Here are some great tips to avoid being stranded this season from our friends at Never Lost Trail Ap see more
Here are some great tips to avoid being stranded this season from our friends at Never Lost Trail App.
Do Not Ride Alone
Do not ever ride alone. Anything can happen out there including mechanical failure, dropping into terrain without an out, even a simple stuck can be a catastrophe without an extra pair of hands to help you out. Riding alone has severe consequences especially in relation to avalanche safety. We’ve lost seasoned riders who chose to ride alone and succumbed to an avalanche being only inches from the surface.
Know Where You Are
Riding in unfamiliar terrain it can be common to end up somewhere unexpected. Just because you see tracks, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to follow them. Many communities see their fair share of rescue call outs because riders follow tracks that leads them down into a basin they cannot get out of. In addition to the trail mapping offered by Never Lost Trails App, reaching out to those who are skilled and knowledgeable is a solid choice. Hiring a guide is money well spent, for not only will they help you ride within your skillset, they’ll be privy to secret honey holes with fresh powder when many riders are navigating tracked out terrain. If you choose not to hire a guide when navigating new terrain ride with a local who has the same value for safe backcountry practice as you.
Know your Riding Partners
It is important to know if your riding companions suffer from illness that could compromise their safety or yours when out in the backcountry. Do your riding companions carry an epi-pen? Do you know how to use one? Are they on medications? This is all need to know information that must be shared with the group. Injury can happen, and it is imperative that you have a group that treats safety as the number one concern. Many a rider has been left to fend for himself/herself with devastating consequences.
Keeping the Group Together
This is where communication and the buddy system comes into play. It is very easy to lose a rider without communication and eyes on your fellow rider. Stick together and keep each other in view at all times. The lines of communication should be open to prevent a rider from being separated or lost in the backcountry.
Blizzards and other extreme weather conditions can and will occur throughout the winter months. When you’re deep in the backcountry extreme weather can creep up on you in an instant if you’re not prepared. This has left many a rider stranded, for during severe blizzard like conditions it can be near impossible to follow your existing tracks, and very easy to become disoriented. Be sure to check not only the avalanche forecast before you head out, but also include the local weather forecast. For a list of items that should be in your pack please check out this article from SnoRiders Magazine.
Never Lost Trail App
The Never Lost app is a great resource. It was created when founder Allan Bouchard realized too many snowmobilers succumb to exposure being only 100 meters from a lifesaving shelter, or the main trail. Realizing this tragedy could be avoidable he started creating a user-friendly trail navigation app which turns your cell phone into a valuable trail navigation tool that works even where cell service is unavailable and in airplane mode. Features include ATES ratings where available, skill recommendations, key points of interest and common danger zones to avoid. You can find Never Lost Trails on both the iTune and Google Play platforms. Allan not only supports the sport with his multiple club membership purchases throughout the season, but also giving back to the hard-working clubs sponsoring signage and being a sponsor for the BC Snowmobile Federation.
Everyone makes mistakes, so here are some common sense suggestions to help us all see more
Common sense can sometimes be a subjective phrase. What some feel should be common sense, clearly alludes others. Everyone makes mistakes, so here are some common sense suggestions to help us all preserve and protect the sport of snowmobiling in British Columbia creating a safer experience for all.
Trail Preservation: The volunteers who groom and maintain your trail systems will be ever so thankful if you can help them preserve the integrity of the trails by riding respectfully. Try to keep a smooth throttle on the trails and avoid goosing your throttle when you go over moguls starting to develop. Every time one of those budding bumps is hit with an accelerated throttle it creates more of a mogul. Avoid doing donuts, and carving on the actual trails, and please, if you have found yourself stuck on the trail, repair it as best you can for safety reasons. This one shouldn’t have to be said, but please do not build a fire in the middle of an active trail system, for it will leave a crater that could be dangerous.
Warm Up Shelters: Cabins and warm up shelters are constructed, insured and maintained by our hard-working clubs. These shelters are for public use, so please be aware that many individuals including families will be sharing these spaces. They provide a vital safety component should a rider become stranded, and they offer respite from the cold giving riders a chance to warm up mid day. Volunteers man these cabins, so please pack out what you pack in including cans, bottles and garbage. Please do not smoke or drink in the cabins. Please respect these shelters and use firewood sparingly or better yet take the time to add some wood to the pile if you can.
