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March 2, 2011

President Yanagi Ride In Canada

I am back in the office today following the ride with our presidents from Japan and the USA. When I posted last week the weather forecast called for rain and plus 9 degrees on Monday. We rolled into Huntsville Saturday morning, clear skies minus ten and no fresh snow. The lakes were literally skating rinks. I could almost smell the hy-fax just looking at the sleds still sitting, patiently on the trailer. The faces on some of the guys I saw in the snowmobile parking lot spoke volumes. This didn’t look good, but I was hoping the bush trails would still be white and with the odd venture off-trail, we might be able to keep the tracks spinning freely and the temp lights from coming on.

Aaron and I set off north with the temperature climbing under the blue skies. It wasn’t long before the trail softened up and things improved dramatically. We ended up almost in Kearney before we looped back down towards Dwight and finished up our morning at a couple hundred clicks. The only bad parts were the plowed roads which we planned to avoid the next day. Back at the resort, we unloaded, finished prep’ing the sleds and I hopped on my studded mountain bike  for a few laps around Fairy Lake (don’t say it!) as the sun set.

Sunday morning we awoke to  5cm of fresh snow and milder temps. We saddled up and hit the trails to put a time on our loop and check out the lakes which now sported a nice layer of lube but not before we got in a good snowshoe stomp around the forest, scaring up a flock of wild turkeys in the process (and no, they weren’t riding yellow sleds this time). We were back at the resort in time to hook up with ‘Ace’ Oyama to go over the final details of the ride. Our guests arrived on time followed by grey skies and more snow…

Monday morning welcomed us with another 5sm of fresh snow and minus 1 degrees, a far cry from the previouslyforecasted rain-out and 9. We lined up the sleds, briefed everyone on the route and local hand signals then headed north. The pace was a little slow getting going but picked up once we got on the main trail. We had a new 2012 Vector and Venture, both sporting EPS along with 3 Apex’s and a Phazer GT. From what I could tell President Yanagi quite enjoyed the Apex but he also went back for seconds on the Phazer. Pete Smallman-Tew was riding sweep on’the sofa’ and I got a strong hunch after gassing up the sleds, that he was having a little fun off the back. Either that or his fuel tank had a hole in it 😉

We made it to the Bush Company for lunch right on time and after a nice big meal, we decided to run some lakes back. The traction was surprisingly good and all three presidents got to see some impressive numbers on their speedometers. In hindsight I am glad I warned them about the ‘dock bubblers’ on the big lakes as we veered off the staked trails to do a little sight seeing of some of the so called ‘cottages’ on Peninsula Lake. Once back at the Grandview, Aaron had a nice campfire going and we went from saddles to Muskoka chairs (Adirondak for my American friends). Keys pulled and bevy in mitt, I proceeded to toast a round of marshmallows (note: this is not common treat in Japan), passing the first to president Yanagi. Still wearing his nice new Klim gloves  he pulled at the smoldering marshmallow leaving behind the center still stuck to the stick. Before I could react he reached over with the other hand and grabbed the gooey mess pulling it free and in the process coating his nice gloves in molten sugar. What a mess. I am pleased to report my security pass was still functional upon arrival at the office this morning…  cheers cr

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12 Responses to “President Yanagi Ride In Canada”

  1. low slung says:

    Glad to see your trip was a success.Sounds like the weather gods will end this winter in the east next week(we been lucky,snow/rain a few days ago,50miles today in the backcountry with great snow conditions for off trail riding).I really like the new EPS vector LTX for 2012,along with the $100 less price tag compared to 2011(Even the phazers got a big price reduction).Sounds like my next sled may be a vector EPS(want to keep the warrior,love the quad motor).Too bad about the Bravo and VK540,guess we got to let go of the 2 strokes,gone but not forgotten.Hope the next work sleds follow in the same footsteps(with four-stroke shoes).

    Yep, I think the price for a used Bravo just went up! cheers cr

  2. 7 skulls says:

    Glad to hear that the ride went well. Happy, snowmobiling presidents can only mean good things ahead.
    You didn’t happen to see on the trail a yamaha sled with no decals, one that no one was allowed near and that had a wicked new sound? hehe. There are more strange tales/rumors on the internet about the 2012 big-Y sled intro than bigfoot.
    The 2012 Vec with eps gets more appealing each time I look up the specs. If my current sled blew up, it would be a tempting replacement. But my current sled’s a yamaha so that’s one thing I don’t worry about.

