Sled Heads

TWS: Why and when did you first get into snowmobiling?

Kevin Sansalone: I first got into it when we were doing the Whiskey movies. I don't know where Kearns and Johnson got the idea from, but they turned me on to it. The Creek Side Mob were the first hardcore sledders in our scene. Shin Campos and Allan Clark have had sleds forever, I think that's how Kearns and Johnson got in to it. They

were definitely the first explorers I went out with.

What kind of snowmobile do you own now, and what made you decide to buy that particular model?

I own a '99 Summit 600 Ski Doo. I got it from good ol' Al Bush at Valley Chainsaw up in Pemberton, B.C.. It's a perfect sled for me,

not too big and not too small. It was my first sled so I didn't want to get one that was too big. It's the most reliable sled out there and I'm the luckiest sled owner in the world. I'll probably curse myself for saying this now, but I never have sled troubles. I keep it in good shape and don't abuse it and it still runs awesome. On the other hand, I've seen Michalchuk trash a brand-new sled in a month, and I've seen perfectly good sleds just seize up.

What are some of the dangers you've encountered while snowmobiling, and how can they be avoided?

There are so many dangers to think about when you're

out sledding. It's crazy to think about all of them and write them down because we go sledding every day–it's just a normal day for us. You should stop once in a while and think about what you're doing out there–having all the gear and knowing what precautions to take is just half the battle.

It's a must to have proper gear and know how to use it:

first-aid pack, tools, parts for the sleds, transceivers, probes, extra clothes, et cetera. Try to watch your friends closely and take your time to think everything out carefully before and while you're out on the hill. You can never have too much knowledge of first aid and avalanche awareness. It also doesn't matter how much training you have if everyone else is clueless, you can go down just as easily. Always have knowledgeable people with you.

What kind of maintenance do you do to your sled?

I do simple maintenance to my sled, mainly just fluids and plugs. I'm still fairly new at sled maintenance, but I want to learn more. I'll take it back to Al Bush for any heavy work I can't handle and they let me peek in and learn a little. I do all my own motocross wrenching–I have tons of cool tools and an awesome workshop. That's my second love to all my toys; working on them.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to buy a sled?

Buy a brand-new one if you can afford it because then you know all about it and will be able to maintain it well. Sometimes you don't know what you're getting with a used sled, and they depreciate fast if they're not looked after. Be good to your sled and keep on top of routine maintenance.