Pre-Season Odds and Ends

British Columbia. How? Why?

This is what’s on my mind. Certainly I’m not the only one. If you are on Facebook and happen to live in the lower 48, you are thinking this too. The questions aren’t rational, I know. We know that Canada gets much more snow and much earlier in the year, but I can’t help being distraught that “they” (the Canadians) have been riding multiple times and we barely have a skiff of snow on most peaks.

So what do we do…get our sleds out, look at them for a long time, and obsess over every pre-season prep detail! I bet you are in the same boat. So…

  1. I stumbled into a new technique that I thought was pretty cool. You may know about img_0845this, but I sure didn’t. So here is the problem. On my sled, there is a non-black plastic piece directly behind the exhaust cutout. Over time, this area has accumulated a bunch of exhaust residue and other crap. I’ve tried to clean it off in a similar manner to the rest of my sled in the past with no luck. I decided to try…Tire Black from Armorall. The first time I put it on, for a minute or so, I saw just enough progress to try again. The second time, I let the chemicals soak for 15 minutes. And then…I brought out the secret weapon…a potato scrubber I picked up a img_0846few years ago out of my wife’s kitchen using the old five-finger-discount. This “tool” is handy for many mechanical cleaning duties. Light scrubbing with this dandy was just the ticket. The picture above is actually after cleaning for awhile. You’ll have to trust me, it looks much better, and I am oddly satisfied (hence this post).


2. Pre-Season Checklist

I definitely  would not call myself a mechanic, but I know a few. Based on their recommendations and my own level of comfort, here is what I do.


  • Clean belts in warm soapy water.
  • Clean primary clutch surfaces.
  • Clean exterior of sled.
  • Grease all zerks.
  • Drain and replace chain-case oil.
  • Adjust chain-case chain.
  • Visual check of primary and secondary clutches.
  • Check/replace spark-plugs.
  • Check/adjust track tension.
  • Check e-start connections 🙂 –for any of you purist suckers out there cussing me on e-start, there is absolutely no better investment than the MAGIC button! To quote a riding buddy, “there are two things a man needs in this world…a good woman and electric start.” Enough said. 😉
  • Visual inspection of hyfax.
  • Renew snowmobile registration.


  • Attend avalanche/back country safety class to brush up on skills.
  • Practice using avy transceiver with a buddy.
  • Refill or recharge avy airbag backpack. hint: 800 lbs is not enough.

  • Check/replace batteries on transceiver.
  • Charge radio communication device (review on BC Link by BCA coming this winter).
  • Charge Go Pro.

    Some of the goods.
  • Ensure all essentials are in backpack: shovel, probe, tampons (for fire starter,
    after dipped in gas tank), waterproof matches, lighter, extra food (small amount), shakeup hand-warmers, head lamp, flip tree saw, pocket knife, zip ties, duct tape, and beanie. Others suggest more, but this is what I carry.
  • Ensure all essentials are in your gear bag, to be taken out when you gear up: helmet, shell, uninsulated pants, boots, balaclava, goggles (2), gloves (2), extra layers, avy transceiver, BC Link radio, Go Pro, cell-phone (in off-mode except when needed for pics or emergency, otherwise it may interfere with transceivers–even in airplane mode). I place my extra gloves and goggles in a compartment on my sled.
  • Ensure trailer is in shape to roll. That is an entirely other job…

What am I missing? Share with what you do in a comment below!

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