Andrey Lukahin is an RSViking Professional owner who lives in Krasnoyarsk Territory of central Siberia. Taking full advantage of the performance and fuel economy of his 4-stroke Yamaha, he enjoys riding on the vast snowfields, forest trails and frozen rivers and lakes of the region and long-distance hunting and fishing trips with his friends. He loves the challenges of riding in the Siberian wilderness and exploring places where only a snowmobile can travel in the long winters.
A tough but rewarding riding environment
In the hills the snow can accumulate up to six meters, and if a rider isn't skilled and careful enough, it is easy for a snowmobile to get stuck in the snow
On their weekend outings, Andrey and his friends usually spend nights in small lodges like the one in the photo
Andrey Lukahin lives in the city of Zheleznogorsk, about 59 kilometers from Krasnoyarsk city in central Siberia, the geographical center of Russia. Krasnoyarsk Territory is a vast land covering some 3,000 km from north to south. It always has lots of snow and the winters in the northern part of the country may last for six months. Snowmobiles are key machines for transportation, work and outdoor fun in the northern territories.
"It is a land of very beautiful nature, very wild and stunning. I love to explore it by snowmobile, because the most beautiful places, like the Sayan mountains to the south and the river valleys in the region around Krasnoyarsk city, can be reached only by helicopter or by snowmobile," says Andrey. "There is no trail system in Krasnoyarsk; snowmobilers can basically ride wherever they want. So, we are all off-trail riders, and every ride we make is an adventure and a challenge that demands good riding skills to overcome possible difficulties. The usual snow depth in winter is 1-1.5 meters, but on a mountainside it can be six meters deep. If you jump off your snowmobile in deep snow like that you can sink up to your neck in it, so you have to be very careful," Andrey notes. "It is also easy for the machine to get stuck, because you never know what is under the snow when exploring new areas. That's why we need a rugged and reliable machine. And it is also why we never ride alone but always with a friend you can count on," he emphasizes.
Andrey and his friends usually gather in groups to go riding on weekends in the Siberian wilderness. Their main hobbies are hunting and fishing and in the forests they can often find very beautiful scenery that makes them want to stop and take some pictures. And when they start to play in a field of fresh snow they quickly turn it into a 'trails nest'. Then, after a long day of heavy, tough riding, Andrey and his friends like to get a good night's rest in a well prepared lodge. The machine that he depends on for these great weekends since he started snowmobiling in 2004 is always a Yamaha. His first sled was a VK540 III.
Why I choose Yamaha
Andrey and his friends and their trusted snowmobiles. Yamaha sleds like the VK540III and RSViking Professional can carry plenty of luggage and supplies and their performance and ride also make longer touring more enjoyable
Andrey currently owns an RSViking Professional. It has been his faithful partner through the joys and hardships of trips in the wilderness
Andrey first started using Yamaha snowmobiles in 2004, and his first model was a VK540. "I chose this machine because it had the best value-for-price, durability and reliability of any machine on the market," he notes. "I talked to a lot of professional hunters before I made my purchase and many of them recommended this machine. Some of those guys have huge mileage on their Yamahas, up to 100,000 km! I learned how to ride very quickly during hunting trips, because an unskilled rider will hold back the whole team. He says that the Yamaha VK540 makes his hunting life easier. I never saw such great reliability and excellent floatation from any other machine," he says.
"Next, I tried a Yamaha 4-stroke, the RSViking Professional and found it perfect for the kind of riding I do most," he continues. "The RSViking Professional's power, suspension performance, comfort and, best of all, it's quietness and low fuel consumption, which are vital for hunting trips, have brought me lots of satisfaction and joy," he says. "of course I've had to make some modifications for our local conditions, like ski extensions. All this is required to ride in very deep snow or in Siberian forests, where you cannot ride at high speeds. And there's no machine equal to the VK Professional if you ride on frozen lakes or rivers, or go on fishing trips of 100 kilometers or more," he insists.
Most of the people in Andrey's group own Yamahas because the tough conditions they ride in require the most reliable and durable machines available. And he has tales that explain what that means.
