With many brand-new riders entering the sport here is some frequently used terminology for you! see more
The past year has been a record-breaking year for all snowmobile manufacturers across North America. With many brand-new riders entering the sport we figured it would be a great time to shed light on some common terminology used in articles, social media posts and verbal dialogue.
Avalanche Transceiver: Sometimes referred to as an Avalanche Beacon, this device transmits and receives a signal out to other transceivers. In the event of an avalanche, searchers will switch their device to the search mode to find the buried rider. The term beacon has been discontinued by many avalanche professionals for it created the impression that it would give off a batman like beacon signal anyone could simply find by looking up into the sky. Transceivers are one of the necessities needed for mountain riding. Practice often, and make sure you have a triple antennae transceiver that is up to date with today’s technology. Many “great deals” found on your local buy and sell pages are devices that are obsolete and could impair a rescue. Read more about avalanche transceivers
AST – AST is the abbreviation for Avalanche Skills Training. The bare minimum level of AST training recommended when riding the mountains of BC is AST Level one. Click here for more information on AST training.
Shovel – An Avalanche shovel is not your average compact shovel for should you need it in a rescue situation you will be digging through dense snow and ice. Your shovel should be made of metal and specifically manufactured for avalanche rescue. An avalanche shovel is one of the 3 necessities needed when riding in the backcountry and should always be worn on your person (in a backpack).
Probe – An avalanche probe is a collapsible rod that is used to poke through avalanche debris in order to find a buried victim and like your shovel should be on your person in your backpack.
Backpack – A snowmobile backpack is not your typical hello kitty kind of pack. It is designed to be durable enough to withstand abuse while having enough storage capacity to carry your essentials should you become separated from your snowmobile or find yourself spending the night in the backcountry.
Avalanche Air Bag – An avalanche air bag is a backpack that in addition to being durable has the ability to inflate pillow like compartments which can prevent a rider from becoming buried when the trigger is pulled.
Avalanche Vest – Like an avalanche air bag, the vest inflates to prevent burial with the added bonus of a vest like fitting that provides armour to protect the solar plexus from impact.
Protective Vest – A protective vest contains armour to prevent injury in the solar plexus region. Snowmobile specific protective vests are designed to withstand the cold.
Simple Terrain - Simple terrain has exposure to low angle slopes (less than 30 degrees) and is a great choice for novice riders or riding during snowpack instability. Read More
Complex Terrain - Complex terrain has exposure to multiple overlapping avalanche paths or large expanses of steep, open terrain. Here, there are multiple avalanche starting zones, many terrain traps below the open terrain and minimal options to reduce exposure. Read More
ATES Ratings – An abbreviation for Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale, ATES ratings help one create a trip plan based upon skill level or snowpack conditions. Read More
Cornice – A cornice is an overhanging edge of snow deposit created by a mass of wind. Cornices can be unstable and break off creating an avalanche. Read More
Wind Slab – A wind slab is a layer of snowpack created by strong winds creating a very unstable foundation. Read More
Persistent Weak Layer – A persistent weak layer is a layer of the snowpack that does not bond over time creating dangerous conditions especially when a heavy load of precipitation falls on top of it. Read More
Flat Light – When the skies are grey and overcast definition of terrain features can become difficult to recognize which can create a challenge when navigating. Adjusting the color of goggle lens can facilitate better terrain definition. Colors such as yellow, rose and blue may help with clarity.
Spring Snow – Also called concrete snow, or hero snow, this snow condition is dense and hard pack making navigation a breeze for even newbies. Climbing terrain features is easy but one must remember that what goes up, must come down and spring snow does not make slowing down or stopping easy. Think of a luge run. Choose your terrain wisely and ride to your skill level.
Tree Well – Covered by overhanging branches, a tree well is a hole created around the base of a tree as snow accumulates around it. Tree wells can be a hazard should a rider find themselves trapped. Read More
Scratchers – Mountain sleds are built for performance and can overheat under hard pack conditions. Scratchers located midway on the rails of your sled scratch the hard snow surface to facilitate cooling.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding snowmobile terminology. Stay tuned for more! Part two is coming right up.
Avy Savvy Online Tutorial
Welcome to the sport of snowmobiling. Ride safe. Get the Gear, Get the Training, Get the Picture.
Practice frequently and choose your ride crew wisely.
Be Avy Savvy and reach out to others to help mentor new sledders in BC see more
- Avalanche gear is too expensive – If you can afford to snowmobile you can afford avalanche gear. Your avalanche gear will not only can save your life but will help you save the lives of others should they be involved in an avalanche. Think about that for a moment. What if you were riding with your children, your spouse, your best friend and they were buried. Wouldn’t you want to have every available tool to save their lives?
