Like many of us, Alicia Martin loves snowmobling to her very core. She’s also an Arctic Cat engineer and Team Arctic racer. And she’s willing to share with us her experiences as a passionate snowmobiler, engineer and racer, beginning with with this really cool introduction.
Read about how her love of snowmobiling brought her to Thief River Falls and Arctic Cat:
I Love It
I often think of my favorite Wayne quote: “Party on, Garth”.
Wait a minute… that’s not right. Wrong Wayne!
I meant The Great One. Wayne Gretzky. He said, “I love everything about hockey.” He loves game. He loves passing, shooting, assisting, practice, drills, traveling for games, his teammates, learning, and teaching. He loves everything about it and I think of his passion when I think of my own toward snowmobiling. He said, “Hockey is my life. I love every minute of it.”
I love every minute of uncrating sleds, pouring gas, and changing skis. I love learning about clutching, gearing, and suspension.
I live for the days when I can go mountain riding, ditch riding, tree riding, or trail riding. I love the smell in the air before a snow storm and the way fresh powder crunches under my boots. I still get an adrenaline rush just thinking of racing whether it’s snocross, hillclimb, or cross country. I love talking to people about their favorite exhaust, a trip they took 3 years ago, and what the snow is like out West. I could sit and chat with people who have spent 50+ years in the industry about what they’ve seen and learned till the cows come home. I left my home and everyone I knew, then moved across the country because I love this sport and have always dreamed of being at the heart of it.
So, I was surprised the other day when someone came up to me while I was studding a track and huffed, “Looks like you got stuck with the crappy job.”
*Read this next part with sass. One had on your hip. The other with your index finger in the air*
First of all, buddy, it’s my own track, and I need studs if I want to race next weekend. Second of all, this is part of snowmobiling. And I love it. Sure, I may have drilled through my own thumb, but studding tracks is part of the game. It didn’t even cross my mind to think that what I was doing was “crappy” or that I was “stuck” doing it. I love being involved whether I’m working on my own sled or someone else’s, studding tracks or spilling chaincase oil all over the ground, trying to pull over an 800 when it’s 10 below or fishing a pipe spring out from under the motor. I love every minute of it.
The people, most of all, make this sport great. My favorite and fondest memories usually involve sleds and riding. I remember my mom and I riding ZRs up Mill Creek together when I was barely big enough to see over the handlebars while standing up (I guess that’s not saying much… I can barely see over the bars now). I’ll always think of mowing through the steep trees up Gold Hill, proud of the line I made just to keep up with my brother. I’ll never forget my dad blazing passed me through the bumps in the Co-Ed class racing Meeker, Colorado thinking, “holy smokes, he’s fast!”. I’ll cherish all the new friends I met and came to know riding this winter over Christmas in Steamboat.
I even loved working late nights and early weekend mornings in the parts department at the dealership in Laramie just to keep the heat on in my 1-bedroom apartment while earning my engineering degree. I was pumped to see how excited a group of guys were that we had a trailing arm in-stock for a ’98 670 Summit, because that meant they could go for a ride that weekend. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
A friend just told me something that hit me right in the pump. He said that he has nothing but thankfulness in his heart from what this sport has brought to his life. Aside from the accomplishments, he commented the people in the industry, in the Arctic Cat factory, in those offices make life worth living.
He said, “Dream big, Alicia. Set goals and make tracks. Make our sled go from third-place to first. But most of all, have fun. This isn’t a job. It’s a lifestyle.”
And there you have it. Whether you ride a 2019 Alpha One, or a 1978 Kawasaki Drifter. It’s all fun. It’s what makes life worth living.
So, party on, everyone.
Alicia Martin was born and raised in Evanston, Wyoming and has been riding snowmobiles with friends and family since she could walk. She grew up racing snocross, hillclimb, cross-country, and backcountry mountain riding around Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Colorado. She moved to Thief River Falls last year to work at Arctic Cat as a Snowmobile Test Engineer and has been racing the USXC circuit in the Womens Class. In the off-season, she loves riding dirtbikes, bicycles, hunting and fishing, and working on Mopars.