Buy or Borrow: The Snowmobile

“He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.” —Benjamin Franklin

While it’s true that borrowing is sometimes more trouble than it’s worth, there are times when you just have to do it. Take the snowmobile, for instance. Sure, we’d all love to have one (or two), but oftentimes, it’s not practical—we can’t afford it, or we have no place to store it, or we’re concerned with environmental responsibility (most of the time). So, to access the Throne on a powder day, or take that annual Cooke City ski trip, the answer is: borrow a sled from a friend. Here’s how it’s done in the least dickish fashion.

Call a friend at zero-dark-thirty begging for a sled.
Do: Plan ahead and figure out logistics the night before. 

Don’t: Show up in a Toyota Matrix dumbfounded that sleds need to be towed.
Do: Make sure you have a vehicle that can tow, or has room in the bed. 

Don’t: Forget to invite your pal along.
Do: Make it seem as though he or she was always part of the plan. 

Don’t: Return the sled broken, or with anything less than full tanks of gas and oil.
Do: Be ready to shell out $2,500 for a new engine if it blows. Seriously. Sleds break. 

Don’t: Get it stuck and leave it 18 miles up Buck Ridge.
Do: Return it on time, no matter the cost. 

Now that you know how to ask, let’s tackle the question of who to ask. Here are some options: 

The Neighbor: The closer the better.
The Sibling: There must be some childhood dirt you still haven’t told Mom and Dad.
The Subordinate: Pick some 20-something from Denver who showed up in town with a $60k truck and two sleds—his parents can afford it. 

When to Buy
Eventually, you’ll have to bite the bullet and buy a snowmobile of your own. Here’s how you know it’s time: 

-The co-worker from Denver quit and moved back home.
-You put your house on the market and made an offer on a cabin in Cooke or West Yellowstone.
-You totaled your buddy’s sled. Congrats! You just bought it!