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    Epic Snowmobile Adventure: Diary of a Beginner Mountain Rider

    Posted by AmSnow
    on Tuesday, March 10, 2015

     Mountain riding can’t be that hard right? I had been trail riding in my home province of Ontario, Canada since I was a child so I figured I knew how to ride a snowmobile. I realized on my first day riding on a mountain in Halfway, Oregon that I was sorely mistaken. While there was no doubt I was comfortable riding a snowmobile and had the basic skills down, I really wasn’t mentally prepared for the difficult terrain I was about to experience.

    I remember looking at Stephanie Santeford that first day and shaking my head while yelling, “You want me to go up that?!” The steep incline ahead of me was, for lack of better words, scary. It was intimidating, and there were few escape options (in my mind at least) should the situation arise where I needed to bail quickly. Stephanie gave me a thumbs up indicating that she knew I would be able to make it up. Taking a deep breath, I gripped the throttle and pinned it up that hill. Getting to the top, I stopped to gather my bearings. My heart was pumping full of adrenaline, and my hands were shaking. My buddies waiting at the top cheered and gave me high fives. With a shaky grin, and a proud feeling in my chest, I laughed and said, “Let’s do that again!” And from that point on, I was hooked.

    Mountain riding is probably the most challenging thing I have done in my life to date. The emotional turbulence of having to test my limits and work through my issues with confidence was exhausting at times. I rolled my sled several times, managed to pin my leg under it, while at the same time scaring myself silly. However, like many thrill seekers, that feeling of triumph and accomplishment when making it up a steep incline or down a straight drop (we’ll call that one the ‘pucker’), was an amazing feeling.

    The positive support and encouragement from my riding buddies was what kept me going through those tough times. As someone who can be pretty hard on themselves, I got frustrated at times, and at one point decided that this was something I couldn’t do. Those thoughts didn’t last long. With smiles, hugs, and a bit of tough love, I was able to navigate mountain terrain of up to 10,000 feet. The views, beautiful landscapes, and lifelong friendships is something I gained from taking a risk and deciding to step out of my comfort zone. I learned from this trip that focus, perseverance and positive thinking will get you through almost any difficult situation. For those riders who want to get out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves, then I highly recommend giving mountain riding a go. To learn more about the Epic Snowmobile Adventure project, visit or search online using the #BRAAP2015 hashtag. -Jessica Kline, photos by Stephanie Santeford

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