Parking Lots: Step one, park responsibly allowing room for others to access their trailers or utilize their ramps. Avoid excessive speed and showboating in the parking lots. It isn’t cool, and you’ll soon be called out for being a “parking lot poser” should you be trying to impress the crowd. Always be respectful of the lot attendants and be patient when purchasing your trail passes if there is a line up.
Shredded Belts and Yard Sale Shrapnel: Pack it in, you pack it out right? This also includes remnants of a blown belt, or if you were unfortunate enough to yard sale your sled, all of the plastics and pieces of your snowmobile must leave off the mountain with you.
Tap er Cool on the Trail: Trail access into cabins, and fun zones will see a wide variety of riders with varying skill sets. There will be seasoned riders determined to travel at Mach Chicken speed while there will be riders that are brand new to the sport traveling at the speed of snail. The trail belongs to everyone, so please have patience and be courteous. Watch for traffic behind you if you do have a timid rider, and wave them through to avoid creating frustration and a bottleneck of traffic on the trail.
Please support your sport with your membership purchase. To find a BCSF member club please visit www.bcsf.org/clubs and purchase your membership today.
Nothing brings us greater joy than to share our amazing backcountry with others! see more
Nothing brings us greater joy than to share our amazing backcountry with others from around the world. There are a few things to know before you head out on your snowmobile or snowbike adventure. Preparation truly is key.
Many parts of British Columbia have the potential for Avalanche hazards. It is important to prepare by ensuring you have the appropriate equipment and training. Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 is recommended as a minimum level of education for riding in the mountains of BC. Many educators are circulating through the prairie provinces and states offering classroom portions of AST 1 and avalanche awareness seminars with several dealerships hosting free events. This is a great way to prepare for riding in BC while meeting other like-minded riders. To help familiarize yourself with avalanche safety Avalanche Canada offers an online tutorial to walk you through the basics.
The basic necessities for backcountry riding in BC are an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe worn on your person. Your backpack will have what you need to survive overnight, including hydration, food rations, extra gloves, a saw, and multiple ways to start a fire. Here’s an excellent article from our friends at Zacs Tracs What to pack in your snowmobile backpack
Equipment can be rented from several locations the province, and hiring a guide is always a great idea when traveling in unfamiliar terrain. Certified guides will keep you safe and sound, and probably take you into some secret honey holes where you’ll find fresh untouched white gold.
Plan a Successful Adventure
Trip Planning is also a key component to adventuring in BC. Avalanche Canada is a wonderful resource for not only checking the avalanche forecast before you head out for the day, it also has numerous resources including an interactive trip planning app to guide you through the process. It’s imperative that you notify someone not in your riding group of your plans, when to expect you home, the area you are riding, and who is in your party. Should you be delayed it will give Search and Rescue volunteers a better chance of finding you in a timely manner. In addition to checking the avalanche forecast, check the weather forecast which will also provide vital information for planning your ride. The Never Lost Trails app is a wonderful resource for planning your trip and backcountry navigation. This app will turn your cellular device into a trail navigation tool even where cell service is unavailable.
What to Wear
Layering is incredibly important, for certain parts of our province like the Kootenays, Vancouver Island, Vancouver Coast and Mountains, and the Thompson Okanagan areas can have mild temperatures year-round, while our northern areas can experience colder temperatures with beautiful blower powder to enjoy. Cotton is a huge no-no, for it will absorb sweat like a sponge leaving you cold and damp for your day’s adventure. Here is a great article on layering. Dressed for Success
Crossing the Border into Canada
For those of you visiting from out of country it’s important to have your passport, and proper documentation for your truck, snowmobile and trailer. You’ll need snowmobile registration, trailer registration showing proof of ownership. Keep all the documents together in your vehicle making it easy to access upon border crossing. If you have any criminal history including DUI’s, you’ll need a pardon before entering the province. Don’t even try to sneak on through, for you’ll be red flagged and denied entry if the officers find you untruthful. Here is a great resource with more information on crossing the border into Canada ezbordercrossing.com
Snowmobile Registration and Insurance
While BC is known as the wild west we do have some laws that everyone must abide. You must wear a helmet while operating your snowmobile. There are requirements for third party liability insurance in some cases and your snowmobile must be registered in your home province or state. If you cannot register at home than you must be able to provide proof of ownership of your snowmobile. Finally, you must have picture ID on you at all times while snowmobiling. More information can be found in this FAQ Document.
Wildlife of British Columbia
We have an abundance of wildlife in our backcountry. It’s important to not only enjoy the beauty of these animals, it’s also equally as important to stay safe in their vicinity. Here is an article to help you and our wildlife stay safe during your adventures. Wild Adventures. It is your responsibility to what areas are closed to snowmobiling in BC. Many parks do not allow snowmobiling and we do have several areas closed to protect Mountain Caribou Habitat. Please research the area or reach out to the local snowmobile club for background if you are not using a guide.
Support Organized Snowmobiling
Support the sport and one of our hard working clubs with either your membership purchase, or a trail pass. These British Columbia Snowmobile Federation Clubs (BCSF) are the backbone of organized snowmobiling in BC. They groom and maintain trail systems and cabins, and they are the driving force to prevent land closures. Your dollars are vital for their success. Online memberships are available on the BCSF website. www.bcsf.org/clubs
Here are some additional links to help you plan your British Columbia Adventure! Thank you for staying and playing in BC.
Riders in their trip planning meeting before heading out for a ride in Valemount, BC
If you’re brand new to winter adventure here are a few things to consider. see more
Welcome to the sport Snow Bikers! If you’re brand new to winter adventure, there are a few things to consider before heading out into the backcountry.
Winter is a different beast than mild weather dirt adventures. Consequences are much higher when dealing with sub zero temperatures and terrain hazards such as avalanches. While most clubs are called snowmobile clubs, you are now a part of motorized winter recreation, and face the same land access challenges, safety concerns and need for representation in the eyes of government your snow machining friends continually face.
Avalanche Training: Unlike Dirt riding, your snowbike will take you into terrain that could have potential for avalanches. The first thing on your list of “to do’s” should be an Avalanche Skills Training Level One (AST1) Class. There are a variety of skilled providers out there who offer 2 sometimes three day classes consisting of classroom and field time. Get the training and get the gear. This is where the saying “know before you go” comes into play. Avalanche Canada provides a wealth of information and resources to help you along the way. Before every ride it is imperative to check not only the avalanche forecast, but also the weather forecast so you can make solid and safe plans for your day’s adventure.
Gear: Transceiver (sometimes referred to as a beacon) Shovel and probe are the bare minimum must haves when riding in mountainous backcountry and must be worn on your person at all times. Don’t cheap out on your safety gear, for it could be your life, or a friend or family member’s life depending upon it. Old school analogue transceivers are often put up for sale on your local buy/sell page, or ebay. They are past their prime and could potentially hamper a rescue, as the technology is outdated and obsolete. Invest in the best equipment, and if you do buy second hand, purchase your life saving gear from a reputable source or individual.
Terrain Choices: As we’ve mentioned, an AST 1 is a must have if you are riding in the BC backcountry, also keep in mind how your snowbike differs from a snowmobile as it relates to terrain choices. Snowbikes are incredibly agile, often able to access terrain choices that are not easily accessible by snowmobile. This is great if you are looking for hours of fun in fresh powder, but not so great if you are in need of a helping hand and your crew on sleds can not get to you. Keep that in mind when choosing your terrain. You will horizontally navigate steep terrain across open slopes rather than going straight up in some situations. In the wrong conditions, this will trigger an avalanche, which takes us back to our first point. Avalanche Training, for in your AST training they will address terrain choices and ways to prevent exposure to avalanche dangers.
Support your sport: Your membership will help preserve and protect riding areas and help fund club and provincial federation initiatives that help secure a solid foundation for our sport in British Columbia. Snowmobilers and yes you, snowbikers help to contribute over 299 million dollars to the British Columbia economy. Be a part of the solution and join your local snowmobile club. Let’s face it. You really do enjoy accessing the backcountry on a groomed trail, rather than a rodeo ride on a whooped out trail. Get your membership.
To find a full list of Snowmobile specific Instructors please go to the Avalanche Canada website.
The BC Snowmobile Federation preferred providers of sled specific training are:
The power of one. One person, one hour, one day! see more
Volunteer burn out is a very real issue that plagues many not for profit organizations including snowmobile clubs. STP. The "same ten people" (probably closer to 5 people) seem to perpetually do all of the work, then they burn out, and with the shallow pool of volunteers the sport of snowmobiling has, the future can feel a little bleak.
I am too busy. I work. I have no time for volunteering. I live too far away from my club to volunteer. I have kids. The list of excuses to not volunteer for your snowmobile club is ridiculously long. Here’s a news flash. We are ALL busy, we ALL have lives, and we ALL need to do our part to ensure the survival of motorized winter recreation in BC.
