Mountain Sledder Magazine Issue5 Spring 2014
7447 0 8 0 632
2 Photos: Stephen W. Clark, Jaylen Reed, Mike Reeve, Tom Delanoy and Shane Lewis
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Behind The Cover >> CONTENT MANAGEMENT, LAYOUT AND DESIGN www.SummitCommunications.ca Project Manager: Tim Grey Content Manager: Patrick Garbutt Graphic Design: Shane Gault, Tim Grey
The artwork cover of this issue came together through the hard work of several people who we’d like to thank. First up is Brett Turcotte for sending this hip like a boss so we could get a photo to work with. Second is painter Vanessa Stark, who worked on a tight timeline and produced a piece that amazed us. Look her up if you want to immortalize one of your pics in acrylic (VanessaStarkArt.com). Lastly, we have to shout out to our buddy Bryn Hughes, (brynhughes.photoshelter.com/portfolio) who photographed the art and supplied it to us in a rush. Thanks team, we’re stoked how it all came out . - Ed
>> CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Steve Crowe, Patrick Garbutt, Tim Grey
>> CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Chris Brown, Patrick Garbutt, Chuck Gorton, Tim Grey, Jessica Joy, Ron MacDougall, Mike Reeve, Jorli Ricker, Daryl Treadway, Dave Treadway
>> CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Rob Alford, Dave Best, Julie-Ann Chapman, Stephen W. Clark, Russell Dalby, Steve Dutcheshen, Patrick Garbutt, Tim Grey, Mark Gribbon, Jeremy Hanke, Bryn Hughes, Vera Janssen, Blake Jorgenson, Steven Lloyd, Chris Messervey, Patrick Orton, Curtis Pawliuk, Thierry Provencher, Nadia Samer, Mark Schilperoort, Alain Sleigher, Daryl Treadway, Stevin Tuchiwsky, Todd Westlake
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Original photo by Tim Grey
Painting by Vanessa Stark
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THE OF MOUNTAIN SLEDDING
Brett Turcotte Wins Best Air Award In Issue 4 of MSM we misprinted the write up about the Best Air award in our film reviews section. Below is what should have gone alongside the award graphic. Sorry Brett, ya know we love you. - Ed
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2014 Film Awards
Best Air Brett Turcotte
Copyright ©2014 Summit Communications All Rights Reserved. Printed in Canada.
With closing segments in three of the top movies this year, Brett’s resume of steezy whips, technical drops and tricked-out booters is unmatched. One major highlight is a monster cliff drop to Superman air in Fourcast 3 that will make you hit rewind at least once.
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CONTENTS 10 Over The Hills... Welcome to big mountain snowmobiling.
14 Riding Tips Master the age old art of the Downhill Shithook with Mr. Chris Brown.
16 Rad Zones : Wolverine Although Tumbler Ridge doesnâ€™t have any dealerships, it is no stranger to snowmobiling and does have basically everything else you need.
18 Ultimate Mod Check out the totally tubular custom sled build by the boys at Powerhouse Customs.
24 Go Am To Go Pro How to make your GoPro videos not suck (as much).
28 Gear Girl : On The Job Your favourite feature, our favourite feature. The girls are at it again in the warehouse.
32 Other Side Of The Mountain Grit, determination and doubt in the heart of the coast range.
38 Photo Gallery A carefully selected collection of visual awesomeness for the discerning modern sled rider.
46 ...And Far Away The Art of Weekend War.
49 Last Call See ya next year.
Photo: Stevin Tuchiwsky Location: Revelstoke, BC Rider: Derek Wood
OVER THE HILLS
crazy to think about it, sitting there amongst the stars, hurtling around through space, this giant rock we call Earth.
