Sylvi’s story

The life of Lynx GLS 3300 1989

Years pass us by, and until we come to a certain age, we tend to drift along without really questioning the purpose of our existence. I have seen many winters and lived a long life, but only recently have these thoughts started to run under my fiberglass hood. I am a Lynx GLS, born in 1989, and while to some, it may seem that I’m only an old sled, I too have a history to tell and place in this world to fill. I have done a lot of thinking in the long months of the summer, and I am now ready to share my story.

One can only grow younger when dreaming about racing. Here we go: me and my owner Venla Jyrkinen.




My roots lie in the far north of Europe, deep on the arctic circle. My ancestors, the tough and sturdy utility sleds first created by the Lynx Snowmobiles factory in Rovaniemi, Finland, were true reflections of the Finnish “sisu”, the never-ending determination that makes the Finns who they are. I like to believe that my spirit is just as fierce and relentless as those of the engine-run workhorses I hail from, although I was built for a different purpose. I am the first sports snowmobile manufactured by the Lynx factory, created to bring the thrill of speed and racing into people’s lives.

My story began at a time when Lynx snowmobiles were still regarded as utility vehicles, while racing was considered merely a waste of time, even inside the factory walls. There was, however, a small group of people who wanted to experiment on designing a Lynx race sled and eagerly took up the challenge. On the race day, the Lynx team was met at the venue with doubt and amusement, but the looks on the people’s faces quickly changed after Pauli Piippola won the race and showed them what the Lynx was made of.

Lynx immediately became the king of the racetracks, and the word of its superior rideability spread around the Nordic countries. The success of the experiment quickly showed that there was a demand for Lynx sports snowmobiles, and the prototype “Peltinokka” (the name means Tin Plate Nose in Finnish) was followed by me, GLS, the first serial production model.

In 1985, the first 60 GLS were made, followed by another batch of 100 as the sleds sold like hotcakes. By 1989, when I was born, the GLS had settled its place in the Lynx snowmobile family. I left the factory along with 200 others of my kind, ready to fill my purpose.

I had to wait quite a while for my adventure to begin. I spent the first years of my life on the top shelf of a hardware store in the city of Kotka in Southern Finland. I sat there looking at the life pass by, planks, bolts, and nuts traveling through the store while I waited for my human to find me.

As they say, good things come to those who wait. In 1994, a very special man walked into the store. I watched his eyes travel around the shelves, landing on mine. For a moment, we stared at each other, and somewhere under the crankshaft, I felt a jolt, and shivers ran through my entire body. After a while, the man turned away, and just as I was about to blame myself for the vain hopefulness, he returned with the salesman and pointed his finger at me. I had found my master!

My new owner Olli Honkanen had recently bought a piece of land in Utsjoki, and when the winter came, he took me there, all the way to the very top of Finland. Oh, the things we saw! The fells rose high around us, the northern lights danced on the sky, and the snow fell heavily on the ground. I finally got to do what I was made for!


I was charmed by the surroundings and lifestyle that my first master Olli Honkanen introduced me to in our new hometown Utsjoki.




It soon became clear to me that my new master was new to snowmobiles, but that didn’t bother me – after all, I was new to humans too. Together we practiced and learned how to roam the backcountry and make our way through the rough wilderness. I did my best, and so did my master: he generously took part in the digging when I couldn’t get us moving, no matter how hard I trod the snow with my Nokia track. I was even towed from the slushy lakes in the spring a few times, but my master never left me in trouble. From coffee breaks around campfires to long days of ice-fishing, we were best pals and always had each other’s backs. That, to me, felt like a genuine companionship.

Our journey together continued for nearly 10,000 kilometers. As the seasons passed, I was well looked after and dressed in new parts and accessories as needed: belts, spark plugs, and ski liners. Once, we came across a severe incident, as my master lent me to a friend who didn’t realize my need for oil and made me run on pure petrol. As you can imagine, my pistons didn’t like it, and I ended up on the operating table. Luckily, the open-heart surgery saved me, and soon enough my engine purred as good as new.

All good things come to an end, and eventually, so did my journey with my first master. He was sad to let me go but made sure I ended up in good hands: he sold me to a local man Samuel Vuolab, and I got to stay in the town of Utsjoki that I was now used to calling home. Samppa was an experienced rider, and also I had gained some experience in the past years, so we had a lot of fun speeding through the backcountry together. Samppa pampered me with new accessories such as a throttle handle warmer and a heavy-duty, reindeer herder -model skid plate to protect me on our faster rides. He made me feel special, telling me that I was the best and toughest snowmobile he had ever had and trusting me with jobs such as pulling the sleigh and joining in the reindeer herding. I knew then that the spirit of my ancestors still lived in me – even though I had the speed in my veins and was designed for racing, I could still pull off the tasks that the Lynx Snowmobiles were initially made for. I could get the job done.


My second master Samuel Vuolab had a long experience in snowmobiling and he trained me well for all kinds of adventures.




And so, I roamed the fells with Samppa, all the way until the year 2020, when we both had come to an age one could begin to call vintage. Samppa needed a new windshield for his Peugeot, and it was my time to go in the exchange. Things turned out well for me: I ended up moving to the other side of the town and got to enjoy a woman’s touch living with a beautiful and fierce lady, Henna Riekkoniemi. She rode me on the fells with a glowing smile, and I enjoyed my last winters in Utsjoki before it was time for the next tight turn on my track.

A young couple fell in love with me, bought me from Henna, and took me to their home in Saariselkä. I had nearly given up on the season 2021, but it turned out there was still a good amount of snow on the fells around my new home. My new owners eagerly introduced me to my new surroundings, and they seemed to share my passion for speed. I listened to their chats about racing, and it raised my interest, as it was a world I still hadn’t come to experience. There was, however, discussion about whether it would be wise to take me to the racing tracks – I was still in too good a shape to be crashed and destroyed, thanks to my previous owners’ good care.

I quickly bonded with my new people, and they were so fond of me that I even got a new name: Sylvi Martta Karoliina. The couple couldn’t agree on the family name for their adopted child, so I became neither Jyrkinen nor Karppinen. Instead, as an honor to one of my birth fathers in the Lynx factory, I was named Kolppanen. Esa Kolppanen was the person whose brain had worked perhaps the hardest in the time preceding my birth. He was one of those brave forerunners thanks to whom sports sleds are now a part of the Lynx Snowmobiles family.


My latest family proudly named me Sylvi Martta Karoliina Kolppanen.



My proud owners introduced me to everyone on social media, and when my birthfather Esa heard that there was a GLS carrying his name in Saariselkä, he was delighted. He contacted my owners and enrolled for the position of a godfather, offering his support with any issue that might come across. It warmed my heart to see how fond these people were over an old snowmobile such as myself! I had returned to my roots, back to the hands that had once created me. It suddenly felt I was a part of this big, loving family that consisted of all those I had met along the way. They had made me who I am, and they had trustingly sat on my back through the wildest of adventures. This was where I belonged. To this snowmobiling family, whose hearts are big, minds are vast, and spirits are fierce.


Venla Jyrkinen is a passionate snowmobiler who enjoys the sport in all its forms. Long-distance rides, deep snow adventures, and picking up speed on trails and racetracks – she loves it all. Venla started snowmobiling in 2016 after moving up north to Inari in the Finnish Lapland. She has since been seen on enduro and sprint racetracks in Finland, and in 2020 she took part in the Cain’s Quest endurance race, held in Labrador, Canada.

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