The most important things to bring while snowboarding with a snowmobile in Golden, BC
Or skiing, if you’re into that kinda thing.
Going snowboarding with a sled in the backcountry requires a little more preparation than heading to the ski hill. It might be a good idea to make a list of things to bring with you.
Things you won’t find in the backcountry:
- Store to buy all the things you forgot
- Avalanche control
- Day lodge
Things you will find in the backcountry:
The freedom to ride pow anywhere is what draws most people into the backcountry, but with that freedom comes responsibility. There won’t be anyone to take care of you if you get yourself into trouble so it’s best to “Expect the best, but be prepared for the worst”
Aside from the obvious snowmobile and snowboard/skis, here’s a list of items you should have with you when you head out to go sledboarding:
- Lunch: Pro tip: Don’t bring a bowl of soup with saran wrap over it. Pack your lunch like you’re bringing grammas good china. Anything that isn’t packed tight into a bulletproof container is going to look like it went through a blender.
- Water: Tea is a nice luxury if you prefer.
- Radio: Staying in constant communication with other members of your group is the best way to avoid separation anxiety if you get stuck and unintentionally left behind.
- Avalanche gear: Probe, beacon, shovel are the bare minimum and avalanche airbags are quickly being added to the list of mandatory equipment.
- Saw: Carrying a small, collapsible saw could mean the difference between spending an entire day heaving a 500-pound machine away from a 4” round tree, or 3 minutes to cut it down and carry on.
- Small tool kit: You don’t have to bring your 799 piece socket set from Canadian Tire, but don’t just shove granddads rusty vice grips from the barn in your pocket either. Make sure you have the tools to change a belt, change spark plugs, tighten bars/risers, and tighten or loosen a track. Pro tips: Bring a tow rope and a couple carabiners just in case. Ratchet straps are handy for keeping broken A-arms and other front end parts together enough to ride out.
- First aid kit: Try to put together a kit you are comfortable with and is practical. More than a couple band-aids but less than the entire intensive care unit. Pro tip: Those tin foil emergency blankets sure don’t look like they do much, but they do. And they’re so small you won’t even miss the space they take up.
- Extra gloves: Nothing beats having dry, warm hands for the ride out.
- Extra goggles: This is personal preference, but I’m not interested in monkeying around with changing lenses. I bring clear ones for when it’s low vis, and ultra-mirror ones for looking cool.
- Down jacket. Find a micro down that folds up into itself, and shove it in the bottom of your bag. Even if you only need it once a season, you’ll be glad you brought it.
- Spare belt: Two people on one sled is literally twice the load that the machine was intended for, your belt is the only connection between the motor and the track, so always carry a spare.
- Snowboard/ski rack: It may be tempting to build your own to save a few bucks, but do yourself a favour and fork over the cash. There are a few options on the market with some brands offering pretty slick bags that fit right into the rack.
- TP: I don’t think I need to tell you what it’s like to need TP and not have any. Pro tip: Put it in a ziplock bag.
As always when entering the backcountry keep yourself up to date on the avalanche conditions, Avalanche Canada puts out a report every day. READT IT. If you and your group are headed to a zone that you’ve never been to before, it’s probably best to hire a guide. Nothing ruins a good day like getting lost.
Don’t forget to have fun
CW - @colinsplanet