Hardcore Sledder banner

1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Administrator
2030 Arctic Cat 2500 - - 19-20 mileage-100,000
Joined
·
23,657 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I did not write this,

This was NOT me or any of my friends,

This has been posted on here several times over the years and I usually repost this every year..........
:cry:





Just like you and me:

"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.
 

·
Administrator
2021 VR1 Eight-Fiddy HYPERSLED!!
Joined
·
20,585 Posts
I think this story is 10+ years old, but I read it every year and it gives me chills. It could be any one of us every single season & I hope it makes people think every time they suit up. Thanks for posting it again this season Jerry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Thanks for posting this Jerry. Good timing too with most of us getting a twitching thumb with this warm weather. I too read this every year as a good reminder to be safe. Most of my riding is done with my family and safety is the most important part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
553 Posts
To add to this a little, I love ice fishing, and right now, the idiots are in full swing. We had such a early ice season last year and it is extremely late this year. For those of you who like to ride your sleds on the lake, be even more careful as there is still a lot of unsafe ice. I know a snowmobile is pretty much a jet ski with a track, but once you stop, it is a boat anchor. Already several sleds are sitting on the bottoms of MN and WI lakes.

Again, thank you for sharing this story!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
811 Posts
To add to this a little, I love ice fishing, and right now, the idiots are in full swing. We had such a early ice season last year and it is extremely late this year. For those of you who like to ride your sleds on the lake, be even more careful as there is still a lot of unsafe ice. I know a snowmobile is pretty much a jet ski with a track, but once you stop, it is a boat anchor. Already several sleds are sitting on the bottoms of MN and WI lakes.

Again, thank you for sharing this story!


Seriously those are correct values for going out onto the ice?

I'm shocked.....not to mention scared shitless to go out onto the ice.

In my mid teens I fell through the ice when out walking one day, and I used the walking stick I had in my hand to help pull me out.

I can't begin to tell you how much it freaks me out, and how thick the pond on my property has to be before I will get out on it.

I bet you it's at least 8"-10" before I will even walk on it, and even then it's baby steps. :cry:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
553 Posts
Seriously those are correct values for going out onto the ice?

I'm shocked.....not to mention scared shitless to go out onto the ice.

In my mid teens I fell through the ice when out walking one day, and I used the walking stick I had in my hand to help pull me out.

I can't begin to tell you how much it freaks me out, and how thick the pond on my property has to be before I will get out on it.

I bet you it's at least 8"-10" before I will even walk on it, and even then it's baby steps. :cry:
Only Yamaha sleds required >12" of ice :laff:

All joking aside, you be surprised how many ice fisherman walk out on 1-2" of ice (IDIOTS!)! I wait for 4" of ice. I started out Thursday (12/31) and drilled first hole @ 5" thick, then next hole was 4" then next hole I drilled was 3" and the next was 2". While 2" of solid black ice will hold me, I'm not a fan. Reason for the guidelines is just this. While it was 5" here, 100ft away it was 2". Lakes do not freeze uniformly and many things affect how the lake freezes. Avoided inlet/outlets, cat tails, deep parts of the lake (early season ice, churn of the water erodes way the ice).

This is me and my 3yo on 4" of ice and I think 100% ice fisherman will agree with me that this is plenty of ice to walk on.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
933 Posts
That should be hanging on every club wall at all times. The "only had 1 or 2 beers" is relative. 1 or 2 that anybody saw, or maybe it was not a factor at all...just one of those freak occurrences.
I got bounced of a sled cold sober and spent 23 weeks in a cast for my efforts. Coulda been worse...I was in a big field with no trees within 1/4 mile in any direction, speed at the time was under 30 mph. Hit a drift the opposite way and landed on the running board with my left ankle turned over and full body weight descending on it. Snap. Only saving grace is neither my broken tibia or fibula compounded but they were completely broken off. I know I'm not invincible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
It's not the 1-2 beers, it's the stuff buried in the snow. If you don't really know the area you don't really know what is in the snow so it is best to follow other peoples trails or take it easy. I live in farm country and farmers often park machinery in the back 40. Some of our trails have some machinery a few feet away from the trail. That is one of my bigger fears. All in all, be careful out there
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39,554 Posts
It's not the 1-2 beers, it's the stuff buried in the snow. If you don't really know the area you don't really know what is in the snow so it is best to follow other peoples trails or take it easy. I live in farm country and farmers often park machinery in the back 40. Some of our trails have some machinery a few feet away from the trail. That is one of my bigger fears. All in all, be careful out there
Yup broke my fibula and tibia together also during a hare scrambles start. It was a long starting straight in a field that funneled down to a tight tun into the woods...couldn't see clearly what lay on the edge of the course... got bumped from behind, hit a stump and landed between some large rocks. Got my lower leg/ankle snagged between the bike frame and some good size rocks. You can figure the rest...not good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
I just turned 50. Ive been riding since the age of 11. like most my friends and i have gone through our hero stage.....fastest in the north woods... laughed at the piles of broken parts in the corners...sleds got bigger and faster... we got older....missed more corners, then that day comes when the tree doesn't move. we got off light. broken sturnum, in Crandon. we still ride the bigger faster Iron, thats not gonna change, but we think about it more. we still crank it to 11 on the volume, but a lot less than we used to. Point is sledding is an extreme sport to some, and it can be dangerous, that is not going to change. If your lucky life sends you signals. If you pay attension to those signals you to can be call a survivor. My friends and I have been very lucky. I hope that continues. To all out there, stay safe out there. If your crew has been going hard, slow things down. don't discuss it, if your leading, pull it back, if your following drop back and make them wait. do your part and ride the next day. Take the next trip. Ok I'm done preachin
See ya on the trails, I'll be the old guy carrying the skis and draggin knees.

Zombiehunter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I DID write this.

Still miss Jim but time heals all wounds I guess.

I finally decided to get back into sledding.

I was doing some archive research on clutching rpm for my mach (found it!) i ran into my old story - I'm glad it still has an impact on the community and makes people think about what they're doing.

Hopefully the trails are good around crivitz and I can get back into this next weekend!

Ride safe!

- Justin

FYI looks like its been clipped a bit... here's my original version.




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
 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top