The power of one. One person, one hour, one day. Every effort matters for the moment someone reaches out to help, it’s one less task for our already burnt out volunteer force to tackle. Your time will matter and make a difference. To be clear it’s not all about manning the groomer or chopping firewood, for there are multiple ways to volunteer and make a difference for your club, that can accommodate your work schedule and family obligations.
- Paperwork and Grant sourcing and writing. While it may not be glamourous, the administrative duties of a club are vital. If you’re someone with a background in administration, your club needs your help!
- Website and social media updates. Communication is key, and again, if you have the gift of being somewhat computer savvy you are needed! In the peace and quiet of your own home you can make a tremendous difference promoting your club, events, and membership stimulus.
- Event Planning. Creativity and fresh minds are always a great addition to any club, especially when planning new events. Much of this can be done via telephone calls and emails so even the busiest of riders can in fact make the time to share their creativity and inspiration.
- Prizes and Donation support. If you are someone plugged into your community or the industry you will provide many of the connections needed to gather prizes for events and fundraisers. Every little bit helps!
- Public relations. Who doesn’t like a good parade? They are fun, and a great way to shine a spotlight on your local club. Do you have a media connection? Reach out to your media resources to share all of the positive things your club brings to the community.
- Specialized skills. Sometimes the smallest insight can make a difference long term for a snowmobile club’s viability. If you are a professional that has specialized skills to lend, no one is asking you to “work for free” but rather support your sport by sharing your knowledge. If by some grace of God, you are a Lawyer or Biologist you will be valued more than you realize.
- Encourage Membership purchases. You’re out in the backcountry and you realize some of your riding companions do not have a membership or unaware of how important their membership is to the club and the sport of snowmobiling, speak up and encourage their involvement.
Let’s get those memberships up, and increase our volunteer force, people! We truly are one...for under the umbrella of the BCSF we can not only climb mountains, but move them together.
Tips to help prevent some stucks, or to help you get stuck smarter. see more
Getting stuck is simply a part of the sport of snowmobiling, especially if you’re a newbie. Here are some tips to help prevent some stucks, or to help you get stuck smarter.
1. Step one, don’t panic or let frustration get the better of you. Everyone gets stuck. Make sure you remove your helmet should you need to get yourself out of a predicament and avoid sweating profusely when unsticking your sled. You may have to layer down if it’s a doozy. If you avoid allowing your body to overheat this will prevent your goggles from fogging up, along with keeping you safe and dry when you continue riding for the rest of the day. It’s also a good idea to have an extra set of gloves or two as the gloves you use to unstick yourself may experience some wetness.
2. It’s a good idea to have two shovels if you are riding in Avalanche Terrain. One shovel, in your backpack is dedicated for avalanche rescues, while the other can be your getting stuck shovel stored in your tunnel bag. This will prevent you from losing your avalanche shovel or components of it, which would be a very bad situation to be in should the need arise to use it in a rescue.
3. Radio communication is extremely valuable should you become stuck. You can let your crew know where you’re at, and that you’re stuck which will help to keep everyone safe. You can request assistance, or simply give them the peace of mind knowing that you’ve got the situation handled.
4. Don’t stop facing uphill. This is a big one. When you stop on an incline, it is very difficult to get enough momentum to stay on top of the snow when you want to get back to riding. You’ll end up digging your track down into the snow, and having an epic stuck.
5. When starting off after being at a complete standstill giver mustard. This means you’ll need a little bit of momentum to ensure your sled stays on top of the snow, rather than digging a lovely trench creating an even bigger stuck. If you are stuck on flat ground expect some ribbing.
6. Listen to your snowmobile. If you’re climbing, and you can hear and feel the momentum draining out of your climb, turn out. Should you try to continue going up, you’ll most likely end up stuck, and it can be hazardous to expect help when you are stuck on a hill that has potential to slide. Only one person on the hill at a time is an excellent rule to abide by. You’ll have to dig out, and turn your sled around on your own, which takes a lot of effort and time. It’s simply easier to turn out, rather than setting yourself up for failure.
7. Tree wells could be one of the most cursed at feature in the backcountry when it comes to snowmobiling. Look where you want to go, rather than directly at the tree well for you’ll find you have an internal tree magnet that will suck you right in. Tree wells can be used to your advantage, so don’t fear them. As long as your track is on solid snow you can breeze right through them, and even utilize the wells to help you navigate thick tree riding. Keep your momentum up to carry you through the well’s vicinity, for the slower you go the easier you’ll tip over into the well. Not wide open throttle (WOT), just momentum.
