Riding the Icefields of British Columbia and That Feeling You Get
Dave Norona | On 23, Mar 2018
That feeling! It comes to me now when I’m riding deep into British Columbia’s remote icefields. But looking back…
A rush of adrenaline surged through my body as I climbed aboard my sled. My heart rate raced as I squeezed the throttle ever so gently, engaging the clutch system. I was off, heading up the trail with a huge grin on my face! I still vividly remember my first day on a snowmobile. All the unknowns were about to get very real!
Fast-forward 12 years, and not much has changed! Yes, the machines have gotten easier, the gear better and there are more people out there enjoying this awesome sport. But that feeling you get—you know the one—it just brings a smile to your face. And if anything, my smile’s just gotten bigger!
That Feeling is Different for Every Rider
It’s hard to qualify what that feeling is, as it is so different for each and every rider out there. For some, it’s seeing how fast they can take that one corner on the trail or float over that section of whoops. For others, it’s seeing how far they can send it off a windlip or man-made jump. Other riders experience it while navigating tight trees in the steep and deep. And I think everyone would agree that carving a sled in DEEP POW is the best feeling in the world!
But how do you convey that to your family, co-workers or buddies who don’t sled? It’s a hard one, but one that we all try to do on Monday morning with photos, movie clips and stories of the RAD weekend we had riding!
Having grown up in the mountains of British Columbia, I am well-versed in their harshness, size, and beauty. I have spent a lot of time, running, mountain biking and skiing through these mountains. However, it wasn’t until I started sledding that I truly began to explore them.
Spring is the Best Time to Ride the Icefields of British Columbia
Sleds are the perfect tool for exploring. As spring arrives, longer days and diminished snowfall allows one to travel to spots unreachable during the deep winter months. Now is the time to load up your sleds and packs with the right tools and that extra gas. It’s time to head way out there—to areas which have yet to be explored.
For me, spring means hitting the vast icefields of British Columbia on my sled. These are some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Every time I explore the icefields, it seems they are constantly changing. The landscape is so incredibly breathtaking that it almost doesn’t look real. It’s easy to stop, take your helmet off and just stare in any direction in awe!
These magical places are not to be taken lightly, however. Riders must possess proper navigation skills, carry appropriate navigational tools and be prepared with knowledge of how to perform crevasse rescue. Remember, you are not riding on firm ground! An icefield is more like a Swiss Cheese landscape that can swallow you whole, without any warning. But for those willing to hone their skills and plan an epic, you won’t be disappointed!
Dave Norona is a backcountry rider for Ski-Doo who enjoys riding in all types of terrain. But there is a special place in his heart for exploring deep into the BC backcountry. You can follow his adventures @davenorona
It’s all about the people! That’s what makes Tailgate Alaska feel like a grass roots event, even though it does exhibit all the earmarks of a professionally-organized event. Each evening, riders return back to base with awesome stories, photos and—most importantly—huge smiles from the day.
Many of today’s full-blown mountain sledders started out using snowmobiles for sled ski and snowboard access. Here are some sled ski and snowboarding tips.
Sledders are now pushing deeper into the mountains than ever before, and in doing so, gaining access to the remote and breathtaking glaciers and icecaps of BC. Accidents can be avoided when riders become aware of the hazards of snowmobiling on a glacier or icefield, and gain the skill set required to navigate this type of complex winter terrain safely.
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