Posted by: Dave Neads | April 5, 2013

Rescue Mission

Sometimes the snow conditions up on the plateau behind us are so perfect that they are just begging to be used. Not like the deep powder of the downhill fanatic, or the drifted snow needed for igloos. No, this snow had a different quality.
For a few days it was quite warm, even raining a bit, amd then the temperature dropped, followed by a few inches of new snow. This gave a hard surface with a nice cushion on top which would support a snowmobile with ease and give a great ride.

The day was perfect, clear blue and sparkling, so Fred, Monika, and son Philipp, visiting from Germany, decided to go cross-country to the Hotnarko Falls for a picnic. Philipp was on the second machine, a single seater.
Unfortunately, Fred’s snow machine had other ideas. Just as they were breaking out of the timber, getting ready for a glorious run in the open, his machine stopped dead. The engine ran fine, but the track sat there solid as if encased in cement.

A short inspection revealed a broken drive shaft. This is a major breakdown, not something to be handled in three feet of snow, no matter how forgiving the crust. The expedition to the falls became a weary trudge back home on the trail, three miles of tough walking, leaving the machine sitting stubbornly on the trail.

Over the next couple of days a rescue plan emerged. We would take Lee’s big trail machine, complete with banana skimmer, two other machines, wait for a frosty morning and bring the broken sled back to the shop.

We got a fairly early (for us) start, over to the shop where Barry was welding the tow bar on the old skimmer so it would be strong enough to pull Fred’s machine which weighs about 550 pounds Once welded and hooked up, we took chain saw, pick and shovel, digging bar, straps, ropes and what ever else we figured we would need to get the job done.
The digging bar and the shovel were to put a path around a large boulder that had slid down and blocked the trail on the side hill. The saw was to cut out the fir tree that had collapsed across the trail further up. The ropes and tie downs were to keep Fred’s machine on the skimmer.

Once we arrived at the scene, we flipped Fred’s sled over on its side, put the skimmer next to the track and then rolled the snowmobile over into the skimmer. So far so good. Once tied down and set on the trail bed things went smoothly.
On the side hill the new path we put in worked well, although it was tough going over the mud and clay. Once down the hill and into the yard, the tractor was put into service, hoisting the machine up on an angle, then pushing so we could manoeuver it into the shop for repairs.
Pulling Fred machine past rock
That afternoon we took things apart and found serious, but repairable damage. The parts are on backorder, it will take about a month to get them, but that is par for the course around here. Just all in a day’s adventure living in paradise.


  1. I guess people might call me old fashion but this is why I love snowshoes. Unless I breakdown with a heart attach, I will get to my destination!! Nothing like ‘boots on the ground’.

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