An O/O Viewpoint of Bruce Mallinson’s Snow Mobile Conference

Dan Hembree
April 2024

The snowmobile conference was so much more than I could’ve imagined. I’ve heard it mentioned several times in years past. And have always hoped to go someday. Sledding has always looked like so much fun. And this year, it just happened. I didn’t think I could afford it and decided to go for one day. Surely, I could splurge and make it happen one day. You must consider time off and all the responsible stuff, like travel expenses. But my wife knew I would enjoy it and encouraged me to go. Little did she know I’d be off for a whole week because I had so much fun the first day; I would stay for the entire conference and be the last one out of the parking lot Sunday morning.

The people I met and the camaraderie was fantastic and second to none. I can’t explain how excited I was to go once the planning started. But the day before showing up, I was less than excited. I got there a day early because of how scheduling worked out. I was so nervous I thought about leaving before anyone else showed up. I had only ridden a sled once in my life. What was I getting myself into? I backed in and met Josh and Jason right away. They were friendly and encouraging, so I stayed. But all 30-something O/O’s showed up with their own sleds, except one or two. I was going to be a drag on the whole group. How will I ever keep up is what was running through my head. But arrangements were made, and everything worked out.

The entire group arrived at the gate between the rental shop and the trails and waited for Brian and me to get our rentals checked out. And off we went into the white abyss! Up, up, and up some more to over 11,000 feet. There are guys with so much experience riding with you that you can ride comfortably without knowing you are riding comfortably. They hang back and watch the group like cowboys herding livestock. Anytime you get in trouble, they are there to bail you out, and you don’t even realize they’re watching.

The experiences, friendships, and forever memories made are more than I can describe in so few words. It was funny when Bruce asked me to explain my first year at the conference in 300 words, I about fell over. I haven’t written 300 coherent words about one thing since college. English was my downfall and essays are probably why I didn’t end up graduating. (Good thing I can operate a truck). Writing anything seemed overwhelming. I thought there was no way I could write 300 words. But here I am at 600, with so much more to tell. Each morning, folks start congregating for coffee and catching up on the past year, and they are glad to see familiar faces. It is so easy to make friends for some reason. Maybe because everyone has common work experience, I don’t know. But the day starts so laid back, and you ride out and find some trails. Then you find some powder and some hills. If you’re not comfortable with hills, then you can sit at the bottom with about half the group and visit as you catch your breath and watch the other half go up and down the hill over and over as you wonder why they are doing that. As a first-timer, I couldn’t figure out what made them run up the hill repeatedly. So I tried it! Oh my goodness! It is not describable. You have to try it for yourself. And if extreme sledding isn’t your thing, the trail riding is enjoyable, and the camaraderie makes the trip worthwhile. It’s worth the trip to meet and hang out with Bruce Mallinson. He is so laid back and down to earth that you’d never know he was a diesel engine performance legend! He will make you feel right at home. Coming to this conference allows you to get your foot in the door of an elite community you don’t realize you are a part of. And once you meet Bruce, you’ll recognize how meticulous and disciplined he is, and he’ll inspire you to be a better O/O while having the time of your life.

Written by: Dan Hembree

For more information: Pittsburgh Power, Inc., 3600 S. Noah Drive, Saxonburg, PA, 16056 Phone (724) 360-4080; Email: [email protected];  Website: