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Ride Like a Girl: Women Specific Snowmobile Tips

Get ready for your next snowy adventure with our snowmobile guide for women! We've come up with a few key techniques for female snowmobile riders.

Introducing, the female snowmobiler’s misconception: the snowmobiling industry is a male-dominated world and we’re just riding in it. No, no, no! Yes, much of the equipment and machines that are a part of the sport, as well as the riding techniques we’re taught, are designed with the male rider in mind. But to ensure you make the most of your time on the snow, we encourage all the female riders out there to embrace their female figures. What does that mean? Instead of trying to match the skills and techniques of the men you ride with, ride to the strengths you innately have. And as far as any “disadvantages” you might think you have as a woman in this sport, we have some tips to help you leap over those hurdles based specifically on your womanly physique.

Below, find five key differences we experience as female riders, and how you can overcome them:

1. Power Through the Pull Start

We may all be dreaming of a day when every snowmobile comes equipped with an electric start, but even if you already have one, there may come a day when you’ll need to reach for that pull start handle once more. One of the most common things female riders find themselves relying on their men for is pull starting their sled. But by mastering a female-minded technique, this is something you can certainly do yourself, even when that beast of an engine is as cold as ice.

First, make sure your kill switch is up, and connect your tether if you have one (in case the sled takes off from a stuck throttle upon starting). Put your left hand inside the handle on your pull cord, with your right hand at the base of the plastic handle. Then, position your feet with your right hand on the running board, and your left dangling off the side. Engage your core, stepping down with your left foot and pulling back on the cord with one fluid motion. More than anything, it’s important to pull with the weight of your entire body, rather than pulling with just your arm strength.

2. Embrace Your Body Weight

Are you riding your machine, or is that machine riding you? Snowmobiles are powerful machines, and they aren’t easily muscled into submission (unless you’re a man, who have superior upper body strength compared to women). So instead, women must use their natural nimbleness to their advantage and make technique their secret weapon. Do you ever notice how men move around on their running boards a lot less than women? While they’re muscling around their machine, women must instead move their body weight around to master the movements they desire from their sled. This means playing around with your foot positioning on the running boards.

When you’re riding off-trail, utilize an aggressive stance: with slightly bent knees and elbows. The slight bend in your knee will help your legs act as extra shock absorbers, while the entire stance increases your awareness and ability to respond to any unexpected bumps or impacts. Eventually, the next step will be to build up to the skill of riding with your wrong foot forward. This technique produces a huge amount of leverage, helping you to master edge control and make quicker adjustments when needed.

3. Make Your Machine Fit You

These days, there are an endless array of ways to customize your ride, and many of these modifications serve a functional purpose. Consider investing in any customizations that will improve your level of comfort while riding. A common adjustment is the height of your handlebars. This might require an after-market riser. Some swear that the proper position of your handlebars is between your bellybutton and pelvic bone, but it really comes down to what feels the most natural. Improving this position as it relates to your style of riding will increase your leverage over the machine.

Some other modifications include changing up your throttle type or your suspension. When you look around a snowmobile parking lot, you’ll see that some riders switch to a finger throttle over the standard thumb throttle. Decide what will give you a better grip on the handlebars, and thus, better control over your machine. Meanwhile, your suspension can really switch up the feel of your snowmobile. Some say women should ride with a softer suspension, but again, that’s all up to you! You can perform a variety of changes to your sled that will make for a ride that truly feels right, and that feeling will be dictated by your weight, style of riding, and the terrain you typically ride.

4. When Nature Calls

If there’s any natural ability men have that we envy, it’s the ease with which they get to take a bathroom break outside. How often have you held it when you got to go, just to avoid the process that it takes to go to the bathroom? Well, DSG’s Craze 6.0 Drop Seat Bibs and monosuits  are making things quick and easy. Without the drop seat, doing your business may require removing a whole lot of gear (from top to bottom if you wear bibs instead of pants), and that really defeats all your efforts to stay warm throughout the day.

Some helpful things to consider in this realm: pack your feminine products. Men don’t have to add this to their packing list, but you never know when you’ll need it! Not only are they necessary for those unforeseen emergencies, but they can be an asset during other emergencies as well—a quick dip of a feminine product in your gas tank and it instantly serves as a fire starter. If you don’t have drop seat gear, you might look into adding a funnel device to your backpack. Here, you’ll find a full list of brands that sell these types of devices, which will help you go much like a man would. Finally, think ahead when it’s time to go. Identify a spot to go from your sled, and then ride your snowmobile as close to that spot as possible. Not only can you snowmobile serve as a privacy barrier, there’s nothing worse than post-holing through the snow to get to and from your bathroom spot.

5. Master Your Mindset

Ask any female rider their advice for others, and they’ll usually provide something mental. Snowmobiling is very much a mental sport. Many situations on the snow will demand you approach them with confidence, and the most common phrase reiterated to you will likely be, “When in doubt throttle out.” Easier said than done—you must have the mindset to execute the action. Do everything you can to empower yourself and build a solid foundation of confidence. What will make you feel the most in control? Perhaps it means contributing to the plan for the ride. It will definitely mean carrying your own safety equipment. Maybe you’ll feel more self-assured if you learn to inspect your machine, so you have a full understanding of the mechanics that make it move the way it does. Advocate for yourself, and speak up to your riding group when you’re feeling out of your comfort zone. Ride with a supportive crew who’s going to build you up when you need it. When you’ve mastered your mindset, that skill will translate into your performance.

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