Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.


                                                  Life at the Top


                                                                                byTed Hlokoff



The West Chilcotin Alpine presents us with a perfect day.  The scenery looks brand new, untouched by mankind, (except us) or his creations (except our sleds).  Then we fire up out piped big bore snowmobiles and rip up the snow.

             Cruising through the trees a half hour ago we startled a few ptarmigans, but no tracks of any kind where now that we’re above the trees in the Alpine.  We move farther into the Southern Coastal Mountain Range.

            This morning (March, 2002) Dave Morin and I fired and fueled our snow machines.  Dave Morin rides a Powder Special Extreme 600 – I ride a Thundercat 1000, expecting one of those perfect days that you have to be lucky to enjoy once or twice a year.  We started cruising down the lake and as often happens we got to the trailhead at speeds approaching 110 mph..  Sunny, warm and picture perfect we were on our way to paradise.  Along the trail we water skipped the creek at Gus’s Meadow, then turned around and did it again before continuing our way to the Mountains.  At Nimpo Lake some of us drive too fast (?) and it is said, “The trees are scared.”

            Trumpeter Mountain is spectacular in its majesty.  At the bottom of the mountain, the only tracks are the ones we have behind us.  Carving the deep snow before the hill climb was a blast for us both.  There are not many sensations that compare to steering a five hundred pound, two hundred horsepower machine through six feet of powder. 

            Starting up the hill I weave through the small trees and squeeze the throttle.  Like a rocket ship I shoot up the mountain.  Halfway up the three thousand foot hill I am still accelerating.  It feels like I am going straight up and approaching 65mph.  I get a little air over some compacted snow that used to be a cornice.  My arms jerk with the acceleration created by the traction of the heavy snow.  Past there my sled digs deeper into the snow, slowing only a little.  Nearing the three quarter mark of the hill I am slowing down drastically, under 50moh. now.  Twenty feet from the top I am going too fast so I release the throttle, knowing I will coast straight up over the top.  The cornice looms over me and I get scared, maybe I should turn around?  I’d have to drive my sled upside down to make it past that huge cornice.  It looked a lot smaller from the bottom of the hill.  I’d seen movies where people busted through the wall of snow at the top and landed above it, maybe I could make it?  To hell with it, I was on the fastest, meanest machine ever built if someone else could do it, so could I … I hoped.  Going way too fast to turn I squeeze the throttle.  It feels like a brick wall when I smash into the cornice, then I’m blinded by the flying snow.  The next thing I know I am on top of the hood.  Still hanging onto the handlebars I flew over the windshield and had my face and left shoulder flat against the front of the sled as it lands, shiny side up, above the cornice.  Instinctively I squeeze the throttle and the sled accelerated right back under my butt, again. 

            Just as I was starting to think things were going good I could see again … I am driving off of a cliff at speed of 60mph. 

Freefalling 100 feet or so is supposed to be fun, but I can’t see anything except sky until just before I land.  With my heart back in my chest again I try to take a breath and calm down.  I must have been going about 80mph. when I finally saw the huge (12’ across) snoball in front of me.  Feeling my testicles try to retract into my body I laid down low against the seat as I ran into the house sized mound of snow. 

            Surprisingly, the snow is soft  and I punch through it like Cotton Candy, in full control.  That impact had slows me down just enough that the rest of the hill is a piece of cake.  I stopped at the bottom of the hill climb without hitting a tree.

             Dave had been sitting at the top and took a pic of my crash through the cornice.  Looking up the mountain I see Dave peering over the cornice.  He gives me the thumbs up and let’s go a Victory yell.  I would too, but I still haven’t got my breath back.  Dave jumps the cornice and comes down the way we’re supposed to.  Parking beside me he throws off his helmet and tells me that he is sure he has a good picture.  “I missed a better one right after that because I couldn’t wind the camera fast enough.  When you flew past me you looked like Superman, body straight out, flying your snowmobile off to who knows where,” he is laughing so hard he falls off his sled.  Amidst his laughter, “I thought you were dead,” he manages to get out.

            “Yeah,” I drawl while maintaining a serious expression, “Sure is a good thing I know what I’m doing, isn’t it?”

            Then we both start laughing again.

             It sure is a great day to be alive!!!



-the end-

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