One look at his damaged helmet and Jeff Steingart knew he needed medical attention.
Steingart, 54, was involved in a serious snowmobile collision near Falcon Lake on February 21.
Steingart says he remembers the leader of his group signalling there was traffic ahead. The next thing he remembers is being told he was going to an ambulance.
“They sat me on a snowmobile to say ‘you have to go to the ambulance, it is waiting for you,’ and I was kind of not really wanting to go anywhere, and they said, 'no, you have to go, here is your helmet, go.' They handed me my helmet, I looked at my helmet, I shut up, and I went. There was no disputing the damage to the helmet, why I needed to go to the hospital.”
Travis Doerksen from New Bothwell was riding with Steingart and a few other people when the crash occurred.
“We were on our way back home from Falcon Lake and we had come up to a big ‘S’ curve. I didn't witness the actual incident but when we had pulled up, we saw the aftermath of what happened and then we right away attended to the riders and then 911 was called and we just tried to deal with it from there.”
Doerksen says Steingart was knocked unconscious for a short while.
According to the official RCMP report, one snowmobile may have been over too far and tried to correct when the rider saw the oncoming sleds. However, he overcorrected, causing the machine to roll with the rider still on it. A rider from the other group was thrown from his sled when it collided with the rolling snowmobile.
Considering the extent of the damage done to Steingart’s safety equipment, he says his injuries are relatively minor.
"I was brought to the HSC, they checked me out. I came out of the accident with a cracked right scapula and a crack on the outside edge of a vertebrae. Very glad I was wearing the stuff I wear. The TekVest itself there probably saved my back from much worse injuries and the helmet, it took the blow and it dispersed through the helmet because it took the blow and I didn't even have a bruise on my head from it.”
RCMP say if Steingart hadn’t been wearing the proper equipment they believe he would probably have died.
Doerksen says Steingart was the most seasoned rider in the group with over 30 years of snowmobiling experience. He notes this sort of freak accident can happen to anybody.
Having witnessed the collision, Doerksen says he will be making some upgrades of his own.
“When we got home, funny thing is my wife said that if I wanted to snowmobile next year, I had to upgrade some equipment in order to snowmobile again. I might be going shopping over the course of the summer to be able to do it again next year.”
With all that said, Steingart says he is looking forward to getting back on his snowmobile next winter.
Written by Kenton Dyck