Maine snowsledding, hopping on a purring snowmobile and winding through a freshly groomed ITS woods trail.
Then hitting an open Maine field. Cracking, pulling the sled throttle open, but then remembering to tread lightly. That you have to go to work Monday. That wearing a full coverage snow sledding helmet, leather suit is not enough protection if speeds too fast for the ITS snowmobile trail are ignored.
Maine snow sled rides don't have be long, multi day or week long.
But you can cover a lot more ground, collect more never fade outdoor natural memories if you do log more miles. Exploring the 14000 miles of snowsled ITS trails in Maine.
Special local Maine areas not many get to see, to experience if you limit your sled trip though.
If you cut it short, hit the red sled square kill switch, climb off.
Call it another day you could have had in Maine.
Afternoon winter rides where you trailer to a drop off point like the Houlton Maine Tourist Information Center just off Interstate 95's exit 302. Often the parking lot is full with pickups, SUV's with rows of tilted up snow sled trailers waiting, empty. Their owners on snowmobiles out on trails around Aroostook County from the Shiretown of Houlton Maine.
The outdoor options of what to do on a Maine snowmobile range from photo taking images on mountain tops. Next to very verbal water falls, crystal iced streams, rivers populated with Maine wildlife. Maybe stops at Maine lake ice shack shanties. Local diners along the Maine sled trails to meet, talk with the locals. To blend in, rub shoulders with other native Mainers.
Early Maine snowsleds were a ride for one hour, tinker for two exercise. Trails were not plentiful, the machines not the most dependable. Way way too heavy. Ideal to use on hard pack terrains. But like quick sand sinking, going down until spring thaw . When you found you and your snow sled out floundering in an open field of light fluffy drift surroundings.
The Maine snowmobiles back in the 1960's, 1970's were narrow because of only a few wide trails.
So the machines could maneuver through the narrow woods opening where you often broke your own trail because none other existed. Snow machine brands numbered around fifty. Ski Whiz, Moto-Ski, Boa-Ski, Rupp, Kawasaki, Harley Davidson, Scorpion, John Deere, and others. Not just Polaris, Ski Doo, Yamaha, Artic Cat like today's sled flavors.
That era Maine snow sled operator was not just sitting and steering leisurely. Gawking around. But often on his feet or with one knee on the seat working hard to lean in and out of corners. My family's first snow sled was a green twelve horse power Johnson Ski Horse, then a 13.8 horsepower blue Sno Jet. I learned much about mechanics through the frustrations of keeping the snow sleds trail ready.
I remember local Maine snow sled races at the local community park. Fall grass snowmobile races on flat country pastures too. Where the smell of aviation 100 octane gasoline fuel, red bottle activator fluid and tuned exhaust noise was scary and exciting at the same time to a wide eye Maine kid.
My Aunt's boy friend Freeman Taylor kept all the nephews, my cousins' snow sleds running.
And Freeman had a three cylinder Hirth engine 793 cc Skiroule snow sled with three carbeureutors. Way too much horse power. Rated 80 horses, on a machine that often lead in snowmobile races until clutch belt frayed, disintegrated. Another oval snow sled race across the Maine border in Woodstock, New Brunswick Canada lost. Although one time, Freeman was able to push the burned out belt less machine across the finish line in time under his own power, pushing for a trophy.
Cobalt blue sky, freshly fallen Maine snow, a weekend with family and friends and filling your lungs with crisp outdoor air. Life skiing, down hill and cross country, nothing compares with Maine snow sledding, snowmobiling to explore, for the outdoor winter experience. Maine has no polar bears, no igloos, and the only dog sleds are for sport racing around Fort Kent. Not needed for well plowed roads, winter survival.
We don't hibernate winters. Or spend them on the couch operating TV controllers. Maine has four seasons and every single one is fun. Meant to be spent outdoors like a kid who has to be reminded its time to come inside for supper.
Mom, Dad reminded "Time to brush your teeth, say your prayers and to head to bed".
Watch a Maine snow sled, snowmobiling video.
Vacationland has in excess of 285 Maine snow sled clubs. These men and women, kids, local businesses work hard to make sled trails around their Maine snowmobile clubs smooth, wide, groomed. Well marked, signed for strangers sledding through. To know where they are, where they should be going to keep from running out of gas or getting lost. Then needing a Maine game warden's search party over time hoopla. Wasting tax payer dollars that should be spent, ear marked for something else. Out to locate, bring the sheepishly head down snow sledder back to the nearest town.
New bridges and replacement work on existing ones over waterways on the ME ITS trails keep the ride safe too because of these local clubs. To keep snow sled groomers operating around the clock. Bringing needed tourisum dollars in to the local merchant coffers during winter, a traditional business slower time.
Like ATV four wheeler trails, use of Maine ITS snow sled trails are a privledge not a right. Private land owners account for much of Maine's expansive snowmobile trail network that is shared, offered to the snow sledding public traveler, outdoor winter enthusiast. The new Maine snow promised, delivered in a local forecast is also exciting for World Cup Biathlon winter international competition.
Snowsledders from outside Maine can register on line to snowmobile the ME extensive ITS trail system. Even experienced world traveler Anthony Bourdain has strapped on a snowmobile helmet, climbed on a Maine snow sled. See what you are missing if you skip the winter season in Maine. Like a healthy outdoor diet, you need all four seasons to feel alive, healthy, to dream in blue and green. And snow white.