Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Winter Oddities

Yes, you're seeing that right. A snowmobile travelling on the water.

I don't know off hand if they're still doing it, but this takes place in the village of Dorset, Ontario, during the winter. Dorset is a small place on Highway 35, deep in cottage country, nestled on an arm of Lake of Bays. It's known for two items of note: a firetower high on a promontory overlooking the town, and a general store that's known throughout the province. If you ever get a chance, check the place out.

Now then, explaining this picture. There's a narrow body of water passing between two bays, and the village is on either side of the narrows, linked by a pair of bridges. The water stays open during the winter (more or less by human interference, mind you), and for a stretch of a few hundred feet, snowmobilers race across the open water to the ice on the far side. I've seen it myself, and it's done on a Saturday, under police supervision. The water there is shallow, and everyone's wearing survival gear just in case they go in. They really prefer not to go in. After all, if they do, they have to pay the full fee of getting their machine hauled out of the water, and that can really add up.

So how do they do it? You have to keep your speed up as fast as you can when you hit that water. If you slow down, you're going to go under. And you have to keep your front end somewhat elevated. Once you're on the ice on the far side, you're safe. Up to that point? You're not safe.

Yes, we Canucks are a strange lot....

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