HOW TO PREPARE FOR A LONG TRAIL ADVENTURE?

The stunt and sketch group Biisonimafia is known for their hilarious YouTube videos, which have been published on their own YouTube channel for 15 years. In the spring of 2022, Biisonimafia achieved its long-term dream, when the action comedy MC Helper BeKINGs went to cinemas all over Finland. Just before the premiere of the film, Biisonimafia's core duo Janne Kaperi and Kaitsu Rinkinen jumped right into the deep end of trail sledding, getting to know the sport by riding more than 300 km on the trails of Lapland in two days. Janne’s and Kaitsu's experience of sledding before the trip was limited, so a long trail adventure with Lynx Rave RE and Lynx Xterrain RE snowmobiles offered new experiences and lessons. Read below Biisonimafia's tips for those planning their first long sledding trip.

WHAT TO PACK ON THE TRIP?

Kaitsu: Riding consumes a surprising amount of energy, so there must be enough to eat and drink. I learned that someone in the group can forget to refuel their sled, so it's a good idea to bring spare gas for the sled and a tow rope. An important part of preparation is, of course, a first aid kit and a space blanket - something surprising can always happen to someone in the crew.

Janne: It's worth following what snacks the fellow riders pack and get yourself a little better. You consume a surprisingly large amount of water while riding, so you shouldn't skimp on the amount of that when packing.

WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WHEN GETTING DRESSED?

J: I started riding in a much too thick layer of clothing and at the first break I had to take off the sweatshirt and sweatpants from under the riding gear. Sledding is such a sport that, at least in milder weather, just a moisture-wicking layer and protective riding gear are enough under the outermost shell layer.

K: The knee pads were the number one thing. With them, you can lean on the panels of the sled while riding without fear of the plastics hitting your legs. It is good to pack extra clothes in the bag on the tunnel for breaks or in case the weather gets cold. The same rules apply to sledding as to other winter sports: you should start riding with a slightly thicker layer of clothing, which you then lighten as your body warms up.

WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE FOR RIDING?

K: Towards the end of the first day of riding, I started to understand riding better. When energy levels went low, too much squeezing was automatically stopped. I started to listen more to the sled and let it do more of the work under me - the ride definitely improved! I was surprised by the physicality of the sport and how cool it is to ride, especially on a bumpy trail. Sledding stamina only increases by riding, so a couple of shorter runs would help a lot before the first trip of several days.

J: The same thing with Kaitsu: the severity of the sport was surprising, especially when the trails were in demanding condition. I also noticed that it pays off to follow more experienced riders. From the back, you can watch riders ahead and imitate how to go through corners and moguls. It improves and gets your own riding smoother almost automatically.

WHAT DISTANCE PER DAY IS SUITABLE FOR A BEGINNER RIDER?

J: For the riding day, 100 kilometers is pretty much the maximum for a beginner, especially if there are a lot of bumps on the trail. We rode 140 kilometers on the first day and I have to admit that the last 10-20 kilometers drained every ounce of energy I had left.

K: The 140 kilometers was actually just the right distance for me. While riding, the neck stiffness that had been bothering me for a long time opened up and my own riding only got better as the trip progressed. So, listening to your own body and depending on the conditions, I think from 100 kilometers upwards you could think about the first proper riding day.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE DESTINATION FOR YOUR FIRST LONG JOURNEY?

K: I would ask the more experienced riders where you can find the most versatile route. In my opinion, the trail should be moderately challenging, but not too difficult, so that the ride remains comfortable on some level. It's worth bringing along an adventurous spirit and the courage to go further from the nearby trails of the ski resorts and trailside communities. There you can see completely different places than what you can reach, for example, in skiing.

J: Agree. There seems to be the most traffic within 20 kilometers from towns and the trails may be in poor condition. The best riding terrain and the most amazing landscapes were found on our sledding trip further away in the wilderness.

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