Somehow, this natural wonder was created out of nothing, a planet full of life, seemingly alone in the universe, isolated by its unique properties. 70% of our world’s surface is composed of water, 10% desert, and in the winter months of the northern hemisphere, upwards of 10% snow and ice. Humanity has gone to great lengths to conquer the elements, and we’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time. We’ve built grand civilizations, gone through social revolutions and scientific evolutions, fostered incredible innovation, all in the quest to redefine our potential. Our passion to explore the backcountry has taken on a whole new meaning, and what
began as a dream is today a reality. The things we could only dream of a few short years ago are now performed with relative ease, and the evolution of our sport is emerging from the shadows right before our eyes. Our aspirations have triumphed beyond the pale of any decent restraint, synchronized with an unyielding environment—the metrics of which are indefinable—and each day driven by factors that are well beyond our abilities to control. In the tradition of adventure and selfdetermination, we’ve embarked on a crusade to carve out yet another path in our planet’s natural cycle of history. Welcome to big mountain snowmobiling. - Jorli Ricker
Photo: Blake Jorgenson Location: Bridge Glacier, BC Rider: Dave Treadway
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ISSUE IV / DEEP DAYS OF WINTER
DOWNHILL WE’VE ALL BEEN IN SITUATIONS WHERE WE ARE GOING DOWNHILL AND NEED TO TURN AND SIDEHILL OUT, OR TURN BACK UPHILL TO AVOID HAZARDS BELOW. MASTERING THE ABILITY TO GET OUT OF TROUBLE BY QUICKLY GETTING THE SLED ON ITS SIDE AND POWERING OUT OF A JAM CAN TURN A STICKY SITUATION INTO NOTHING MORE THAN A FORGOTTEN FEW MOMENTS IN YOUR DAY. FAIL TO PULL OFF THIS MOVE AND YOU’LL LIKELY END UP IN AN EMBARRASSING, GROUP UNSTUCK TURN-AROUND MISSION WITH HELMETS OFF AND SHOVELS OUT.
BY CHRIS BROWN
Photos: Lara Cooney Location: Whistler, BC Rider: Chris Brown
If the hill is really steep, you will keep sliding sideways down the hill. (By the way, this is a way better way to hit a tree if you have to. I’ve hit many trees with my track using this technique, which is preferable to hitting your A-arms on the tree. For this demonstration, say that you’re going down a hill toward tight trees with your exit to the left, or back uphill.
To adjust your sidehill attitude, use the throttle to help get the track downhill, or the brake combined with turning the skis to the right to bring the nose downhill.
To practice this move, start on a hill that isn’t steep enough for you to slide all the way down while you’re learning. Get on the left side of the sled with your right foot on the running board and your left foot out. I usually have my right foot at the front of the board for these moves.
Remember to always be looking where you want to go. If you want to turn back uphill, you will need to have the sled on its side against the hill. Look ahead to where you are going, and give ‘er hell (if it’s steep and deep). Look uphill at your line and use your skis to help balance and steer the sled.
Counter-steer to the right. Turn the skis all the way to the right and pull the sled onto its left side, while applying brake. Once the sled is on its side, keep your right foot on the left running board and your left leg will be in the snow used for balance or an anchor. If the hill isn’t too steep you should be able to stop your sled on its side.
The sled will follow the skis so if the bars are turned all the way to the right, the nose will turn back down the hill. If they are turned left, the sled will start turning back uphill.
This move will get you out of trouble every time, so practice up!
wolverine PHOTOS AND WORDS BY MIKE REEVE
iving in Alberta typically means long hauls to get to good mountain sledding.
Calgary sledders usually head west to Golden, Revelstoke and beyond. Edmonton folks travel to McBride, Valemount and Blue River. Grande Prairie, however, isn’t nearly that far from the BC border. Only about a 30 minute drive straight west will take you into BC, and a little over an hour beyond that you start into the eastern edge of the northern Rocky Mountains.
area known as Wolverine. From Grande Prairie there are a few ways to get there, so we decided to skip the fully paved road from GP to Dawson for a shortcut over the Heritage Highway. This route has about 80km of gravel road, but shaves off about 100km from the drive.
