7 Ways Snowmobiling Made Me a Better Person and Mom

Many of my fondest childhood memories include snowmobiling with my family. Starting when I was about 10 years old, I spent most every winter weekend, from New Year’s to late March, in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate NY, riding with my sister, our parents, and their friends.

This was a rite of passage for me as a snowmobiler and girl. The memories and experiences I had out on the trails with my family played a major part in shaping the woman I am today, and the family culture I am striving to build with my own children.

  1. We made our own fun.

I grew up in a small rural town south of Albany, NY with a sister, who was 14-months younger and two boys from across the street. My parents ran a trucking and excavation business from our home, which was situated on 20 acres adjacent to another 100 acres of woods that lead to my grandfather’s John Deere dealership.

There were no sidewalks. No hang-outs to meet friends. And our parents rarely (if ever) drove us places to meet up with other kids. We made our own fun.

We built forts in the woods. We played Matchbox cars in the sandbox. We swung on swings. We made the boys play house and Barbie dolls and they showed us how to play superheroes like He-Man and G.I. Joe.

  1. Boys will be boys…and so can girls.

I grew up in what some might consider a boy’s world. Trucks, tractors, dirt, and playing outdoors were major themes in my childhood. In the summer, my sister and I spent our days zooming around on matching red 90cc Honda four-wheelers.

We pretended we were school buses picking up kids. We played drive-thru store. We learned how to traverse the rocky creek and steep hills in the woods behind our home. We put hundreds of miles on those four-wheelers and made countless memories along the way.

In the winter, the snow was our playground. From building snow forts in the snowbanks, to sleigh riding, to zooming around on sleds, we packed down every inch of the snow in our yard.

  1. Riding = freedom (and coolness, sort of).

When I was five and my sister was just four years old, my Dad packed down a path around our yard and set us off on a 1972 Kitty Cat snowmobile. This was the beginning of my life-long love affair with winter, snow, and the freedom of riding my own machine. We drove around and around on that Kitty Cat, each time gaining confidence in our ability as riders and girls.Kitty Cat

Once we outgrew the Kitty Cat and were old enough for “real” sleds, my Dad upgraded me to a vintage 1979 John Deere Spitfire and a new Yamaha Bravo for my sister. We thought we had it going on, although the pictures say otherwise!Yamaha Bravo and John Deere Spitfire

  1. Do as I say, not as THEY do.

From this point forward, we spent nearly every winter weekend riding in the Adirondacks as a family. As tweens and teens, we barhopped (without the booze, of course) because that’s where snowmobile trails go. We learned how to act in bars long before we were old enough to drink or, technically, even hang out in them.

We spent a lot of time around adults. And that time reinforced the good – and the bad and ugly – of adult behavior and gave my parents tons of teaching moments to explain what they expected of their girls – and why.

  1. A little push goes a long way.

Snowmobiling (and riding my four-wheeler) gave me regular opportunities to test my limits and build confidence in myself. From drag racing on the lake to riding a few sleds ahead of my parents on the trail, they always pushed us to try things that scared us a little, that pushed us out of our comfort zone. And they trusted us unconditionally.

  1. Space to think.

As young girls we forged new trails and explored the wide open. We had tons of time and space to explore. To be free. To take in nature and all its glory. To learn to appreciate it and to respect it.

Trail rides, especially, were great times to “be in my own head”, to think and to just be. I regularly talked to myself about whatever my latest worry or struggle was – and I still do this when I ride today. I could solve the world’s problems – well, my own at least – from the seat of my snowmobile or four-wheeler.

  1. The family that RIDES together…stays together.

As I look back on the major life moments that built our family culture and ultimately cultivated the strong relationships I have with my mom, dad and sister, I am so thankful that my parents made snowmobiling such a central part of our family life.The family that rides together

The value of building our family culture around playing together in the snow, when most families hibernated and most kids spent their weekends hanging out at the mall, has had ripple effects in my life that will continue for years to come.

Now, as a parent and a wife, I am striving to build a strong family culture of my own. One based on trust and confidence in my boys. And one that allows us to play together as a family. Because kids these days seem to start everything a little younger than we did, our just-barely-three-year-old took his first solo run on his Kitty Cat this past winter. And he loved it. 

Kitty Cat first ride

Although we have several years until we can take our boys on a trail ride and several more before they can ride on their own, I already know snowmobiling together will play a significant role in our family life. And when they are grown, I hope my boys will be able to look back on their childhood with the same fondness that I can, because we played together as a family.

  1. {Bonus!} Snowmobiling as a family is the reason I started my business.

As a mom, I now realize the incredible impact of spending so much of my childhood behind the handlebars of a snowmobile riding with my family. It was a major factor in my decision to create Snowmobaby, my line of snowmobile themed baby and toddler clothing. In a future post I will share more about the story behind my brand and how I hope it will help other families make playing together a priority.

How do you play together as a family?  What role has snowmobiling played in your life?  I’d love to hear from you! And if this story resonated with you, I’d so appreciate it if you would share it with others who might enjoy it. Thanks so much!

Happy Trails!

~Lisa
Lisa Krug

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