 horsepower. Enough for us!
As a beginner, I was cautious and never reached the maximum speed which should be over 100 km/h or 60 miles/hour. No speed limits were posted anywhere for snowmobiles! The same applies for downhill skiing.
I believe that would be good enough for me to enjoy this sport.
The controls are very simple and almost self explaining.
They consisted of an electrical and a mechanical starter, a spring loaded power control lever on the right handle which reduces the engine rpm to idle if you do not press it. This is a safety feature in case you fall off the sled or have an accident.
On the left handle was a lever to operate the brake. A speedometer, a fuel gauge, switches for the electrical heated handles and a switch to go in reverse, completed the controls on our snowmobiles. Unfortunately, I never tried that last feature.
Later, on the bumpy trail we learned how important a good suspension is when you drive slowly what you should do as a beginner.
Warm clothing, boots, gloves and helmets were also provided for free. We arrived a day before a big group of potential buyers of houses arrived from Europe which was nice because we received all the attention and were pampered like royals.
Our friendly guide made several stops - to have a cigarette and to show or explain something
The scenery reminded me on the "Bavarian Forest" in old Europe. We stopped frequently to take pictures, to ask questions and to allow our friendly guide to smoke.
He was a land surveyor. He carried his own much more powerful snowmobile on his truck. It had at least twice the horsepower of those which we used. Snowmobiling was his hobby.
He told us about the good fishing in the Humber River and the salmons he had caught there.
Unfortunately, we had no sunshine during our tour. Normally the weather changed within hours during our visit - no luck this time. I was feeling like a huge sausage in my suit and did not feel cold. Not so Elizabeth. Se was shivering and had ice cold hands. But she feels always cold. She is too thin and without any built in natural protection.
It was fun
After our first visit of Newfoundland, we were so excited that we were seriously thinking to move. We do not see any problem with our business, only Elizabeth's parents who were already over 80 years old should be asked to come with us. We know that you should not move an old tree - so we never asked and have to find a place in Ontario for snowmobiling. We do not want to own one - we want to rent or join tours.
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