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Discussion Starter #1
From what I've seen, heard, and experienced, shifting weight is an important part of turning and climbing. However, for whatever reason, it doesn't seem like I can distribute it properly.

For example, If I go to turn left, I stand up and lean to the left. The snowmobile does not tip the way i've seen it do so many times though when I watch others turn.

Could this be because of my body type: 6'1", 160lbs? I also have only tried this with 121" inch tracks on 500cc sleds.

So how can I get enough weight off to either side to tilt the sled and turn sharper? Do I stand with both feet on one side? One foot on each side? Any help is greatly appreciated, as I might be sledding next weekend
 

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The short answer is you have to give it a *lot* of throttle, and you time the application of throttle exactly to when you are trying to shift your weight and start the turn. The most important facet of starting the turn is not just the weight on your feet (which is still important) but what matters even more is actually pulling on the handlebars to initiate the body roll. Juice the throttle exactly as you are pulling the bars and you will probably get more turn than you were ready for. Don't even worry about turning the bars, leave the skis pointed practically forward and just turn by leaning the sled over. Then you will have to learn to get a feel for how long to hold everything and how hard to pull, because once you get the hang of it you will start pulling too hard and getting dumped off, but that's just part of the fun. You will be scared to hold the throttle long enough at first, but trust me this is the skill you need to make you into a complete snowmobile rider. Shifting your weight forward to back and side to side is a critical and obvious piece of it, but to me the throttle application timed with pulling the bars is by far the most important aspect. When you are pulling hard on the bars it will naturally countersteer a little bit, so for me I don't even think about that aspect because when you are doing everything else right (in terms of body position) you will not be able to turn the bars in any direction except countersteering.
 

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Now let me talk about when countersteering is critical :)


We shot some video this week and got a nice example for you. In the beginning of this climb the sled will only go to the right, across the hill, even though all my weight is on the left footwell and I'm tugging left on the bars. I weight about 230, so I'm applying some good force. But notice immediately as I turn the bars to the right, the sled begins to roll to the left and makes a dramatic left turn across the hill (the rear end actually swings hard to the right, effectively turning the sled left), and then it hooks up again straight leaving almost an L-shaped trench. That is countersteer in action. Apply it carefully because when done at the right time countersteering will change your direction more than anything else.

This is a necessary skill for basic powder riding, because what really hurts you is when you try to steer the logical way in a circumstance where you absolutely need to countersteer (for instance, to avoid a tree well). You end up going the opposite direction you mean to go, and if you don't understand countersteer you don't even know what happened. But if you are not already applying proper throttle and weight distriubtion, you're going right into the treewell anyway.

Notice at the very end of the clip I finish the turn using regular steering. In other words, the skis are pointed the logical way for that part of the turn. Why? Because the skis aren't lifted anymore even though I am still WOT (throttle is pegged the entire time), and countersteering only works when you are lifting the skis. Variations like that, and also drifty or inconstent snow conditions, can make countersteering even trickier.
 

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Now let me talk about when countersteering is critical :)


We shot some video this week and got a nice example for you. In the beginning of this climb the sled will only go to the right, across the hill, even though all my weight is on the left footwell and I'm tugging left on the bars. I weight about 230, so I'm applying some good force. But notice immediately as I turn the bars to the right, the sled begins to roll to the left and makes a dramatic left turn across the hill (the rear end actually swings hard to the right, effectively turning the sled left), and then it hooks up again straight leaving almost an L-shaped trench. That is countersteer in action. Apply it carefully because when done at the right time countersteering will change your direction more than anything else.

This is a necessary skill for basic powder riding, because what really hurts you is when you try to steer the logical way in a circumstance where you absolutely need to countersteer (for instance, to avoid a tree well). You end up going the opposite direction you mean to go, and if you don't understand countersteer you don't even know what happened. But if you are not already applying proper throttle and weight distriubtion, you're going right into the treewell anyway.

Notice at the very end of the clip I finish the turn using regular steering. In other words, the skis are pointed the logical way for that part of the turn. Why? Because the skis aren't lifted anymore even though I am still WOT (throttle is pegged the entire time), and countersteering only works when you are lifting the skis. Variations like that, and also drifty or inconstent snow conditions, can make countersteering even trickier.[/b]
amen!
 
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