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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read this story from another forum. I thought it should be posted here aswell for all to read. It seriously made me do some thinking about how I ride.


quote:

"-Just like you-


I am not a writer. In fact, this is the first time I've written anything since college. I am, however, a snowmobiler.

My friends and I are probably just like you. We are all in our late twenties to early thirties, and single white males. We have pretty good jobs; some own their house, others rent. We hunt and fish, watch football and NASCAR, go to bars and church festivals. We have problems with women, like fast cars and Schwartzeneggar movies. We think we can dance, but look like Frankenstein having a seizure when a girl drags us onto the floor. We could probably switch places with any of you and fit right into your group.

We have owned sleds from all manufacturers over the years. Our first sleds were junkpiles and we still make fun of them. We work on our own sleds and help each other with theirs. We watch the weather forecasts waiting for snow and read all the snowmobiling magazines drooling over the new sleds. We put 600 miles on the truck to put 200 on the sled. We have all entered corners too fast, and all missed turns at night at one time or another. We laughed at slow riders that putted along at 15 mph. We rode with the feeling of invincibility that only youth can bring.

Our youth ended February 14, 2003.

In a small town about 10 miles South of Crandon, at 11:00 PM my friend Jim Smolen lost his life. He was only 28. He died within a half mile of the cabin, within half an hour of unloading the sleds off of the trailer. The reconstruction showed that he hit a stump under the snow, was thrown off, and hit a tree. At least he didn't suffer. Excessive speed was believed to have been involved, even though the sled wasn't wrecked. It looked like he just stepped off of it. He did have ONE or TWO beers, but I must say that I have seen people drink much more - I'm not condoning it, but I know you have too. Jim was riding as long as I can remember, 5+ years at least, riding the same sled he had for three years. We have all seen the articles in the papers that give little detail; letting us assume it was an inexperienced rider, totally drunk, on a brand new, huge displacement sled.

What the newspaper articles do not show is how it affects everyone else. They don't show the undescribable horror of seeing a close friend lying in the snow bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. They don't show the blank stare in his unblinking eyes as you try to remember the CPR you learned in high school. They don't show the panic felt during the longest half mile you will ever ride back to the cabin to call 911. They don't show the feeling of helplessness as you spend the longest HALF HOUR of your life waiting for an ambulance. They don't tell about men who haven't prayed in years dropping to their knees and saying a prayer. They don't show the feeling of uneasiness as you drive HIS truck to the hospital. They don't show the cold you feel as you wait until 4:30AM when the doctors give you the news you already knew but still can't bring yourself to hear. They don't tell the flood of emotions you feel as you have to call your friend's parents in the middle of the night to tell them that their son has died. They don't mention that none of his friends will get any sleep for days. They don't mention the nightmares when they do. They don't tell about the DNR showing up at 8:00AM the next day to fill out paperwork and make them relive it all again. They don't tell about grown men breaking down and crying. They don't tell about the longest, quietest drive home ever.

His roommate is the one who found him, called his parents, and drove his truck home. He has closed the kitchen window blinds so he doesn't have to see his truck. He had to close the kitchen cabinet to keep from seeing his box of corn flakes. He is now afraid of the dark. Our season is over.

The human body is so frail, so easily damaged. If you have an accident in a big city, help is only about five minutes away. If you have an accident in the north woods help could be forty miles away or more. Think about it: that's like having an accident in Milwaukee and having to wait for an ambulance from Illinois. And then having to go to a hospital back in Illinois.

I am not asking for speed limits, or other restrictions. Just please, PLEASE be careful. Slow down just a little. Skip that beer and have a soda instead. Ask yourself if it is worth the consequences to go flying through the woods. Your friends WILL wait for you. Death is forever. Think of all the good times you would miss. Take a little time and look at the beauty of nature. There are those that no longer can.

We laid Jim to rest today. If only one person is affected by this pointless loss, and a single life is saved, Jim's death would have meaning and all of us could have some closure.

