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Flipped: My Mind Switched to Winter this Weekend

Sandberg flips his switch to winter for 2016.

After the last of the rideable snow melts away during the increasing warmth of springtime, a switch gets flipped in my head. I stop planning snowmobile trips and start thinking about bike rides.

On some 60-degree weekend, usually in April, I’ll prep the snowmobiles for summer storage. The fuel gets stabilized; all the gear in the seat bag gets removed and put in the shop; and the sleds are thoroughly washed before being loaded onto the trailer. A few days later, I make the bi-annual trip to my storage guy, swapping the snowmobile trailer with our pop-up camper.

For the next 5-6 months, the switch in my head is firmly on summer mode: mountain biking, camping, ATV riding, and mowing the lawn. It’s only the last one of those activities that I truly do not enjoy.

Of course I occasionallythink about winter and snowmobiling during this timeframe, but it’s more of a casual, wistful look back at what happened during past winters rather than an all-consuming look forward to what’s ahead.

But it is only a matter of time before the switch flips again into winter mode. The mechanism that flips that switch varies with each passing year and the evolution of my life.

Some years it’s a day spent at a late-summer swap meet like Princeton or Hay Days that trips the switch. Other years it’s the sight of combines harvesting the fields near our home, the autumnal scent of burning leaves or the gradual degradation of faces on carved pumpkins during the week after Halloween. 

Over the years I can remember the switch flipping on the first frost of fall; the ritual hanging of deer hunting clothes outside prior to opener; and even because of a snowmobile magazine arriving in the mail.

It’s happened as early as August and as late as December. Sometimes the switch has flipped instantly and other times it’s a gradual move.

This past weekend, while enjoying a long weekend near Ironwood, Michigan, with family and friends, my switch finally, firmly flipped. It occurred when I awoke early Saturday morning to a fresh blanket of snow covering the ground.

Winter! I’m not kidding; I literally felt the flip of the switch.

At the sight of this unexpected gift, my wife and I donned our jackets, hats, boots and gloves and went for a nice walk in the woods, eschewing our normal routine of ALWAYS drinking coffee before engaging our brains and bodies. Later, I went back outside for a bike ride on the trails surrounding the ski resort near where we were staying, enjoying every slip, chill and rush of cold against my face.

No, these aren’t my favorite tracks to make in the snow. And the orange leaves on the maple trees were a reminder that this snow wouldn’t last, but my mind is now officially in snowmobile mode, where it will remain for the next 5-6 months. And I couldn’t be happier!

My question to you: What flips your switch into winter mode? Is it a gradual flip or is it instantaneous? Has it already occurred for this season?

Let me know. And thanks for reading!

Sandberg flips his switch to winter for 2016.

Sandberg flips his switch to winter for 2016.



  1. Mine usually stays somewhat flipped all year round. It has been on more since you started Arctic Insider, thank you John. Living in the northeast away from all the major events is a bummer most times, your dedication to Arctic Insider and your reporting keeps my throttle thumb going. Even as I get more mature in my age, (62) I still love all things Arctic Cat and Arctic Cat racing. Your stories and articles are the best. I started my sled this past Sunday to load on the trailer for preseason check, the smell of two stroke filled my nose and lungs, I was in Arctic Cat heaven! The switch has been flipped! Go Green!!!!

  2. Mine flipped this last Saturday.While sweeping the chimney on the main shop it spit snow for five minutes.Nice article.

  3. My switch stays on all year long. I agree with Paul above, that AI keeps the fire burning inside of me even when there isn’t a hint of sledding anywhere. But, once the snow melts, out come the trails, then in June I usually attend the International Snowmobile Congress, then we start thinking about grass drag racing, then it’s back into it full swing. We spoke about the passion at Haydays.

  4. Mine flipped mid august. At that time my dad was just selling the farm place in preparation to move up to their house near Hayward Wi for retirement. All of our sleds(9 in total, only one NON-cat) stay in the shop i helped him build years ago, about 20′ upstairs in a loft specifically designed for snowmobile summer storage/motorcycle winter storage.

    well, sale of the farm meant all the sleds needed to be relocated… so what does that mean?! that means i HAD to ride every sled across the yard so we could load them up. that also means grass wheelies obviously! As well as the lovely smell of 2 stroke…! The first sled fired up, i got a good wiff, and the switch flipped. that was all she wrote. im in full winter mode! although i am still riding the motorcycles… and waiting…

  5. Funny, mine also flipped this past Saturday. It was a cold weekend with low temps around 24. Pickled the boat Sunday morning and reinstalled my revalved shocks and skid Sunday afternoon. Bring it on!

  6. My switch continues to flip each time I receive another text from one of our favorite World Champions showing the totally insane engine that he is shoving into his ol’ ZR this time!

  7. Paul & Mark: You made my day with those comments!

    Tom: It’s a Trek Farley. Fat bike for (primarily) snow riding. Pretty dang fun.

    All: thanks for sharing.

  8. I’m gonna flip a bigger switch than all of you! I’M PICKING UP MY NEW TURBO TOMORROW MORNING!!!!!! My first four stroke, can’t wait!!!!!!!

  9. Oh, and by the way, my switch always stays flipped thanks to this site, I guess you could say I’m just putting on the high beams tomorrow!! Thanks for everything John!!!!


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