    You know what they say… ‘if you haven’t heard a good rumor by Tuesday… start one!’ cheers cr

  3. pat the rat says:

    hey cr,glad the weather turned on you,it must be awesome to ride with yamaha’s big guys,the picture with the ice sparked a memory cuz we were there last year,i am pretty pleased with the new lineup,eps vector and venture makes alot of sense,i already know of 2 possible buyers for the new venture,altough some will disagree with me on the 2012 sleds,but from my 09 to the 2012,there are alot of refinements that i wish i could have,all i know is my next sled will have eps and i cant wait,chow

    Thanks Pat, I think if you had a chance to ride the two back to back, there would be no arguments from anyone… you’ll love the EPS when the time comes! cheers cr

  4. Yellowknife says:

    Nice. Interesting 2012 lineup, simple, low risk, decent promo’s.

  5. Tony Ianni says:

    Great to hear you had a good time. I have a cottage on Fairy Lk and know the area well – always good to have someone remind us how great our own backyard really is (you’ve done it twice this year alone!). Hopefully your ‘friends’ will take back a little bit of Muskoka when they head back home. BTW – so that was you racing up and down the lake on a bike; told my boys it was likely some crazy kid from Toronto – guess I was right!!!!!

    Hey Tony, I think they really enjoyed the Muskoka’s and I hope they think fondly about snowmobiling next time they find themselves in front of the corporate directors trying to explain a PL spread-sheet 😉
    You can tell your boys I qualify as crazy but the ‘kid’ part is only applicable to my attitude! cheers cr

  6. steve roberts says:

    Good man,glad to hear youve kept the head honchos/kingpins on board snowmobiling with a good,well planned and executed run.
    Too bad you couldnt have had a VK or Bravo with you to try and save them from deletion.
    Ill now be headed for the vintage OFSC permit club status (with Boris Yeltsin and Tonita, our 98 and 03 VK540s (36000 km)), or might have get some of your blue snowshoes for the daily abusive beaver pond adventures ( weight of Pro 4 stroke or/and EFI Ventures ,versus submersion and extraction issues)
    I hope the dealer network has a good back log of these bulletproof BR/VKs to keep us explororistic ,trappin,off trail amphibious bush bashers in the Yami camp .

    Maybe the Yamagods will do up a slick, OEM tracked Big Bear. Mandatory wind protection, ample storage, snow floatation, super agility and blue collar price tags. All this to mitigate the winter worker bee utility gap made by model departures.
    While Im starting to rant, how about some price parity between YMUS/CAN ( NAFTA & CDN dollar values)
    Sorry CR , Im just depressed/pissed with oppressed limited motorsport product realities and the distorted “so green you cant do it” state of things .
    Do ya think friggin Bombi has “ETEC” on the 50 corporate jets they just sold …ya get what I mean…..
    So Long VK and Bravo, http://www.inmyheart.ca forever
    SR in White Lake ON

  7. IveyRider says:

    Good job on keeping the “Big Guys” happy! As a middle manager myself I understand how criticle a good set of brake lights hooked to the boss can be! Hope you let em lead!

    haha, sounds like experience talking. Unfortunately I couldn’t let him lead but I was quite mindful of the ‘gap’
    😉 cheers cr

  8. Big50 viper says:

    After watching the last episode of Snow Trax [ski-doo]i can’t see why Yamaha bothers waisting advertising money on that show.AJ Lester dribble saying how he’s pro ski-doo and theres a reason there #1 in sales,yeh and so was Toyota.I ‘ve noticed that most shows are all about the yellow scrap,proably why my QC goverment keeps giving them our tax dollars to pay for the warranties. boy has that show ever gone down the last 2 years.J.M. must be turning over,anyways i hope Yamaha drops them as me and my other fellow riders will not watch that garbage any more.

    Wow, I must have missed that episode. Personally I think both AJ and Luke have really good on-camera persona’s and do a good job of keeping a balance when it comes to fair and honest comments. That said I know the guys have their own personal likes and brand bias which may well apply more on a model per model basis than brand to brand, (lucky buggers get the cream of the crop from all the OE’s to play with). All that said, team yellow owns the largest market share and is a marketing machine with deep pockets when it comes to promoting their products at any level, they have a lot of influence on the market perceptions.