- Avalanche courses are too expensive – A similar train of thought as the previous post, if you can afford to ride you can afford an avalanche course. Think of your AST 1 as your ticket to ride the mountains of British Columbia. An AST 1 is the bare minimum level of education recommended to help you manage the BC mountain terrain more effectively, giving you life saving skills.
- I only ride on trails or roads so I am not in Avalanche Terrain – This is the remark often made by those who are not avy savvy and really, nothing could be further from the truth. Avalanches can and will cross trails and logging roads. Many trails in BC cross Avalanche Paths and the unnaturally sharp cuts in the banks above and below logging roads can be a further catalyst for a slide. If there is a hill more than 30 degrees above or below you then you are in Avalanche Terrain.
- I can look after myself – Perhaps you feel you are responsible enough to make your own choices in the backcountry, but there is a saying. “You just don’t know, what you don’t know” meaning everyone who takes an AST 1 class for the first time becomes humbled realizing the times they may have put themselves and others in jeopardy with poor choices and terrain management. It really isn’t only about you, it’s about those you ride with, and our hardworking BC Search and Rescue volunteers, who take time away from their family because they are called out on a rescue. It just isn’t about you. Look at the big picture.
- I ride alone because there is no-one to go with – Let’s face it. Winter is a much different beast than summer, for if you are lost or stranded in the backcountry during winter, she is cruel. There are so many opportunities for something to go wrong when you are alone including involvement in an avalanche, tree well submersion, breaking through ice, being pinned under your sled or somehow become too injured to ride out? Hypothermia sets in quickly and will take your life without hesitation. Never ride alone and always ensure you have enough gear with you to spend the night comfortably in cold temperatures in case you are separated.
- I’ve been sledding for decades – Great, good for you, but today’s machines are much different from the ones manufactured even simply a decade before. These machines will take you farther and deeper into the backcountry. These machines have much greater horsepower than those from years before some even coming with a factory turbo. Will it make you want to climb higher? Get the education and equipment even if you’ve been sledding for decades. It’s the smart thing to do.
- The people I ride with don’t have equipment so what’s the use – To that our reply would be it’s time for a new crew for yours certainly won’t have your back and may even be increasing the risk for you and others with their lack of terrain knowledge. You want people with you that have the gear, have the training and that will be able to complete a successful rescue if needed should an avalanche occur.
Our hope is that those who are Avy Savvy will reach out to others to help mentor a safer sled culture. Point them in the right direction by directing them to Avalanche Canada’s resources and Avalanche Educators in their area. At the bare minimum check out Avalanche Canada's new Avy Savvy online Avalanche Tutorial.
Thank you to all of those who do have their avalanche gear and training! You truly do make a difference and we want everyone to come home safe each and every ride!
Here are a few ways we can up our safety game in the backcountry. see more
Each time Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers are called out for a rescue there is stress on the system, people and medical staff required to respond. During times of a pandemic it is imperative that we ride responsibly to try to reduce the number of callouts required by these volunteers who come to help should a snowmobiler become, lost, injured or involved in an avalanche. Here are a few ways we can up our safety game in the backcountry.
- Ensure you have the right gear.
- Every mountain rider should have a triple antenna avalanche transceiver, quality shovel and probe. Your shovel and probe should be in your backpack, with your transceiver on your person. This way if you become separated from your snowmobile you still have your essentials with you. https://www.avalanche.ca/gear
- Communication devices such as radios to talk between riders plus also an external communication device like a Zoleo or inReach. This way should you need assistance you’ll be able to call for help even if cell service is unavailable.
- Wilderness First aid kit
- Survival gear that include everything you need to stay warm and dry overnight is a must. You never know why you may end up spending a night on the mountain could be due to injury, weather, disorientation or mechanical failure, you will need to survive the cold temperatures of winter nights. Which means you will need a fire, so be sure to have multiple ways to start a fire, including fire starters, saw, waterproof matches, a lighter, or a flint stick. Extra food and additional layers including a dry pair of gloves will also make that night more comfortable. Having a way to melt snow for hydration in the form of a cup or aluminium water bottle are also solid ideas for survival. If you are on medication, be sure to have that medication on hand, be it insulin, heart meds or other meds that require a daily dose.
- Here is a great video of what the youth of the Kelowna Snowmobile Club have with them and there are more great ideas from our friends at Snoriders West magazine.
- Get the Training- What good is having the avy gear if you don’t know how to use it? Take at least an AST level 1 class and practice often with your equipment to be efficient and effective. Implement transceiver checks before leaving the staging area for the day. Before you leave staging do a simple transceiver check to ensure everyone has their transceivers turned on and they are functioning properly.
