Featured Image: Jeff Cricco
During this unprecedented winter, more people will socially distance via the backcountry than ever before. Spurred by ski resort restrictions and an unpredictable ski season, skiers are seeking turns beyond the boundaries and new ways to get there. Over the past eight months, outdoor “toys,” from boats to bikes, sold out, and leading up to the winter, touring gear and snowmobiles are the next hot commodities.
Sled skiers use the backcountry differently than typical skiers and, in turn, need specialized education. In response, Jackson, Wyoming snowmobile guides Will Mook and Matt Schebaum launched the Mountain Riding Lab in Jackson Hole to instruct snowmobilers on avalanche awareness and rescue, among other things. The two instruct American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Motorized Level 1 and 2 courses, and implement American Avalanche Association guidelines into their curriculum.
These two safety pioneers are Backcountry Access sled ambassadors and the subject of Backcountry Access’ latest “Send and Return” video episode, shot and edited by Justin Mayers of Westbank Media in Jackson, Wyoming, and featuring ski athlete Sam Schwartz. In the video, the pros show us how to get the goods in the Jackson backcountry—without getting buried.
But this isn’t BCA’s first sled skiing rodeo: The brand has been offering safety gear like Tracker beacons, Float airbags and BC Link radios to snowmobilers for years. Many BCA employees are sled skiers or full-time snowmobilers and that authenticity has led to intuitive product design. Engineered for high-performance mountain riding, BCA’s MtnPro line is dedicated to snowmobiling-only and includes top-selling items like the Float MtnPro protective vest and MtnPro Tunnel Bag, which enhances safety by accessibly storing emergency items that snowmobilers don’t need to carry on their back.
As Schebaum says, “Being a dialed backcountry rider is a lifelong process. There’s not one avalanche class you can take, or one video you can watch. It’s about getting out there with your friends, making good decisions and making sure you get back to the truck at the end of the day.”
Don’t miss BCA’s blog and videos on sled skiing, including how to rig up a tow system, how to do a trailhead gear check, and how to do sled repairs in the field, all on their website. And don’t forget to order your safety gear directly from BCA before it’s all gone…