We pulled into town early in the morning, hit the Shell station and pressed on west, past Tumbler on Hwy 29 towards Chetwynd. After only about 5km we arrived at the Wolverine FSR & Mine Road. Depending on the time of the year, access on the Wolverine Road can vary in length. Being early in the riding season, we were able to drive about 8km past the Located 115km south of Dawson Creek on the BC side, and Wolverine Mine. The FSR is not maintained past the mine 185km west of Grande Prairie, is the small mining town of Tumbler Ridge. Although Tumbler doesn’t have any snowmobile and pullouts can be hard to come by, so it’s recommended to pull out where you can and unload there, especially if you dealerships, it is no stranger to snowmobiling and does have have a trailer. Heading in, we passed basically everything else you need The access just doesn’t get much a couple of abandoned trailers in the for sledding. In it you’ll find a couple of fuel stations, hotels, restaurants, better than Tumbler Ridge for ditches before finding a turnaround and unloading. We rode in the hardware stores and even a community an Albertan sledder looking for remaining 25km on the Wolverine rec centre. And Tumbler has a strong until we reached the warming snowmobiling community. In the past an easy day trip or a weekend Road hut. The snowmobile community has they’ve hosted sanctioned hillclimbs, constructed a small emergency day-use getaway in the mountains. have built a well developed trail system, shelter, and this is where we decided to and there is extensive backcountry drop our fuel. exploring to be had. Most recently they’ve established a snowmobiling club and even purchased a groomer. Within Wolverine there are a few different riding areas: It was December in Grande Prairie and we wanted to go for a Albright Ridge, Rogers Pass, Pyramid Mountain and Carnage. day ride, so we loaded up the trucks and headed west to shred It’s a pretty diverse zone offering logging road and cut-block the early snowpack in Tumbler Ridge, and more specifically, an access directly to the base of some large peaks. There are also 16
By the Numbers TUMBLER RIDGE POPULATION: 3000 people AREAS IN WOLVERINE: Albright Ridge, Rogers Pass, Pyramid Mountain and Carnage ELEVATION: 840m - 2000m (2,760ft - 6,560ft) RIDING SEASON: December 1 - May 15 SKILL LEVEL: Beginner, Intermediate, Expert AVALANCHE EQUIPMENT REQUIRED: Yes MOBILE SERVICE: None DISTANCE TO GRANDE PRAIRIE: 220km to unload DISTANCE TO FORT SAINT JOHN: 200km to unload DISTANCE TO DAWSON CREEK: 140km to unload
larger open bowls and great early season tree riding. Our December day was about -5C and windy with mostly flat light and about 18” of fresh snow from the night before, so we decided to stick to the trees and lower-lying areas in the Albright Ridge zone at around 1100m elevation. With the new snowfall, even the access on the forestry roads and cut-blocks kept most everyone in our group on their toes, and stuck sleds were all too common. The Wolverine region gets some of the most snowfall of all the Tumbler Ridge riding areas, which can make accessing the higher zones a lot of work after a big snow dump. With the diverse terrain and good snowpack, Wolverine has something for all types of rider. If you’re into throwing a shovel for a while, there are a lot of areas in Carnage to build booters and air out the sled with long downhill landings. If you tour around the top of Albright Ridge on the east side, you’ll find good wind lips and some exposed rock drops that can be tons of fun. And just up from the cabin there are plenty of tight tree lines that can be either climbed or descended, depending on how much fresh snow there is. We’ve ridden the area as early as December 1st; and as late as May 15th, despite a few bare spots on the FSR going in, there is still typically a good base up top to tour around on. If you’re planning on heading back there, it’s suggested to take a guide, although accessing the cabin via the FSR is pretty straightforward. The access just doesn’t get much better than Tumbler Ridge for an Albertan sledder looking for an easy day trip or a weekend getaway in the mountains. - Mike Reeve 17
Custom tube Chassis
y son Laird and I, having owned and operated two sled shops in the past, had long wondered about the practicality of a tube chassis. Ultimately, we wanted to combine the best components from the OEMs with proven products from the aftermarket shops in order to build an ideal sled for the steep and deep environment of Revelstoke.
We first started down this route in 2010. At this time we realized that the turbo Yamaha four-stroke engine is the ultimate choice for undisputed reliability and overall power output. We also felt that the Polaris Pro-RMK front suspension geometry was the best available in the industry at that time, so we chose to work with that design. For the rear suspension, we felt that none of the OEMs offered a rear skid that would work adequately for our intended usage, so we opted for the Racerâ€™s Edge complete rear suspension, which in our world has proven itself to be strong and dependable, with significant performance advantages. This would all be mounted on a custom 4130 chromoly tube chassis that would be reliable and strong, yet light in comparison to a modified OEM chassis.