- Get the Forecast. This is a critical component of planning your day, so please check the avalanche forecast and weather focus before heading out. Your avalanche forecast can be found at www.avalanche.ca
- Create a Pre-Trip Plan. With information gleaned from the avalanche and weather forecast, and after a conversation with your ride crew create a trip plan which will allow those not riding to know where you are planning on riding, where you are staging, how many are in your crew and when they can expect you home. Here is a great app from our friends at BC Adventure Smart to help you plan. Trip Planner
- Know before you go. Trail navigation is a very important aspect of staying safe in the backcountry. If you are riding new terrain it is helpful to either hire a guide or ride with a local who will have intimate knowledge of the terrain. Not only will you sled safer, you may end up riding secret honey holes while others are concrete surfing. Apps such as Never Lost Trails can be helpful as well, helping you navigate and lending valuable info such as terrain recommendations, warm up shelters and key points of interest.
- Use your words. When choosing your route please discuss the adventure with your group and who is going to be watching who. Every person in the group should have a wingman(woman). Keep open communication throughout the day and should you feel uncomfortable use your words to convey your feelings to the group. No one wants to be deemed the “fun police” but that is better than the alternative should you ignore your intuition and be in a dangerous situation
- Never ride alone. Anything can happen in the winter backcountry including mechanical failure, injuries, disorientation and the possibility of an avalanche. Please never ride alone. Join a local snowmobile club to meet other riders or there are several ride groups on Facebook or search Never Ride Alone for regional groups.
- Keep your eyes on your Wingman(woman). It is imperative that riders use the buddy system and you should always be in sight or radio contact with your buddy. One wrong turn or stuck can be caught in minutes if you are always watching for them but if you get all the way to the parking lot and it has been 40 km's since you last saw the person it makes for a large search grid and increases the likelihood of them spending a night out alone. If you have not seen your wingman in the last five minutes it is a good time to stop and listen, hit the call button on your radio or to go back to where you last saw them to track them down.
- Ride within your skillset. While it’s great to push yourself to increase your skill set, it is important to exercise respect and caution when navigating terrain. Should one ride far beyond their ability injury can occur requiring a SAR call out. Always ride terrain geared towards the weakest rider in your group to prevent mishap and injury. Do not take unnecessary risks. During the COVID-19 Pandemic hospitals and medical staff are stressed to the max. Now is not the time to hit the biggest air or drop of your life. Ride conservatively so as not to create a scenario that requires a SAR callout.
- Head back to staging during daylight hours. Even if you have limited time on the snow due to work or family obligations and want to burn as much gas as you can, please head out to staging well before dark. Again, anything can happen including mechanical failure or disorientation and any rescue effort will be hampered by darkness on your way out. Heading back in the light is a considerate way to support Search and Rescue volunteers in British Columbia.
Remember that Search and Rescue is always free and that if you are in need of help the sooner you call the easier it is for the Clubs and SAR Members to respond. But if each riders takse the above extra precautions we can lower the number of search and rescue callouts and everyone will have a great season!
- Ensure you have the right gear.
Snowmobile Clubs across BC have been working hard all summer to open their trails. see more
Our snowmobile clubs have had to adapt their operations this season for the safety of their community, staff, volunteers and riders due to COVID-19. We are also asking our riders to help us by following and sharing a few key messages this season.
Travel: This is a great season to #ExploreBCLocal and enjoy your local snowmobile trails. When planning to snowmobile in other areas please check the Provincial Health Office information for advisories and recommendations related to travel.
Group Size: Please follow the Provincial Health Officers recommendations on group size. A general guide is to keep your ride group small and preferably to family or people in your household. It is important to ride with the same people as much as possible this season. In the snowmobile world this is fairly easy as most of us have a tight riding group and our wingman(woman) does not often change. But if you are new to snowmobiling or get invited out with a new group please maintain your physical distance and try to limit the number of riders in the group for the day.
Physical Distancing: Ensure you are able to maintain at least 6’ (or a short track sled) of personal distance from people. Some shelters may be closed this season and all will have occupancy restrictions on them. Please try to use the shelters for emergencies only and if you need to use them respect occupancy limits while keeping it to people in your group. It is a great year to learn some new muffpott recipes and find a great lookout to have lunch.
Wash Your Hands: It is hard to wash your hands while snowmobiling but if you have to use a high touch point such as an outhouse or door handle please wear your snowmobile gloves or a hand sanitizer. Remember that alcohol sanitizer does not freeze but the cold temperatures does impact their effectiveness.
