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Archive for April, 2011

April 15, 2011

Spring Shows – Turk

I had some interesting feedback from the Big4 snowmobile show tour over the past few days. It came as no surprise that Cat was getting a lot of attention in their booth, a brand new chassis and body work tend to do that. We messed up a bit with our signage on some of our units. For example, we had a cut-away of an Apex to show the EPS and EXUP system that was looking somewhat the worse for wear. Our Quebec reps were pretty vocal on how we should not have sleds in the booth that showed their mileage and looked used. Someone forgot to tell them it was the same sled that set the world record for the most miles traveled in 24 hours at the hands of Matt W. Yes, I know, Skidoo is now claiming that record but they don’t mention the fact, they needed to use two sleds to complete the job, using an out provided within the rules… would have made a nice little conversation starter in the booth. Mark L also forwarded a comment from a fellow who went to checkout the new Apex XTX  and decided not to purchase due to the skid-frame / Hyfax wear reputation on the 2011 with no apparent updates on the 2012, ooops. The pre-production show unit had the 2011 skid-frame, where the production units have a much updated version, we just didn’t point it out with a sign… Overall the attendance at the shows was good for all OE’s, up from last year and boding well for the future, hopefully another sign of recovery in the market.

My old pal Masa Saito (aka ‘Crazy Saito’) just celebrated 30 years with Yamaha snowmobiles. The guys in our Minocqua test center where he is currently based,  had a little party for him last week where he was presented a very cool piece of hand-crafted furniture. Not sure what clutch spec they used but I am pretty sure Turk over on TY would be able to make it back-shift better!

And speaking of Turk, I had mentioned when I was out in Brandon MB during the winter, I almost had a chance to meet the TY clutch-tech guru  but missed the chance. I received some bad news from Jim M who told me Turk (aka Mike Broda) has been diagnosed with a very insidious cancer. Here’s a guy that has given a lot of guidance to many less experienced snowmobiler’s who now finds himself in need of all our support. Mike if you happen to read this, know your friends at Yamaha are thinking of you and Live Strong brother. There is a post over on TY (link) where you can read what some of the guys have to say and perhaps leave some words of strength for Mike.

In closing I had mentioned the annual western Yamafest held in Rev’y was once again heralded a ‘must attend’ event but the part I didn’t mention in detail was the ‘fun’ had by the attending flat-landers from the eastern head-office and regions of YMCA. Heres a pic of Dean, our fearless snowmobile tech specialist demonstrating a  creative use of his avalanche equipment. I am told he ended up filing a claim for the newly created mine. An old friend  and BC regular on the mountain submitted the following report on what it is like to guide and ride with the Yamaha flat-landers:

Here’s My perspective on Yamafest: A Flat lander rides on a narrow trail, stiff as a board, Arms and legs straight, bent 45 degrees at the waist, half their weight on the handlebars

1) Slowly slides off a 2 degree off camber @ 3kph never changing riding position

2) Goes as far as possible off the trail and points the nose up hill or into a hole

3) At the last second pin’s the throttle till all motion ceases

4) Keep the throttle on a little longer out of sheer desperation and to disperse any remaining snow from the track area

5) Throw their head back and look to the sky

6) Silently yell- Ohgod,ohmummy,pleasebabyjeez,dontletmediehere, Ican’tbreath, Ithinki’mgoingtospitoutmyheart!! Option: Some elect to scream obscenities out loud (My personal favourite)

7) Incredible patience sets in, they can wait for hours warming the seat cover til someone comes to save them

Incredibly skilled Mountain guy comes in from the high side, nose always down hill not spinning the track, rides past as close as possible a few times to pack the snow and make an escape route

Flat lander looks at mountain guy thinking he is just showing off, flips him the bird and whines about abandonment (if you get too close they try and hit your kill switch)

At some point Mountain guy comes to help out and the Flat Lander rides out on the trail packed by the Mountain guy, Flat lander still feels insulted.

Flat Lander feels as though he needs to write a book or go on the talk show circuit to talk about their “Big Day”

We have grown used to this and have heard “I have ridden trails for 25 years” many times, a new rider is just as good as an experienced trail rider oddly enough

For the record the snow conditions were pretty tough, I cant imagine some of our guys thought it was “Fun” but the stories are awesome : ) … I love Yamafest
BTW- You’re next…  Red.

Nicely put Jeff- I will look forward to it-  😉  Cheers cr


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Posted @ 9:53 am in Travel and Events,Yamaha People and Communication   

April 5, 2011

Rev’y – 60day record

The OFSC officially closed the trail system this week on what turned out to be a fairly good riding season in Ontario. The east coast is another story. We might be able to get in a few miles in June the way they are going. And the west is still full on as usual. Our retail sales were strong this spring and dealer inventory levels are down significantly over last year at this time.

The tragedy in Japan has us all worried, even with global production, the impact of the disaster is surely to be felt throughout the Motorsports industry (along with just about every hi-tech manufacturing sector I can think of). In speaking with several of our guys who have recently returned from factory, things have pretty much ground to a halt in production as they continue to conserve energy and take stock of the parts supply chain. I think the snowmobile production runs which are scheduled for summer will not be impacted but it is still too early to say.

The  annual Revelstoke Yamafest went off last weekend and the reports coming in are all good. Randy and his team put on a first class event, attracting dealers and customers from all over western Canada (and the US). Already there are some good stories circulating regarding some riding talent (or lack of) that I won’t mention here in order to protect the reputationof the unfortunate, who were caught in less than flattering situations. (What do you think would happen when you send eastern management into 30 feet of pow?). I have heard a lot of nice comments on the new chalet the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club and their supporters have built on the mountain also the increased awareness and education surrounding the very real threat of  avalanche in the back country should be recognized. I am proud to say our own Randy Swenson (aka Trailer Queen) has been very instrumental in facilitating our involvement with the various avalanche organizations and safety / awareness campaigns.

Finally a big shout out to Nick Keller who just broke the world record (for the second straight year) for the most miles ridden on a snowmobile in 60 days. The real cool thing is he used the same sled!! Heres his story: YMUS- Nick Keller


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Posted @ 9:32 am in Travel and Events