Effectively riding in the mountains or hilly terrain requires the ability to sidehill. Although more challenging than it looks, keeping a few key pointers in mind goes a long way toward mastering this technique. Adam Trainer, owner of Grizzly Lodge in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada, offers some expert advice.
Understand the terrain and prepare yourself for how the sled will react. If you’re approaching a hill on your right-hand side, for example, keep in mind that the snowmobile will want to lean down to your left.
Your sled will naturally follow your eyes. If you look down, the sled will go down. Turn the skis down the hill, which allows the snowmobile to lean into the hill. Keeping your eyes up, counter-steer away from the hill.
To help you get started and position your sled up against the hill, put either your left or right foot (depending on which way you’re leaning) forward on the running board. Hold your leg out for balance. This allows you to place your weight above the snowmobile on the top side of the hill.
You don’t necessarily have to hold your leg out. You can often ride in the neutral position with one foot on each side. It takes a little more counter-steering and throttle control to keep the sled on the hillside.
Burp the throttle, which will help raise the sled out of the snow and lean it into the hill. Use the balance of the sled and the throttle to control your trajectory along the side of the hill. Keep the position of your skis in mind. The further down the hill you point them, the more the snowmobile will lean into the hill and want to go uphill.
You can use the skis to push into the hill, which will stand the snowmobile up and let you go down the hill.