If sick, stay home, no exceptions: Seems like a no-brainer right? Please do not come to the trailhead if you are not well. An outbreak at any club has the potential to make other riders sick and impact all club operations in the Province. So if you are not feeling well please stay home and self isolate even if you think it is just a cold.
Pack it in....Pack it out: This should always be the norm for snowmobilers but this year we are asking for extra effort. Snowmobile Club volunteers do not want to be handling other people's garbage including cans, water bottles, or other discarded items. There is no magic garbage truck that comes to the shelters and picks this stuff up. The groomer operator or a volunteer has to haul out all the garbage in or on their machine. So please if you took it in...pack it back out.
Low risk decision making: It is important that all snowmobilers use more conservative decision making this winter. This is not the year to venture into new terrain, drop into unfamiliar drainages, or to push the avalanche conditions. Availability of Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers and their response times may be impacted by COVID-19. In the event of an incident or accident we all know that fellow riders will also respond which puts other riders and yourself at risk while they work to help you. Conservative decision making with a clear trip plan will ensure that no one has to put themselves at risk to help you.
Patience: Depending on setup at the trailhead some Clubs may have to change the flow or cash handling process. Please have patience with trailhead staff and provide yourself a little extra time to get out on the trail this winter. A membership for your local snowmobile club that includes a seasons pass will be the quickest way to get out on the trails and help trail staff.
User Fees: Please try to have the exact change so that trailhead staff can limit cash handling. If you are riding with a group please send one person up to purchase the passes for the entire group. Some clubs will also be offering online day pass sales so please check your clubs website to see if these are available.
Snowmobile Clubs across BC have been working hard all summer to ensure we are ready for the coming season and able to open our trails for our riders. We are now asking you the rider to help us by managing your own risks. Snowmobiling is the best way to get outside this winter and enjoy what BC has to offer.
Summer is coming...time to think about storing your gear! see more
Along with summerizing your snowmobile for storage, it is a good idea to prepare your equipment and gear as well. This can save you from future headaches and keep your gear in pristine condition. Here are some suggestions:
Avalanche Transceiver: Remove your batteries in preparation for storage. Over the summer months, batteries can leak inside your device corroding vital components. When removing the batteries, be sure to inspect the unit for signs of damage or wear. This is also a great time to update the firmware on your device, if applicable, keeping you up to speed with the latest features and technology.
Avalanche Bag: Remove all contents and inspect zippers and other components for integrity. Pay close attention to all the nooks and crannies inside your bag along with that ½ eaten stick of beef jerky can get rather rank throughout the heat of the summer months. You can deploy the bag at this time in preparation for storage, or do a preseason blow off before next season commences early in the fall. It is important to test the functionality of your avalanche airbag before each season by blowing off the bag.
Shovels and Probes: This doesn’t take a lot of time, but do take the time to inspect your shovel and probe for signs of wear, damage or malfunctioning parts. Fully extend your probe to ensure the internal cord is still at optimum function, and do a feel test on your shovel blade to see if there are any burs that may need a gentle sanding. These jagged burs can damage your avalanche bag over time by catching on the fabric of the bag potentially ripping and tearing it reducing it’s life-span.
Radios: Remove batteries from the compartments to prevent corrosion of internal components over the summer. Inspect for any broken or damaged components.
Outerwear: This is an excellent time to wash your gear so it’s ready to roll for next winter. Tech type washes such as Nixwax are great for reviving your gear’s waterproofing, where traditional laundry detergents do not offer the same bonus feature. Inspect zippers and arrange for repair now rather than later when you want to use it.
Boots and Gloves: Inspect for signs of deterioration and wear. If you’ve had issues with water penetrating your boots, be sure to thoroughly dry the inside of the boots, and if they smell musty they may be in need of a good odor-absorbing puck or antibacterial spray to remove the stink. To reactivate waterproofing, many opt for a silicon-based spray such as this one offered from FXR Racing. Hydrx Silicone Water Guard
Helmet: Inspect helmet for signs of wear, particularly in the inside foam and adhesives. If you are seeing internal deterioration, it’s a good time to invest in a new lid or if your helmet is over 4 years of age. Summer is the perfect time to save for a new snowmobile helmet, and you will find some smoking deals on non-current products.
Tunnel Bag: Again, inspect and remove contents especially food products. Rodents will try to gain access by chewing through the bag if it is composed of fabric. Make sure all of your zippers are functioning properly and give your tunnel bag a good cleaning.