"I was already well aware of the advantages offered by building a chassis with 4130 Chromoly tubing, which is obviously very light but also very strong when built correctly."
"The primary tubing size is 7/8” diameter. Powerhouse Customs uses 0.080” thick aluminum for its tunnels, whereas most OEMs use 0.065” thick material."
Laird and I custom built everything on this sled, from steering system, engine coolant heat exchanger, water I used to be very actively involved with NHRA Drag Racing, and because of this I was already well aware of the advantages of building a chassis with 4130 chromoly tubing, which is obviously very light but also very strong when built correctly. We opted to build a conventional aluminum tunnel design for closing in the chassis, only using a thicker material for strength. We were interested in building a light sled, but without sacrificing strength for lightweight considerations in critical areas. As for our initial design, we have built custom sleds from scratch before and had a good sense of where we wanted all of the components mounted. We knew where we wanted the rider to be positioned. So we just started mocking the chassis up on our 4’x8’ steel jig table. Designing the chassis was pretty straight forward once we knew where everything would go. Since the first build, we have opted to use the Yamaha Apex fourcylinder engine with a standard CVT drive system. We like the Apex engine as it is the dominant power source for big-turbo power, and it also has very smooth power delivery that is forgiving on drive belts. We use stock Yamaha drive components from clutches to chaincase, utilizing the Apex chaincase since it is not integral to the bulkhead as in a Nytro. All the stock Yamaha components are extremely tough; hence, we have chosen this route for reliability, durability and ease of parts sourcing if required.
The latest version of our chassis is nearly identical to its predecessors, with continuing minor refinements as we learn something new or find a way to either improve or speed up the production. The most noticeable change is the implementation of the Yamaha Nytro hood. We originally went with the Polaris Pro-RMK body panels due to the ease of fitment, but also to grab some attention by riding on the popularity that the Pro-RMK has received in the last few years. However, the Pro-RMK body is not the most ergonomic in our application. The steering post on our chassis is approximately 9cm further forward from that on a stock machine. As such, the rider is further forward compared to the stock Pro-RMK position, and we have found that when seated, the rider’s knees tend to be in contact with the console panels of the Pro-RMK body. It also never made sense to us to have all that plastic just hanging out in front of our sled; a stock Pro-RMK of course utilizes this space for their exhaust expansion chamber, whereas a Yamaha engine does not require any forward exhaust routing or space up front. As we sought to improve on these two factors, the logical solution was quickly presented to us when Laird set a Nytro hood over one of the chassis that was being fabricated on the table, and it fit like a glove. The end result is an appealing and exciting version of the Yamaha Nytro, albeit rather stub-nosed like the Yamaha Phazer.
the bare 4130 tube chassis, the tunnel, the 36 litre fuel tank, to air heat exchanger system in essence the whole sled. We have also moved the oil tank inboard of our chassis so that we could extend our running boards further up in front of the chaincase. We learned from our first build that it is a wonderful option to be able to put a foot that far forward sometimes. The body is very narrow, with lots of forward knee room. We utilize an enclosed aluminum clutch can-style guard on the left side, so that the sled will have a somewhat “retro” Jackson Hole Mod Hill-Climber look to it. The clutch can will use two small 12 volt DC brushless blowers to force-ventilate the clutches, keeping them cool. Our other focus has been to further centralize the mass within the chassis by moving some of the “bolt on” components rearward, such as the turbo. We have changed the header style from front mount to a mid mount; to make room for this we moved the fuel tank back a bit as well. Centralizing of the mass should further improve the performance and overall handling of the chassis. Laird and I custom built everything on this sled, from the bare 4130 tube chassis, the tunnel, the 36L fuel tank, steering system, engine coolant heat exchanger, to the water-to-air heat exchanger system—in essence the whole sled. As for the bolt-on components, we selected only the best available parts. We chose the Racer’s Edge rear suspension with Ice Age rails and Raptor shocks. Our chassis will accept the stock Polaris front suspension components but we have chosen A-arms and spindles built by Timbersled. We did test
