Well, I bet you have seen all of the photos of your buddies buying up the snow bike kits and bolting them up to their moto bikes. A few weeks ago, I contacted fellow adventure-seeker and local rider Jake Metteer, and he offered me the opportunity to hit up the picturesque area around Mt. St. Helens and see for myself what the elusive snow bike was all about. Up for grabs was a 2017 Kawasaki KX450 with a Camso snow bike kit bolted up, courtesy of Bent Lever Motorsports, and you better believe I grabbed it!
This year, we've received an incredible amount of snow and like many around our area, I found myself wishing for the weather to change to our wet northwest spring so I could get back outside on a bike. Instead, this was the year I gave snow biking a try.
On the day we headed to the mountain, the weather was a little warm. Rain down low was expected, but we pushed on in search of white. As we parked on the side of the road I started to get my gear on and unload these contraptions. I've been around motorcycles my entire life, and I can say I have never felt so alien around a dirt bike. I was standing there, wondering what in the heck I was doing. As I doubted myself, the little voice inside reminded me that it's just a dirt bike and I'd be just fine.
The rain was constant and soaking, as we took off and headed down the slushy, snow-packed road. My first impression was WTF? I was all over the road, fighting the bike like I had two flat tires. I felt like I was in for a ride. We had a ten-mile ride, just to get to the area we planned on riding and it was a fight most of those ten miles. When we finally stopped, I said, "This is hard and I suck at this." The other riders all laughed and told me that they had never ridden on these crappy of snow conditions. They assured me that it will feel effortless when we find good snow.
Man, were they right! We found the snow. The bike started to float over it all and my face started cramping up from my smile smashed in my helmet. You could go wherever you wanted, not needing a track or a trail but only the snow. You could aim for a big pile of snow and send it. As my confidence grew, we started racing straight through the woods. We were making our own trail. We could go anywhere. As we popped out from under the tree branches, there was a hole over a creek that decided to grab one of the rider's bikes. This is where the serious part starts to set in. Luckily, we were a group of seven, so dragging a bike out of a hole like that was easy. But if it was just you or you and a buddy it can very quickly turn into a survival trip. We were able to pull it out and were off again, shredding around the open meadows and jumping snow piles. It was crazy fun.
In the end, I was freezing cold, hungry and soaking wet. Was it cool? Hell yeah, it was cool. Will I buy a snow bike kit soon? I will probably buy one if the winters are like this year every year, but as for now, I will be running it just like the way I look at having a new ski boat.
Ski boats are cool. I don't own a ski boat. But, I have a buddy that owns a ski boat and he will let me use it.