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Anyone here ever ride with a sled?

1701 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  tigre
So, I'm thinking about buying a sled this summer for nonstop powder days this winter. I work as hard as anyone you'll find and I don't get a lot of time away from work, so I try to make every hour in the mountains count. A split sounded like a cool idea, and it is - except a couple grand more in gear (on top of all the BC avy gear I'll need anyway) to do something that'll take 6 hours of hiking to do less than an hours worth of riding didn't sound too appealing among other reasons. Planning on taking an ave course as well.

Now I'm looking at some pretty high end newer sleds for backcountry riding here. Got the cash to front it but think I'm gonna sell my big E450 tour bus and maybe one of my high end guitar and bass amps to pay for the sled and a truck.

It'll depend on terrain, but I'm looking at what the best way to do it is. Ideally it'll probably need 3 in the group. I'll need the rack for the boards that mounts on the tunnel, take turns being the guy to ferry up and down whatever spots we're seshin'. A guy could grab a seat on the tunnel, skitch, or maybe even have a tow rope with respect to not getting it caught in the track. More than one sled would be nice, but so are multi-million dollar penthouses downtown and supermodel girlfriends...

Anyway, I'm curious if anyone else here ever does this. What do you guys usually do? I've been contemplating the feasibility of doing it. I usually end up riding alone, save for the odd shred with timmytard, or when I get ballsy and feel outgoing enough to strike up a conversation with some babes in the gondola up in Whistler... hoping I can be the coolest guy in town and make some new friends!
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bottom line: do it.

i wouldn't buy a new one, but a used 07+ (i'd want efi and independent front suspension) 700 or 800 155" or bigger. then get a shitty $600 or less sled for your buddies to ride/to convince them they want to buy their own nicer sled.

keep a tow rope or two stashed in the ballast. three people can ride one sled pretty easily on trails with either one or two standing up driving and one or two on the tow rope behind.

get a splitboard. you'll end up wanting/taking both.

i'd rather skin out alone than braap out on the sled alone, but if for whatever reason i take the sled out solo i'd only do it with a splitboard to get back in emergency...

we tend to go out with anywhere from 2-4 dudes per sled (+3 sled dogs pulling one dude on the flats or chasing the snomo)

fuck lifts. die gapers die!
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The sled will definitely get you more laps. A split lets you access trophy lines that maybe a sled will get toy closer too.

Personally I don't mide the hike for a few high quality runs. Something about just being out there working for it that is just rad.

On the flip side sled necking it is a blast and it is also going to be a lot of work. You will spend $$$ doing it. Make sure you have about $500 to access for a long line out of your sled should it break down or get busted up way out there. I've know of a couple guys who have had to do it. Sometimes a heli is the only way. Forest Sevice and other managers don't care for sleds left on the land they manage. They think it is littering or something. Plus you might want to get it fixed to use again.

*edit just re-read and saw you are in Whistler. Definitely get a sled. I believe land managers are more stingy up there about leaving sleds. So make sure you can afford a long line if you can't get it out*
I don't have the experience these guys do but an old friend of mine has been accessing everything in Summit for like 20 years and the point I would make is that part of your survival skillset must now include small engine repair.
Lots of people do that here, since the nearest lift is six hours away. Just about everybody has a snowmachine here, so there's usually one per person and you just use the one(s) with the longest track/most power as a ferry to get to the top of the run and leave the others at the bottom. Usually we just have two people per sled taking turns riding. If you're in a place where it isn't going to hit anything/anyone, you can ghost ride the sled so you can both snowboard at the same time (also useful if you're out solo, but solo snowmachining has always seemed like a fairly bad idea to me - at least if you're getting very far out there). A sled combined with a split is the best way to go. You want to be able to get away from the frontcountry, but sometimes when it's really deep it's hard to get a sled up steeper lines.

Since snowboarding is the primary use of the machine and you're not some crazy sledneck, I wouldn't get a brand new one. Something recent that hasn't been abused with a long track and a big engine, like Shred was saying. You can always spend more money on your next one if you really feel like you want something shinier. If you do get two used ones instead of one new one, it would be a good idea if they were the same model, to simplify maintenance and possibly be able to scavenge parts off of one or the other if need be.
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My 2 Cents:

Buy a new sled with a warranty. Take good care of the sled, and when the warranty is up, sell it and buy a new one.

It's more initial investment, but in the long run it will be way worth it.

Otherwise, you either be working on it the whole time, or end up getting stuck someplace you don't want to be stuck. Or probably both.

It kind of takes the enjoyment out of it when you're stressing all day that your sled is going to crap out.
Go with at least one other sled. You'll need that persons help when you burry it.

Also like others have said. Get a long tow strap, and maybe a come along if you'll be riding near some trees or other non-movable objects.
We've never needed anything more than shovels and a lot of swearing to get a sled unstuck, even my guy's 162 when it was darn near bottomless. One good trick if you're on a relatively mellow slope is to just roll the thing over.

At least one person in a group should have a tow strap in case someone needs towed out. Carry an extra belt and a small tool kit, and pay attention to how it's running; if something isn't right, start heading back in. Most of the time when my guy or someone in our group has had something go wrong we've still been able to limp it out. Even on one of our last rides of the season, when he broke his steering tube nearly in half, he still managed to get it back out several miles and had it fixed that night.

If you're going to be by yourself, or with multiple people on only one sled, stick to areas close to a road in case you need to walk out. If you've got a group of sleds and one of them breaks down, you can probably just tow it out. Or worse case get a ride out and come back later with more tools. It's really not that big a deal.
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Just wanted to say thanks for the advice in this thread dudes. Most of this is stuff I already had in mind but there was a couple good points. I'm already decently mechanically inclined and do all my work on my car, but haven't spent much time on small gas engines or toys. Most of the work on my ATV is handled by a mechanic I know through my work.

I've ultimately decided to put off buying a sled. I've got a nice sized piece of change in savings (just enough to buy a brand new sled...) but I've decided to use that towards buying a home next year. Cost of living is insane here so I can't throw around money too much. Not sure if I wanna get a place in Whistler to use as an income & occasional getaway property and then rent... or buy a place to live in in Squamish. Gonna be making some career changes in the next few months if all goes as planned, and possibly training and then hopefully making a lot more money, more in line with what I deserve. So, with all the changes it doesn't quite add up yet. I won't rule this out... just post-phoning. :D

One of my old buddies I used to play shows with is an insane pro level freeskier (I know, TWO PLANKS R 4 WANKS) who lives in Squamish and I'm pretty sure he has a sled. Will have to shred with him and get my own eventually.
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Buy a split for this season. You can find used ones for a good price. If you get into trophy line hunting chances are a sled won't get you there. At least all the way.
Honestly if money was tight, a sled would have been a bad purchase anyway.

Sleds are basically a huge money suck with all the parts/fixing you're constantly having to do (albeit a very fun money suck).
Know any splits in at least the mid 160's, plus wide at that...? :D none that I've seen... I was gonna get a Skunk Apes HP and split it if that. Maybe I can find a used one for a deal.

It's not that money is that tight... I'm just trying to be more responsible with the money I do have, since I've worked so hard to save a whole stack. May as well make it work for me and let it pay off even more in the slightly longer run.
Know any splits in at least the mid 160's, plus wide at that...? :D none that I've seen... I was gonna get a Skunk Apes HP and split it if that. Maybe I can find a used one for a deal.
I've seen them on GearTrade pretty regularly. That's where I got my boyfriend's 166 Mojo for $300.
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