As you may guess, we have lots of interesting stories to share, I'll tell you one of them. It happened in the very wild northern part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. We were coming back from very good hunting at a far away place. Something happened with my friend's engine; it started to knock and then just stopped. Imagine, we are alone in the middle of nowhere; no help will come to us at all. Our only chance was to sit together on my Viking Professional and try to go. We both are big guys, the snow was very deep and there was no groomed path. Our speed decreased and engine load increased a lot. Plus, the fuel that I took was basically calculated for a one-person ride. To ride with a passenger in deep snow requires many skills, especially in the woods and hills, and the machine simply must be very durable and reliable. We were going till midnight, sometimes we got stuck and dug in heavily. After dark I was also happy about the high quality headlight, which allowed us to ride much more safely. The meaning of the story is that my Yamaha saved us both. As I say, we never go on a single machine, it is too dangerous. So, if something had happened that time with my machine, we were a day's drive from any place where people live. I do not know how much time it would have taken us to cover the distance on foot. In the end, thanks to my Yamaha, we reached the destination and even had some fuel left in the bottom of my fuel tank!
Since then, my friend understood what Yamaha quality is. I have known it for many years already."
The joys of snowmobile trips
Andrey dreams of attacking the slopes high in the Sayan Mountains. He may soon be taking on the challenge of hill climbs on a new mountain model
"I love hunting and fishing. I especially like to pick out a fishing spot, mark it on the map and make a route to try to reach it by snowmobile," Andrey says. "sometimes we spend the whole week making preparations and are anxious to head out and leave civilization behind," he says. "There's nothing like fishing in the very remote area, realizing that we are the only ones for many kilometers around," he enthuses. "The fish we catch can be very tasty if prepared the right away. We often make the famous Russian fish-based soup called ukha right at the fishing spot. It is a popular dish and there are many recipes for it, but I like the simplest with potatoes, carrot, onion and greens and seasoned with salt and pepper. There's nothing like eating ukha in the great outdoors!" he insists.
Though he gets great enjoyment from the hunting and fishing trips he takes by snowmobile, Andrey also has another dream.
"My love of the 4-stroke snowmobiles from Yamaha is still burning strong, and now I'm dreaming about getting a mountain model to attack the big hills of the beautiful Sayan Mountains," Andrey says. Active sport riding is becoming more and more attractive to me. I get lots of pleasure from climbing big hills. It's a challenge that requires lots of training, both in mind and body, to be able to climb. But each climb is a unique challenge and I like that! And I always enjoy the great views from the top! ・
The wall in Andrey's office is full of pictures he has taken on trips with his Yamaha and they remind him of those great times and how much fun and pleasure he gets from snowmobiling. Next year, if he gets that mountain model he is dreaming of, there may be a new group of pictures in his gallery with him smiling from some newly conquered mountaintops. One thing is certain, though, his snowmobiling adventures in Siberia are sure to continue.
The riding location
Russia, Krasnoyarsk Territory
Russia is the largest country in the world, and Krasnoyarsk Territory in its geographical center occupies 13.8% of the entire land area of Russia, stretching more than 3,000 kilometers from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Sayan Mountains in the south. In the northern regions the winter lasts half the year and snowfall is plentiful in the north and south as well, accumulating up to six meters in mountain areas. The region has no snowmobile trail system, but because most of it is open wilderness, snowmobilers can ride virtually anywhere and every ride is an adventure, whether it is for hunting, fishing or just exploring wild country.
Rider Profile: Andrey Lukahin
Andrey began riding snowmobiles in 2004 and uses them mainly for leisure moose hunting and fishing. In 2007 he bought his first RS Viking Professional, and then traded in on a new one in 2009. His average distance per ride is more than 200 kilometers and during one season he puts about 2,000-2,500 kilometers on his snowmobile. Most of his riding is off-trail in forests, fields and on frozen rivers, because there's no trail system at all in Siberia. There is a group of about nine people Andrey rides with, and in the wilds they never ride alone. Besides hunting and ice fishing, he sometimes goes to the mountainsides just to have fun in very deep snow. Now he plans to develop his riding skills in the mountain sports direction and he is looking forward to buying a FX Nytro MTX, while keeping the RS Viking as his main machine.