I know you think that this only happens to "the other guy". So did we. Just like you.



Justin, Dan, Joe, Jim G., Randy, and Craig"
 

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Went through the same thing this past fall....... [:(]
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Im kinda pissed off at myself lately...

On Fiday we were ripping through the Whiteshell trails at around 90 mph, thinking I was invincible. Now, after reading this story, I feel like a bag a crap.[:(]

Im forwarding it too all my riding friends for a wake up call.
 

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If you havn't had a close call, you havn't been snowmobiling very long. It's a dangerous sport to ride on the edge, as many do. Mortality is something everyone should have on their minds as they ride. ESPECIALLY the saftey of others.

-Dean
 

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To all my TUSF family,
Count your blessings, enjoy life, appreciate your friendships, and be safe!
-Jason
 

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i almost got crushed by a truck a couple of days ago. i was heading 90 mph towards a road. my sled has realy good brakes. but i hit the brack the track locked up an i realized there was pure ice under the snow. i ended in the ditch right before the rode and the semi cab wizzed right by. to think about it i could have been dead right now if it wasnt for ditches. fortunatly it was a wide ditch and no damage to me or the sled.
 

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Had a friend run into the back end of a parked truck four years ago new years day. Now new years is no longer a holiday.
 

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I think the problem is we think of this then when we are in an adrendiline rush on our sleds, it slips our minds. well that is the way it is for me, sometimes the next day i think how did i make it through that trail so fast, not thinking of the consequences of that might of happened. i have never lost a friend to a snowmobile accident, but i have a couple who have broke their legs. i think we all take too many chances, but at the time we just don't realize it until it is too late. drive safe...
 

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I pretty much only sled with two other people. One is my friend jordan and the other is my girlfriend megan. I would hate to see anything happen to any of us especially her. We usually go flying down the tracks 85 mph too. geuss we'll have to smarten up . Too bad about your Buddy.:(
 

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the other day I was out on the sleds with my dad and some of his friends. I have the speedo disabled on my SRX.

his speedo was at 112mph.

I went past him like he was standing still.

the next day, I pulled the sled apart, it's in pieces on shelves now, and I"m gonna be rideing a 500 for the rest of the year. the srx seen as my avatar is now only for grass drags until I learn to drive more responsibly
 

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A feeling of irony hit me when I read this post. I can relate to the age and personalities of the people in this post as well as the guys I ride with. Then the last time I was up in Redfield NY, the same event happened but thankfully on a lake where a large pice of ice was sticking out of the surface. My buddy was doing 110 and when he hit it he fell off and slid 1/8 mile while his sled somehow stayed on the skis and didn't crash but did travel another 1/4 mile from accident. Well my friend at first couldn't move, then once he gained movement in his body, we couldn't keep him down, he forced us to let him up and get back on his sled which he had to walk roughly 1/8 of a mile to, from there we drove slowly to a cabin and called the paramedics. He ended up having 4 multiply fractured vertibre in his back and know from reading this post I realize how lucky we all have been. His back healed in 5 weeks but it easily could've been a lot worse. We've all had a tight situation where a false move could've killed us. I'm sure everyone can relate to this whether its related to sleding, quads or just driving. There really isn't anything you can say to end a post like this....
 

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An important thing to do is get a kill switch where all you have to do is hit it down, so you can quickly turn it off. I have an older kawasaki and you have to turn the kill switch up or down to kill it. On the weekend when my throttle got stuck wide open when i was pulling into a friends back yard, I couldn't hit the switch because it was so hard and awkward to turn, at 40 mph I hit fence which didn't hurt me or the sled because it was plastic. But if it was a house or something else I was heading for it would have been a different story. Just an idea for everyone.
 

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yes i totally agree with this.. i try to tell some of my friends to slow down cuz they never know what around the next corner... even if you have rode this trail for the longest time... but most of my friends are good snowmobilers and slow down... and theres certian times you can go fast.. like a nice open feild.. in daylight...not for trails...Nice artical.
 
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