A Need for Speed
Addison Bourdages first rode an Arctic Cat snowmobile when she was 5-years-old and after asking her dad, Carl, to go faster, she was hooked. Addison, now 14 and a freshman at Rosemount High School, has been riding and racing ever since.
"I rode it and I didn't want to get off," she said about the experience. "I asked him if it could go faster and that's where we got into racing."
That was the start of Addison's Snocross career and when she was in fifth grade she also took up racing four-wheelers. Addison said she likes to go fast, but loves to go high even more when she takes her snowmobile off of jumps, describing it as an adrenaline rush.
In the beginning, it was just Addison and her dad along with a local sponsor. However, Addison improved year-by-year until she really took off when she was 11, and now she races nearly every weekend all over the country (from Wyoming to New York) and has over a dozen sponsors, including Arctic Cat.
Snocross and ATV classes are divided up by age and the power of the vehicles. After this past winter where she was dominant in the Junior Girls class of Snocross, Addison will be moving up to the Pro Women's class. She competed in eight national events last winter and reached the podium in all eight, on top of several other event championships and top-5 finishes.
Carl has been with Addison every step of the way of her racing career, helping her train, being there in her pit for support, etc. Her mom, Tori, and 12-year-old sister Lilly are her biggest fans and come to cheer her on every tournament. Her sponsors provide her with gear and take care of maintenance on her vehicles.
Addison said that racing is a lot harder than it looks and is much more than just going around a track. With the speeds that the vehicles are going, she said that the sled or ATV can be difficult to maneuver.
"You basically have to wrestle the sled," Addison said. "It takes a lot of strength."
She added that she recently began doing CrossFit in order to help train for racing. On top of the physical demands of racing, Addison also said that it can be very dangerous.
"It's really dangerous," she said. "I've been kind of lucky, on the four-wheeler last season I rolled it and I broke my nose and had two black eyes and some loose teeth."
Those have been the worst injuries Addison said she has suffered, on top of broken fingers, when she said more serious broken bones are common.
The Snocross competition season starts around Thanksgiving and runs into March according to Addison. Then four-wheeling is during the spring and summer months, ending in September. So the Bourdages family is racing nearly year-round, which Addison said can get in the way of other aspects of her life. She plays lacrosse and does gymnastics, which she said sometimes conflicts with her racing, but that racing is her priority. It also means not as much time with her friends, but Addison accepts that.
"It's super fun and I have friends at the track," she said. "It's worth it."
That's how much Addison loves racing. However, her friends are also able to come watch her race when she is in Minnesota, which she said they really enjoy. School-wise, Addison said that she makes sure to get her homework ahead of time when she has to miss school and does it on the trips around the country.
What does the future hold for Addison? In her words, hopefully more racing. She said she wants to continue racing as long as possible and if she has her way, will someday race for a living. Addison just finished her ATV season Labor Day weekend with a couple of top-3 finishes, including first overall in Brooks, Minn. Her Snocross season starts in two months.