Russia Update: Christmas Snowmobile Procession 2014
Published on February 7, 2014 in News & Updates, Snowmobile Travel
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Dear snowmobilers of the United States, I am happy to greet you this winter season. We hear a lot about the extreme cold weather gripping some North American states. We hope that nothing – even the polar vortex making Niagara falls freeze – will present a problem for safe recreational snowmobiling.

Thanks to my friend Dan Gould, you now know about our annual snowmobile ride in the Perm region. This year our Christmas SNOW procession 2014 took place on January 11, and I am delighted to share my impressions with you.

Traditions combined with novelty- this is how we can describe what lies at the core of this event.

Traditions

This year the event was held for the seventh time. The organizers remained the same, BRP Fan club and Perm Off-Road Club. The two old partners invited riders to open the snowmobiling season officially, however many people had already sneaked out to ride on their own around the New Year’s.

It is a time when the brotherhood of snowmobilers meet one another for the first time, and old friends reconnect. One can see a wide-range of snowmobile makes in the pictures, Arctic Cat, BRP, Russian Rys, Polaris, Yamaha.

Tradition is a synonym for stability. We keep the same track unchanged every year, although given the vastness of the forests we could easily change the route, but instead we cherish this opportunity for both experienced and new riders to try out this legendary trail leading to the White Mountain Monastery, Kolchak’s Way. From experience we know people always enjoy it and nobody has ever expressed any tiredness of the same track.

The date of the ride remains unchanged as well – some time during the Russian holiday season from January 7 to January 13, when it is time to visit the White Mountain Monastery. The pilots and passengers make their donations for the renovation of the monastery. All the participants are traditionally awarded a certificate, this tradition is very much loved by the snowmobilers. Some of them have a number of such certificates at home as a fond memory of their visits.

This event is a treat not only for those at the wheel of a snowmobiler but also for families and friends who come to support their loved ones. For them to see the riders off at the start on Ivan-Mountain in Perm, then jump into a car, make 75 miles to Kungur (Perm Region), enjoy the mass at church, and cheer their loved ones at the finish line is also an annual adventure.

The riders always return with a sense of achievement. The experienced ones are proud of the fact that they covered the old track at a higher speed, novices are overwhelmed by their first 50 miles off-road.

The kids are happy to be a part of a real adventure, the fathers are proud of their offspring, and their own shape, too! But all as one are enriched by the ascent which is like a trip to heaven.

The mountain top that is at an altitude of 1,214 feet above sea level never fails to offer a gorgeous view. Sometimes when you fly up on top of the mountain on your snowmobile you can be dazzled for a moment by the shine of the golden church domes in the bright sunlight (as in 2013 at -4°F) or you can get lost in the mist (as was the case at -30°F in 2014). This year the visibility was so bad that at noon you could not see the monastery from 30 feet, but towards the evening the mist cleared up and the monastery looked like a meringue.

I am sure you can’t wait to know how many of us were there? 148 people. A big number of participants are a tradition we are also trying to keep up.

Novelty

You might be wondering whether I ever get bored organizing this event the seventh time on end? No, I don’t. For me it is like a visit to a snowmobile congress. Every time you are glad to see old friends. Also, you meet new people of all ages and backgrounds: some of them are successful businessmen but complete novices in snowmobiling, some youngsters at the age of 19 are already experienced pilots who make 3,700 miles during one riding season. I always feel energized seeing such a kaleidoscope of people and being part of such an effervescent brotherhood of snowmobilers.

It has always been an important task for me to organize the snowmobile public. And now I start to see teams coming with their own leaders, who are committed to only mountain, or utility snowmobiles, or one particular brand. I am constantly in contact with my colleagues from other dealerships, and they, in turn, now gladly inform their clients about this event, too.

I would like to say a few words about one particular group of snowmobilers this year. It was a team of 30 riders. Even the visitors to the monastery took a moment to look at them: the latest makes of snowmobiles, go-pro cameras, bright colored protective gear – I was glad to recognize in them “graduates” of the BRP club 2012. I still remember a time when they did not consider a helmet necessary. And now I am happy with the results of our work. They turned out to be excellent riders for whom safety in recreational extreme sports is not a meaningless word. We have gone through some hard tours together and grown close as a team.

A ride to White Mountain is now like a light walk for them (they could have easily conquered a couple of mountain peaks and surfed powder snow instead), but they attend the event to keep up the tradition, which makes me very happy. And of course, they want to show off their new outfit, like at a fashion week, setting the trend for the young.

The participants are getting younger each year. You can even see even 9- or 12-year-old pilots, under the care of instructors and parents.

Besides younger riders you can see more women favoring this event. The good news is it is now becoming a family event, as you can expect at Christmas time. You can see ladies at the wheel of a snowmobile, or as passengers, or amongst the supporters.

This time the temperature fluctuated from zero 32°F to -23°F, which is unusual for this time of the year in Russia when normally it should be freezing.

PS: So, as you can see, we had a great time during the holiday season, had a wonderful ride and paid tribute to the tradition. Next is our traditional ice swimming to celebrate the Epiphany on the night of January, 18-19. And my new call is “Let’s go swimming on snowmobiles!” Yes, yes, crazy Russians.

Taking into account 45 snowmobile congresses that you have had in the USA, we are a few decades behind you. We are still lacking prepared trails and call a track any place where we are going to pass through. When it is 32°F outside it is too warm for our snowmobilers, and when it is freezing, we go for a swim. We do have something we can surprise you with, dear friends.

We are very glad we have this opportunity to communicate.

E-mail me

We’ll see you at the next International Snowmobile Congress 2014.

Evgeniy Borodin is the head of the BRP Fan Club in Perm, Russia.


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