Buds and Butts Are the Most Common Trash in Snowmobile Area
Would you ask your own 11-year-old daughter to pick up handfuls of other people’s cigarette butts off the ground?
What about scooping up dozens of discarded beer cans and other trash with her bare little hands? That’s exactly what my daughter and family volunteered to do on a long-weekend hike at the Silent Pass snowmobiling area near Golden, BC.
Have you ever wondered what type of sledders are mostly likely to litter while out snowmobiling? Well, here’s your answer: smokers and Budweiser drinkers are the mostly likely to throw their trash on the ground while sledding in the mountains.
Here’s the tally of sledder trash that we found on a simple in-an-out hike to Silent Lake, located up near the pass. We know this because we kept track.
Cigarette butts – Too many to count. We’d often find eight or more in one spot where a group had obviously stopped for a smoke break, then chucked their butts.
Budweiser – The King of Beers is also the Biggest Loser, with 17 cans found.
Bud Light – 15. No surprise here that this would run a close 2nd.
Kokanee – People still drink Kokanee? Sick! 13
Coors Light aka the Silver Bullet – 11
Pabst Blue Ribbon – 5
Molson Canadian – 3
Twisted Tea (not technically beer, but you get the point) – 3
Coors Banquet – 2
Old Milwaukee – 2
Red bull – 2
Brava – For real, a cerveza? 1
Palm Bay – 1
Busch – 1. I’m actually surprised that Busch landed so low on the list. Good for you, Busch drinkers!
Nelson Brewing Company – Whaaaatt? An organic beer? This must be a mistake. In fact, it was found—neatly crushed—next to the trail, so we’re guessing some diligent soul was trying to pack it out and it bounced out of a pack or tunnel bag.
Carabou – 1
Water Bottle – 13. Many of these were partially full and a couple were even still unopened! WTF?
Gatorade – 4. Sledding is not typically the sport one might associate with the consumption of an electrolyte beverage, but this quantity was found no doubt on account of hungover sledders.
Bud Light Lime – 0! Who would have guessed?!
We also found numerous tools, including a couple 10/13mm wrenches, a pair of linesman pliers, a handful of ratchet straps, several spark plugs, some plastic wrap, numerous beef jerky packages, a few busted sled parts and various other discarded waste.
It should be noted that all of this trash was found on basically one path from the trailhead to the lake, which covers only the teeny-tiniest sliver of rideable area at Silent Pass. I’m afraid to guess at how much garbage might still be out there in the rest of the area.
So what’s the take-home message?
I’m not going to try to tell sledders to stop smoking and drinking beer. Heck, Sean Penn smokes more than probably anybody and he’s cool as shit.
But for starters, sledders need to realize that cigarette filters don’t break down! Sure, they’re buried in snow quickly, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to biodegrade. They don’t. Come spring, they can be found on the ground, everywhere a sled can go. And let me tell you, picking up other people’s butts in summer is downright disgusting.
Part of being a mountain sledder is a respect for the mountains. Let’s earn the right to call ourselves mountain sledders by respecting the areas that we ride and keeping them clean, not only for ourselves but for all users of sledding areas, regardless of the season.
If your group smokes, lead by example: pack out your butts and encourage your pals to do the same. I always have a ton of respect for a guy when I see him tear off his filter and pack it away in his jacket.The same goes for beer cans and everything else. If there’s room to pack it in, there’s room to pack it out.
Think of it this way: next time you’re out sledding and you’re considering chucking your Buds and butts in the snow, ask yourself whether you’d want your own daughter picking up after you.