a couple of different styles of skis; however, Laird has always liked the performance of the USI Triple Threat skis, so those are what are on the sled. We custom built the turbo system on this sled using a Garrett GT2871, turbo Smart BOV and boost controller, and our own water-to-air intercooler system. The engine is a stock Yamaha Apex engine with a head shim to lower the compression for the Turbo. The engine will run on pump gas, with boost levels from 15-18lbs ideally. The sled uses stock Yamaha clutches with specialized tuning components. This sled is built for challenging the chutes, so we have opted for the 174”x16”x3” Camoplast Extreme track, and the tunnel is flush and smooth on the inside so it will accept the 16” wide track without chewing up the sides. Each build is unique, but our sleds typically weigh-in at 550lbs and have 315hp on tap. Moving forward, we will be testing a new engine cooling system on our two in-house sleds. We will be running a small radiator with a fan, in conjunction with a shorter tunnel U-cooler constructed of aluminum extrusion. In the past, we ran full-length tunnel U-coolers, but radiators are lighter and very efficient if positioned properly. Also, we will continue to build a limited number of custom chassis, which take a full month to build. Ron MacDougall Powerhouse Customs Revelstoke, BC
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GOAM GOPRO TO
tips to make your sledding videos more popular
by Patrick Garbutt
So you’ve got a GoPro, big whoop. Most people who do never even go so far as to cut together a single video, let alone make one that scores more views online than your kid’s school Christmas concert. Here are some tips to help you make a better sledding video, and to share it around effectively to build an audience. And while your video will never reach as far as that of a buck-naked Miley Cyrus licking sledgehammers and dry-humping demolition equipment, at least you’ll have some evidence to show that your sledding days aren’t entirely spent stuck in a tree well.
PLAN AHEAD HAVE A STORY IN MIND If all you shoot is your own riding, then let’s face it, you’re not as good as you think and it’s going to be pretty boring to anyone who’s not you (especially your wife, trust me, she’s just faking it like usual). Make it more interesting by telling a story: one big epic day, your trip to Valemount, Henry’s stuck-as-you-know-what segment, or something like that. Plan to get a variety of supporting shots (called B-roll) that can help add detail and meaning to the story.
BE CHOOSY Sunny days make for the best footage on your little device, so check the forecast. On a clear day, the results of your shooting will be white snow, blue skies, and bright colours. The GoPro suffers on cloudy days because it doesn’t have the manual settings required to override poor lighting, which consistently results in grey footage. And while you’re being picky, don’t film anyone with a mohawk on their helmet, because they look stupid on-screen as well as in real life.
MOUNT IT However you mount your GoPro, make sure it’s solid. A loose mount on your machine will result in such shaky footage that watching it might cause seizures, and no amount of fancy post-production editing nerdery will be able to effectively remove it. A head or body mount will be smoother than one on your machine because your body acts as a stabilizer.
SHOOTING GET TO KNOW YOUR CAMERA Get to know the buttons and menus of the camera, so you don’t waste time on your big day fiddling with the thing. Many a shot has been lost because the camera was on photograph mode by mistake. Also, make sure it’s pointed where you want it to be. If you can’t see it (it’s on your head, genius!), have a buddy confirm that it’s recording so you don’t miss that epic shot of you tomahawking back down the slope after your wack hill-climb attempt.
THE ANGLE OF YOUR DANGLE There’s not enough popcorn in the world to get me through a GoPro video shot from only one angle. And have you seen the size of Nebraska? All they do there is grow corn. Try using the extra mounts that come with your camera to get some different angles from your sled or body, or get creative and build your own with a pole, some hose clamps, and some handy dandy duct tape.
GET UP CLOSE The GoPro has a wide-angle lens, which is designed to give the camera a large field of view. That means that the subject must be close to the camera, or else it will look too small on the screen. Yes, you can still use the camera to film your friends riding around, but it won’t capture far-off action well.
EDITING CUT THE $HIT! By now you’ve realized that your riding probably ain’t that awesome and your video clips are likely to be mostly cucka interspersed with the occasional fluky nugget of you doing something cool by accident. But don’t worry, that’s actually perfect because that’s all you need. The average YouTube video is only 4 minutes and 12 seconds long, so unless you’re producing the next “Gagnam Style”, there’s very little reason that your little video project should run longer.
