17
Nov
2013
jloomis

Bennett Pass, Bonney Meadows, and Grasshopper Road Snowmobile Adventure

We received a promising weekend weather forecast, predicting over a foot of mountain snow by Sunday. I wasn't planning on snowmobiling this weekend, but couldn't resist fresh powder. John and I headed up to Bennett Pass on Sunday Morning and arrived to a nearly empty parking lot. The only other vehicle belonged to a cross-country skier. The SnoPark had been plowed and the snowbanks around the perimeter were now about 2-3 feet tall. The weather was windy with ice pellets raining down and a temperature around 30°F.

We arrived at Bennett Pass SnoPark just before 8:00 AM. There was tons of snow compared to last weekend. All the muddy tire ruts on the trail were gone. It had been very windy, so it was hard to tell exactly how much snow was on the ground. It varied from about a foot to over four feet in the large snowdrifts.

We were the first ones out, so the "terrible traverse" was looking pretty terrible. It had large snowdrifts over 4 feet tall. With the poor visibility, and steep, narrow road, we decided to play in safe and shovel away some of the steep snowdrifts along the "terrible traverse". It took a little effort, but it made the ride across much easier.

We headed Southeast to road 4860 and down past our deer hunting spot. It looked much the same except for the blanket of snow and minus a table we built several years ago.

Snowmobiling on Grasshopper Road (4860)     Our Deer Hunting Spot Covered in Snow

Next we rode over to Bonney Meadows and ran into another snowmobiler out by himself. We said hi and continued on. With the fresh snow there was finally enough to get out into the meadows. It was the first time I could really play on my new sled. I was able to get the skis off the ground with a little throttle and played around with carving and counter steering. There was only about 8-12 inches of wet powder, but I was able to easily throw the sled on its side (almost too easily). It was fun, but I definitely need practice. I just about rolled the sled over multiple times.

Lots of Snow Near Bonney Meadows     John Enjoying a Snowmobile Break

On the way back to the snopark we ran into more snowmobilers. We stopped and chatted with one guy (same one we saw earlier) for a few minutes, trading stories and talking about places to ride.

Just as we were getting back to the snopark, I thought I was hot stuff and tried to ride sideways up and over a 3 foot snowbank. I failed miserably. Before I could get my snowmobile over the top it rolled completely over, almost on top of me. Luckily nothing broke, not even a scratch (on the sled or me). Polaris' Pro-Ride chassis seems to be a great design and I am loving it so far. Now I just need to become a better rider!

The short video clip below is of me rolling my snowmobile. The weather was nasty, so unfortunately there was snow on the camera lens.

Gear List

2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
2008 Polaris 700 Dragon RMK Snowmobile
HMK Summit V16 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
Columbia Men's Echochrome Ski Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
Columbia Triple Trail Shell Jacket
Triple Star Packable Down Hooded Jacket
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Outdoor Research Ambit Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
Balaclava
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass

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Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.