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HomeFeaturesQ&A with Ross Spoonland: The 10,294-Miles (in a season) Man

Q&A with Ross Spoonland: The 10,294-Miles (in a season) Man

Ross Spoonland rode 10,294 miles on his 2013 Arctic Cat CrossTour

Some people ride a lot of miles on their snowmobile each season. A select few are able to really crank out the miles.

Then there’s Ross Spoonland who, in the span of four months, notched 10,294 miles on his 2013 Arctic Cat XF1100 CrossTour!

Yes… that’s TEN THOUSAND!

“Holy crapeth!” is what I said to the 59-year old farmer from Park River, North Dakota, when I asked him for an interview, and it’s what I’m still thinking.

See if you agree.


Ross Spoonland rode 10,294 miles on his 2013 Arctic Cat CrossTour

Ross is the guy on the left, captured in a rare moment when he wasn’t riding this past season.

AI: The last time we talked HERE you recounted your 658-mile day/7,250-mile season. Now you’ve gone ahead and ridden more than 10,000 miles in a single season… congratulations! How does this rank in comparison to all the years you’ve been riding?

Spoonland: At 10,294 miles, this season is an all-time high for me.  The previous high was 8,284 miles two seasons ago.


AI: I’m blown away by how many miles that is! Take me through the basics of how you were able to do it.

Spoonland: I have the winters off from farming and could ride any day of the week, which I did. It worked well with a small core of riding buddies who had varying days of the week off from work.  If I couldn’t hook up with anyone I rode alone.  I have trail permits for North Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba and Ontario so I had a large area to ride in. There were many trailer trips to various staging spots in the region.  I ended up doing 42 rides this season….just about all of it on trails.

Here’s the breakdown of  the 10,294 miles ridden by state/province:

Manitoba miles – 3,884

North Dakota miles – 2,447

Ontario miles – 2,384

Minnesota miles – 1,579

Map of the trails Ross Spoonland rode in 2013

AI: Did you start the season with the goal of 10,000 miles, or did it just unfold?

Spoonland: It wasn’t a preseason goal but as the season progressed and the snow stayed longer than usual the miles started piling on.  Mid March I knew 10,000 miles was going to show up on the odometer.


AI: Describe your longest-mileage day this year?

Spoonland: March 26 I did a 406-mile ride out of Warroad, Minn.  At first it was planned as a solo ride but late in the evening before ride day I emailed my friend Brad who has a cabin on Echo Bay up by Kenora, and who agreed to join the ride along the route. I was also texting with another friend Paul from Winnipeg while on my way to Warroad, who also said he’d meet me on the trail. I left Warroad at 9:00 am and headed up the lake trail to the Northwest Angle… reported into Canadian Customs on the remote phone at Young’s Bay and headed to Falcon Lake, Manitoba on the Can/Am trail. I met up with my two friends there and we headed to Kenora on the Ontario L101 trail. From Kenora we took the L102 (the famous “Pipeline Trail”) to just about Stewart Lake then got on the “A” Trail which looped back to Kenora. From Kenora back to the Northwest Angle on the “A” and L106 trails.  I checked in with US Customs on the remote phone and headed back across the lake to Warroad and was at the trailer at 9:15 pm. The route took us on some very nice trails. The “Pipeline” is a trail everyone should ride at least once. I guarantee you will come back and ride it again and again.    


AI: What were the most consecutive days you rode?

Spoonland: Three… February 16-18 on an 800-plus mile saddlebag trip in Ontario.


Ross Spoonland rode 10,294 miles on his 2013 Arctic Cat CrossTour

AI: What kind of pace do you run, and how frequently do you stop?

Spoonland: I try to run at a speed that is appropriate for the conditions. There isn’t much stopping other than to get a bite to eat mid-day and stop for pictures and short chats every once in a while. Many of the ride days were 10 to 12 hours. Dividing my sleds miles by its hours yields a 35 mph average.  


AI: Are all of your rides pre-planned routes, or do you sometimes just freelance a day’s route and go where the wind takes you, so to speak?