SHORT AND SWEET Viewers tend to get bored when individual shots run too long as well, so keep them short. For example, most of the shots in KJ’s segment in Slednecks Sixteen run less than 6 seconds. And he’s in the air for about 5.5 seconds longer than you on average, so trim appropriately. Leave a tiny bit of clip before and after the action for breathing room.
SOUND The GoPro audio generally sounds like it was recorded inside a tiny plastic box because, well… it was. So it’s a good idea to use background music instead where possible. Choose a tune that supports the mood of your film, but avoid picking a popular song that is already overused in action videos. For example, even though you think your sledding footage would look awesome with “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons playing in the background, it’s never going to look as good as Chris Burandt’s did in Slednecks with the same song (don’t forget how much you suck). Also, be aware that using copyrighted music without permission on YouTube can result in the video being removed and strikes against your account. YouTube has an audio library of over 150 songs that be used for free.
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Photo: Rob Alford Location: Revelstoke, BC Rider: Derrick Neil
SHARING GET IT UP Once you’ve exported the final video from your editing software, you’ll need to post it to the web. The best choices for this are YouTube and Vimeo, both of which allow you to see how many times your video has been viewed. YouTube has further reach and a better likelihood of viewers linking to your video from something else. Vimeo has a more clean and polished look, and is generally preferred by filmmakers that want to really showcase the quality of their work. It is also less strict about music copyright infringement than YouTube.
DESCRIBE IT Give the video a very short, descriptive and appealing title such as “Muffpot Hotdog Fire Burns Snowmobile to Ground”, and write at least a paragraph in the description about things like what kind of condiments were used, whether the bun was whole wheat or Wonderbread, and so forth to draw sledders and hotdog aficionados alike. Also, tag it with as many relevant keywords as you can to help viewers find your video with a search. Create a custom thumbnail for your video with a still image from the very best part of your footage, which will help draw viewers.
SPREAD IT AROUND The more quickly you can build view count, the more likely your video will take off. Spread it around as best you can by sharing your video on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, as well as embedding a link in your own blog or website if you have one. You should also email every single contact in your address book with a link. Make the subject line read: “WATCH MY VIDEO OR I WILL KILL YOU.” Don’t forget a winky face.
Now that you’re armed with the tools you need, get out there, make some magic, and get ready to be bombarded with positive feedback about your cinematic masterpieces. Start referring to yourself as a freelance filmmaker, and come up with a cool name for your non-existent production company. And finally, rest easy knowing that you’re not just another buffoon, bumbling his way through the backcountry with a $400 block attached to the top of his head. * Note that this article is not meant to refer exclusively to GoPro cameras, but they are the most popular. If you happen to be one of those fools that bought a different and inferior brand of Point-Of-View camera, then don’t worry, this information still applies.
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$309.95 We’ve seen your sledding skills. People should hear you coming. Dial up your decibels with the Super-Q. www.skinzprotectivegear.com
$199.95 So, your sled is magnetic to large rocks and coniferous trees? Meet your new bumper. www.skinzprotectivegear.com
C&A BX Boondocker Ski $439 We tested these skis by side-hilling over a 1987 Chrysler LeBaron and then weaving through a Tim Horton’s drivethrough line on a Saturday morning. We were not disappointed. www.caproskis.net
Strikt Gear Company - Freeride Jacket $399 Strikt is giving away a snowmobile this winter, so they probably won’t notice that we won’t be returning their jacket. It comes with a three-year “Destroyer Warranty,” so we’ve got some demolition testing to do on it anyway. www.Strikt.ca
THE OTHER SIDE
OF THE MOUNTAIN GRIT, DETERMINATION AND DOUBT IN THE HEART OF THE COAST RANGE
WORDS BY DAVE TREADWAY PHOTOS BY BLAKE JORGENSON
Journal Entry: April 20, 2013 I’m at the head of the Tchaikazan River, pretty much the middle of nowhere. It’s been a ton of work getting here over the past three days with Henrik, Athan, Blake and Ray, and even though it’s sunny and peaceful, I have an overwhelming sense of wanting to be somewhere safe with my family. There’s also a slight feeling of anxiety at being so small and vulnerable way out here. All year I dream about trips like this, and now everything has come together: an awesome team, proper equipment, great weather and snow conditions. Yet I all I want to do is go home. These days, I find myself feeling this way every time I explore beyond my normal realm. God help me balance this internal conflict. - Dave 33
ike most adventures in BC’s Coast Mountains, this one starts at the end of a long, dusty logging road. We unload the trucks and pack our snowmobiles and toboggans full of jerry cans of fuel, food, camping gear and enough supplies to sled and survive for five days in rugged, isolated terrain. The plan is to sled 120 kilometers north of Pemberton, and try and make it to the Tchaikazan headwaters and Mount Monmouth massif, one of the ten highest peaks in the Coast Range. We saddle up and pin it north, navigating by map, compass, GPS and memories of Google Earth. All of this technology does very little to make the wilderness seem less wild, and day one ends with substantially less distance covered than initially planned. We camp out for the night, and contemplate tomorrow’s adventures.
