Åsa Lindgren got sick of the boys’ comments and took matters into her own hands. She started a girls’ event for deep snow machines and made new friends. “It’s more fun to drive with girls, it’s a more cheerful atmosphere,” she says.
In the winters, you can find Åsa Lindgren, 29, on the snowboard slope, on the cross-country ski trail or on the ice with a ice fishing rod in hand. But most of the time you find her on a snowmobile in the deep snow.
– My biggest interest is snowmobiles. It’s the freedom it gives. You get to go out into nature and get to such beautiful places that you would never have been able to get to otherwise. I always have a big smile under my helmet. It always kicks off the adrenaline, of course, she says.
When she grew up in Vuollerim, snowmobiling was the family’s natural winter pastime. She was basically a newborn the first time she was loaded in the snowmobile sledge and has spent many winter days ice fishing and grilling sausage over open fire.
– We have always had old snowmobiles, but a few years ago I got a deep snow machine and there came the interest in backcountry riding, or deep snow riding as they also say.
At first, she mostly went with the boys in the group of friends she has but did not really like the jargon. She wished she had more girls to go with.
– If you go with guys, they are usually better and have driven longer and if you get stuck, you can be sure that they are standing there whining; “Yeah, are you stuck again?” When you are just girls, it becomes like a different atmosphere, more supportive.
She started checking out events for girls and found some weekend trips for women in Central Sweden, often expensive with very good skiers and a lot of prestige. That was not really what she was looking for.
– I just want to go because it’s fun. So then I thought “Then I do it myself”. I pulled together 25 girls and then we went out, says Åsa.
For two years in a row, Åsa negotiated weekend packages for accommodation and food at various mountain resorts. Then she invited girls via social media and the events were fully booked immediately. The only requirement to participate is a driver’s license for snowmobiles and a snowmobile.
– It’s fun that more and more girls drive and that you cheer each other on, teach and help each other. We eat and laugh together and have so much fun!
Both experienced snowmobile drivers and beginners come to the meetings. Those who have driven more give tips and show how to drive diagonally or get loose if you are stuck. According to Åsa, there is hardly a better feeling than when you succeed with something new.
– It’s usually about how you stand, where you have the weight and how you hang out with the other foot, it’s a lot of technique. The fun thing is that we teach each other and you get a lot of tips and tricks.
Last year, Åsa received a cancellation and invited her lash stylist with her at short notice. She had just taken a snowmobile license “because it’s good to have”, borrowed clothes and could drive a borrowed snowmobile.
– She was completely taken by it and learned a lot over the weekend so she bought her own deep snow machine later. It’s fun when you see the interest in snowmobiles increase. I am passionate about making girls dare to go on their own and drive a weekend, says Åsa.
Through the girls’ weekends, Åsa has made many new friends with the same interest. One of them is Sofia Ruuth who you see together with Åsa in the pictures. The pandemic situation means that a mountain trip with shared accommodation is not relevant this winter, however, there will be all the more girl trips in the immediate area.
– The best thing is the community, that we have so much fun together, regardless of whether we are in the mountains or just driving around the corner. We often get a group of girls around Boden, there are great driving conditions here.
Åsa’s advice for you who are curious about deep snow driving is of course to join an event, or to simply dare to try.
– You do not need an expensive snowmobile, you can just start testing a little off the trail. Maybe on a bog or a meadow where you are allowed to drive. You do not have to be good. Let go of prestige and dare to get stuck, that’s how you learn. And you get strong by shoveling snow, says Åsa.
A good rule of thumb according to Åsa is to always think about safety and have a friend with you, and to only drive where you are sure that you will not ruin the ground and vegetation. It can be difficult to know so it is always best to ask the landowner for permission.
– And absolutely do not drive on plantations.
A classic trail machine has a wide distance between the skis, a track with low lugs and it runs steadily on trails even at higher speeds. A deep snow machine instead has a narrow distance between the skis, a track with high-lugs and softer shocks.
– You should be able to tip over the snowmobile so it should not be stable. It is 250 kilos you have to move so it is quite heavy. It’s good training, and fun.
Åsa is a so-called team driver for Ski-Doo through Tords Motorservice. She popped into the store and told them about her idea for girls’ weekends, they liked it and a collaboration began. Among other things, Tords shows up with demonstration snowmobiles for her events.
– It was great fun since I was a beginner, but it has gone well. Thanks to Tord’s motor service, I have been able to follow my dreams and do what I am most passionate about.
This year is her fifth season with a deep snow machine and she is no longer a beginner. Now she has advanced to an 850 from 2021.
What attracted Åsa from Vuollerim to Boden was her boyfriend Anton Sundqvist. He was in Vuollerim to drive snowmobiles with mutual friends and their first date was a snowmobile ride with coffee.
– We usually say that we met after the snowmobile trail, Åsa laughs.
Now they live in a villa in Unbyn which they are renovating and enjoying the #närhetsliv.
– We have everything here, we do not have to go anywhere. Here we have the river where we can ice fish, ride jet skis, fish and swim. I do not have to travel anywhere, I really feel at home here. #