Rescued in the snow josephs, memoir

February 10, 2017



Joe Autuori

Rescued in the Snow


I followed my dad through the tight turns and open fields of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers trails (VAST for short). I was riding my high-output 600CC Bombardier MxZ Ski-Doo snowmobile. This was my first time being on the VAST and the first time ever riding on the trails around here.  VAST is an organization that was founded almost 48 years ago for the sport of snowmobiling and maintains and grooms over 5,000 miles of trails. I didn’t know the trails at all and I was trying to remember which way we had come. I’m almost always thinking about this, whenever we go really far I usually try to remember most of it. I count on my dad to remember the stuff I missed so we’ll be able to find our way home.


We are able to get to and from the trails from our backyard. Most of the snowmobile trails in Vermont are located on private property. The season begins in mid-December and runs through April 15th and I love it. It is a rush to feel my machine carrying me across fresh powder zipping down the trails through the brisk winter air.


As I ride I’m always on the lookout for bare parts of the trail, tree limbs, open water, exposed rock and other hazards. I had on my brand new helmet with a visor as well as gloves, boots and ski clothing. My heated handles are a bonus when the Vermont temps get frigid. I sped along behind my dad as we were doing about 40 miles an hour. We’d stay to the right on the trail and slow down as other riders would approach from the opposite direction.


We came to an opening in the trail where we would need to cross a road, this happens pretty often and it is kind of bad. You can’t always steer on the roads because the skags need to dig into snow but the road is too solid to get any grip so you usually need to keep one ski on the snow on the edge of the road. If you don’t do that, you’ll need to get off and push the snowmobile back to the side of the road because you’ll almost always end up in the middle with a million cars behind you. If you do get steering on the road, it still wears down the skags (the metal pieces under the skis) but it’s better than nothing. This road, however, was not plowed. It looked like there weren’t many houses nearby so I was excited to drive across this one (because it was fresh powder). My dad came to a stop right before the road and asked how I was doing.


”Fine,” I responded. I thought to myself that I would never not be fine out there because it was great.


He drove forward and crossed the road. I leaned forward and hit the gas, hoping to get out of the powder I had stopped in. I just sank straight down to the frozen dirt. I started yelling for my dad but realised there was a large field right around the corner and he had sped off.


I tried my hardest to get the sled unstuck but it was in so deep and there was too much powder I couldn’t get a good footing to lift it. I was completely alone, in the middle of the woods. It was very odd, it was almost never this quiet. You could always hear a fellow rider zipping through the woods, two-stroke engine blaring, even next to our house. Snow was falling in an endless flurry all around me.  The trees were covered and so was my visor as I swiped the snowflakes away feeling their coolness on my cheeks.


I scanned the direction in which my dad had disappeared.  I was very nervous because I didn’t know if he would go some other way looking for me, or if he would get lost or if he crashed or got stuck. I knew I could not lift the heavy sled so I sat and waited patiently until I heard the sound of an approaching rider.


It was my dad! He’d realized I wasn’t behind him any longer and backtracked to find me. He’d worried I’d gone off the side of the trail and was relieved to see that my machine was only stuck in the piles of white powder. He helped me lift my sled out of the hole and together we hit the gas and took off across the field.


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1 thought on “Rescued in the snow josephs, memoir

  1. I liked your story. I would love to be able to do that with my father.
    I bet you were scared being out there all alone. You had me at the edge of my seat from the beginning of the story – all the way to the end.
    You are a very good writer. I would have thought your story was written by an adult, if I did not know.

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