Gearing up to cross ‘Noname’ Creek on day 2.
This year, I seem driven to adventure beyond my usual exploits even as I constantly battle the urge to turn back. These thoughts haunt me as we push through dense old growth forest, over oceans of crevassed ice and deep into the heart of the Coast Range. It is easier and safer to stick with zones that are close and familiar, so why am I spending so much energy pushing towards something farther and riskier? Something inside me wants to explore deeper and see beyond anything I’ve ever seen before. By 6:00 p.m. on day two, we’ve made it seven-eighths of the way to our intended base camp when the glacier we’re travelling over begins to roll a bit steeper than I’d like. Roped up and on-belay, I walk ahead to discover a deep, gaping crevasse running the width
The crew stoking up to negotiate the next obstacle on Bridge Glacier. L-R: Dave Treadway, Henrik Windstedt, Ray Mason.
of the glacier. That wasn’t on Google Earth! Now what? I remember seeing a mellow glacier off the other side of an adjacent peak. If we could just get our sleds up and over the face, we could potentially be back in action. Even though the face looks way too steep, I zip over and take a stab at it. My Ski-Doo pulls hard and on my second attempt I crest the ridge top, shouting into my radio, “Boys, we’re back in action.” I’m met with silence... the rest of the team is already retreating back across the glacier with two-strokes screaming in their ears and no way to hear me. The only thing to do is follow them 40-kilometres back to a small shack and let them know that tomorrow we are headed to Mount Monmouth. The smokies cooked over the
THE OTHER SIDE
OF THE MOUNTAIN
propane heater that night are especially tasty, everyone knowing there is still hope for our original goal.
“Rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint.” –Romans 5:3-5 We have hope, but day three brings suffering as well. Our big ambitions come to a screeching halt as thick fog engulfs us on the Bridge Glacier. The fog makes it impossible for us to see even the previous day’s sled tracks, and navigating crevasse fields
THE OTHER SIDE
OF THE MOUNTAIN
Dave Treadway pinning it onto the Bridge Glacier.
and technical hill climbs by GPS and braille isn’t working either. We take shelter under a cliff and wait. Idle time fuels demons of doubt—we are a long way from anything, lost on a glacier and hoping to sled in an area still a long ways away. Can we pull this off? Three hours later, the fog clears and we are back on the throttle with 91 octane fueling our sleds and hope fueling everything else– we need to get up what I had scouted the day prior. After a few failed hillclimb attempts, the whole crew makes the steep climb. I love how on adventures like this, we seem to use all our sled skills from hillclimbing to boondocking, but all with a purpose of traveling to our objective. We safely navigate the remainder of the way to the foot of Mount Monmouth, and set up our beautiful base camp at treeline. After an exhausting three days, base camp quickly takes on the look and feel of a Mexican family restaurant, with everyone enjoying a quick lunch and well-deserved siesta.
