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Discussion Starter #1
Wondering how many buzzers use snowmachines to access backcountry lines. I just read a story in Powder magazine that dives into the whole scene. This type of backcountry access seems to be gaining in popularity and I just want to see how many people use snowmachines for the specific use of backcountry skiing/snowboarding. We almost never see anyone else out there. Also what setups are working?

We have been doing it around here for many years now - resort free since 2000 (I still get a pass at Monarch not sure if she counts as a resort). Anyway the only down side for me is the sore legs after 5,000 to 10,000 vertical feet a day of fresh :D.
 

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Yes, I've been using my Yamaha Mountainmax 700 snowmobile for backcountry access for a number of years. Last year we were at Jones Pass and Vail Pass alot. Vail was very good with lots of choices. I'd be interested in hitting Cottonwood Pass down by you sometime.
 

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I hear you :) Used to access all of my skiing from a sled when living at Irwin several years back. Then went motor free for a number of years. And now back at it to avoid overcrowing on Cameron pass. My buddy, who also own a sled, and myself have been doing much exploring in the Rawahs & Never Summers as of last year. We use our sleds primarly to access the base of peaks many miles away, access remote park and wilderness boundaries, and haul our camping gear on overnight trips to RMNP or elsewhere.

I have an Indy 680 with double ski rack and pack rack. It's not a high performance sled but it does get me and all my gear out there. Would love to hook up with you guys this winter, lets get in touch over the next few months for sure...
 

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We used sleds quite a bit up in Montana to access more remote peaks. I don't know if they organize anything like this down here, but every year in April, Cooke City (small town in the Beartooth Mtns) would host the Sweet Corn Festival which was basically a great way to say goodbye to the season, backcountry style. Lots of partying Montucky style, lots of sleds to access the great steeps around there (if you didn't have one, you'd pay a small amount and the locals would tow you up from town to the hills). Overall, a great time.
Is there anything similar organized down here? I think my mind is officially done obssesing about water and I can think snow now.
-Dave
 

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RDNCK, we need to do some skiing this winter...Hixon and I have been talking about doing a time share on a sled so we can get out more. I have done some Sled skiing so realize that what I am about to say comes from a guy who is into it.

I ski mostly backcountry and I hike for 95% of my turns but snow machines are unmatched for getting a lot of vert in the BC. What I would like to see is the skiing/riding community be a the forefront of buying and using the newer machines that are cleaner and more efficient. Reading that article in Powder really opened my eyes to how bad those sleds can be. We should be pushing the trend to cleaner machines.
 

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Don't forget that backcountry riding is not entirely risk free. Knowledge of snow pack conditions and avalanche rescue training are a must. Just because you can access something with your sled does not make it safe to ski. My public service anouncment for the year. Plus definitely go for the "environmentally friendly," cleaner machines...besides they are more efficient. Can anyone loan me some money for a new sled?
EvanJ
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Anyone who wants to get out to Cottonwood Pass area or “the wood” give me a call or shoot out a e-mail - a week ahead would be nice. We would be happy to show anyone around up here - any day but Saturday.

I just got out my sled yesterday and it has me Jonesen to go - now all I have to do is get this damn shoulder back into shape. This year we are going to set up some “hand rails” up there 1 dbl kink, 1 rainbow, and 1 40’ straight, – We will have to show people where they are – Rock Island is the only clue here!

Mike we do have to hook up I have to get and Hixton’s number – I cant say how many days we sit here and call everyone we know to go ski and then end up on the couch watching slednecks because of no partners to go with. Also talk TMOINC into a sled he would be another great addition to a fun crew. The crew is shaping up well this year Jimmy H is back in town and the local snowmobile club got a 2nd cat for grooming on the Taylor Park side of the pass.

As far as clean sleds look into Yamaha’s 4-stroke sleds – they are pretty much the only ones that work well in a mountain environment. The SDI (Semi Direct Injection) ignitions system that Skidoo is using produce the best emission results for 2-stroke sleds and the REV chassis kicks ass. The 2006-07deadline for snowmachine emissions will change the book as we know it for 2-stroke sleds. Not one of the big three (Polaris, Arctic Cat, or Skidoo) has a 2-stoke engine that can pass those standards. Who know who will be president but if it is Duba I imagine that these standards will be relaxed or extended before they take effect.

