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Thread: Some question from a future Alaskan.

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    Default Some question from a future Alaskan.

    Hey everyone. I joined this thread to get some questions answered. Some of them regard transportation.

    How common are roadways and are they maintained in the winter or is a snowmachine required?

    How much of the year can you use an snowmachine?

    What amount of money would you recommend setting aside for buying an snowmachin for someone like myself who would like to move up there?

    For those of you who rely on a snowmachine for transportation, how reliable is a good snowmachine, and how much money does it cost annually for maintenance and gas?

    What snowmachin/type of snowmachine would you recommend?

    Thanks to all of those who respond. I have many questions and I'm trying to post a few each day in the appropriate forum category. If you would like to help out a future Alaskan then please look at some of my other posts and give me as much advice as you want.

    Thanks again.
    Kent

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    The short version, which applies to all of them, is..."It depends..."

    Out where we are, snowmachine access in winter is generally pretty limited...we don't get much snow very often.
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    Alaska is a big state. As Troy saids, it depends. On the road system, roads are plowed and no snowmachines allowed on them. Out in the bush, it depends on how far from a main hub (Bethel, Nome, etc.) you are. You need to decide where you are moving to first before you get get good answers to your questions.

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    Yeah, with so many of my questions i am posting on this forum im getting the "it depends" answer. not hating on yals answer, because there is definatly some truth to it. Its just i intend on living in somewhere like anchorage first and learning about the state and how to go about it all. I'm from north carolina so i dont know anything about a snowmachine. We call them snowmobiles down here but ive never even seen one in person. It just seems that they are very common up there. I feel like the majority of people who dont have a snow plowed road in front of there house get around on them reguarly.

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    I have been in southwest Alaska 16 years. I got a boat, a plane, and a 4 wheeler, but no snowmachine. Other folks have a different set of rigs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kent15 View Post
    Yeah, with so many of my questions i am posting on this forum im getting the "it depends" answer. not hating on yals answer, because there is definatly some truth to it. Its just i intend on living in somewhere like anchorage first and learning about the state and how to go about it all. I'm from north carolina so i dont know anything about a snowmachine. We call them snowmobiles down here but ive never even seen one in person. It just seems that they are very common up there. I feel like the majority of people who dont have a snow plowed road in front of there house get around on them reguarly.


    Well answer a few questions so we can help you here.

    1. How old are you? This will actually help a bit on telling us what categories to start with.


    2.Where in alaska will you be moving too?

    My guess isProbably one of the major cities in which case a Snowmachine will be more of a toy than your main transportation.

    3. Once you've established where you will live you will have to look at what you will want to do on said snowmachine, whether it be trapping, hauling, trail riding, racing, playing in the mountains, boondocking(breaking trail playing in the trees) etc.

    There are many many many different kinds of sleds out there. While at first you may not know what kind of riding you'd like to do, my suggestion would be to get what is considered a crossover sled. These are considered the jack of all trades sleds, while they don't do anything great they do a lot pretty darn good.

    If I were you I wouldn't come up here and buy a brand new machine. I would poke around craigslist or similar and find a mid 2000's machine that was in good condition to get a feel for it as well as its not a huge deal say if you hit a tree or break something.

    ALSO!!! Just like anything else you try there is a learning curve! It helps tremendously to go out with guys that know how to ride AND be safe. DO NOT, let one time dictate whether you like it or not. i.e. This year alone I've been on a few rides. A couple rides left me wondering why I spent so much money on a brand new machine, others leave memories that still put a smile on my face. Snow conditions will vary meaning ride conditions will vary.

    Answer the few questions I've posed and we will go from there. They are fun machines and a great way to explore the state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy Hamon View Post
    I have been in southwest Alaska 16 years. I got a boat, a plane, and a 4 wheeler, but no snowmachine. Other folks have a different set of rigs.
    But just across the bay in Dillingham, the fourwheeler would be almost useless and the snowmachine would be the ticket come winter time. It changes that quick Kent.

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    Kent 15, you are correct in that you are getting a lot of 'it depends' answers. Take this winter as an example, normally I should have 20"-30" of snow on the ground to where I can ride from my home. This year I have green grass and no snow, so the ATV's/SxS are getting more use. Once you live in Alaska for any amount of time, you will learn that we are at the mercy of the jet stream for our weather more then most people understand. One nice thing about snow machines, when we do have snow, one can get to places that they could not in other times of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    But just across the bay in Dillingham, the fourwheeler would be almost useless and the snowmachine would be the ticket come winter time. It changes that quick Kent.
    Exactly correct.
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    Hey everyone. I joined this thread to get some questions answered. Some of them regard transportation.