8. Tethers are important for many reasons, but they also tie into the above point. Should you become stuck in a tree well and are physically unable to get your body out, exhaust fumes from your snowmobile could expose you to carbon monoxide poisoning should you be unable to shut your sled off. Your tether can simply be pulled, (if it already hadn’t been engaged) and your sled will shut down giving you time to safely exit the tree well.
9. Get stuck smart. There comes a time when you simply know you’re going to get stuck. Again, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been riding, everyone gets stuck. If you can try to get stuck with your sled on edge, which will create an easier out for you. You avoid the whole dig to China factor, and you can then use gravity to your advantage and simply roll your sled out. Remove some of the snow on the low side of your sled, creating an even better gravitational advantage. This is a great tip for women. Many think you automatically must bust the shovel out if you’re stuck, but ladies you too can do this if you’re creative. Many women use the power in their legs to push the sled into it’s roll out position. Avoid rolling your sled in hard packed snow or you will crush your windshield. Powder stucks are when this technique is most appropriate.
10. If you find yourself in a tricky situation remember to breathe. Like Nemo’s keep on swimming, if you keep on breathing it will give you a better chance of navigating technical situations and hopefully avoid a stuck. Oxygen is good for the brain, so breathe.
11. It doesn’t have to be all about back breaking lifting and digging. Sometimes you can simply tunnel under the front of your snowmobile either using your arms, or your legs to remove some of the snow around your belly pan hanging you up. After doing so you may be able to pop out of your stuck providing you use a little mustard, (see point 5). If this isn’t an option, a ski pull will usually do the trick. You can pull on the rider’s ski while they give a little throttle mustard or you can utilize a stuck strap or Snow Bungee to gain more leverage in the pull. Do not stand in the direct line of the snowmobile, for you’ll end up getting run over. Stand to the side if you’re on ski pull duty.
12. If you are colossally stuck in a trench chances are your running boards are creating a suction factor. You’ll have to not only remove snow from around your belly pan, but also remove the snow around your running boards to release the suction factor. If it’s a situation where a ski pull isn’t of help, you may have to recruit a couple buddies to lift the back end out of the trench.
13. If you’re down in a hole, and there is no way you can heave ho the back end up onto stable snow you can build a runway or platform to help you get out of your hole. It may take time, and you’ll only have one shot, so pack down that runway and platform as if your back depends upon it, then, you know the drill. Giver Mustard.
14. As always support the sport with your membership which will not only help fund club initiatives, but also will be a great place to meet like minded people who will help mentor your skill development, and will always be there for you should you need a helping ski pull.
For more information on the many BCSF clubs in British Columbia please visit www.bcsf.org/clubs
ArticleWhat do you do to support snowmobiling where you ride? see more
What do you do to support snowmobiling where you ride?
Nicole Matei of the Fernie Snowmobile Association, and a true ambassador or organized snowmobiling with a passion for safety, lays out what it takes to maintain the quality of sledding we've come to expect. And more importantly, what you can do to support your sport.
Here are three things you can do to make sure our sport has a future. Click the Link below for Nicoles' article in Mountain Sledder Magazine.
Who’s awesome? WE ARE! Who is "we" you might ask? Well snowmobilers of course. see more
Who’s awesome? WE ARE! Who is "we" you might ask? Well snowmobilers of course. Those of us who enjoy the beautiful British Columbia backcountry and support organized snowmobiling in BC by purchasing a membership and supporting our fantastic BCSF clubs.
We’re gaining momentum! After our recent economic impact study many were stunned that the sport of snowmobiling in BC contributes to over 299 million dollars to the provincial economy. This is huge and the number is growing.
We need your help. You, yes, I’m looking at you! For each and every one of us has the ability to contribute to the preservation and protection of the sport of snowmobiling in BC.
How do we do that? By promoting membership purchases within your own club. This is important for several reasons.
Memberships fund vital club initiatives:
Trails: Your membership fund trail grooming development and maintenance.
Cabins: Cabin construction/maintenance/ repairs and insurance
Safety initiatives: Many of our member clubs provide cost share programs for AST training, Avalanche outreach by way of workshops transceiver search parks, signage and youth outreach programs.