Day four sees us explore this new zone, feeling extra excitement as we crest each ridge discovering new zones, knowing how much work it took to get here. As we are descending a powder field arcing big turns, I tag a rock with my ski. “Oh, no. I better not have busted anything.” As I stop and look over my sled, I’m reminded of the reality of a $3,000+ heli lift of my sled out of this distant range, if anything were to go wrong. Luckily, my sled is fine, and we continue to tip toe around this new land. As we turn off our sleds on top of a mountain with a beautiful view of BC’s highest peaks, Mount Waddington and Mount Queen Bess, all we can hear is silence. No other sledders rooping up the next bowl away. Nothing. Just us, and the vast mountains dwarfing us, and reminding us that we are just visitors; guests in an untamed land. Despite this high, my mind continues to fight itself. Why have I pushed beyond my comfort zone and risked just to be somewhere new? What is the real reward here? Is it worth the risk?
“The sweet isn’t as sweet without the sour,” my momma used to say to my brothers and me. Fortunately, the views and the feeling of accomplishment of making it all the way out to this new land sure feels sweet. Then, with weather approaching, we head back to our tents, pack things up and head for home. Home: where my realistic alter ego wanted to be this entire time. Days later, I am hanging out with my 88-year-old hunting partner who has explored the Coast Mountains for most of his life and still continues to journey into areas he’s never been before. I ask him why he keeps pushing his frontier and I prepare for one of those longwinded, old-timer philosophical answers. Instead he looks me in the eye and sums up everything I’ve been asking myself over the past few weeks. “Well, I guess I just like to see what’s on the other side of the mountain.”
Staring at the crevasse field that turned us back. L-R: Henrik Windstedt, Athan Merrick, Dave Treadway
Photo: Patrick Orton Location: Revelstoke, BC Rider: Elliott Bernhagen
Photo: Dave Best Location: Golden, BC Rider: Paul Poohkay
Photo: Stephen W Clark Location: Alpine, WY Rider: Dan Adams
Photo: Nadia Samer Location: Whistler, BC Rider: Brett Turcotte
Photo: Rob Alford Location: Revelstoke, BC Rider: Dan Treadway
Photo: Tim Grey Location: Eagle Pass, BC Rider: Rob Alford
Photo: Blake Jorgenson Location: Bridge Glacier Riders: Dave Treadway & Henrik Windstedt
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7/25/13 3:19 PM
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I AM A WEEKEND WARRIOR. No longer living free as I had through my late twenties. That’s right, the shackles of life have me restricted to only a day or two of rooping per week. And even on those precious two days at the week’s end, work beckons. If I were to spend my weekend grinding away, I could potentially see the end of my to-do list, meaning that I could work less throughout the week, become more organized and feel less stressed. But then I’d become a weekend bore, and the warrior would exist no more. No longer would I spend Friday nights drink’n beers as I pack my gear with giddy anticipation. Silence would replace my hoots and hollers as 165 ponies rip through fresh powder and up mountains. I would forget about the emotional transition I experience when riding into a different world with different rules and realities—a world that muffles life’s obligations while amplifying childish desires. But no, I will not give up on this war. I will band together with my brothers and continue to battle against all things separating me from time on my sled. I will stand strong and attempt to balance the Ying of work with the Yang of play, soaking in those priceless moments that renew my strength and clear my mind. I AM A WEEKEND WARRIOR.
- Daryl Treadway
Photo: Tim Grey Location: Revelstoke, BC Rider: Brett Turcotte
You may think that being one of the best sledders in the world means that Brett Turcotte just gets to ride everyday and collect big cheques from sponsors. Think again. Brettâ€™s a 9-5 guy just like most of us. He just happens to have filmers in heliâ€™s that chase him on his days off. - Ed
9415 163 Ave. Grande Prairie, Alberta • 780-538-2934 • www.stojans.com
WI N TH I S
at O n D is p la y er Sp or ts S t o ja n s P o w
Visit www.facebook.com/striktgear to enter to win this 2014 Ski-Doo from Stojans Power Sports and Strikt Gear Company WWW.STRIKT.CA
And so ends the 13/14 season of MSM. Special thanks to all our loyal readers and sponsors. See you next fall... - Ed
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Check out this issue of Mountain Sledder for features including: - Riding Tips - GO-Pro filming tips - The always popular Gear Girl - Dave T...