One advantage of writing for a good magazine is that sometimes you get invited to try some fun things. I recently got such an invitation for myself and my family from the guys at Sapporo Snowmobile Land. I’m always looking for new activities for my two boys, Rimu, 8, and Toa, 4, to try, so I rounded up my family and off we went.
Snowmobiling is not for everyone but it’s something I have always wanted to try. After meeting the crew and getting all kitted out, we were off with my friend and guide Harley Gurney leading the way. Immediately I was surprised at how easy a snow mobile is to drive.
My wife, Hiroko who doesn’t drive at all, took to it like a duck in water and was kicking my butt all over the place. One of my boys came with me, the other went with Harley, and they absolutely loved it. The feel of wind blowing passed my face and the rush of speed got my blood pumping and put smiles on my sons’ happy little faces.
Snowmobiling with your kids is a great family day out and, with a good company, totally safe. The trip on which we went took about three hours which can be a bit much for young kids, especially if your kids are like mine and need to get re-fueled every few hours (like father, like sons).
We rode up to a great spot and stopped, and I got out my burners and cooked up some noodles and hot drinks for the kids, and it was back on for more fun.
As I mentioned, snowmobiles are not for everyone. I for one have a love-hate relationship with them. When I am going flat-out riding, I love them, but when I am sleeping in my tent somewhere all alone in the backcountry thinking I am the only person around and then, out of the blue, these machines turn up, I absolutely hate them.
This happened to me a few years ago when I spent a full day snowshoeing up to three peaks with nice, gentle slopes, which I call the “three sisters.” They have some amazing views of the classically shaped volcano, Mt. Yotei, the Niseko ski area and many other Hokkaido peaks.
I used to like this spot because I never used to see anyone out there, but all that came to an end one morning when I was awaken by the noise of what sounded like 100 snowmobiles, but which turned out to be 12. When I came out of my tent to see what was going on, I was surprised to find these snowmobiles shooting up and down the slopes. I wasn’t happy at all that my piece of paradise was lost.
However, trying to turn a bad situation into a good one, I watched these guys for a while doing their thing, and it looked like a lot of fun. That’s when I decided one day I was going to get on one and give it hell. I still haven’t had the chance to get into the real backcountry and do what those guys were doing, but I hope that day will come soon.
Love ’em or hate ’em, snowmobiles are a lot of fun and a great way to spend time with the family. My family and I would like to say thanks to the guys at Snow Mobile Land Sapporo for a great day.
If you would like to join me on another trip with the guys from Sapporo Snow Mobile Land, contact me at email@example.com. Word up from “The Pig.”