Signage: Your membership provides the funding for signage within riding zones including sensitive boundaries, avalanche and hazard warnings, club messaging and safety messaging to facilitate a safe and enjoyable adventure for all.
Events: Fundraising events such as poker rallies, family fun days, and racing events take money to execute. These dollars come from the purchase of memberships. The more members you have, the more you can do to keep your club exciting and engaging.
Vital resources: The economic impact study was an initiative that saw funding from all of our hard-working member clubs. This documentation is foundational for now we have solid proof of our worth in today’s provincial economy. Another vital resource recently funded through memberships dollars is a BCSF biologist. We’ve seen skewed and dismissive science in the past, and through membership funding we are now able to hire a biologist to help represent us with fair representation and conservation direction.
Your memberships do matter not only to your club, but to the sport of snowmobiling in BC. We are working hard to support our BCSF clubs and are here to provide extra marketing outreach and resources to help make the most of your membership numbers.
Article$100,000 will be given to BC outdoor clubs to improve trail riding conditions & promote rider safety see more
Information Bulletin -
Click here to read: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018
ArticleThree bridges.......so far no trolls. see more
This summer, there have been three major bridge installations within Barkerville Historic Town & Park, the third and last bridge was begun on August 22nd. There were two replacements and one new crossing on the Wells Snowmobile Clubs trail system. Including the Clubs main trail access, the Williams Creek Bridge in Barkerville. The Wells Snowmobile Club and the Town of Barkerville thank West Fraser Mills and Emcon for their generous contributions and hardwork.
See more photos of the bridges being constructed and follow what the Wells Snowmobile Club is up to on their Facebook Page @WellsSnowmobileClub.
ArticleBrittany Matthews of the Houston Snowmobile Club brings home Sled 'N Snap Provincial Prize. see more
Last year, the BCSF joined the Sled ‘N Snap Photo Contest brought to you by Flaman Group of Companies, Aluma Trailers, Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA), Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association (SSA), and SnoMan (Snowmobilers of Manitoba). Brittany Matthews of the Houston Snowmobile Club won the random draw for a 2-place Aluma tilt snowmobile trailer. Congratulations Brittany! There was a trailer to for each be drawn for each province, to see all the other winners go to slednsnap.com
ArticleBest ever Boulder Work Party for the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club see more
Well it was the best turn out, best weather and driest wood we have ever had for this big job. Huge thanks to those who spent the day with us. It was very much appreciated. Ron and Evalyn LaRoy, Herb Shaede, Kat and Marty Mueller, Marc Joiner, Ben Luce, Kurtis Koechier, Erin and Dan Mallas travelled from SK., Al Obrigewitsch and Mike Arnold from the Revelstoke ATV Club, Cheryl Peever and Geo Stephens from NAPA, Jeff and Greg Simons from Peaks Lodge and Kathy Burke. Thanks also to Full Speed, Glacier House and Smokey Bear for loaning us machines to get everyone up there.
To see more pictures, and to like & share the clubs album. Click here!
ArticleCoqSnow volunteers come together to do major trail improvements. see more
We've done some major improvements trail into 10-K. We had mini excavator moving logs to edge of trail and pulling out Alders, pole saws trimming tree branches and a stump grinder dealing with stumps in middle of trail. This should be huge improvement for early and late season riding as well as less chance of damage to groomers.
Huge thank-you to volunteers who put in alot of effort to make your sled'n days better... Jeff Champ, Darrell Hyland, Jeff Boylan, Stuart Zaylik, Megan Seibert, Jim Moir, Andrew Morrison, Dustin Young.
To see more pictures, and to like & share this story. Click here!
Here is a list of suggestions to help you be a valued sled companion for any crew you may join! see more
One of the most important factors snowmobilers face is choosing the right ride crew. Riding with like minded, prepared individuals is key for a safe, enjoyable experience. If you are new to the sport, or even if you’re not so new, we’ve got a list of suggestions to help you be a valued sled companion for any crew you may join.
1. Get the education. This is the first step to a solid sled foundation. Your crew has your life in their hands, and yours in theirs. Ensure you are a solid companion who understands Avalanche Safety, and how to navigate the terrain safely so as not to put your crew in jeopardy. Should it be needed your crew will be thankful for your AST training if an avalanche were to occur.
