How to drive a snowmobile…

“Throttle is on the right, the brake is on the left and steer like a bicycle.”

In my car, I'll be the driver...

And with that, I became smart enough to drive a snowmobile.

At least, I was able to drive a snowmobile around 30 km per hour. Or less. Unfortunately for me, everyone else was driving quite a bit faster.  Needless to say, I didn’t end up driving for very long… but I did learn that I like to go fast so long as someone else is driving.

On Friday, a group of people form my Department headed out for a day on the land.  Think grown-up field trip with a whole lot of lessons built in – ones that you aren’t supposed to know you’re being taught.  Team building, group bonding, Inuit culture…all good things, as far as I am concerned.

Our guides kindly drilled holes for fishers using an auger – imagine a giant (taller than me), motorized corkscrew.

Drilling through six or so feet of ice

Ice fishing

Rather than fishing rods, people used short pieces of wood with string and very beautiful metal lures with hooks.  No bait was required…just moving the lure up and down, up and down… and voila – fresh Arctic char…

Fresh char

Some of the people I work with put together a fantastic and delicious lunch of traditional food – caribou stew and bannock.  Ever the supporter of locally produced meat, I hesitantly tried and thoroughly enjoyed caribou stew.

Before packing up to head home, some of climbed the surrounding ‘mountains’ and got a peek at some tundra peeking through the ever so slowly melting snow – and along with it the smell of spring.

I spent half of the trip home riding in a qamatiq, which is basically a big sled that is attached to the snowmobile itself.  It is used to transport supplies for the day – fishing gear, camping stoves, food, the catch of the day, and sometimes it also serves as an overflow for passengers.  I switched halfway to be sure I got my fill of snowmobiling.

Unbeknownst to me was the fact that snowmobiling is a sport – even as a passenger.  Holding on is a lot more challenging that it seems….I discovered new muscles on Saturday morning when I woke up unable to fully extend my arms.  (Let it be known that I wasn’t the only one who had issues!)

It was a lovely day spent with lovely people and luckily right before a weekend of rain that is starting to turn everything else to slush.

Grown up field trips are never a bad idea.


7 thoughts on “How to drive a snowmobile…

  1. I love snowmobiling! I used to do it at a “tween” and older. We always had snowmobiles at our farm and I would rip roar away on them on the weekends to ease the boredom. Sounds like fun.

  2. How exciting! You are truly entering into it all…I trust that includes eating Artic char!

    Love, Nana

    • Oh, I ate char long before that. I’ve mostly had it smoked, but I like it baked much better.

  3. Let’s hear it for the adult field trip! As you know, I’m all over that idea!

    When I read that you’d been ice-fishing, I remembered one of Maxen’s questions to his grampa last week: “Grampa, do you have to cook fish that you catch ice-fishing longer because they’ve been in such cold water?”

    • That kid is full of good questions.

      I have some friends who use char for sushi, and you actually have to freeze it first to avoid some sort of food-borne illness. If you choose to cook it, you do have to make sure it is cooked thoroughly for the same reason.

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