The winter of ’86 was the first time I got to go with my Dad to the mountains on a sled. That trip was to Valemount, BC with an awesome 79’ 340 TXC (10,000 miles showing on the broken speedo, haywire, duct tape AND bungee cords for a hood). It had a mix of 1-inch and 1-1/2 inch plastic paddles and a cut tunnel…oh yeah!
It’s funny to look back now and think, even the big snow banks on the highway got me excited and we didn’t even get to the parking lot at the base of the mountain! I remember the trail was not groomed in those days but broke by the “big” mountain sleds, so it was really more of a trench than a trail. I had been in the mountain lots on dirt bikes, but this was my first time in winter and on the “trail” up I clearly remember glimpses of the alpine through small openings in the trees.
I was so excited and charged by the beautiful landscapes I could hardly wait to see what the open alpine was like! When we finally got to the cabin the view was so far beyond what I could have ever dreamed of! The mountains have such a different feel in the winter. Even any non-outdoor-type person would be impressed and converted.
Over the years Dad, friends and I would strive to find our own paths into the mountain areas that had not yet been ridden. I would study and memorize “topo” maps, logging maps, and aerial photos of areas that were not yet explored. In some cases, we used small planes, helicopters, GPS and weeks of summer hiking with chainsaws on our backs to make access trails.
This passion for new areas turned into an obsession and to this day we still have that same mindset. Fortunately with today’s sleds they work so well in the woods it saved so much energy. To me there is no feeling more gratifying than putting the first tracks in some deep fresh powder on a bluebird day in some “unknown” area.
Now I get to share this with my son and THAT will be my greatest accomplishment….thanks DAD, miss you.
Credit: via KTM
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