If you are in the need of an upgrade, the summer months tend to be an excellent time to find great deals on noncurrent gear and equipment. Check out your local dealership for your next gear upgrade. This is a great way to support those who support the sport and to keep your local economy alive.
the best way to experience unfamiliar terrain is to hire a professional guide see more
Often, we are contacted at the BCSF by riders looking for trail information or where to stage. What we rarely get contacted for is to recommend a guide for their group. We believe that the best way to experience unfamiliar terrain is to attend an organized club event or to hire a professional guide. This is because mountain riding in BC almost always occurs in the open backcountry and not on a clearly marked trail. This makes it easy for a group to get lost in unfamiliar terrain or to expose themselves to risks they may not be aware of. It really brings to light the importance of hiring a professional guide when riding new areas and some of those reasons to hire a guide may surprise you!
Here are ten great reasons to hire a professional guide:
- A ride day customized for you: You’ll be guided into terrain that matches your personal skillset. Upon orientation with your guide, you’ll be asked to fill out several forms including one that asks questions pertaining to your skill level. Your guide will take you into terrain that provides ample fun while avoiding areas that could be too complex for your skillset. It’s important to be honest and humble when evaluating your skill level, to ensure safety and enjoyment.
- Find terrain that matches your snowmobile: Your guide will also want to know what machine you will be riding on your adventure to make sure both you and your machine are capable of navigating specific terrain in the area. This is an important factor to consider, for trail-specific snowmobiles and mountain-specific snowmobiles differ greatly in set up and the terrain they are meant to navigate. If your machine isn’t capable of performing in the mountains safely and effectively, your guide may be able to provide a rental or point you in the right sled-rental direction. This is especially relevant for our friends who live in the prairies.
- Local knowledge brings the goods: Secret stashes of snow, and treasured honey holes in particular. Your guide will have the inside scoop and can take you to untouched fresh snow, even when there are drought-like conditions.
- Invest in your ride skills: You should consider that hiring a professional guide is a good investment because while out riding with them you will learn new skills and knowledge that can be applied everywhere you ride. Let’s face it, this is your guide’s day job and they will most certainly be advanced in skillset, so don’t hesitate to ask for tips and pointers.
- Spend more time riding: You’ll spend less time trying to find the areas to ride, and more time riding! This includes staging areas, because you know that if you’re new to an area the staging areas may not always be easily found.
- Ability to change the plan: If you’re thirst for adventure changes mid-ride, your guide can adapt, and find you those tight trees, or mellow meadows quicker and safer than blindly trying to find additional snow to use up.
- Your personal safety: Your guide knows potential hazards that have caused other unsuspecting riders to become lost or stranded, and will not only keep you safe, but make you aware of these hazards. This deep insight into the area’s terrain management will help keep you safe should there be a time you ride the zone without a guide. The guide you hire today could make all the difference for the trips you take in the future.
- Ability to handle the unexpected: Your guide is highly trained and certified professional prepared for many situations. Your snowmobile guide should have in-depth wilderness first aid, avalanche skills training, and hands-on machine operation training to facilitate your safe and fulfilling adventure. Your guide should also be a legally tenured professional that ensures they have a safety/rescue plan in place and will have appropriate insurance for their operations. With the abundance of self-proclaimed guides out there lacking in appropriate credentials do not be afraid to ask to see your guides credentials and insurance.
- Peace of mind for you family: The peace of mind not only for the riders, but family members waiting at home is another great reason to hire a guide. No one likes to worry, and with any adventure sport, risks are ever-present. Hiring a guide will help to mitigate these risks allowing you to come home safe and sound at the end of the day which makes everyone happy.
- Affordable: Hiring a guide is affordable when split between your ride crew. Splitting the cost of a guide between four or five riders makes hiring a guide very affordable.
We cannot stress enough that it is important to do your research when hiring a guide. There are some out there without certification, training, and the skills needed to guide a group safely and responsibly. Ask for credentials from those you are looking at hiring. If there is any hesitation to produce proof of training and certification, walk the other way, quickly.
For more information on hiring a guide you can visit the British Columbia Commercial Snowmobile Operators Association (BCCSOA)
No matter the technology advancements there is still the human factor to consider! see more
As we reflect upon technology advancements, especially over the past decade, it is awe inspiring to see how far we have come. Get the gear, get the training, get the forecast....then you are good to go, right? Wrong, for no matter the technology advancements there is still the human factor to consider.
The avalanche transceiver, which is sometimes referred to as an avalanche beacon, has evolved tremendously since the days of the analog single antennae models. While you should buy the latest and greatest it isn’t the only factor to consider when it comes to transceiver safety.