    There is one thing I often ponder when it comes to any of our media partners: They don’t reach for their wallets when it comes time to choose the ‘sled of the year’… they don’t ride any of them for more than a season and they don’t suffer the sticker shock of re-sale value / trade-in and long term durability. I wonder if their view points would change if they had to use their own hard earned cash to play?? cheers cr

  9. Mr. T says:

    Three question’s: Tell me why does the Yamaha sled’s ware out the hyfax like they do compare to the other makes? You said that the engineers have taken a high tech and high quality approach to things, why would they ignore this on such a high end sled like the apex? Lastly, has anybody ever thought of making a motorless sled? Think about it, our 4strokes last a long time when taken care of. They out last the rest of the sled and the technology around them. Example, I wonder if Mr. Keller would like a new vector with power steering and all, but he just can’t afford it. If he was able to buy a new chassie and drop his motor in it, it might only cost him 8 thousand instead of 12! I know I might sound way off here but I’m just trying to think of ways to stay in the sport and on the more current technology.
    Mr. T

    Thats some good questions there Greg! Hy-Fax, tough to put a finger on it. I have found that the hyfax will wear (unevenly) quite fast but only to a point which can be quite close to the wear lines. Once there it can last quite a long time, or not depending on conditions and rider. We have some new hy-fax material with different properties being introduced next season which I am told has better durability and ther are tweaks to a couple of models skid frames as well re: Venture and Apex XTX for 2012. Interesting idea on selling fresh chassis and transplanting the engines. I understand one of our competitors is doing the same in reverse by selling short block engines to put in the chassis…
    cheers cr

  10. Viper S says:

    Glad to hear your event and trip went well!
    We lucked out here in the woods of Maine with more White too! I can’t believe I’m ready for it to end though. Last two nights its darn cold (-15 F)!!!
    To be honest about being disappointed with the 2012 sleds, would be an understatement. I’m going to upgrade the Attak GT some more, hope that one day soon,I’ll have reason to look for a newer Yamaha. Guess I could buy another PhazerII…
    Still hoping, though!
    Viper S

    Thanks Viper… I hope so too!! cheers cr

  11. sledfreak says:

    “I understand one of our competitors is doing the same in reverse by selling short block engines to put in the chassis…”
    cheers cr

    Nice one…. haha.. I would say thats a fair statement…

    But you know…. As a new owner of a ski-doo MXZ 1200, I would beg to differ on the XR. Its the real deal… It’s pretty bullet proof and does everything well. Putting a 160hp Nytro motor in a ski-doo 1200 chassis would have the best of both worlds….

    Enjoy your new ride SF, let me know how you make out long term, honeymoons are always the best… cheers cr

  12. Scott says:

    I wasn’t even aware that the 2012’s were to be released this past week. The earlier post about 2-stroke riders being programed to want/buy new sleds every 2-3 years was very interesting. I feel no need to replace either my ’05 Vector or my ’08 Nytro since I’m not worried about engine reliability. That lack of action spread over thousands of Yamaha sled owners doesn’t work in Yamaha’s favor since we are not buying new sleds. In turn, that probably causes the bean counters to say that the sled division isn’t profitable enough to justify additional R&D money. The sled line-up stagnates and sales go even lower.

    Selling mostly unchanged machines year after year seems to work pretty well in the ATV world. Snowmachines sales don’t seem to work that way. Had the Nytro and Phazer received minor refinements to overcome their short comings (Phazer’s suspension durability, the Nytro’s handling) then the sleds would become more appealing to both new buyers and previous owners. The resale value of the Nytro would go up if there was a kit or parts available at a reasonable cost to improve the Nytro’s handling. The ’09 geometry changes didn’t improve it enough.

    Just seems like a shame to give up on refining and developing two platforms that have so much potential. I suppose the numbers say that an EPS Vector will yield a better return on investment but EPS doesn’t generate excitement or sales to the performance crowd. Seems to me that Yamaha is following Harley down a dead end road by manufacturing products for an aging demographic and not attracting new, younger owners. Harley sells their bikes on image and being made in America. Yamaha can’t claim either of those. What is Yamaha going to do when the baby boomers are too old to ride?

    Thanks Scott, i always look forward to your comments, well thought out and well worded… cheers cr

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