GRANDE PRAIRIE, ALTA. -- A tired and shaking Greg Nielsen drove his snowmobile onto dry land this weekend, unofficially smashing the Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled over water on a snow machine.
Mr. Nielsen's global positioning system showed he had covered 94.86 kilometres on the Wapiti River in northwestern Alberta driving a vehicle you would expect to see only in the dead of winter.
"Very happy. Tired, but happy," he said just moments after his landing.
"It was difficult on some of the straightaways. I had to keep it going fast on the rough stuff to keep the water out. I could see the water splashing on that belt and every time I hit the rough stuff I could smell it.
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"I just talked nicely to the sled the whole way and hoped that engine held together."
To break the record, Mr. Nielsen had to travel more than the 69.28 kilometres Kyle Nelson travelled on Cowan Lake in Saskatchewan a year ago.
Mr. Nielsen had planned to travel 69.5 kilometres, but changed his mind and went bigger to try to hold on to the record for a longer time.
He was confident in his Polaris Xtra-10 sled, but not as confident in his body. There were turns, especially toward the end, where he swore he wouldn't be able to hold on any longer.
"I am very sore. I need a nice chair to sit in and a nice cold beer," he said. "You hold your hands for a tight grip for so long. I mean, this one I could work it a little bit, but this hand, the throttle hand, it's probably not going to work right for a day or two."
His wife, Alanna, who filmed the trip from the support boat, admits she was a bit nervous for him.
"I figured he could do it, though, so long as his sled held up and his arms held up."
Jay Stojan, who helped Mr. Nielsen prepare for his record attempt and drove the support boat, said it was an incredible ride.
"That's a hard thing to do. I've been on the river all my life and to stay on a Ski-Doo for that long, I know how hard he was working the corners but he rode it perfect. The sled held in and it was just a matter of enough fuel and enough [video camera] battery time to get it official."
Now the videos, as well as written affidavits, will be submitted to Guinness World Records to see if the feat will be accepted.