Despite its physical rigors and aesthetic flash, snocross isn’t a sport practiced by nearly as many people as its motocross counterpart, and snocross’ 2012 exclusion from any definitive extreme sporting competition signaled a crossroads in the sport. If you want to have a role in defining the future of a challenging and honorable tradition that’s every bit as dangerous and exciting as it looks, then you might want to consider breaking into this icy cool world.
The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association reported that, in 2012, 120, 087 snowmobiles were sold worldwide fueling an industry that generates an estimate $34 billion per annum. That’s big business, but where and when did snowmobiling turn into snocross? Sometime during the early to mid 1990s, athletes adapted many of the skills from motocross riding and racing (think track terrain featuring holes and jumps) to snowmobiling. Around this time, snocross enthusiast and race organizer, John Daniels founded North America’s premier snocross racing organization The International Series of Champions (ISOC).
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You can’t train for snocross if you don’t have a snowmobile and access to a winter-wonderland course specially designed for snocross, right? Wrong. Much of the conditioning you need to complete in order to prepare your body for the physical rigors of the sport can be undertaken during the warm weather months at camps like the Ontario, Canada-based Snowcross Boot Camp where $800 gets campers 5 days of professional instruction, food, lodging and detailed physical and mental training regimens to ensure sound body and mind for the upcoming race season. If this camp is too far or out of price range, contact the ISOC for details about other programs in your area. No matter where you go, one thing’s for sure: If you’re keen on entering the snocross scene, you can’t afford not to receive some type of formal training.
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If you think $800 for a 5-day camp is expensive (and it is), you must not have spent much time tallying up the equipment costs that are part and parcel of a proper snocross outfitting – this may be the most expensive snow sport around. Naturally, a snowmobile is a major expense, ranging from around $2,000 for an older used ride to $15,000 for the cream of the crop. Then, there’s the gear. Helmets start at about $115 and knee and neck braces, knee and elbow pads, boots, gloves, upper body protection, and goggles will run you another $1,000 if you’re being very conservative, or buying on sale or used. It’s not easy on the wallet but, if it’s what you love (or what you think you will love), save up and make it happen.
Competitions aren’t the only place to see pro snocross. Each year, in regions throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, snocross experts compete in a wide variety of events, including Duluth Nationals, in Duluth, Minnesota, Snowcross World Cup Finals in Falun, Sweden, Northeast Snowcross Challenge at Malone Fairgrounds in Malone, New York and the World Championship Snowmobile Derby at Eagle River, Wisconsin, but if you’re an amateur looking to break in fresh gear and test a new training routine, head to the ISOC Membership page and investigate joining the organization so you can take part in amateur races.
You’ve got all the tools – get out there!