    How common are roadways and are they maintained in the winter or is a snowmachine required? Required no

    How much of the year can you use an snowmachine? Generally Nov-April

    What amount of money would you recommend setting aside for buying an snowmachin for someone like myself who would like to move up there? 4-6 K for a good used sled

    For those of you who rely on a snowmachine for transportation, how reliable is a good snowmachine, and how much money does it cost annually for maintenance and gas? I dont use mine for "transportation" but is spend about $1,000 a season on gas and maintenance

    What snowmachin/type of snowmachine would you recommend? WOW that depends on intended use and expirence

    Thanks to all of those who respond. I have many questions and I'm trying to post a few each day in the appropriate forum category. If you would like to help out a future Alaskan then please look at some of my other posts and give me as much advice as you want.

    Thanks again.
    Kent
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    If you are living and working in town or most of the road system...a snow machine is mostly a toy. Fun and even useful to a degree but not really required.

    Living off the road system they turn into winter transportation pretty quick but even out in some of the villages you might not see them depending on local conditions.

    Heck, in the Interior I can use an ATV for most of the winter unless it's just a really bad snow year. I had mine out doing chores today.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kent15 View Post
    Hey everyone. I joined this thread to get some questions answered. Some of them regard transportation.

    How common are roadways and are they maintained in the winter or is a snowmachine required?

    How much of the year can you use an snowmachine?

    What amount of money would you recommend setting aside for buying an snowmachin for someone like myself who would like to move up there?

    For those of you who rely on a snowmachine for transportation, how reliable is a good snowmachine, and how much money does it cost annually for maintenance and gas?

    What snowmachin/type of snowmachine would you recommend?

    Thanks to all of those who respond. I have many questions and I'm trying to post a few each day in the appropriate forum category. If you would like to help out a future Alaskan then please look at some of my other posts and give me as much advice as you want.

    Thanks again.
    Kent
    Kent I am speaking from my experience. If you are on the road system, snow machine is mainly a toy. However for what you'd like to eventually do, one would be needed. Where I am at, there is maybe 10 vehicles in the village that are used regularly. Almost everyone uses a snowmachine and I see some pretty nice ones, but a machine in my location is a main source of transportation for 6 months of the year.


    1. Yes there are roads that are maintained. If you are near the major population hubs there are roads. Where I am, we have about 9 miles of road around our village and out to the dump and the beach. The roads are not maintained in the winter, but they are driveable with a truck, 4 wheeler, or snowmachine. The snow packs down fairly nicely. If I want to leave the village I have to have a machine. This is my third winter and we just bought a machine. I bought used and paid $2k for a very nice used sled with less than 1k miles on it. It cost me over a grand to get it to my village.

    2. generally speaking Octoberish to Aprilish. However this year is totally different. The Yukon still isn't safe to travel where I am at. There are open holes and the ice is very thin. No Bueno for me, the new guy. Heck or even the older guys.

    3. I'd recommend $2k. Or wait until you are absolutely ready. I totally recommend not buying any thing more than $2k until you make it through a winter.

    4. Gas is pretty expensive. I am paying almost $7.50 a gallon and a quart of oil is about $8. I have a 500 fan skidoo and am getting about 10-15 mpg, but I am riding on trails, I'm not breaking trails. I'm also putting around since I am getting old and have no desires to wreck. I have no idea about maintenance costs since I will be doing it all myself.

    5. I went with a fan cooled pull start so I don't have to deal with the battery dying. I also wanted a reliable machine. Skidoos are quite popular in the village. There is a reason why. They are dependable. Tundras are also very popular b/c they are super light and easy to manhandle out here. I'm running a bombadier 2 up and it is used for running a trap line and hauling my family around outside the village. No pull behind sled yet (that will be my next purchase).

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    Remember, if you are moving to Anchorage you are going to need a truck and a trailer to move that snowmachine to a place you can ride. In most winters you will have to go at least 30 miles outside of Anchorage to ride. Many of us, even those that can ride right from our houses, trailer for hundreds of miles to get to good snow. I have lived in Alaska for 40 years, and at least half of them I haven't owned a snowmachine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskankid13 View Post
    Well answer a few questions so we can help you here.