The only problem with the 4-stroke sleds is the high weight and low power that they put out not to mention the high price tag (relative to a similar 2-stroke sled). The 2006 standards will no doubt if left in place help in the future with emissions (for those who can afford a new 10K machine). For now it is what it is. The choice of a heavy, underpowered, expensive, clean snowmachine, essentially does not marketability. Remember that BC riders are a very small portion of the people who ride snowmachines and most sleds are sold not here out west but up in the northern mid-west/east. Next week I have to be out in Thief River Falls Minnesota and I have a meeting set up to talk with them about a Backcountry Specific sled. With all the modifications all ready in place. I will relay the message about the “clean engine” and see what their vision is for the future and this market.

Finally I have to agree with RiverWrangler. The just because you can get there does not mean that it is safe. Basically it is never totally safe - risk is a part of life but unfortunately so is stupidity.
 

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JV, that is good beta. I will call you before we drop in on one. TMO would be perfect to time share but he is so busy buying window coverings I doubt he wants to think about it. Plus his cute little suv can pull anything. Naw...I will call him. Yeah we need to stop talking shit and hook up this winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Harvey,

News is up here in the north that MOINC just sold his biznaz - and there is no better way to invest that hard earned cash than on a sled - :D -

As far as his "suv" I am willing to place a bet that my sled throws more horses than that little car - I have told him many times to upgrade to something like a 86' Ford f-250 4x4 - Where are you at MOINC? Come on get a sled!!

Anyway the sled that I use is a 04 - 900 Arctic Cat mod sled with a 159" X 2.25" track - Cheetah racing board racks and I have her rigged up to pull using - 2 - 50' waterski ropes - The funny thing is that we usually use 2-up touring sleds for the days that we are skiing (once we knock a hole with the 9) - getting pulled by this monster can take it out of your legs fast
 

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Poor Mo-Mo...getting dogged on the internet witout knowledge. Yeah, when I see him today I am going to tell him to trade that little Biatch Wagon for a sled.
 

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I think I need some inspiration to look into a sled. Any current owners want to inspire me? I will try to make myself maximally available schedule-wise for inspiration...just let me know when and where... Then, I'll try to return the favor as I inspire with how much fun I have skiing untracked. Let me know. :D
 

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Is there any good sled skiing to be found on Independence pass? I've never been over it. When we drove from BV to CB this summer it looked like Cottonwood pass would have some great skiing. I have only done a little bit of sled skiing on Hoosier pass on a friends snowmobile, but everytime I go over a pass in my car I think about getting my own snowmobile for this very purpose. How long does it take you from BV to get to where you ski?

On a different note has anyone ever paddled cottonwood creek? It looked like alot of bridges were over it, but it looked like in a good snow year it would have plenty of water. I know wrong forum and season, but I figured some of you guys might know.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Cottonwood pass has better access than Independence pass – My experience of Indy pass is tons of avalanche paths with a relatively small amount of rideable area. The pass over cottonwood is groomed at least 2x a week so getting to the goods up there is much easier. The only problem with the wood is all the sledneckers that get up there and track much of it out (only on the weekends is this a issue). I hope that this helps you out. As far as time from BV – the trailhead at Denny Creek is about 15 min from town and another 15 min on a sled will get you to the top-o-the pass and the goods. Last year I lived at Cottonwood Hot Springs so it was less than 10 min to the trailhead. :D If you go up to Cottonwood Pass it is great to hit the springs 10 min after the end of the day.

As far as I think that is middle cottonwood creek – I have paddled some just above the Denny Creek trailhead and it is a very short 3+ log chocked section followed by a gorge that may be marginally runable 5++, if someone got in there and cut out the 100 or so logs jamming it up – way to much work for me – maybe someday I will get enough time to get in there and try to clean it up – a couple of guys could do it in a weekend.
 

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Thanks for the response rdnck. Are you the same person I talked to a couple of days ago about renting some snowmobiles to go skiing up there?
 
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