Spoonland: Most of the rides had a planned route although there were occasions they had to be altered along the way. I also made custom, routable GPS trail maps with all the snowmobile trails in North Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba and Dist 17 of Ontario. With the GPS mounted on the handlebar, navigation was a breeze always knowing exactly where you were.


AI: Any sketchy challenges that occurred during the season?

Spoonland: No great challenges stand out, but a couple of minor predicaments come to mind: Trying to find crossings on some ice ridges on Lake of the Woods; and navigating some lakes off trail in Ontario in whiteout conditions….the GPS came in real handy.


Ross Spoonland riding the Pembina Gorge in NE North Dakota

AI: Was there any point during the season when you didn’t want to ride, but felt compelled to reach a goal?

Spoonland: No. All season long I was ready to ride at the drop of a hat and sometimes was out the door before the hat hit the floor.


Ross Spoonland riding his Arctic Cat CrossTour in Ontario

AI: Were there one or two highlight rides during the season that really stand out?

Spoonland:  The Feb. 16-18 saddlebag ride in Ontario was the standout ride of the year.  It was 800-plus miles in some very remote and scenic areas of Ontario. Five of us left Kenora heading through Vermilion Bay, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Ignace, Atikokan, Crane Lake (Minn.), Fort Frances, Rainy River, the Northwest Angle and back to Kenora.  Out overnights were in Sioux Lookout and Atikokan.


AI: I saw the list of broken parts that occurred during the season HERE. Did any of these issues derail rides or trips that you’d planned?

Spoonland: The broken rear suspension front arm and the dead starter relay happened coincidentally at the same time near the end of a ride on the delta of Lake Winnipeg. I had to be towed about five miles back to the truck/trailer at my friend Raymond’s cabin.

The broken clutch cam bolt shortened a ride but I was able to limp it to a nearby town and then got a ride back to my truck/trailer and then went back to retrieve the sled.

The driven shaft and shaft bearing failure also shortened a ride but I got back to the truck/trailer. Unfortunately this breakdown also ended my season on April 1 as my dealer is waiting for back ordered parts. As of April 18 there is still a lot of snow here and in southern Manitoba so it has been hard to be sitting without a sled to ride.

I will have to say I have a pretty good dealer in Hamm’s Repair of Warren, Minn., that has fixed me up on several occasions having me in and out same day.    


Ross Spoonland rode 10,294 miles on his 2013 Arctic Cat CrossTour

A pintle hitch makes it possible for Ross to tow the grandkids in the Cat Cutter

AI: Tell me about your 2013 Arctic Cat XF1100 CrossTour… any modifications or custom pieces you’ve added?

Spoonland: A Garmin Montana 600 GPS and a SPOT Satellite Tracker were the first two things I mounted on my machine. Then I added studs, heavy skid plate, ice scratchers, 4-wheel rear axle, pintle hitch (for pulling a vintage Kat Kutter), dually 8-in. carbides and removable saddlebags for overnight trips.    


AI: How does the ProCross chassis compare with the Twin Spar when it comes to long-distance touring?

Spoonland: Coming off a 2010 Z1 Turbo EXT I was a little disappointed in the ride quality of the Cross Tour.  No matter how I adjusted the rear suspension I could not get the ride of the Slide-Action and TSL of the Z1.  Other than that the ProCross chassis was great.  


Ross adjusts belt deflection somewhere in Ontario

AI: Tell me what you like about your sled as well as what you would change if you could?

Spoonland: What I like most is the great handling and rider position. The overall looks of the Cross Tour… when I first saw it I had to have it. 

A couple of changes would be longer lasting clutches; Slide-Action/TSL suspension; chain case drain plug; and a hood that can be removed without the use of tools.


AI: Are you planning to get a new machine for next year?

Spoonland: No, I will be riding the same sled next season.


AI: What do you do for fun in the off-season?

Spoonland: The farming season is pretty hectic but I try to find some time to ride motorcycle, ride ATV with the grandchildren and do some shooting/plinking.


AI: I finish every interview with this question…Do you have a Roger Skime story to share?

Spoonland: No I don’t, because I have not met Mr. Skime. But have read some stories about him on ArcticInsider.


AI: (Laughs) Well I hope you get a chance to meet him, and I’m sure Roger would enjoy meeting you… and riding with you! Thanks for interview, Ross. I look forward to hearing more stories from you in the future.

Spoodland: You’re welcome.

Ross riding the big lakes of Manitoba with friends

At the White Otter Castle in Ontario

Checking in with U.S. Customs via telephone in the Northwest Angle

More than 283 hours of snowmobiling for Ross Spoonland in 2013



  1. Good story & a good season. Look forward to seeing you next season. Maybe I’ll get a chance to see you on the bike this summer, who knows..

  2. Great story! Now I cant wait to see how many miles pile up on that sled next year. Although it is a little disappointing that Cat still has parts on backorder for a sled still in production. He probably would have beat 10,000 by quite a bit!

  3. There are very few individuals that are tougher than the American farmer. All that hard work and long hours must keep Mr. Spoonland in peak physical condition. It’s a great story one worthy of Arctic Cats attention. I can’t believe that Ross has not been invited to the factory yet. Somehow I have a funny feeling that some insider is going to make that happen. Having that GPS and SPOT satellite tracker on board is certainly a smart idea in case of any misfortune out in the boonies. Well done Ross. I’m looking forward to reading about next seasons adventures.

  4. My opinion,

    Arctic Cat should give Mr Spoonland a prototype sled every year and let him put it through the course prior to offering to the public.

    Bet he already has vast knowledge of what improvements are needed and what the other manufactures pros and cons are since it appears he rides with other brands.

    I’m not saying that Arctic Cat doesn’t do any trail testing but anyone that spins the odometer to 10000 in one year deserves an award of some kind!

  5. Well done Ross, quite the accomplishment, Put on alot of miles and sure had a great time. See your kids made some miles with you. great wa for family to spend time together. Now its summer and its time to get ready for some lake activity thats much warmer. Keep your snow way North of us!! Later

  6. Great job the internationally famous RWS. You missed the story about the US Border service knowing who you were and following you on HCS!! I’m sure it won’t be your last 10,000 mile year, and sure you have many more great sled head friends to meet yet..

  7. Awesome buddy. I would like to ride with you some day. You rode with friends of mine from Winnipeg. I live in Brandon. So maybe next year. Can hardly wait! Have a great summer

  8. Super! It must be great to be free as a wind in such a wonderful landscape with good friends. I always admired The magnificent seven – you are the eighth.

  9. Great story and I am jealous too! As a farmer but an apple grower we get to spend the winter wading snow in the orchard pruning trees while squeezing in a few miles.

    The best mod I have made to my 2012 XF 800 Sno Pro was the addition of the Hy Gear suspension link and dual rear air shock canister. This totally transformed the ride quality from OK to near perfection.

  10. Good to see you on here Ross. Ross is a real gentleman who has helped countless people with GPS questions and know how. I love reading about his exploits and do want to accompany him on a ride one day. Good for you Ross on your story….

  11. Backorder on a current production shaft and bearing, and the dealer is barely 1/2 hr from factory, that’s unreal. come on cat.
    interesting he had no reverse problems, ours went out the first day. And the 13’s were supposed to be improved, after the whole 2012 reverse fiasco

  12. Yep! I do miss my farming days.

    The Garmin Montana is the GPS I plan to buy next year to upgrade from my E-Trex. Sounds like it works well.

    Should have called cousin Joey on that jackshaft. He probably could have pulled a few strings to get you one. Now you are missing out on the best snow of the year.

  13. Doesn’t matter how close your dealer is to the AC factory in TFR, parts warehouse is in Bucyrus Ohio.
    Yes I’m still waiting for my BO jackshaft.
    Parts dept at my dealership which handle both Polaris and AC tell me BO is a standard with AC but non existent with Polaris, which their warehouse is in Vermillion S.D.

  14. Had a great visit with Ross just prior and after the white otter castle … He helped us out with some navigation .!! We were on the the same route thru ontario Rainy lake Warroad .. Hopefully next year we can meet up and clock some miles … Have a great off season and hopefully they get our sleds up and running properly

  15. Dale

    The engine started running rough at idle. If lash changes any more there is not much adjustment available as it has a 240 shim in it now.


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