17. February 2014
In the past six years there has been a radical shift in attention to sleds suited for backcountry technical riding. It's practically created a new niche of snowmobilers, tech and gear and most importantly technique targeting a very interesting aspect of this recreational sport.
Unless you've tried it, there's a heart pounding thrill to something as simple as side hilling across a powdery steep slope or shooting up through a steep ascent through a tree line. It may be the sheer "fright" upon realizing how bad things could get if everything don't go as planned that enables you to perform techniques fluidly and accurately as you power and brake your way through technical terrain.
I'll admit I do it a a little, and I love it. I'm a believer that you need to learn and practice the riding techniques Bret Rasmussen, Chris Burandt and the many talented riders that have evolved the sport of backcountry technical riding to the prestige its risen to lately. There's a reason the series of videos called "Schooled" is named so. Purposely to teach you and I newbies a few needed skills and an awareness that being just OK at backcountry riding doesn't happen out of sheer luck and talent. All of us are capable of running out of both very quickly in just about any backcountry situation.
If you really want to learn some back country riding skills, first do yourself a favor and buy the whole series of Schooled videos sit and watch and take notes, and most of all listen to the tips they tell you. There are also some great websites like SledShot (Mountain Sledder Magazine) providing great tutorials on technical skills, I'd highly recommend their "How to Get Unstuck" video, it will make your life a lot easier and your back will thank you for it.
You also need a good safe learning spot that's not to technical and has a variety of terrain to train on. I found a small area with a decent hill and not too many trees, and some room for the sled to runoff without it ending up in a ravine, brook, trees or other obstacle that could injure you or your sled. Practice practice and keep practicing the techniques. Also pay special attention to the techniques of "wrong foot forward" and "counter steering" and learn how to use those techniques on both sides of your sled until it feels natural, and that's just the beginning.
I can't deny the purpose built back country sleds make the act of executing these techniques easier, however, the techniques themselves are much more influential to your ability to get around in the back country and more importantly to get out safely if you do plan to venture beyond the groomed trail.
3. September 2009
I was recently browsing through my 2009-2010 snowmobile wishlist, of which the Polaris Assault is in the Top 3 and I begin considering wether or not to keep the 2009 Assualt on the list due to the recent recall.
Some critics may claim a product recall is a bad thing, while others view it positively, especially the owners of that product.
There are many examples of products not performing up to the expectations of consumers or products experiencing unpredictable malfunctions in the real world. Often, the consumer is left with no recourse to a very serious patent defect complaint without taking legal action... no one wants to be David attacking Goliath.
Some would never purchase a product that has been recalled, I am not one of them. Would you?
For me, I evaluate the nature of the recall and reliability of the "fix". I will not take the recall at face value, and I think it's important to ask questions about the changes required in a recall to make a personal "judgement" on wether the fix is good enough. If I'm convinced the product will still hold value, perform as intended and in the end improve that products quality, I'm on board.
This is where we seperate Manufacturers who care about their consumers, and those who care only about the bottom line.
A product recall is really an indicator of a healthy consumer marketplace where consumers and manufacturers add quality to products being used in the real world beyond the controls of testing facilities and demo groups. Quality Assurance practices are common place in all manufacturing settings in North America and most of the industrial world, but they are not perfect and never will be.
Polaris Industries has issued a number of Recalls this past year in both their ATV and Snowmobile lines. This is a good thing, because it really means "YOU" and "I" and Polaris are Winners.
It's great when we all WIN!
It also saves Polaris alot of money, time and energy dealing with the fallout of a class action suit and other legal paths which cause negative consumer perception, confidence and in the end affect their bottom line.
I give Polaris 2 Thumbs up!!
The 2009 Polaris Assualt is still on my wishlist.
The following recall content was provided by Polaris
POLARIS RECALLS SNOWMOBILES DUE TO LOSS OF CONTROL HAZARD
The following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of Product: 2009 Polaris Assault model Snowmobiles
Units: About 800
Importer: Polaris Industries Inc., of Medina, Minn.
Hazard: Bolts on the rear suspension can break causing the rail tip to become dislodged and interfere with the snowmobile’s track. This can cause the track to lock up and the rider to lose control of the snowmobile, posing a risk of injury.
Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received reports of eight incidents in which the rail tip bolts broke, two of which resulted in the rider being ejected from the snowmobile. No injuries have been reported.
Description: This recall involves 2009 Polaris 800 Assault RMK 146 snowmobiles model numbers S09PL8EE and S09PL8ES. “Assault 800” is printed on the snowmobile’s hood. “Polaris” is written on the seat. The model number is located on the right side of the tunnel below the seat. The snowmobiles are red and black.
Sold by: Polaris dealers nationwide from September 2008 through June 2009 for about $10,600.
Manufactured in: United States
Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled snowmobiles and contact any Polaris snowmobile dealer to schedule a free repair. Polaris has notified registered consumers directly about this recall.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Polaris toll-free at (888) 704-5290 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.polarisindustries.com.
CPSC is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell us about it by visiting https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx.