Mountain Sledder Magazine Issue 1

Page 1


VOL. 1 ISS. 1 FALL 2012














Photo: Bryn Hughes

COVER PHOTO Blake Jorgenson – Geoff Kyle, Tenquille Lake BC. CONTENTS PHOTO Mark Gribbon – Gaetan Chanut, Brandywine Bowl, Whistler BC. CONTENT MANAGEMENT, LAYOUT AND DESIGN Publisher: Tim Grey Art Director: Nick Marks

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Tim Grey, Steve Crowe CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dave Basterrechea, Aaron Bernasconi , Chris Brown, Mary Clayton, Pat Garbutt, Chuck Gorton, Tim Grey, Jarrid Juse, Matthew Mallory, Curtis Pawliuk, Nadia Samer, Tobin Seagel, Daryl Treadway, Dave Treadway. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Rob Alford, Mark Aubry, Ingrid Backstrom, Dave Best, Dave Basterrechea, Greg Byman, Dave Duncan, Pat Garbutt, Tim Grey, Mark Gribbon, Bryn Hughes, Blake Jorgenson, Jarrid Juse, Shane Lewis, Steven Lloyd, Chris Messervey, Patrick Orton, Curtis Pawliuk, Brandon Peterson, Nadia Samer, Daryl Treadway, Dave Treadway. DISTRIBUTION Mountain Sports Distribution 250.344.5060 CONTACT // ADVERTISING // EDITORIAL – 1.855.SLED.MAG FIND US ON THE WEB



Copyright ©2012 Summit Communications All Rights Reserved. Printed in Canada.

ELEVATION KIT When riding in the mountain backcountry, Bret Rasmussen takes his riding gear as serious as the terrain. He needs products that can perform everyday no matter what he puts them through. With almost 100 full day Mountain Riding Clinics a year, in the most extreme weather conditions you can imagine, FXR Mountain gear keeps him comfortable and dry…all day, every day. From tree branches to aggressive running boards, from dig outs to countless zipper pulls on his vents, FXR Mountain Gear always holds up.

Elevation Jacket & Pant

I really like the comfortable fit and feel of the technical HydrX Pro waterproof/ breathable fabric, and the FXR Dry Vent system keeps the snow out while it’s cooling me down. On the way back to the truck I close my vents and stay warm as toast. Hey, I just forget about my gear and ride! – Bret Rasmussen

From boots to helmets, FXR has the innovative gear Bret needs to Ride Rasmussen Style. Come ride with him next season, or just experience it for yourself. Let FXR Mountain be your next choice in quality Mountain Riding Gear. Go to or for more information… and stories about Bret and his quest to RRS.


Renegade Boot


Elevation Lite Glove Blade Mountain Air Helmet

Check out FXRRACING.COM to find our DEALER LOCATOR and comlpete collection. mountainsleddersep2012





{Anticipation} is an emotion involving pleasure,

13 18 22

There is an art to technical boondocking; and once mastered, the places you can take your sled are endless. By Chris Brown.

excitement and sometimes anxiety in considering some expected or longed-for good event.

FIRST TRAX • • • • • •

BCCSOA Gains Membership (13) Revelstoke – New Frisby Cabin (13) New Powderboarding Area in Valemount (14) Brett Rasmussen on XM (15) CAC Mountain Sledder Education Project (16) Jorli Ricker & Fourcast II (17)

RAD ZONES: CLEMINA CREEK A favorite by many visitors to the Valemount area, Clemina has something for everyone: the technical tree rider, the open bowl shooter and the powder searching sled skier.

30 34 36



Snowpulse Highmark 22 (30) Mammut Element Barryvox Transceiver (30) 509 Aviator Goggle (32) InReach Satellite Communicator (32)

9 WAYS TO WRECK YOUR SLED Navigate your way through the minefield that is your first day back in the mountains. By Pat Garbutt..

ULTIMATE MOD Two stroke turbo setups can and will be the new generation of chute dominating machines. By Jarrid Juse.

RAD ZONES: QUARTZ CREEK Quartz Creek is Golden’s showcase area. Great snow, easy access, maintained groomed trail, day cabin and there is a variety of terrain that suits a wide range of experience levels.


ATHLETE PROFILE: GRANT CLARKE Grant is a humble guy and doesn’t promote himself too much but don’t let that fool you. By Nadia Samer.





Aaron Bernasconi talks us through how to inspect your sled for your first ride of the season.


GREAT WHITE AVALANCHE “The Landlord is out there where you’re blithely headed, somewhere, count on it. And the rent due him, my hapless friend, just may be you.” By Matthew Mallory.


AVY ED • •


CAA vs CAC: What’s the Difference? Meet Carole Savage

GOING DEEP The essence of our adventure was clear—to see just how deep our sleds could take us. By Daryl Treadway.

Ten pages of rad photos! By the best photographers in the business.


LUCKY TIE-DOWN If I truly cared for it I would probably give it a chance at a soldier’s death. By Tim Grey.


LAST CALL Ghost Ride the Whip.

Tumbler Ridge The best open mountain sledding in BC

With over 300kms of trails, you can really get into our untouched deep powder and long snow season. Our heart-pounding slopes offer endless riding possibilities – sled it this winter. | 1.877.SAW.DINO

{Anticipation} is an emotion involving pleasure, excitement and sometimes anxiety in considering some expected or longed-for good event. -wikipedia

The season creeps closer, frost turns the ground white in the mornings and the snow on the peaks builds. The excitement of that first ride (even when it is a month or so away) can make us vibrate with nervous energy. Backpacks are pulled out and organized, goggles cleaned, beacon searches practiced, gear checked, the sled polished and tuned and the latest movies played over and over until you can recognize each part of the flick by the soundtrack. Eventually, but never soon enough sleds will be loaded on trucks and aMOUNTAIN mission to theSLEDDER snow line will be made. After much waiting, 11 MAGAGAZINE FALL 2012

the anticipation of the coming season will be replaced with the joy of carving turns on a thin snowpack, jumping creeks and avoiding boulders. In a society that has become increasingly demanding in its need for everything immediately, the start of the snowmobile season is one of those things that cannot be changed. It all relies on Mother Nature and her whims. Some years she will be kind and deliver the snow early while other years we have to wait. This is all part and parcel of being a snowmobiler and something we should all savour. It may not make the waiting easier but just think how satisfying that first day will be all because of the anticipation and excitement that build up to it. Winter is the time for deep pow, wet clothes and snow stained smiles. Spring is marked by long days, stable snowpacks and tailgate beverages. Summer is for rebuilding, healing and relaxing. But fall is the season of anticipation. – Matthew Mallory

Photo: Steven Lloyd


s fall rolls around, the nights become cool and the sun takes its sweet time rising above the mountains to warm our shoulders. The most difficult part is when the surrounding peaks start getting dusted with snow. You would hope that as the new season approaches we would calm down with the thoughts that soon we will be donning our base layers, cinching down our helmets and grabbing a handful of throttle. That should be enough to keep our restless souls happy. But it is exactly the opposite.




When Daryl moved back to Pemberton a few years ago he completed the Treadway package by joining his two brothers, Dan and Dave. I don’t think Pemberton will ever be the same. Not many pow days seem to be missed by this multi-talented Treadway. Being a full time school teacher does not seem to get in his way of a good time. Weekends he is either snowmobiling or skiing at the local spots and he blogs his exploits at He’s an all-round good dude but all moose should beware, Daryl’s no stranger to the trigger. – Dave B


Photo: Daryl Treadway

Daryl Treadway


Photo: Pat Garbutt

Dave Best Ever since he made the move from jolly old England over here to the colonies 8 years back, Dave Best has been a constant presence in the backcountry. If you spot Dave out there, you’ll know it when you hear him pipe up about finding the best “loight for shoo-in’ pho-o’s”. You may not understand anything he’s saying, but you’ve probably seen his work. His incredible photography speaks for itself. Find more about him at – Pat Garbutt

For the past few years, it seems like anytime I turn up to a trailhead in the Sea-to-Sky, Nadia is there already. She’s got a crew of skiers and sledders with her firing to go, and a backpack bursting at the seams with camera gear, skis, tripods, flashes, and yes, the kitchen sink. Equally comfortable in front of and behind the lens, Nadia can point her sled off the biggest cliff she can find and come home with a beauty shot to prove it.” – Tobin Seagel

Photo: Nadia Samer

Nadia Samer


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BC COMMERCIAL SNOWMOBILE OPERATORS ASSOCIATION GAINS MEMBERSHIP The online forums are full of posts by riders who want to experience an area but don’t want to pay for a guide. Underneath these requests there always seems to be some local who responds with an offer to show them around and even rent them a machine or two in exchange for gas and beer. It’s the way things have gone for years in the snowmobiling world. All this is fine until an accident occurs and that’s when big words like insurance, liability and negligence get thrown around. The British Columbia Commercial Snowmobile Operators Association (BCCSOA) is striving to establish a standard for commercial operations throughout the province so that consumers are protected under a best practices set of guidelines that members adhere to. So far, there’s been a strong amount of traction from operators who are jumping on board, eager to legitimately separate themselves from the random, here-today-gone-tomorrow, Internet poster. Originally, the creation of the BCCSOA was set up in response to the need for a collective and organized voice for commercial operators in tenure discussions with the province. Commercial operators are required to have licensed tenure agreements in place with the provincial government but there was a need for


the whole commercial operator community to be represented in discussions affecting the tenure process. “The government doesn’t invite individual operators to sit at the table when making broad decisions,” says BCCSOA president Scott Barsby. “We had to organize ourselves just so we could be invited to sit at the table.” What started five years ago to fill this void is now an organization that is expanding on their mandate. The best practices guidelines for operators offers consumers the reassurance that the guide they hire for the day has a certain amount of training and is knowledgeable of the area. “It’s about growing up the industry,” says Golden Snowmobile Rentals owner, Aaron Bernasconi. “After the Boulder accident there was a lot of scrutiny in the snowmobile world. We’ve responded as an industry in a similar way that the helicopter and snowcat skiing industry did with the creation of HeliCat. We’ve created best practices so people know they are getting a level of service that hasn’t been there in the past.” So next time you pay a guide or rent, look for the BCCSOA logo. For more about the BCCSOA visit: -TG


For more information check out -TG

Photo: Greg Byman

“It’s going to be like a miniature Boulder cabin,” says Revelstoke Snowmobile Club President Greg Byman. “You’ll be able to turn lights on just like at Boulder because of the solar panels we’re hooking up. We’re also adding a staircase down to the basement, where you get the wood. Before you had to sneak through an old window to get into the basement.” While these improvements are music to the ears of most who visit the cabin, the really good news is the large deck that’s being built. Many sledders don’t even go inside the cabin but rather choose to eat their lunches on the deck, while taking in the spectacular views. “The old deck was pretty small,” Byman remarks. “Now it won’t be nearly as crowded and sledders will be able to enjoy it more.”

Photo: Greg Byman

Frisby Cabin near Revelstoke has received a major construction upgrade this summer that will almost double the square footage of the most used part of the building, the deck. Other renovations will include the installation of new solar panels, proper stairs to the basement, new siding and new paint. The Revelstoke Snowmobile Club has organized the popular day cabin renovations, where many a mountain sledder stops for lunch while riding at Frisby Ridge.






Photo: VARDA

Powerboarding, or sled-assisted skiing/snowboarding, has been growing rapidly over the last few years and is becoming a very popular activity for the backcountry boarder or skier. The idea for this powerboarding area project came along years ago by a local group of volunteers known as the Powerboarders, and Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA) is now working with this group to see this dream come to reality.

Our community has the opportunity to have a one of a kind recreation area right out our door step, which will not only provide additional opportunities for the locals already here, but will attract another user group to the area, adding to our winter tourism industry. We are very excited to see this project come to life. VARDA is working within the Sustainable Resource Management Plan (SRMP) to create this unique recreation facility for the public. The final product would be a publicly used, sled assisted ski/board area on Crystal Ridge as described in the Valemount to Blue River SRMP.

Photo: Dave Best Rider: Ryan Johannesen

The idea is to have a wide track up the ridge and users will travel up with snowmobiles and be dropped off to ride spaced runs off either aspect of the mountain leading to designated pickup points, similar to mountain bike shuttling. The project is well underway and has many hours of time invested into it by the initial powerboarding group, VARDA volunteers and staff. Funding for the ridge creation and run/trail clearing has come from the Columbia Basin Trust’s (CBT) Community Initiatives Program (CIP) and began two years ago with initial access clearing and bridge site plan preparations. Currently one full length run is completed with a total of four runs scheduled for the grand opening in December 2012. The up track is in place and the final hurdle is the installation of a ninety five foot bridge over the Canoe River to finalize the access to the facility from the Westridge staging area. While completing this project VARDA has tried to be as sustainable as possible by utilizing old forestry roads and existing staging areas to minimize the impact on the land base as much as possible. The CBT’s Community Initiatives Program has played a huge part in our ability to construct this facility for the public. VARDA has received two grants under the CIP funding, one for initial construction and another for the bridge installation over the Canoe River. For more information on the Crystal Ridge Sled Ski area or Valemount’s other recreational opportunities, please contact VARDA at or phone 1.250.566.4817 - Curtis Pawliuk




on ski-doo

The short comings of the Summit chassis, however, were starting to pop up as riders pushed the limits of tight, technical tree riding. The REV chassis, though refined over the years, still had a tendency to want to have all three points on the snow and required more effort to hold on edge. With Polaris and Arctic Cat dominating this landscape it was time for a chassis change. Coming into the 2013 season, the engineers at BRP have a new redesigned Summit, the REV-XM, and reports from most test riders are beyond positive. Combining the strong traits of the REV chassis with their new T-Motion suspension and track they now have a sled that can keep up with the other brands in the tight stuff. Possibly the strongest testament to the new REV-XM design is the signing of Bret Rasmussen and his Ride Rasmussen Style clinics.

Bret is recognized and respected as one of the pioneers of technical tree riding and for years has bled green. His shift over to the yellow and black team could signify a major change in the direction of sled sales, especially in areas that are renowned for their tight and challenging terrain. In a press release issued by BRP, Bret says, “Having ridden the 2013 Ski-Doo Summit, I know that they have created a product that has set new benchmarks and will appeal to consumers in the mountain market and meet the needs of the western rider.” - Matthew Mallory Rasmussen now has yellow flowing through his veins.

Photo:Courtesy of Bret Rasmussen

For years Ski-Doo’s Summit series has been the machine of choice for riders like Geoff Kyle, Dan Treadway and Rob Alford as they have pushed the limits of big mountain riding. Thousands of air miles and faceshots have come thanks to BRP’s mountain rig.


CAC HEADS UP MOUNTAIN SNOWMOBILE AVALANCHE INCIDENT PREVENTION PROGRAM The Canadian Avalanche Centre is heading into a second year of a three-year initiative that has the goal of increasing avalanche safety and lowering avalanche incidents among mountain sledders. The nearly 1 million dollar project is funded by a grant from the National Search and Rescue Secretariat that the CAC successfully applied for and received in 2011.

One of the recommendations was to create a dialogue specifically for the mountain sledder community, as opposed to sharing the same avalanche information and advice already given to skiers and boarders. The Boulder Mountain accident of 2010, when at least 50 snowmobilers were involved in a single avalanche incident (two perished), further solidified the push for government agencies to get involved and see programs created to assist the mountain sledding community deal with the risks inherent in their sport. “The first step of the program is to conduct social science research to find out more about the attitudes and risk perceptions of the mountain sledding community,” says Ian Tomm, CAC Executive Director. “We really want to know about their decision making processes and how aware of risk they are. Understanding the audience is critical to developing an effective risk communication strategy, so that’s why good research is our first step.” Many of us were among the 1,200 people who took a trailhead intercept survey in the parking lots of some popular sled zones last winter. Some of those people further responded to the dialogue initiated by taking a detailed online survey conducted in part with Simon Fraser University. That survey will be live again this winter and there will be a link to it in the next issue of Mountain Sledder. The information from these surveys will be used to create a



Photo: Chris Messervey

The impetus for this program has come through a combination of public, media and political pressure to try and make a difference within the mountain sledding community in terms of avalanche safety. The high profile accidents of 2008/09, when a total of 19 snowmobilers were killed in avalanches, motivated the BC Coroners Service to convene a Death Review Panel, which gathered a number of experts with the goal of creating a set of recommendations to avoid further tragedies.

variety of communication tools aimed at sledders. The CAC has already launched some communication initiatives with its Go Farther campaign. “The CAC is a pro-backcountry organization,” says Tomm. “We’re in no way trying to keep sledders out of the backcountry; in fact, it’s exactly opposite. That’s why we chose the message ‘Go Farther’. We want to help people go farther and higher, and learn how to handle avalanche terrain. However, certain behaviours, like groups parking in runout zones, need to stop and that message needs to hit home.” The second objective of the Mountain Sledder Education project is to increase the knowledge base and skill level within the community. In addition to promoting recreational avalanche training, the CAC is also funding select riders to take professional-level avalanche safety training. “Last winter we helped fund 11 riders to take the CAA Level 1 course and eight riders to take the CAA Level 2,” says Tomm. “By promoting this level of education we are aiming to develop a core group of riders who can now teach recreational courses and help spread safe riding habits to their peers.” There will be another bursary program this year for riders wishing to pursue professional level avalanche training. The details of the program will be available on the home page of the CAC website by early October. - Tim Grey



THE MAN BEHIND FOURCAST 2 For anyone who was blown away watching “Fourcast” and was left wanting more, the wait is finally over. Jorli Ricker spent this past winter filming and is ready to release a jaw dropping sequel. Fourcast 2 features on-the-edge-of-your-seat action from young and upcoming riders, including Grant Clarke, Troy Lakusta, Keith Curtis, along with other notable athletes like Team Slednecks rider Kalle “KJ” Johansson and many others. In addition to his roles as cinematographer, director and editor, Jorli managed to put together an entire segment of his own riding as well as starting up a tour guiding business called “SnowRide Adventures”. To most, completing any one of those tasks would be a daunting challenge, but Jorli has managed to succeed with all three. The results of his efforts speak for themselves, and his previous projects including Fourcast (2009), Ride to the Hills (2001, downhill biking), Momentum (1999, snowboarding) have all been innovative films in their respective industries. Jorli offers nothing less with Fourcast 2, which takes the viewer on a cinematic journey through what seemed like an endless winter of relentless snowfall in and around Whistler BC. There’s a little something for everyone in this new movie. Stephanie Sweezey sets the bar high dropping and stomping massive cliffs that most men

wouldn’t even look at twice. Meanwhile Clint Miller and Grant Clarke seem to defy gravity, spending more time in the air than they do on the ground. Since sunny filming days last winter were few and far between, there is ample technical tree riding along with endless over-the-head face shots from all. Later on in the season, athletes Troy Lakusta in Keith Curtis attack a long list of extremely technical, unforgiving hill climbs up never-before-attempted chutes. If you’re looking for a movie to watch to get stoked on riding this coming winter, Fourcast 2 is just what the doctor ordered. For more information visit - Nadia Samer




favourite of many visitors to the area, Clemina Creek in Valemount BC has something for everyone. The technical tree rider, the open bowl shooter and the powder searching sled skier will all find Clemina Creek to be one of the most accessible, well maintained and best snowmobile areas in BC.

trucks and trailers are easily accommodated in this facility and all that is asked is that visitors think of others when parking to be sure everyone can park safely and efficiently.

Clemina Creek boasts extensive opportunities for shredding some the finest BC powder with an average yearly snowfall of 14m at 1800m elevation. In addition to the exceptional sledding, the area also provides amazing sled skiing and beautiful views of the Kinbasket drainage, Dixon Glacier and endless mountain peaks. Riders access the Clemina Creek area via a large staging area 30km south of Valemount on the east side of Hwy 5. The turn off comes up quickly, so be prepared; After passing a large truck pullout on the right side of the road roughly 29km south, expect to see the first sign for the riding area which comes up on the left. The large staging area is typically well maintained although users should come prepared to operate in heavy snow conditions and four wheel drive, as white surprises can fall out of the sky in the dark hours of the night. Large

Speaking of safety, please remember to utilize the BCA Beacon Checker that is located on the collection booth before heading up the trail, and also have a good look at the large kiosk which contains signage explaining the avalanche terrain rating for most of the popular play areas. Familiarity with the riding area and a little pretrip preparation are the best ways to ensure you get to tell great stories while enjoying a cold one at the end of an epic day of riding. Checking the bulletins for the North Columbia regions at before the ride is a must do as well. After stopping at the collection booth located on the south end of the staging area and paying the $20 per day user fee, riders head up a consistently maintained 17km trail that leads to a sub-alpine cabin to use as a base before shooting off to any one of the multiple play areas that Clemina holds. On the way to the cabin there are many opportunities to get that first powder and boondocking fix. And if the cabin is not the chosen first destination, there is an option to take a quick left hand turn at approximately 13.5km where there is a singletrack trail leading through a cut-block that leads riders to the Morning Glory area which contains nice open meadows, great climbs and some scenic views. For the more adventurous, a circle route can also be completed from this area that travels through multiple bowls and back to the Goat Ridge Bowl area and ultimately back to the cabin. If instead checking out the cabin on the way in, once having stowed fuel and gear, there are a couple of options: continue up the groomed trail approximately 3km to the Goat Ridge Bowl and Lakeview Plateau areas, or return 1km down the trail towards the staging area and take a quick left turn up through a cut-block and access some killer riding around the old Clemina Hillclimb site, Dixion Glacier and Bauer’s Second Chance areas. Please have a look at the signage located in the warming cabin to help find these hidden gems and observe that the Dixon Glacier area is only open after April 30th unless otherwise noted. The cabin site also has some great boondocking and play areas directly out its front door for newer riders to develop their skills in a safe and comfortable environment before heading into alpine terrain.

photo: VARDA



photo: VARDA


Cabin GPS Lat and Long

N 52° 32’ 16.97” W 118° 56’ 47.56”

photo: VARDA


1729 m 5672 ft

photo: VARDA

Distance to Valemount

30.12 ± 1.7



Annual Snowfall

5.4m 18 ft

Avg Winter Temperature

-10 ± 0.5

Groomed Trails


17 kms



Map data ©2012 Google - Map for promotional purposes only


Grooming Season

December mid April

Terrain Rating

Keyhole, a smaller area with skatepark-like terrain, can also be accessed from the Clemina Creek staging area. Simply ask at the booth for directions from the parking area if unclear, although it is quite straight forward. There is a 9km long trail leaving from the Clemina parking area that terminates in a high elevation cut-block where the access then turns into somewhat of a singletrack trail through the last remaining bit of forest until you reach the alpine. This upper section can be a bit challenging for new or novice riders, although it can be easily managed with some coaching by more experienced riding partners. Please make note that no cabin or outhouse facilities exist in the alpine area. This trail is groomed when the valley bottom snow conditions allow, so continue to check the VARDA website or Facebook page for updated information.

for a lesson or demonstration on how to use this great training tool. The cabin has a wall mounted SPOT device as well to aid in a quick and effective rescue in the event of an emergency. Although this is a great tool, the fastest and most effective way of initiating help is to call 911 with the most accurate information possible. Cell Phone service can be obtained at 6km on the groomed trail. For more info on Clemina Creek and the Valemount area please visit, email varda@ or search for the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association on Facebook. - Curtis Pawliuk

Dixon Glacier, after April 30th, is a must do! But the date is very important. VARDA asks that riders please respect this landuse agreement and not enter into this area until the opening date or until the website and signage state otherwise. Rider safety is top priority for the representatives of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), so the cabin site at Clemina Creek holds a BCA Beacon Station where visitors can practice their transceiver searching skills. If there at the same time as the VARDA Snow Host team, chase them down and say hello and ask


photo: VARDA


The Goat Ridge Bowl and Lakeview Plateau areas are some of the most easily accessed mountain riding areas in BC. Riders of any age and ability can access these areas via a very gentle groomed trail. The ridge surrounding Goat Ridge Bowl on the SE side offers a spectacular place to sit and enjoy lunch while watching the show as riders enjoy the snow and challenge themselves on the nearby slopes, or simply to just sit and gaze at beautiful views of the Kinbasket drainage and surrounding peaks.


VALEMOUNT BC. 250-566-9905 | 250-566-4817 |




The 14 km trail into the cabin is groomed multiple times a week (almost every day during busy holiday times) and everyone is required to pay the grooming fee, which is forecasted to be $20/ sled again for 2013. Just after the grooming shack, which has been manned by the same smiling face for years, is a large billboard explaining avalanche terrain in the zone as well as a beacon checker that will blink to let you know you’re sending a signal. No one should proceed past this sign without a beacon. There is also a beacon basin up at the cabin to hone your search skills as well. The groomed trail in to the area leads through forest and over creeks. Be aware, there are a lot of people in this zone, so drive with a certain amount of respect for your fellow riders. The laws of gravity and nature make their presence known along this road several times a year, usually by people missing the bridges and flying at breakneck (literally) speeds



Packing for a day in Quartz is one of the great pluses of the zone

Photo: Tim Grey

On any given day there will be flocks of guided beginners, boondocking freeriders, intermediate chute climbers, sno’moboarders and all tribes in between pulling into the area. The parking lot is approximately 35kms west of Golden along Highway 1 (114kms east of Revelstoke) and the turn off is well marked along a straight-away section of road, which has a separate left hand turning lane. There are two large parking lots that can accommodate large trailers and they are cleared of snow when possible. Big rig drivers should be aware, however, that it snows a lot in this zone and it’s pretty common to see large enclosed trailers with haphazardly jammed up because their drivers under estimated what it takes to turn into the upper left lot. Cell phones work at the parking area and on the ridges in the zone.

into creek banks. There is some fun boondocking possible along the road that can be loads of fun on deep days, usually later in the year when the snowpack is deeper.

because the day cabin is at the end of the groomed trail (you can’t miss it) and you can dump your excess stuff for the day here. This means you can roll-in heavy and carry amenities that you wouldn’t for other trips. The cabin has a large wood-burning stove that has an interesting design. There’s an awesome, small warming compartment on the upper portion of the stove that can warm your sandwiches or lunch food; assuming of course, that someone starts the fire in the morning. Pay attention here, this spot is NOT for your socks! Once in a while there’s an idiot who thinks differently. You’ll also not want to put anything that melts in here and you may notice the regulars show up with their food pre-packaged in tin foil. The cabin is generously maintained by the vibrant volunteers of the Golden Snowmobile Club; every year they spend hours keeping the cabin in shape, stocking wood, clearing the outhouse and cleaning up around the place. Please continue to show respect to the area and pack all your garbage, including empties, out. Last thing about the cabin is that it’s nonsmoking. This is for two obvious reasons: smoking in wood cabins can be a fire hazard and that there are a lot of groups that use this cabin everyday, including children. Photo: Tim Grey

uartz Creek is the most popular sledding area associated with Golden BC. It gets consistently great snow, it’s easy to access, it has a maintained groomed trail, there’s a large day cabin and there is a variety of terrain that suits a wide range of experience levels.


Photo: Tim Grey

Now let’s get to the good part—the riding terrain past the cabin—of which there is plenty. The most obvious choice when leaving the cabin is going right or left. Technically you don’t actually have to make this choice, since you can link most of the area via the high ridges, but if you don’t know where you’re going, you probably want to start with this decision. For the less capable I usually recommend going left. After a short section of whooped, uphill road you’ll enter in to a wide meadow that is a great spot to get the feel of your sled and warm up on some mellow terrain. You can follow this flatter terrain all the way to the south east end of the zone, which is the Glacier National Park boundary. This left fork is also the path to probably the burliest chute climbing terrain in the area: a large, (sketchy) west face. In general, Quartz is not a highly advanced chute climbing area. For most, there’s more than ample terrain for chute domination kind of riding, but the top level riders will probably not find everything they want in Quartz as the terrain has slightly less obvious, vertical climbing than other places. Some may disagree with that comment but others won’t. The area mentioned above is a rocky west facing slope that is very technical. There are trees and rocks and it gets a lot of solar radiation but there’s no doubt that it’s

Revelstoke 109



Cabin GPS location

51°22’42.75”N 117°20’37.79”W

Cabin elevation

1,934 m 6345 ft

Distance to Golden



km Avg snowfall

14 m 45 ft

35 km

8811’ (2685m)

Max elevation



2,590 m 8,500 ft

Maintained Trail Heli-skiing Area

Distance from parking to cabin

(No Snowmobiling)

East Quartz Area

Area 51


(Higher Avalanche Risk)

Prairie Hills Area

Cabin (14.4 km to parking lot) Cabin Valley area

photo: sum

Don’t sle d past the bo unda


10 base layer © 2008 Google, © 2008 Province of British Columbia


Map provided by Tourism Golden – for promotional purposes only


(No Snowmobiling)


Quartz Creek

Trail fee

Glacier National Park


The Saddle area

$20 Terrain rating



big and very few make it to the top. Those who do top out get treated to the East Quartz area and you can link all the way back to Gorman if you want. One of the best features of the Quartz area is the technical, treed boondocking around the cabin. This is where some of the deepest and most fluffy snow falls and the trees, while tight, usually have enough space to get through. This is a great place to sharpen your skills because, for the most part, the terrain will spit you back into an open area after you adventure in (assuming of course that you have the skills to get through it all). There are also a lot of hidden micro-openings through these trees and when you find yourself in a fresh one, it’s pretty cool. All the usual hazards of boondocking exist here like creeks and stumps and tree wells, so be smart when riding these trees; tell your group roughly where you’re going and carry a radio to call your team for help. There is loads of fun to be had on a deep and low visibility day in this area and several spots where newbies can dip their toes. The right fork leads to a multi-headed alpine bowl and access to several bowls beyond. Once you break in to the alpine via an easy (whooped) road, there are a large variety of hill features and meadows to climb and explore. The big white wall in the back, with the large cornice on it is the largest sustained pitch in the first bowl feature. It is also a frequent avalanche performer and it can release all the way across; so beware. It’s

probably best to stay off this big white area . This whole big area is nicknamed the Prairie Hills, which probably named after the many flat landers who visit this area. It may be a tongue in cheek name but it shouldn’t be because this is a really great area. There are a lot of safe places to park and play in the Prairie Hills and the less adventurous can still easily get around and watch their buddies show off on small but rad features. There is a large hanging bowl to the north of the Prairie Hills called Area 51, which holds some chute climbs, natural airs and cliff and cornice drops. You can access and exit this bowl through the bottom trees but this requires some mandatory side-hilling. The easiest way in is to ascend the classic ‘Poo Stain’ climb out of the Prairie Hills. For a good machine and rider this climb is easy but you’d be surprised how many people get claimed here. It is slightly off camber, which means you have to lean into the hill to stay on target and the top is almost always a strip of icy, shale rock. You can imagine hundreds of tracks going over this shale and spitting out brown bits on the snow, which is where the Poo Stain name came from. If you, by chance, roll your sled down this hill you can at least take comfort that you’re not the first to do it. Once on top of Poo Stain you can drop into Area 51 on the other side. Please be careful on this heavily loaded convex roll. You’re going to want to feel very comfortable about the conditions; this is not a great time to put safety third. You can also climb to the top of the peak that offers Area 51 beneath it. This peak is technically the edge of the zone. To the west is some nice looking terrain but it’s all National Park and you’ll regret it if you get caught in there. It’d be foolish to think that park wardens don’t know how to sled because they can and they do. To the north is a conflict resolution area under the Golden Recreational Access Plan and it is zoned for heli-skiing. Going in there when the heli company is operating breaks a long standing agreement with local stakeholders. Also, if you go up to this peak, be cautious of the cornice on your right. It often has hollow cavities and can easily swallow a whole sled and unsuspecting rider. One of the best parts about Quartz is the view. A visitor will want to gain a top alpine ridge, wherever they can, so that they can get a glimpse of the scene to the west. Gazing into Roger’s Pass and the wild peaks and glaciers of the Selkirks never gets old. The easiest place up is probably down the left fork (from the cabin). There is a rounded peak on the south east of the zone that has only moderate and benched climbs to get on top of it and it offers amazing views for 360 degrees. All in all, Quartz is a damn fun place to snowmobile. It always seems to provide. Golden also has many other zones so planning a whole trip there is a good idea.



Dave Best Photo

● ●

Rider Choice Award for Best Mountain Sledding area in BC Beginner and Advanced Terrain Average 10 metres plus snowfall

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Photo: R. Maser

Photo: R. Maser

When I’m not teaching riding clinics or running the snowmobile lodge, you’ll find me riding in the trees. I spend a lot of time riding in the old growth due to the weather and the fact that the trees are so fun and challenging here on the coast. Technical tree riding is something that not a lot of people do around Whistler, so it’s easy to find untouched powder just about anywhere you look. Since I spend a lot of time teaching people how to become better technical riders in the trees I thought it would be cool to share some boondocking tips. For me, boondocking is jumping off the trail and riding your sled wherever you want to go; it’s about exploring unridden territory. It takes skill, stamina, agility, strength and of course confidence to boondock properly. There is an art to technical boondocking and once mastered, the places you can take your sled are endless. It’s fun to challenge your friends to a little game of “try to follow my line” in the trees. With a little bit of practice you can soon start winning these games. While teaching, the biggest mistake I see is people going too fast and not having full control of their sled. So the first thing I teach is to slow everything down. When you slow your actions down you are able to



pick your way through any tight situation. Being able to sidehill on both sides at a slow and controlled speed, and able to stop and go at any point are critical skills for technical boondocking. In this issue, let’s talk about rolling your sled on its side. You should be able to “snap” your sled over on either side from both a dead stop and while rolling. To do this you need to get on the side of the sled you want to turn. We’ll start with a dead stop and a left “snap” for this example. Place your inside (right) leg on the left running board, two fingers on the brake lever and turn the handlebars the opposite direction you want to turn (counter-steer), in this case to the right. Now, in just one motion, blurp the throttle and at the same time throw your outside (left) leg out for the “snap”. This will give you the leverage (your body weight) to pull the sled onto its left side with very little effort. You can now continue side-hilling or you can stop with the sled on its side and choose your next move. This fundamental move is the key to technical boondocking. It is the most important move for being able to ride in technical terrain. It takes some practice to master both sides so keep trying until you’ve got them dialed. Once you master the “snap” on both sides you can work on controlled side-hilling. Controlled side-hilling involves body language, the right pressure on the running board and the right steering and brake/throttle control. »





Sledder Fall 12-1.indd 1

you’ll be impressed

8/15/2012 10:18:28 AM

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BOONDOCKING Running Boards Running boards are super important to boondocking. You need to have a strong set of running boards that are clear of snow and ice to have full control of your sled while boondocking. If you aren’t using aftermarket boards like Skinz then make sure you are always kicking your boards clean. A stiffer running board will give you a more responsive sled. While boondocking, you use the weight of your body through your feet to help steer the sled. If you put all your weight on your running board and it flexes your sled will respond more slowly. Photo: Dave Best Rider: Chris Brown

Ski Stance Your ski stance affects how your sled will boondock. A wide ski stance takes more effort to lay over while a narrow stance rolls over quite easily. A narrow ski stance gives you better agility while riding tight trees. The sled is easier to lay over and easier to hold it on its side. Jumping with a narrow ski stance is fun too. Wide ski stances are good for cornering on groomed trails and for climbing mogul fields. I personally prefer a narrow ski stance (38”39”) for all of my sleds.

Backpack When boondocking in technical terrain you need to be prepared for anything. I wear a 30 litre Snowpulse avy pack with some essential items. In my pack you’ll find a shovel, probe, lightweight Thermarest, space blanket, saw, leatherman, whistle, inReach GPS messenger, cell phone (and car charger), matches, lighter, tampons (firestarter), first aid kit, map/compass, water, food, candle, spare gloves and socks, wool hat, heat packs, pain killers, zip ties, rope, headlamp and a metal cup. If I had to spend the night, I would be prepared. Stay tuned for more riding tips in future issues. We’ll cover more on technical riding, how to jump, whip, drop and be safe in the backcountry. 


Photo: Shane Lewis Rider: Chris Brown, Coast Mountains, BC.

you’ll be impressed

U-shape airbag when fully inflated


New improved air tank



SNOWPULSE HIGHMARK 22 The Highmark 22 from Snowpulse continues to set the benchmark for snowmobiling avalanche airbag backpacks. Designed specifically for snowmobilers, the Highmark 22 has improved on good design with a number of upgrades in recent years. As you might guess, it features 22 litres of storage capacity. What hasn’t changed are the several compartments for safety gear, keys, spare gloves and everything else you want to bring along, and also the external shovel holder for quick access when you need it. The changes were inspired by a desire for efficiency, simplicity and comfort. In particular, the deployment system has been upgraded. This includes a simpler cylinder attachment and a streamlined refilling process. Importantly, Snowpulse is the only product on the market that has the ability to test fire the system without actually deploying the airbag, which saves the consumer both time and money. Improvements in design, including lower profile shoulders, allow the airbag to comfortably envelop even large sled helmets. Lastly, the secure T-grip deployment handle folds against the body and tucks away neatly when not in avalanche terrain. All this, and it is still the lightest pack of its kind on the market. Of course the best reason to buy an airbag backpack is for the life-saving properties of the inflatable airbag. While it is true that all airbags inflate to float the wearer to the surface in the event of an avalanche, only the Snowpulse Lifebags also protect against traumatic chest, head and neck injury with their patented full-wrap design. This is particularly important in western Canada where much of the sport is enjoyed in the trees. A reported 30% of avalanche fatalities are due to trauma. This bag is good preventive medicine. Retail $924 Cdn without cylinder $1099 with cylinder – Steve Crowe




MAMMUT ELEMENT BARRYVOX The Mammut Element avalanche transceiver represents a major step forward in simplistic recreational avalanche transceivers. This simple, one button transceiver is high on function and makes multiple avalanche transceiver searches very simple with a marking feature which eliminates distracting multiple signals. It comes in a high impact resistant housing with a loud speaker, clear display, glove friendly controls and a search range of over 60m. This avalanche transceiver will save valuable minutes when time is critical. – Chuck Gorton To learn more visit Retail $369 Cdn

BRITISH COLUMBIA Photo: bRuno long , fRiSby Ridge tRAil

embrace the alpine KNOWN FOR PHENOMENAL DEEP POWDER smoke, Revelstoke sees annual snowfalls of 12 – 18 meters (40 – 60 feet). We offer a wide range of terrain to suit any level, from family friendly groomed trails to extreme backcountry bowls of epic proportions. After a long day in the saddle, enjoy great eats at one of the many restaurants in town and choose a comfortable place to stay in our variety of accommodation options. Visit the Snowmobile Revelstoke Society for further information on snow conditions and weather; as well as trail maps, passes, grooming schedules, safety, and wildlife issues.

Call our Info Line 1.800.487.1493 |

you’ll be impressed

Photo: Dave Treadway



509 AVIATOR GOGGLES Wondering what these super stylish space age goggles from 509 are all about? I have had the opportunity to wear them the last two seasons and am a firm believer that external frame goggles from 509 are not just about looking good. They have several advantages over their traditional counterparts. The primary advantages are less fogging, less snow build-up and changing lenses is super easy–even glove friendly! Less fogging occurs because there is a greater amount of air between your face and the lens. Less snow builds up because there is no frame to hold it in place. And changing lenses is easy because the lense is attached using clips, not a groove in the frame which is a pain to line up. In fact, I have on several occasions changed my lenses in the field with gloves on. This would be next to impossible with traditional goggles. As for lenses, I find for a lot of my riding the stock bronze mirror is a little dark so I would highly recommend picking up a lighter lens for those grey winter days. New for this year is a greatly expanded lineup of Aviator colour-ways and polarized lenses. If you haven’t tried them yet I strongly suggest convincing your spouse they make a great gift. - Chuck Gorton Retail $139.95 Cdn for standard Aviators, $174.95 Cdn for polarized Aviators with a case.



Two years ago when I was sledding in the mountains, I came across a serious sled crash. Chris Brown had just aired his sled off a 40+ foot cliff into a monster fir tree, and we needed to get him helicoptered out and to the hospital fast. I took on the task of communications, and called 911 on my cell phone. After delivering them the necessary info, I asked “so the heli is on its way, right?” The lady on the other end said “yes”. Then I waited and waited and waited. I think it was only 45 minutes or so, but it seemed like forever. What if we were out of cell range? Some of my friends have Spot devices, and I think that they are better than nothing, but all I can picture is pressing the SOS button in an emergency out in the backcountry, and then sitting there waiting for help. What if they didn’t get it? What if it’s an avalanche, and they just send a paramedic? Even with the Spot Connect, it sure would be nice to get a message back saying “Help is on its way”. Last year I got the InReach device, and now can’t picture going adventuring out of cell service again without it. It’s like having an antenna on your phone that allows you to text, email, Facebook and Twitter from anywhere in the world, 2-way. Now I can hit the SOS button and have a conversation with the authorities about exactly what the problem is, and text or email my friends to let them know that I need help and what kind of trouble I’m in. Not to mention how happy my wife is to be able to text me and let me know what’s for dinner! - Dave Treadway Works with any iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Android® smartphones and tablets Price: $270 Service plans: $14.95 – $49.95 /month


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he anticipation of that first ride of the season can be excruciating. Whether you’re dying to break in your mintyfresh-from-the-dealer ride, or itching to feel the thrills of your trusty, dusty old sled again, there are important considerations to mull over. Let’s face it, it’s been a while since you’ve actually been on a sled. Sure, you’ve probably watched the latest Slednecks film 29 times, checked the weather forecast every hour for the last month, and emptied countless beer cans in the garage while diligently tinkering and polishing away. But this is the real deal. So follow along and let us help you navigate your way through the minefield that is your first day back in the mountains. Check out this list of classic mistakes to avoid if you plan on keeping yourself and that beast in one piece this winter.






Photo: Ingrid Backstrom

- Patrick Garbutt









hen we approached this mod we first decided what horse power we wanted to achieve. We felt an Absolute Power & Performance LTD 860 Big Bore and a Boondocker Turbo would make upwards of 270hp and it would be the right fit. To deal with our new found power we stretched out the track with a 174x16x3 inch paddle Mountain Extreme. To do that we used Ice Age rails and a Van Amburg bumper extension with a 4 wheel setup in the rear for stability as well as to handle the HP and rotational forces created by the big track. The sled needed to have the clutching changed for the engine mods so we installed a Ski-Doo race primary with a secondary shaft conversion and a Team Tied clutch (with a custom helix setup for the turbo and big bore).

OWNER: Jason Dirkson SLED: Custom 2011 Ski-Doo XP E-Tec MOD BY: Absolute Power in St-Albert,AB. 708.460.9101

9� handle bar riser

Absolute Power & Performance LTD 860 Big Bore and a Boondocker turbo

Next we wanted to improve the ride quality so we installed a new Boss seat and a Fox conversion shock from Nextech in the rear of the rear suspension. The shock improved the ride quality but also keeps the sled from wheeling too badly under big boost in steep climbs. Then we installed Fox Evol X shocks in the front suspension for the ultimate mogul bashing setup. In addressing pretty well all aspects of this build we wanted to make sure we put the power to the ground. Kevin at C3 Power Sports supplied us with a belt drive setup which improves throttle response and deletes unnecessary weight. With a bar riser, Y pipe, gauge relocation, tunnel stiffeners and some venting this build should prove that the two stroke turbo setups can and will be the new generation of chute dominating machines. -Jarrid Juse



Ski-Doo race primary with a secondary shaft conversion and the Team Tied clutch (with a custom helix)

Tunnel Stiffeners

COST: Approximatly $34,000 HP: Dyno Tested to 270 horse power CATEGORY:

Chute Domination

Custom Boss seat

Fox conversion shock from Nextech

174 x 16 x 3 inch paddle Mountain Extreme track


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n an industry saturated with older, big name stars, odds are you haven’t heard of Grant Clarke. Yet. Grant is a humble guy and doesn’t promote himself too much but don’t let that fool you—this 27 year old, Ontario transplant is lethal on a snowmobile. Grant picks lines that most other riders don’t even consider and he’s known to throw down massive whips over enormous booters that at first glance make you wonder where the heck the landing is. Last year Grant made his film debut in Slednecks 14 along with two other Whistler based snowmobilers, Brad Gilmore and Tyler Blair. This past winter he filmed with Jorli Ricker of Highmark Films and has a full length segment in Fourcast 2. Snowmobiling is in Grant’s blood, so it is no surprise that he’s at the top of the game. His childhood home was at the base of the small ski hill named Hidden Valley in Ontario and his upbringing instilled in him a love of winter sports that would eventually take him across the country to the west coast of Canada in pursuit of the bigger things, including mountains. His grandfather, Lewis William Clarke, was one of the first people to own a snowmobile in the Muskoka area (a 1962 K70 D autoboggan made by Polaris with a 7 hp, 4 stroke Kohler engine!). He was integral in starting up the local snowmobiling community, with efforts that included promoting the club, trail construction and grooming. Grant’s father, Bill Clarke, also had an insatiable lust for adventure. Bill enjoyed many activities, ranging from barefoot waterskiing at 80km/h to flying over their house with 1000 feet of rope attached to his Delta Wing kite. He became a member of the Ski-Doo Factory Racing Team in 1970, and participated in gruelling cross country races and



dangerous oval racing. This had a huge influence on Grant’s childhood, and he was rallying a 1989 Yamaha 340 Fan Enticer with confidence by age eight. He greatly admired his father and grandfather, they were his childhood heroes. It is easy to see where Grant gets his “wild streak” from. He eventually followed in his father’s tracks, racing the CSRA snocross circuit in his teenage years at events in Ontario and Quebec. Grant moved to Whistler BC in 2007 to work on the Sea to Sky highway improvement project as a heavy equipment operator. The trip out west was only supposed to last a few months but after seeing all that Whistler had to offer (soft powder landings that didn’t exist in Ontario!), there was no going back. Whistler is like Disneyland for active adults like Grant who enjoy extreme sports. Since Grant was also into snowboarding, skiing, downhill biking and riding motocross—all of which the Sea to Sky corridor has to offer in abundance—it was an easy decision to make. After several seasons of just learning the area and getting used to the snowmobiling in the new terrain, Grant soon started getting noticed as one of the best riders out there on any given day. While he still enjoys other sports, when asked why his preference switched to primarily snowmobiling he mentions that the long lift lines and rapid speed at which ski resorts get tracked were huge motivating factors in switching fully to the backcountry. His passion has always been snowmobiling, and there is simply no other sport that allows the rider to cover so much ground and explore so many new areas in a single day. Being able to log more air miles in a shorter period of time also played into the transition away from snowboarding and skiing.

Logging air miles is one of the things that Grant does best. Late this spring I joined Grant and some friends on a film shoot on a booter we had built up during a dry spell. This was not your average jump and watching Grant hit it for the first time left me speechless. He was lining up approximately 1000 feet away to get the speed required to clear a massive natural plateau. I thought I had seen guys go “big” before, but I was wrong. From take-off to landing, the jump measured a monstrous 180-190 feet. It also had lots of “woooo”, or in other words, it was sending him a lofty, 40+ feet up in the air. I watched him hit this jump again and again and again, every lap going progressively bigger and the grin never left his face the entire time. This is a man who loves to fly and he obviously can’t get enough of it. Despite having formidable natural talent in the air, Grant is anything but a one trick pony. This winter, Whistler experienced a non-stop bombardment of snow, with sunny days few and far between. This forced film crews to head to the trees and Grant spent much more time focusing on technical lines and maturing his riding style. Once he has decided to attempt a line, there is no going back. Oddly enough, he has a fear of heights and prefers to just tee-off on a hit or feature after having looked at it from the bottom. Unlike most riders, he doesn’t like to walk up to the edge or look at the take-off. This method of attack sometimes results in undesired outcomes, like contact with trees, but more often than not he nails the landing with a feline-like prowess. Grant embodies all the qualities you would look for in a riding partner. Despite jokes from friends and fellow riders about his style being a little “haywire” at times, he is level headed and always willing to lend a hand or provide words of wisdom to help others attack their own challenges and goals. Listening to Jorli Ricker and Grant talk about line choice or potential features on a film shoot is truly one of the most entertaining parts of the day, as the two bicker constantly about what “goes” and what doesn’t. Grant’s positive outlook both in and out of the backcountry is contagious. There are simply no bad days for this man and he has a permanent smile on his face that lasts from leaving the trailhead to loading up at the end of the day. It could be pissing rain, cloudy and near zero visibility or thirty below and he would still be stoked to get out and ride. This is the riding partner that everyone wishes they had with them in the backcountry. When you ask other snowmobilers in the area who their favourite person to ride with is, Grant’s name comes up more often than not. He is definitely an athlete to keep your eye on, as he will most assuredly be leaving his mark on the industry. You can catch Grant Clarke in action in Highmark productions 2012 film “Fourcast 2”. 


AGE: 27












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By Aaron Bernasconi of

Ideally, if you can take your rig to a shop to do an inspection that’s the best case scenario. But if you’re feeling like you want to do it yourself here’s a list to check out before you ride.

1. SKI SKEGS • •

Throw your sled on its side and have a look at the bottom of the skis. Make sure your carbide runners aren’t too worn out or even the ski itself. Next give your skis a jiggle and see how much play is in your ski leg bushings. You’ll want to replace these if there’s a lot of movement before you have to replace the whole spindle.


Check your brake fluid and make sure it’s still pumping.

Check your throttle cable and make sure it’s not frayed. There is nothing worse than pinning it and having your throttle not release because it gets all jammed up with frayed cables.


Check your belt for frays. Maybe there’s something there that you chose not to see last season.

Ideally you want to remove the clutches and see what’s been worn down. Your springs and your bushings are of prime concern for viewing. If that’s too much for you then your local shop should include that in their preseason inspection.



Check the oils in your sled: your engine oil and your chain case oil. Actually, you should check the oil levels after you replace both if you didn’t do that in the spring.

Check your sliders and make sure they are not worn past the wear line. Check the clips on your track, make sure they are not too burred. Jiggle your bogie wheels. They should be tight. Look for movement. Grease your nipples. Make sure you grease the suspension points. Make sure you see it coming out back at you when you squeeze.

Track tension: you want to be able to get about two fingers between the sliders and the track. If you got more, then tighten‘r up.


Depending on what sled you ride you’ll have to check your shock pressures.

Shocks do leak over the course of time and in different temperatures so make sure your shocks are the same pressure as they were in the spring.

4. OIL •

If you didn’t put stabilizer oil in your fuel, do your crank shafts a favour and drain the gas and put new stuff in. Nothing says, “I don’t care about you” to an engine like fuel that pre-ignites.


Check it out and make sure it’s to spec.



Take out the rag you put up there in the spring. If you didn’t do that, remove the mouse nest that’s up there.

New spark plugs can make a world of difference to performance. So make sure you replace them.

Scan the code to watch the video or follow this link:

p r e d at o rs o f t h e a l p i n e


urfers, like sledders, are a unique group with a lexicon all their own. Some of the most interesting terms are their references for the feared great white shark. ‘Mack the Knife,’ ‘The Man in the Grey Suit,’ and ‘Old Toothy,’ are just some of the nicknames commonly thrown around. But as famous surf writer Allan Weisbecker says in his book In Search of Captain Zero, “the most apt, implying as it does ultimate dominion and power and the violent abuse thereof, is my personal favourite: The Landlord. The Landlord is out there where you’re blithely headed, somewhere, count on it. And the rent due him, my hapless friend, just may be you.” These nicknames are given out of fear and respect for the elusive predator. A great white attack comes suddenly, without warning, unlike a bear that will generally make their presence known. The shark is known to come from below with rows of jagged teeth lining a massive open maw that suddenly appears in a crash of water, splintering flesh, fiberglass and foam. So quickly does it strike that escape is not an option. In many ways, a great white attack resembles an avalanche. Not just because of the potential for injury or fatality, but also because they can strike without you realizing until you’re caught up in the maelstrom and it’s already too late. One moment you’re enjoying your day, and the next moment you are caught off guard by a moving landscape of snow ready to bury you alive.



As backcountry/mountain snowmobilers, just like surfers, avoidance is how we control the situation. The conditions for a slide are set by nature; weather, snowfall, wind, terrain and gravity are the architects of an avalanche and we have zero control over them. The best we can do is arm ourselves with the knowledge of how these factors work so that we can identify how to avoid the destructive attacks that they can produce. Surfer’s nicknames for the great white have roots that go back to early times when primitive cultures felt it was bad luck to use the direct name of something they feared. It is a habit, a superstition that has continued through the years and through many different cultures. While the colourful nicknames for the great white are based on superstition, they also are used to reduce our fear of the terror and destruction they can invoke. Like great whites, avalanches could easily be called The Landlord. They hold dominion over the mountains. It was not long ago that avalanches were a misunderstood force of nature. Like the great white, they were mysteries lurking out there that would occasionally rear their heads and swallow some whole, leaving debris like blood stains on the water that would eventually disappear under the next snowfall. A lack of scientific study meant that backcountry users had to rely on their historic knowledge of an area: what, when and where they had seen slides before. Avalanche


Photo: Mark Aubrey

safety was an intuitive process that developed over time spent out in the mountains. Daniel Duane, talking about sharks and surfing in his book Caught Inside writes, “Sharkiness: state of mind spoken as a state of place ‘Getting kinda sharky out here, dontcha think?’ a combination of a break’s history, water depth, and exposure to open ocean, maybe crowd level, fog density and even just sheer distance from the highway.” Daniel is talking about a feeling that overcomes you when sitting out in the ocean line-up: a feeling that is based on intuition but still carries it’s roots in knowledge of where a great white likes to roam and hunt. This feeling is something that most experienced backcountry snowmobilers carry with them as well. Over time and experience the history of your riding areas and weather conditions will just naturally be seared into your memory. The feel of the snowpack as your track bites through it, fresh snow, time of year, afternoon sun will all help you develop a sense of what is happening in the slide zones. This natural memory and feeling of what is happening out in the mountains combined with training can be the combination of tools that should be exploited to keep you safe out there. If things “feel” wrong then maybe it’s time to head to some flat meadows or even home. Like surfers determining the sharkiness of a break, there are many variables that come into play when sledding in avy country. Education

and using your head when out riding in the mountains will go a long way to keeping you alive and returning to play another day. No line, cliff or patch of pow is worth your life or the life of someone else in the area. The steps that you take even before you unload your sled and hit the backcountry could be the ones that keep you safe and mean the difference between your group returning to your vehicle, tired and happy at the end of the day or becoming a story on the evening news. If you haven’t taken an AST 1 course yet sign up as soon as possible and even if you have a refresher every few years as well any other knowledge you can gain will help keep the The Landlord at bay. – Matthew Mallory






WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Yes, it’s confusing and no, they’re not the same thing even though the two organizations share a logo, office space and even some staff members. The CAA is the Canadian Avalanche Association, a professional body representing people who work in avalanche risk management. The CAA has about 1000 members, mostly all in western Canada, who are highways and railways avalanche control workers, heli- and cat-ski guides, ski area avalanche team members, and avalanche consultants for forestry and mining. In addition to the work of serving and supporting these professional avalanche workers, the CAA also provides training for people wanting to get into the industry or to develop professionally. For more information about the CAA and the Industry Training Program, visit The CAC is the Canadian Avalanche Centre, our national public avalanche safety organization providing programs and services for recreational backcountry users. These include daily avalanche forecasts, education and outreach. The CAC has developed the curriculum for the Avalanche Skills Training (AST) courses and provides teaching materials and support for the independent instructors. In order to be licensed to teach AST courses, a person must have at least a CAA Level 1 Certificate. For more information about the CAC, visit – Mary Clayton



Carole Savage is the project manager for the CAC’s Mountain Snowmobile Education Project. Carole is also a member of the CAC’s Snowmobiling Committee, an active AST provider, past president of the Golden Snowmobile Club, past associate director of the BC Snowmobile Federation, past Director of the Tourism Action Society of the Kootenays, a founding member of the Golden Snowmobile Trail society, and presenter of BRP’s Avalanche Awareness Seminars since 2012. In 2012, Carole completed her CAA Avalanche Operations Level 2 and won the BRP Award of Excellence for work in avalanche safety. – Mary Clayton

Photo: Courtesy Carole Savage


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t's 4pm, with the sun still high in the Canadian spring sky as I peer down a committing drainage and cross reference the map—does it go? If not, can I climb back out? I triple check my low fuel gauge, hoping it has miraculously changed in my favour. It hasn’t. Our crew of Coastal mountain sledders and shredders is divided whether to go for broke and drop in, or turn back and take a quasi-predictable route off the vast glacier. I look to Jack, knowing his response before I even ask, “Well, what do you think?” In his classic style, he shrugs his shoulders and says something about “one way to find out”, but his voice fades away as he throttles downhill. By this crossroad we felt pretty remote as our journey thus far had been long and gripping. So Jack’s pinning it balls deep transformed our mission into an epic. Backtrack two days. Arriving at the end of a freshly plowed logging road at dusk, my younger bro Dave and I backed our sleds off the truck and replaced the seats with waterproof duffle bags packed with camping gear, then attached jerry-cans of fuel wherever possible. After an hour of fast, smooth travel up the valley we arrived at our basecamp and were greeted by Jon and Dave B., who had recently returned from a deep reconnaissance day.

gear. Avalanche and crevasse rescue gear, food, extra clothes, saw, first aid kit, SPOT rescue beacon, GPS and radio were accounted for. Few words were spoken, even as we checked one another’s avalanche transceivers, and especially once we fired up the cold, smoky sleds. There is a nervous excitement when heading into the unknown, where mistakes are paid for in blood, sweat and tears and success is priceless. From camp we rode down the valley a few kliks, crossed the river at the confluence of two major drainages and followed the switchbacks of an old logging road that ended where the slope became too dangerous to log. There the clear-cut gave way to old growth fir. This steep slope of spaced trees is perfect for ski touring, according to Jon who had hiked and skied the ridge previously. Despite the ski appeal of this enchanted forest, it served as a filter for snowmobile access, and until now, no one had attempted the 1500 meter ascent. To ensure our team was of

Our cozy accommodations consisted of a big open ended A-frame used by mechanics to work on heavy duty mining trucks. It was a snowless area where we could have a fire, set up a kitchen and pitch tents to keep us warm and out of the wind. Despite our luxuries, we had to layer thickly with wool and down while sipping warm drinks as we discussed our objectives and options around the fire. Jon and Dave were pretty worked after their unsuccessful attempt to punch up Devastation Creek, so we decided on plan B which approached a series of glaciers from the east ridge of a prominent volcanic peak and climbed two kilometres high. As the fire blazed and the whiskey tea stiffened, our jaws loosened to tell tales of past explorations. Who went to where, when and how; successes and failures along the way; close calls— sometimes too close. And through the darkness the essence of our adventure was clear—to see just how deep our sleds could take us; to look at a map and find routes through the timber and creeks, and up to glaciers that weave through towering peaks; to travel far and fast, crossing valleys and connecting glaciers, all the while absorbing the vast panoramas; and to feel adventuresome knowing that we are likely the only people to have travelled there, and simultaneously feeling incredibly vulnerable as we trust in our ability, wisdom, friends and good fortune. Watch alarms broke the dark, crisp morning’s silence, and I clung to a few more minutes of cocooned comfort, playing out the day in my mind. There were definitely some areas of concern: avalanches top the list, followed by crevasses that expose the ancient glacier’s dark, cold depths. The mood outside the tent was relaxed due to the laid back nature of the crew, yet there was a tone of seriousness as we boiled water for oatmeal and hot drinks. Our sleds were fueled up and gear was packed the night before to make a quick morning get-away, but out of habit I double-checked my



a confident yet humble mind-set, the climb out of the clear-cut required multiple attempts, which usually resulted in high-speed, semi-controlled descents through head-high new growth. It was a good warm up for the steep climbs through unforgiving trees with thick, daunting trunks ahead. Speed, agility, strength, teamwork, commitment and creativity were all tested as we punched our way through steep, technical climbs. We rested and regrouped on small benches before searching for the next potential up-track. Many times while scouting we would unload fuel and gear, punch and pack the trail up the next pitch, then allow the trail to stiffen up as gear was strapped back to the sled. It was important to keep the gear low and forward to minimize excess swing weight, and avoid obstacles when jumping around on the sled. Conserving our energy was crucial to the success of this long climb, and over the years we have fine-tuned routines that maximize our individual and group strength. A buried sled is the main culprit sapping energy and momentum, so it’s imperative to maintain an escape route, ideally downhill in your track. Each climb usually requires many attempts, where we turn around



Thirsty tree wells

If cats have nine lives, how many does a mountain sledder have?

Photo: Dave Basterrechea

Everyone has their own way of loading their sled, but there are a few key points that make a huge difference in times like these: mount a CFR gas rack on the tunnel directly behind the seat and find a 25 litre jerry can that fits tight in the rack; remove your seat and strap a waterproof 35 litre duffle bag snug against the gas tank; minimize the weight in your backpack to include only a shovel, probe, saw, water and snack, and pack the rest in the duffle bag on the sled; and finally, use ratchet straps to secure fuel and bag, often checking their tension to avoid having them come loose and inevitably wedging between the track and tunnel.










Photo: Dave Basterrechea Rider: Jon Johnson Location: Balls Deep, Coast Range BC.


GOING DEEP before getting stuck, then cut back onto the up-track to pack in a smooth trail for the next attempt. Communicating with radios when out of sight or shouting distance helps determine the best lines, keeps everyone accounted for and allows us to call for help when it’s needed. Most stuck snowmobiles are pointed uphill and are easily dislodged by kicking snow away from the track and rolling the sled downhill. The back of the track usually stays put, while the front of the sled rolls downhill and ideally lands upright in the track. Getting stuck on flat ground, in ditches or tree wells often requires help. In these scenarios the rider should take out their shovel and or saw, and begin clearing a way out while others continue punching the trail until the stuck sled is ready for a pull. Our foursome made steady progress leapfrogging and switchbacking our way up a ridge as we monitored our progress on the GPS to ensure we stayed on track. At times we were lured climber's right on benches that ended in steep gullies where any mistake would have sent the sled tomahawking through old growth trees into the abyss. To our surprise only one tree abruptly stopped progress—it was at the top of a difficult and intimidating climb where Jon throttled up the rutted hill and bounced off track. The ski hit the thick trunk head-on and the suspension absorbed the impact. He hit with enough force to knock snow from the branches that began 15 metres up the ancient giant. To avoid potentially serious carnage we tied ropes to the sled and muscled it up the last few metres to the next bench. Seven gruelling hours later we broke into the sunny alpine and continued up the ridge towards the towering spires of the volcanic peaks.

Photo: Dave Basterrechea Rider: Daryl & Dave Treadway Location: Coast Range, BC.

High fives flew like shithawks as we shed wet base layers and added a layer of down to combat the colder alpine temps. The sun was bright and views spectacular so we pulled hot lunches from our muffler ovens and enjoyed a moment of tranquility after our adrenaline filled morning. Our plan was to return the same route, so we poured our jerrys into thirsty gas tanks and left the empties by the trail. Some sled expeditions require a nomadic approach in the form of a redneck gypsy caravan, where snowmobiles tow toboggans packed with fuel, and camp is moved along the length of the route. These trips require careful route planning as the cumbersome loads limit passage through technical areas and steep hills, but it is a practical method for cruising across glaciers. Our objectives left no room for extra baggage; instead, our stationary base camp was within striking distance of our new-found access point. Tomorrow we would attempt a long loop connecting glaciers, navigating crevasse fields and descending unknown drainages back to the valley before crossing rivers and avalanche paths en route to base camp. As we discussed our next move, we heard a distant whine of 2-strokes, and within minutes Jack and Cheddar arrived with saucer sized eyes, toothy grins and fists pumping the air. Over the years, the six of us had spent substantial time and energy exploring snowmobile access to this area, and now we could relish our success. The afternoon proved productive as ISSUE 01 MOUNTAIN SLEDDER MAG



we sniffed around for the safest and easiest routes around the glaciers before retracing our tracks and arriving back at base in the dark. That night’s campfire conversation was much more direct than the last: “Get up early and pin it.” The cold night froze our trail through the timber, so it wasn’t exactly a cakewalk following the trenched-out maze of tracks in the dark while our sleds bounced off firm banks and spun-out on the climbs. Nonetheless, we were in the alpine in time to watch the sun paint the peaks with pastel coloured light as it gained the horizon. A few memorable photos later and we were back on the throttle, stopping to scout a possible descent if plans A and B failed. Cheddar and bro Dave had walked to the edge of the steep hill and I followed in their footsteps when the flat ground gave way beneath me. Before I could shit my pants, I landed on a rock ledge while a 10 meter wide chunk of snow that covered the crevasse cascaded into the abyss around me. Jack and Jon were soon at the edge to give me a hand out and we tossed Dave and Cheddar a rope as they tiptoed across the now evidently sagging bridge. We considered the brainless episode a free lesson in the day’s snow stability, and gave crevasses as much respect as we could. That being said, we soon found ourselves on a crevasse laden climb to access an adjacent glacier. It was a course none of us would be comfortable retracing later in the day once the sun had warmed the snow. We were committed to whatever lay ahead. As we traversed long glaciers with stunning vistas, the sleds chewed through fuel as our ambition pushed us over “just one

Photo: Dave Basterrechea Rider: Cheddar & the late, great Jack Hannan Location: The safest spot for miles, deep into the Coast Range

more glacier” to a point where the surrounding mountains were beyond our intended journey. Examining the map we were impressed at how far we had actually gone, and noticed that we were at the head of a major drainage that fed into the main valley. This could be a new access point, but the tight contour lines were daunting. We decided on a short recon and found the first few kilometres to be a fun, open meadow, giving us false hope. We quickly came to the first big descent, which is where I began this story of Jack’s impulsive decision to throttle downhill. Giving Jack a safe buffer in case the slope slid, I followed his straight track, packing a trail in case we returned this way, and the others followed suit. We were again relieved to find the valley meander at a gentle pitch, and other than some technical creek crossings, we made good distance. The drainage made for fun sledding as we jumped off snow-covered rock pillows and carved deep pow turns, but I kept waiting for a steeper descent. I soon realized why it hadn't come yet as the creek widened to another meadow that fed into a small lake—the lake ended in a 30 metre waterfall into a canyon. We were fu...labbergasted! My heart sank at the thought of running out of fuel and having to walk out. It wasn’t the distance that bothered me as much as the crevasses we would need to cross. Rooping over them on sleds is one thing, but I had already proved their instability when crossing on foot. Dave and Jack wouldn’t be defeated, and convinced us to bushwack and sidehill down another kilometre or so until we hit



Photo: Dave Basterrechea Rider: Jon Johnson Location: Slippery’s Slope Coast Range, BC.

a steep creek that finally persuaded us to turn back. Retracing our tracks back up to the glacier was pretty easy due to our packed down track, then we raced the setting sun towards our last option down to the valley. We arrived in time to scout a descent down a steep crevassed glacier where we had to traverse hard left to avoid open holes. Bro Dave dropped in without a word, silently boasting his mountaineering skills. We all breathed a sigh of relief as he reappeared out the bottom. Safely off the glacier, we descended into the biggest avalanche terrain trap I’ve ever seen. Fortunately the sun was well on its way down and the snow was again cooling and stiffening. Once out of avalanche alley our trials continued as we crossed avalanche debris, creeks and dense bush. Well into dark, working hard to gain every inch, we finally made it back to the safety of the snowcovered mining road; safety was relative at this point as 40 kms still separated us from our trucks. Base camp was on our way, so we expected to be home within a couple hours. If only our sleds ran off ridiculous optimism instead of dinosaur bones. One by one we began to run out of gas until we were three tandem towing pairs, then two, and then one…. Jack’s sled was our last hope. He untied the snowmobile behind him, and disappeared into the night with hopes of making it to the trucks where he

would siphon fuel into a jerry can and return our earthly saviour. Eventually that night we made it home to worried wives, thanked God for our safe return, and laid down our tired bodies to rest. Despite physical exhaustion, we felt stronger from the trials that didn’t kill us, but rather stretched us, and further fueled our confidence for adventures ahead.  ISSUE 01 MOUNTAIN SLEDDER MAG


Photo: Brandon Peterson Rider: Collin Puskas Location: Purcells, BC.

Photo: Steven Lloyd Rider: Stephen Darcy Location: Bountiful, UT.

Photo: Steven Lloyd Rider: Stephen Darcy Location: Guradsman Pass, UT.


Photo: Mark Gribbon Rider: 56 Gaetan Chanut MOUNTAIN SLEDDER Location: Seagram’s Whistler BC.





Photo: Rob Alford Rider: Brad Gilmore Location: Revelstoke, BC.

Photo: Rob Alford Rider: Dan Treadway Location: Whistler, BC.

Photo: Rob Alford Rider: Jeremy Henke Location: Revelstoke, BC.




Photo: Bryn Hughes Location: Kootenays, BC.

Photo: Bryn Hughes Rider: Unknown Location: Stewart, BC.

Photo: Bryn Hughes Rider: Dan Treadway Location: Valdez, AK.




Photo: Dave Best Rider: Riley Suhan Location: Gorman Lake, Golden, BC.



Photo: Dave Best Rider: Chris Brown Location: Boulder Mountain, Revelstoke, BC.

Photo: Dave Best Rider: Paul Poohkay Location: Hobo Creek, Golden, BC. ISSUE 01 MOUNTAIN SLEDDER MAG




was probably in diapers when this thing came out of the plastic. Did they even have plastic back then? I remember seeing it around as I grew up, always attached to a succession of motorbikes, trailers and roofs. It was old even back then when I nabbed it—one of my first sledding-motivated thefts from my dad’s garage. At that time a borrowed 440 was my steed and I was deadlifting it into the back of my truck. It was with that sled that I first tasted what it meant to push a throttle and fly through deep snow over steep vertical. Although I knew I had discovered something in those early days, no way could I understand how deep my addiction would grow for mountain sledding.

It was only at the tie-down’s end that I started growing an affinity for the faded threads that had served me so faithfully. Early that winter, when I began to doubt the strength of its worn strands, I banished it to the front of the truck bed, a place reserved for old beer cans, crumbles of wood bark and remnants of summer sand. No longer good enough for a trailer or even to hook onto a track, it quietly took its place to serve as an optical quick fix in case an enforcement officer stung me for a 4-point tie down inquiry (which never happened). It spent most of the season caked in ice and rubble up there and it was only as the spring melt finally released it that I once again examined the frayed yarns. I could have just as easily thrown it in the trash right there but for some reason I was struck with the notion of how long we had been together—much longer than any other piece of gear I had in my system. It was then that I got sentimental about our time together and how far we’d come on this journey. Together we’d been through hundreds, maybe thousands of adventures. First she secured the 440, then a 670 and then three consecutive 800s. There was the original Ranger, then the F150 and now the F250 and she’s so far outlasted them all. So I placed it on the wall in my shop, a distinguished and earned spot. It hangs there now, supporting only its own weight, to remind me of where I’m from and who I stole it from. But somehow it doesn’t strike me as satisfied, even in that vaulted place. Like an old dog waiting at the door, it probably hurts to see me go. When the sleds get fired up and the door opens and the trucks get loaded, it must long to be there too. If I truly cared for it, I would probably give it a chance at a soldier’s death: to finally snap, deep in the bush on some bumpy logging road. That’s the honourable death for a tie down. But for now, maybe I’ll just throw it in the truck again for good luck. It’s got me this far. – Tim Grey



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The first generation of Snowpulse cartridges (Inflation System 1.0) has a defective pressure gauge, which means the cartridge has to be exchanged. The recall does not affect cartridges issued this winter (2011 / 12) or any Mammut Airbag product. Which cartridges are affected by the product recall? All first-generation Snowpulse cartridges compatible with Inflation System 1.0 (207 and 300 bar). How can I tell if a cartridge is affected by the product recall? If the valve of the cartridge looks like the one in the photo and the pressure gauge has not been replaced, then the cartridge will need to be exchanged. Information on the product recall: / recall | Mountain Sports Distribution, #101 - 806 9th St N, Golden, BC, V0A 1H2 1-250-344-5060 (Monday – Friday, 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. MST) Contact MSD for an electronic return shipping label before. Abb. Vom Rßckruf betroffene Kartuschen


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{Ghost ride the whip} involves a Photo: Patrick Orton Rider: Unknown Location: Haines, AK.

car sled in motion with no one operating it.



Chris Brown, Whistler, BC Main photo by Dave Best Inset photo by R. Maser

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