2. Get the gear. Transceiver, shovel, probe on your person at all times is a must. Train with your gear to ensure you know how to use it in a life or death situation. How are you to locate a buried rider in under 10 min without a transceiver? How will you dig them out? Can you use your transceiver effectively? These are all questions to ask a rider who shows up without the equipment intending on riding in your group. It’s also recommended to have your own radio to communicate to your group. For many this is now common practice, but if you are new to the sport it is a wonderful addition to your list of must have safety equipment.
3. Be humble and honest. Be honest about your skill set and ride within your limits even if the other riders are far more experienced. Keeping up is one thing but pushing so far beyond your skill level you put yourself or others in harms way is a recipe for disaster. If you need to say, “hey I’m not feeling this terrain I don’t think I can do it” it could save someone’s life. Maybe even your own.
4. Use your words. Like we’ve mentioned earlier communication is key for group dynamics. Sometimes pow stoke can get the better of us causing riders to disregard blatant signs of snowpack instability. Be the voice of reason and do not hesitate to share your concerns.
5. Be prepared. Not only with equipment, food and water. Prepare your snowmobile before you head out for the day and not in the parking lot. Nothing is more frustrating than a rider who shows up with his snowmobile still in parts, tinkering and tweaking, holding up the rest of the group. This type of pre-ride preparation will help you and your crew make the most of fresh powder and daylight hours.
6. Keep the booze off the hill. Again, your ride crew has their life in your hands. Reaction time, and discernment are key in the backcountry. The Boozy Rider is a long-rejected stereotype from the past. Keep a clear head and save the happy pop for when you’re off the mountain. Always ride responsibly.
7. Support the sport. Nothing irks a rider who gives their time, money and effort into their local club than a freeloading rider. If you are an individual who values the ability to enjoy the backcountry with your snowmobile, support the sport by buying your membership to the local club preserving, protecting, and maintaining the areas you enjoy.
8. Don’t be a wanderer. This has contributed to many a SAR call out, for many a rider absentmindedly has travelled so far from their group they become disoriented and are unable to navigate their way back to their group either because of dropping into terrain they can not navigate out of, or simply not being able to discern which track it is exactly that leads back to the group. Keep your group within eye shot at all times and use the buddy system.
9. Have fun! The Debby Downers and Droopy Dog Dougs need to really get a hold of their emotions and realize the good in the day of riding, even if there are some frustrations along the way. Everyone gets stuck. Everyone has frustrating moments. Don’t bring your group down with your bad attitude when you are fortunate enough to even be deep in the backcountry experiencing beauty most never get to witness in person. Take a deep breath and summon up those warm fuzzies, even if you seem to be a perpetual tree magnet.
10. Be helpful. Nothing is more frustrating than a crew member who will simply drive by a stuck rider without offering any assistance. Ladies that means you as well. While you may not have the body strength of Hercules, you can be of help unstucking a snowmobile, or helping get a damaged snowmobile out of the backcountry. This is a team effort, so be a positive member of your team.
Cranbrook Snowmobile Club completes the Helen's Lake Shelter see more
The CSC Helen’s Lake warm-up shelter project was completed over the summer, front stairs & handrails were built and the cladding was done. The build began in the summer of 2018 & lock-up stage was reached by autumn. Over the winter benches & a drying rack were added to the interior. There’s plenty of space inside to hang out with your group & cook some food or dry out your gear.
This shelter looks pretty cool sitting in the clearing with the mountains behind it.
Last winter the warm-up shelter saw plenty of visitors. Whether it was families with young children, older riders taking a break or riders making a stop to have lunch, the wood stove was often lit. On sunny days groups of snowmobilers would gather outside to compare sleds & swap stories of where they’d been riding. The trail to the warm-up shelter is groomed, which makes it easy for beginner riders and for those with more experience there are plenty of fun areas to play in off the trail.
The Helen’s Lake warm-up shelter is unlocked and open to all snowmobilers from Nov. 30thto Apr. 30th. It is intended for warming up and emergency use only, no overnight stays permitted. The CSC thanks sledders for respecting the limitations of use on the shelter.
The warm-up shelter build was made possible by a grant from Columbia Basin Trust, along with the generous support of local businesses and the many hours volunteers put into making the shelter happen. What started as an idea by club member Matt Gareau & seen to completion by CSC president Mike Plant, the shelter is a great addition to CSC riding area and something for all riders to enjoy.
The Cranbrook Snowmobile Club welcomes all riders, local & visitors to explore the riding areas. There’s plenty of fun snow & terrific scenery to be found. See you this winter.