ED GILBERT: Snowmobiles and snow for Christmas

By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 4:53 pm on Friday, December 23, 2011

Daily News Outdoors Writer Ed Gilbert

So where’s the snow?

For many years we went snowmobiling before, during and after Christmastime.

In fact, many of our family showed up on Christmas day at my brother’s property for a day of family celebration, and we did so over many Christmas days. We had a lot of property to snowmobile on, and the drill was to take a path along the river behind his house for several miles. Then we’d stop, build a fire and cook a fine dinner outside.

It was a lot of fun, and the path we generally took was over rolling hills and through the trees along the stream.

But I sure remember the first time I went on that snowmobile trip. I managed to roll the machine over several times and even flipped it over once as I hit a jump I didn’t see coming. But eventually I learned to control the machine, and even considered buying one of my own rather than using one that belonged to someone else.

Then I found out that one is more careful when they’re riding their own rather than someone else’s.

There was also a lake nearby, but we didn’t venture out on that around Christmas because we figured the ice was still unsafe, just as it is today around these digs.

Fact is, I’ve always stayed away from lakes when on a snowmobile. That is, unless the ice was really thick and I was ice fishing. And one things for certain, no ice that I know of in this area of the state is yet safe enough to even be out on.

Also, our family discovered the wrong way that kids shouldn’t be on a snowmobile without some instructions and precautions. Our youngest daughter, Mary, was 16 when she happened to stop off at a friend’s house after school.

It was just prior to Christmas. The family owned a fine snowmobile, and the two girls decided to try it in an apple orchard behind the girl’s house. The other youngster was used to operating the machine, but not our daughter. In short order she slammed it into a tree, and we received a call that she was off to the hospital.

Mary had been thrown forward and had a bad head injury. Fortunately, she made it through the ordeal, but hasn’t been on a snowmobile since. Somebody up there must have been with her that day, as it could have really been a life-altering experience!

Now, not as many people own snowmobiles today as in the past, or so it seems. But there are some of those machines that are really powerful and fast. I don’t own one of those and never will, and it’s up to the individual.

But as I asked early on, where’s the snow? It’s almost Christmas, and we haven’t seen more than a dusting around here. Well, whatever, it’s certain their will be no family Christmas snowmobile outing this year.
Ah, but this is Michigan. We may have a foot of the white stuff by tomorrow, so you snowmobilers keep the faith.

And, speaking of faith, please remember what Christmas is really all about and have a good one … Merry Christmas to all!

Ed Gilbert is the outdoors writer for The Daily News. His e-mail address is gilbertoutdoors@netpenny.net.

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