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Each Winter Is Different Things Are Changing.

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This post is just an attempt to share with those who read these entries as to what it is that I'm doing during winter. These past 3 winters have been warmer than even the 3 before them. Along with the warmer conditions there has been less snowfall with each progressing year. When you see pictures of the cabin try to remember that the snow you see piled around the sides is that which fell from the roof and so appears to be deep. Actually there is about 2.5 feet of compacted frozen snow on the ground in all but the drifted areas.

I've talked about freight sleds for years but finally took some pictures to help folks to understand what they are and how they are built.

Ten years ago I was moving items to and from the cabin using a variety of Otter brand urethane sleds. The one below is the only Otter I have left at this time. It is hooked to the back of my Tundra 550F long track Skidoo. In the sled is 600 pounds of concrete and a large wheelbarrow.

For carrying something like concrete an Otter is fine because you can't break concrete. For nearly anything else they spell damage because they just bash and crash along behind your snowmachine. These past few winters the river trails have been solid ice with even the snow melted then re-froze into boiler plate consistency. Because of that you need a better sled if you want to transport loads.

When I stopped about halfway out for these pictures you could see the mountains beautifully.

Because of the ice & lack of powder snow the tracks of the machines will get hot, hot enough to melt the track guides so I now have Ice Scratcher's on both sleds. Below is the Tundra with it's ski mounted ice scratcher's.

Those stainless steel teeth rip up the frozen snow and glare ice and send a shower of ice dust onto the track and keep things cool.

The Skandic is another story, it is fluid cooled so without snow flying up under the tunnel where it contacts the radiator the sled overheats. It too has scratcher's but a different type.

You can see the galvanized cable scratcher extending from the track guide in that picture, below is a closer look.

The high carbon cables keep tension on the carbide tips that rip up ice and snow to help cool the track and send some cooling material up onto the radiator. This is the first year I have used these and they were a necessity. The yard at the cabin may be white but that snow is solid like a parking lot. Rides back and forth from the cabin to home are bumpy affairs but the big sled still rides pretty smooth.

It's been 4 years now since I got serious about handling my own freight needs. In part this was driven by fuel expenses which drove the cost of having someone haul heavy loads for you up to 32 cents a pound. That's 320.00 per thousand pounds........... So I bought into a sled build, this is kinda like a kickstarter thing. I put up the seed money which bought the materials for 2 sleds. I got my sled for the seed money invested and the second sled sold for 2300.00 so I got the deal.

I pull this with the Skandic which is a dual range 600cc fuel injected E-Tech engine. These things are quiet, strong, and fantastic on fuel economy.

The bed is 12 feet long and the whole sled is nearly 19.5 feet long. For a sense of scale in the picture below it has a 55 gallon drum of gas on the front.

These sleds will haul a load on the roughest trails as if they are floating. The skies are very long and flexible. The whole ski assembly rides on an axel that is independent of the opposite ski and both the front and rear axels pivot on the frame. This allows for the sled to follow smoothly behind you without binding. They are so smooth you sometimes have to check the mirrors to be sure it's still there.

These pictures I hope will show how the sled is built.

The ski mounts pivot both front and back on each ski as well as the whole thing pivoting on the axel. This is why they ride so smoothly, combine the length / ski base with all the pivot points and you get smoothness. On the bottom of each ski is a Scag, these are high carbon steel blades about 2 feet long and they serve to keep the sled on an even keel behind your snowmachine. The ski base of the freight sled is the same as the snowmachine. Because of the ski base being the same, the scag's on the snowmachine skies are cutting a groove for the freight sled skies to follow. Pretty smart design, these sleds were designed in Finland.

This was how things looked out there a few days ago when I left the concrete there and came home. I've taken 20 sixty pounders and 10 80 pound bags out for some foundation work in spring.

Notice all the paper taped to the inside of the windows? That's my anti bird strike system, there have been way too many birds die on the windows out there. It's heartbreaking when you show up in July only to find an entire family (2 adults & 3 juvenile) Thrush's dead on the front porch. Wood Peckers, Spruce Grouse, you name it they've died on those windows. Not this year, if I have to build shutters I'm going to.

My big improvement this year is a solid new chimney cap. I've battled with the old one for ten years, no more .

That freight sled will carry a 2,200 pound load if you have a solid enough trail to support that much. That's the heaviest I've pulled out so far.

Updated 02-24-2018 at 06:06 PM by Ard