- Can you use it effectively? Having a transceiver is totally pointless if you have no idea how to use it. Practice with your equipment frequently to keep your skills sharp and be sure to perform a range test for effectiveness at least at the beginning of each season to ensure the transceiver is not compromised. You will become familiar with how to use your transceiver when you take your two day avalanche skills training level one class (AST1). An AST1 is the bare minimum of training recommended for backcountry recreation in the mountains.
- Did you turn it on? You’d be surprised by how many forget to turn on their transceivers on at the beginning of a ride. Here is a great video on doing a trailhead transceiver check. It demonstrates a quick exercise that everyone in your group can do to make sure everyone is turned on, transmitting and ready to roll.
- Has it sustained an impact? Perhaps while practicing your scorpion or superman on your last ride you may have landed on your transceiver. Any nice solid whack to your transceiver could damage internal components of your transceiver rendering it ineffective. Doing you trailhead transceiver check every ride will help catch this.
- Do you have any electronics or magnets that could be interfering with your signal? A minimum of 20 cm distance from any electronics is recommended to prevent electronic noise from compromising your transceivers effectiveness.
- Are you using the wrong batteries? Many are unaware that lithium batteries negatively affect transceivers and create interference. To read more about why you should not use lithium batteries and only alkaline batteries please read more.
- Did you leave the batteries in it over the summer months resulting in corrosion? After each season be sure to take your batteries out of your transceiver before you put your gear away for the season.
Read more about Transceivers here: Essential Gear
A tether is a cord between the snowmobile and its rider that acts as an engine kill switch in the event that the rider and machine should become separated. It is an essential piece of safety gear and must be used at all times. Skidoo is the only manufacturer that provides a tether from factory and for all other snowmobile manufacturers the tether must be purchased as an aftermarket option.
- Is your tether attached to your person? To have a tether installed and not have it attached will not shut your snowmobile off. You should always attach your tether before you start your snowmobile. Many riding gear companies have a D-ring on the bottom of your coat to attach your tether. Why use a Tether
- Was your tether professionally installed? As was mentioned previously only one manufacturer offers a tether from factory. So if you ride one of the other brands please order a tether and book an appointment to have it installed at your local snowmobile dealer.
Your outerwear for backcountry riding isn’t simply a fashion statement, it is safety gear that could save your life should you spend the night in frigid temperatures. It must include a waterproof and breathable outer shell paired with moisture wicking base and mid layers.
- Is cotton one of your layers? The saying is “cotton kills” and for good reason. Cotton absorbs moisture like a sponge and will hold it to your skin keeping you wet and cold which can cause hypothermia. Only utilize breathable wicking fabrics for your internal layers including socks. Read more here: Dressed for Success
- Are your boots or gloves too tight? Restricted circulation will make for cold hands or feet and could set you up for frostbite. Make sure your boots and gloves fit well but leave enough room to facilitate circulation or perhaps accommodate a thicker set of socks on very cold days.
- Are you dressed for the conditions? Remember temperatures can fluctuate during the day as can your level of activity. Ensure you dress in layers and have a dry place to store unused layers throughout the day. Over dressing results in excess perspiration and can cause your gear to get wet which is never a good scenario for backcountry survival.
Helmets and Goggles
There are several factors to consider when it comes to helmets and goggles.
- Do you have the right lens for winter riding? Summer moto goggles are normally a single lens with foam that isn’t nearly as thick as winter goggles. Winter goggles are a double lens and usually have an anti-fog treatment. They also come in many different lens colours with each offering a different advantage. Colours like amber, rose and blue tend to enhance terrain features on flat light days, while mirror lens options give you a bit of respite from the sun and glare off of the snow. Read more on choosing your goggle and lens
- Do your goggles fit your face and your helmet? That is a huge part of goggle performance. You’ll want to take your helmet with you when picking out new goggles to be certain that they fit both on your face without allowing for gaping holes, and they fit inside of your helmet comfortably.
- Does your helmet fit comfortably? A helmet that is too tight will cause headaches. A helmet that is too big will create strain on muscles being utilized to prop the helmet back into position plus compromise your vision.
- Is it time to retire your helmet? Should there be any significant impact on a helmet, it should be thrown into the garbage immediately to ensure it will never be in circulation again. Helmets, over time, do deteriorate. Glues and resins will become compromised and foam will compact losing the ability to protect. Be sure to replace your helmet every three to five years or immediately if it has sustained impact. More: When to upgrade your snowmobile helmet
- Are you considering buying used gear? We do not recommend buying used helmets. You cannot tell just by looking at a helmet if it has taken a hit or is compromised. You are better to buy a new helmet and look to other areas of your gear to save money by buying used.
