A month or so ago, I went snowmobiling with Ski-Doo pro Steve Martin (no, not the guy from The Three Amigos), where we rode two of the brand’s new 2025 snowmobiles into the backcountry and went hard. 

Well, Steve didn’t, but I did just trying to keep up. 

We rode small hills, big hills, and near vertical side hills. We ran trails and powder. And I got stuck…a lot. Through it all, however, my Garmin fenix 7 Pro Sapphire kept track of what our backcountry adventure was doing to me, a 37-year-old schlub who hadn’t ridden snowmobiles in over a decade. And certainly nothing as wild as Ski-Doo’s new Summit X turbo two-stroke backcountry snowmobile, a hellion of insane proportions. 

The reason behind me using the Garmin smartwatch is that I’ve wondered what powersports does to the human body for a while now. And the Garmin came at a perfect time to see what they actually did, as well as what could it tell me about the state of my well being. 

So what did it tell me?

Garmin fenix 7 snowmobiling

Garmin’s fenix 7 Pro Sapphire records a ton of data whenever you start a workout, and that’s definitely the case when you click “Snowmobile.” There are over 28 data points recorded, all of which are then transferred into specific graphs that help you figure out how it all breaks out and where peak intensity is in a given workout. 

I have access to stuff like time spent in the activity, speeds, training effect on me, elevation, and so much more. And some of the graphs and data points can be overlaid with one another, such as Heart Rate, Elevation, and Speed. It’s a masterclass in quantitative sports physiology. But for this series, I want to look at a few key biological metrics to keep everything nice, neat, and easy to follow for the average person to digest. 

And that’s why I’m going to focus on my Average and Max Heart Rate, Training Effect and its breakdown of Aerobic vs. Anaerobic activity, Nutrition and Hydration which focuses on Calories and Sweat Loss, and Intensity Minutes. These data points should give me a broad overview of each activity so that when I tie this series up later this year, having ridden, driven, and done more with the fenix 7 attached to my wrist, I can look at the spread and see which is potentially harder or more physically demanding, and where I still need to work on.

Garmin Snapshot
Garmin fenix 7 snowmobiling
Garmin fenix 7 snowmobiling
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I’m in pretty good shape. Probably the best shape of my life, if I’m honest, and that’s thanks to hiking nearly every day at 7,000 feet with about 45 pounds of weight on my back. A practice I’ve developed thanks to picking up hunting last year. My weight hovers around 190-200 pounds, depending on how hard I go after food each week, as well as if there are any donuts in the house. And according to the fenix 7, my average resting heart rate is around 55 bpm since I put the watch on earlier this year. 

My average bpm isn’t the worst, as it’s on the better end of a healthy adult average. But I think I could reduce it further by training some more, as well as doing some of the in-watch breathing techniques I have access to.

So what did whipping hellacious snowmobiles at 9,234 feet above sea level with a pro do? 

According to the fenix 7, over about three hours, we covered 15 miles—I needed breaks with the sort of sledding we were doing and ran out of gas once—and my average heart rate was 133 bpm from two tracks. My max heart rate, however, was 185 bpm, though that might’ve been while trying to extricate a snowmobile from a particularly gnarly side hill with deep powder…

And the fastest speed recorded was 52.7 mph. Yeah, we were moving. 

Garmin fenix 7 snowmobiling

Where this all matters is in your Training Effect, i.e. how it benefits your body, respiration, and ability to do things like snowmobiling or other powersports. When you click on the Training Effect and into the aerobic and anaerobic areas, you get neat little training updates. From the two tracks—I didn’t know how to lock the exercise at the time via the flashlight button—my Primary Benefit was “Sprint” with the app telling me, “You’re flying! Activities like this promote neuromuscular coordination, speed and power. It increased your anaerobic training load.” 

But both my Aerobic and Anaerobic metrics were bettered, as you can see in the screenshots above. To that end, my Intensity Minutes totaled 38 minutes of Moderate exercise, and 164 minutes of Vigorous, which translated to me burning a bunch of calories. 2,649 calories to be exact. 

Now here’s where there’s a little estimation and something you should be aware of. I was also wearing Ski-Doo’s new backcountry gear, with a 15-ish pound backpack, with the sun bearing down on us. So with that exercise regimen and those calories burned, the fenix 7 estimated that I lost about 1,507 milliliters or about 51 ounces of sweat. Again, that’s an estimation, and I feel like I probably lost more as I tend to sweat more than average and I was absolutely soaked. This metric you’ll have to take with a grain of salt and factor in your body type, sweat production, and gear you’re wearing.

So what does all of this mean? I’ve got no clue, honestly. At least not yet, as this is the first of many data points I plan on collecting. I’d love for a sports physiologist to look at the data with me and figure out how I’m doing, whether good or bad. Maybe that’s something I’ll set up down the line. 

What I can tell you about the trek is that the following day I was pretty damn sore, though I still went on a hike. It was slower than my normal pace, but I could still do it. And a few days after, I actually felt maybe better than I had before? I know that if you continually do things, it helps you maintain a healthier body, i.e. my daily hikes and me feeling generally better. But I didn’t think short rips like snowmobiling would be beneficial or as beneficial as I felt it was. 

I am looking forward to the next set of data points to see what the next powersport does to me. And if I can get back on a snowmobile later this year, I’d love to see if my stats lower or raise doing the same type of rip. 

So stay tuned, as this is just the first installment of many.

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