    1. How old are you? This will actually help a bit on telling us what categories to start with.


    2.Where in alaska will you be moving too?

    My guess isProbably one of the major cities in which case a Snowmachine will be more of a toy than your main transportation.

    3. Once you've established where you will live you will have to look at what you will want to do on said snowmachine, whether it be trapping, hauling, trail riding, racing, playing in the mountains, boondocking(breaking trail playing in the trees) etc.

    There are many many many different kinds of sleds out there. While at first you may not know what kind of riding you'd like to do, my suggestion would be to get what is considered a crossover sled. These are considered the jack of all trades sleds, while they don't do anything great they do a lot pretty darn good.

    If I were you I wouldn't come up here and buy a brand new machine. I would poke around craigslist or similar and find a mid 2000's machine that was in good condition to get a feel for it as well as its not a huge deal say if you hit a tree or break something.

    ALSO!!! Just like anything else you try there is a learning curve! It helps tremendously to go out with guys that know how to ride AND be safe. DO NOT, let one time dictate whether you like it or not. i.e. This year alone I've been on a few rides. A couple rides left me wondering why I spent so much money on a brand new machine, others leave memories that still put a smile on my face. Snow conditions will vary meaning ride conditions will vary.

    Answer the few questions I've posed and we will go from there. They are fun machines and a great way to explore the state.
    Im 25 years old.

    I dont have a plan that detailed yet. So i don't know the area as of right now. However my intincts all point me in the south below the mountian range. Here was my first post on the site. http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...d-my-questions

    I dont know what i will be needing it for as i don't know what life will be like. I do consider it a possability that i will need to travel long distances in a lot of snow. Just getting vauge ideas on what to expect and how to approach more detailed questions.

    Thanks for the rest of the response

    Im assumeing that a 2stroke and all mechanical is the norm in the snowmobile world. am i right in these assumptions or have the snow machine companies went all computer as well? I assume two stroke just due to how it is a simpler design.

    Thanks again

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    The learning curve in Alaska is a steep one for all things. You should at least come visit before deciding to move here. I lived in many states from MN to MS before moving here. Alaska is different than anywhere in the lower 48. There are plenty of jobs here for someone willing to work hard. If you are set on moving up than do so and move to Anchorage or Fairbanks first. All you need is dependable transportation, car or truck and a good work ethic/attitude. You can find affordable housing and a job. Then start figuring out AK, it is huge. All the questions you ask very, and you will find that out. Good luck.
    I have such a hard time trying to decide which outdoor activity to do every chance I get!! Living in AK is a mental challenge

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    Some good advice so far.

    Assuming you are reasonably strong and coordinated and not seriously overweight, as a 25 year old male who intends to live in town, at least initially, I'd recommend a well cared for liquid cooled, 700 to 800 cc 2 stroke with a long track (2" lugs and 144" and up). Sleds of this general type are sort of like the dirt bikes of the snow...they will go just about anywhere.

    Really good deals can be found on sleds of this type from the early to mid 2000's. There are some lemons in that group so the best advice I can offer is wait. Get here, get settled, spend a winter, see what your finances will allow and talk to people who ride. Most Alaskans are pretty generous with information.

    If at some point you decide that you want to live off the grid in a remote or semi remote area where your sled will be your winter transportation than a machine in the utility class makes more sense.

    There are places to ride for every type of machine but this is not Canada or the upper midwest. Alaska has a very limited trail system and only a portion is groomed--the reason I say this is "trail" machines seem versatile and are popular with the inexperienced. The problem is they are essentially worthless off trail in the hands of anyone shy of an advanced rider.

    As to the costs? Figure $2500 to $4000 for a good used machine. Another $300 to $1200 on clothing and gear (depending on how fancy you go)

    Assuming your machine is mechanically sound to start figure $100-$150 in gas/incidentals per trip depending on where you go to ride (if you live in Anchorage/Eagle River). That's for day trips. For some destinations lodging adds more. Plan on $300 per year in maintenance--maybe you spend less one year, more the next. (a high performance, two stroke sled motor needs a top end every 1500 - 2000 miles or so)

    I live in Anchorage and I ride a lot most winters. I average $4000 a winter to fund my habit.
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