Stay tuned for part two of the human factor of safety gear failures. Owning the gear is simply not enough. You must be able to use the gear proficiently to be safe in the backcountry.
We want you and your entire family or ride crew to stay safe this winter! see more
With much focus on avalanche awareness and training, which of course is a must, some may be unaware of other factors to consider while riding in the British Columbia backcountry. We want you and your entire family or ride crew to stay safe this winter, so we’ve compiled a list of suggestions that will help to ensure that you and your entire crew have an epic adventure safely in the backcountry
Speed: While navigating groomed trails some tend to want to ride like "Ricky Bobby", holding it wide open with very little concern of others. Yes, the trails are smooth and may invite excess speed, but remember, you are not the only individual using these trails. Perhaps by holding the throttle to the bar you can save ten minutes on your trail ride in, but realistically riding at a responsible speed is worth it, especially if it means preventing injury or worse. Many enthusiasts, including youth will be riding, so please slow down and ride responsibly.
Tethers: A tether is a valuable accessory for your snowmobile, that will instantly shut the motor off when it is pulled. Only one manufacturer (Skidoo) provides a tether from factory but there are a variety of after market models to choose from for any ride. You get what you pay for when it comes to tethers, so do your research because they range anywhere from forty dollars to one hundred twenty dollars and are worth every penny. If you are not a super handy person, have it professionally installed so that you do not create electrical gremlins for yourself later. The other thing with tethers is just installing one is not enough...you have to wear it. So be sure you connect your tether every time before you start your snowmobile to prevent your beautiful ride from taking a "ghost" ride without you.
Ice: Frozen lakes and rivers can create hazards, even in mid season. There have been reports of riders busting through the ice even in the month of February when the ice still has not set up sufficiently enough to ride. Snow can act like a thermal insulator preventing the lake from fully freezing to safe thickness. No matter what time of the season it is, please be cautious around frozen water sources such as lakes, creeks and rivers. If you are heading across a lake or river as a group be sure to stagger the snowmobiles, for if one has an issue with ice depth, the other riders will be aware, and be in a better position to offer assistance. Creek or river inlets and outlets to a lake generally have a thinner ice depth or open water, so please avoid riding over these terrain features.
- Clear blue ice is usually strong ice.
- White or opaque ice is weaker, often about half as strong as blue ice.
- Grey ice and slushy ice should be avoided.
If you find yourself on thin ice, open water, or suspect the ice may be giving way, do not stop. Keep your momentum going and get to solid land...a stopped snowmobile will sink.
The Buddy System: Making sure you have a sled buddy watching out for you at all times is an extremely important point to discuss It truly doesn’t matter the skill level of the rider, stuff can happen and your buddy is your safety plan. Take two minutes in the parking lot for a pre-trip meeting to pick your buddy for the day, ensure that you can communicate with them through radios, know what gear they have on them, communicate the trip plan and be sure to tell them that your expectation, as their ride buddy, is that you will be eyes on each other all day.
Exceeding skill set: While it’s great to push personal boundaries while you continue to grow your sled skills, it’s also important to note that it can be extremely dangerous for a rider and their crew if a rider is pushed beyond their skill set. It is a great idea to set and communicate reasonable expectations to the riding group before you leave the parking lot so that everyone in the groups knows what to expect. This way the group lead doesn't head directly to the gnarly drop down into zipper mouth creek and the group spends the rest of the day dealing with an injured rider or trying to tow out a broken sled. You are only as strong as your weakest rider.
The more you know, the safer you shall go!
If you are a newbie entering the sport a mentor is a great resource. see more
Mentoring. It isn’t only About Seat Time
With so many changes to the sport of snowmobiling over the past few decades, we see many new riders getting into winter backcountry recreation with snowmobiles and snow-bikes. These newbies often reach out to seasoned veterans for help and this could either be a solid method of operation or horribly toxic. There are many amazing veteran riders in the sport that contribute much to the safety, stewardship and mentoring. They are solid riders who have transitioned with time, keeping up to speed with the latest technology, recommendations and mindset. But there are some who have no idea how much things have changed since they started riding decades before.
The snowmobiles themselves have evolved from short track, one cylinder utility type machines to powerful mountain machines with the ability to take riders deeper and farther into the backcountry. Rider forward designs introduced in the early 2000’s facilitated a more aggressive riding style, which allows for more technical and complex terrain to be accessed.
With so many advancements in technology, it is important to note how sled-culture has also evolved over the years.
