Snowmobiling has delightfully become increasingly popular among women in the past years. The growing number of lady riders both on trails and in deep snow as well as on racetracks shows that it is unquestionably outdated to view snowmobiling purely as a manly sport. These days, snowmobiling is a passion and a hobby for men and women alike.
Although the interest among women towards snowmobiling is palpable, approaching the sport may seem difficult for many, especially in the lack of previous experiences and contacts with other enthusiasts. Jumping on an unknown vehicle may seem frightening, and renting a snowmobile might feel like too big a challenge without proper guidance and supporting company.
We had sensed that many interested women would benefit from a low-threshold opportunity to try snowmobiling and wanted to make the sport more accessible for beginners. Therefore we, Johanna Saarela from BRP Finland, Venla Jyrkinen from Finnish Motorcycling Federation’s Commission for Women in Motorcycling, and Anu Lumimäki from the snowmobiling club Lapin Moottorikelkkailijat brought together an event to respond to this need. We planned a riding day to allow beginners to try snowmobiling in a safe and supporting environment.
The local BRP retailer Koneliike Korteniemi and their racing team Koneliike Korteniemi Racing eagerly joined in to support the event, which was quickly set up to the beginning of the best riding season in January. The event took place in Proboost Arctic Center in Rovaniemi, which provided an ideal setting for safe learning with its closed riding area and varied tracks.
Once the registration day came, the event quickly filled with eager participants willing to learn what snowmobiling was all about. With snowmobiles provided by BRP Finland, thirty women were offered the opportunity to spend the day getting acquainted with the sport. Riding gear was also provided for those in need. Starting a new hobby can hardly be made any easier, which many of the participants later gratefully praised.
The event day dawned crisp and clear, but the cold conditions didn’t bother the eager new snowmobilers, who gathered at the venue buzzing with excitement. The participants learned the basics of snowmobiling on a short lesson, then bravely climbed on snowmobiles, ready to tame the machines most had no previous experience with. They practiced riding first on an easy, even track, but after a while, many moved to challenge themselves on a snowcross-type track with bumps and tight turns. The day's schedule was kept relaxed and laid-back: the participants had open access to various types of snowmobiles and were able to test and try out different sleds, practice their riding skills and ask for advice if needed.
One might easily imagine that thirty beginners could cause a hassle and risky situations on a riding track, but the ladies proved that they could easily control their vehicles and ride safely and confidently while minding the other riders. The nervous chatter of the morning was quickly replaced with knowledgeable comparisons of the different models and conversations about two- and four-stroke engines, ski stances, and track lengths. Everyone found their favourite sled among the models, and at the end of the day, questions about buying a snowmobile filled the air. At the very least, everyone felt that after a day like this, renting a snowmobile would no longer feel like too big a step to continue with the new-found hobby.
Being in control of a big and powerful machine such as a snowmobile produces a feeling that hooks many to the sport. This was noted by the participants, who also enjoyed the experience of exceeding themselves and mastering a new skill at an adult age. The thing about snowmobiling that however seemed to convince and hook the most participants was naturally: "The speed!"
The beginners’ riding day was followed by another event directed to lady riders who already had some experience in the sport but wanted to improve their riding skills on trails and racetracks. Experienced coaches gave the participant technical tips and guidance during small group sessions. Juha Välikangas and Taru Kylmälä from Koneliike Korteniemi Racing introduced the participants to the basics of snowcross and Joni Launonen and Antti Karppinen from BRP Finland offered lessons on trail riding techniques such as proper weight shifting on tight turns. The day also included theory lessons on training and racing.
The event brought together a wide variety of lady riders who all shared a passion for the sport. Every participant gained more speed and confidence during the track sessions and went home with an improved riding technique and new skills. The day's success was proved by the broad smiles and sweaty faces revealed from under the helmets at the end of the day. For some participants, the day offered an encouraging push towards fulfilling their dreams on the racetracks. Read on Lynx Blog what Inka Isotalo writes about turning dreams of racing into reality!
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How a Finnish lady became a snowmobile racer?
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