Safety gear is a big one. Although the first avalanche transceiver was invented in 1968 by Dr. John Lawton at Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory, in Buffalo, New York, it’s only been the last decade that Avalanche gear has been actively recognized as a must have for backcountry riding. Some seasoned veterans may scoff at the idea of avalanche gear, training and practice because they’ve “ridden for 30 years” we also must keep in mind that the snowmobiles, terrain choices and the way snowmobilers ride have also changed. Avalanche training and gear are must haves for all mountain riders, no matter how long they’ve been riding, or how skilled the rider feels they are. Get the gear. Get the training.
Impaired is Impaired
Back in the day, it was commonplace for riders to have a beer, or several while snowmobiling. This is not the case anymore. Drinking and riding, and smoking pot do not belong out in the backcountry while you are operating high powered machines, in technical terrain or on the trails where other users could fall prey to your decreased reaction time, and impaired judgement. With increased accessibility to complex terrain you’ll always need to be sharp and on your A game. Should you need to perform a rescue, being impaired by alcohol or drugs could cost a friend or loved one their life.
Compliance is Key
This isn’t the wild west anymore. Those returning back into the sport were used to free reign and an anything goes kind of strategy when it came to choosing an adventure back in the day. Tundra’s and Phasers were all the rage back in the day, but that day usually consisted of punching in a trail for a few kms, before calling it a day, and heading back out the next to continue breaking trail into fun zones to play in. In today’s snowmobile world we have motorized recreation closures. No go zones, with many of them relating to Mountain Caribou recovery efforts. No go, means NO GO.
Aside from advancements in avalanche safety equipment that we’ve already mentioned consider other changes in technology from in comparison to even a decade ago. Smart phones that can be turned into a GPS trail navigation tool. Radio communication within your group, and communication devices such as InReach and SPOT have proven to be a life saving asset in the backcountry. Avalanche bags are another incredible advancement in snowmobile safety that can increase odds of survival if an individual is involved in an avalanche. Technology does come with a price, but realistically what is your life worth to you and to your loved ones? Invest in your life.
If you are a newbie entering the sport in search of mentoring remember, it’s not only seat time that counts. Consider all aspects visited in this article, and join your local club, who will be your greatest resource for enjoying the backcountry while staying safe at the same time. Ride on!
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.
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:
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
ArticleAvalanche Canada Launches New Mobile App see more
New Mobile App Ready to Download
It’s here! Avalanche Canada’s new mobile app is live and ready to download. If you’ve got the old app on your device, you’ll want to get the new one. We’ve made a lot of improvements.
- Easier access to the daily regional forecasts and avalanche advisories.
- Get hourly weather data from over 80 remote weather stations.
- Instant access to all submissions posted on our Mountain Information Network.
- Submit your own avalanche, weather and snowpack observations quickly and easily to the Mountain Information Network
- Receive instant notification of all Special Public Avalanche Warnings
Here are some great pre-season tips to help you prepare for the snowmobile season see more
Now that the temperatures have dropped, nights are shorter and the leaves are turning, excitement for the upcoming snowmobile season grows. While it can be an excruciating transition period while we wait for snow, here are some great pre-season tips to not only help you cope, but also prepare for this 2019/2020 season.
Transceiver Check: Test your Avalanche Transceivers for functionality. A range test is incredibly important, for sometimes the internal components such as antennae can become damaged from wear and tear out in the backcountry. Make sure your batteries are fresh (Alkaline never Lithium), and the internal battery compartment is clean and clear without any signs of corrosion from leaking batteries. Check with your manufacturer for software updates if applicable.
Avalanche Air Bags: Now is the time to test your air bag to ensure it will deploy when you need it most. We recommend a pre-season blow off of each air bag to ensure it’s integrity, which will also help you familiarize yourself with the muscle memory needed to deploy your airbag should you become involved in an incident
Shovel: Many Avalanche shovels have an aggressive blade to help cut through hard dense slabs of avalanche debris. Inspect your shovel for integrity and deburr any rough spots on your blade to prevent snags and damage to your backpack when you remove it and put the shovel back. Inspect tabs for damage and corrosion.
Storage Bags: You know that half eaten sandwich you forgot about in your tunnel bag? It’s getting pretty ripe now. Inspect the zippers on your bags and repair any damage that could affect your bags integrity during the season.
First Aid/Survival Kit: Now is the time to prepare your backcountry first aid and survival kits, and replace items that need replenishing such as waterproof matches, fire-starters, space blankets, flashlights (replace batteries)
Helmet Goggles and Gear:Inspect your outerwear including clothing, Helmet and other vital gear to insure it’s functionality. A good wash of NixWax tech wash goes a long way when it comes to re-waterproofing outerwear in preparation for the upcoming season.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Pre-Season Preparation