August 2nd, 2018

Above and Beyond – Tackling Adversity on a Sled Trip

Despite breaking two sled parts in one weekend—forcing me to spend more than 10 extra hours on the road—I don’t feel too upset about it. I smile, reflecting on the non-stop action of the past few days. It seems like the most memorable experiences are never the ones that go smoothly, and doing anything worthwhile always requires you to go above and beyond.


Above and Beyond


Above and Beyond – Tackling Adversity on a Sled Trip

January 25

5:05 p.m.

After a long day of sled guiding in Revelstoke, I drive home to load up my sled and pack my bags. The prospect of sunshine and jump sessions in Golden is calling.


Above and Beyond


7:07 p.m.

It takes an hour and thirty-seven minutes to get from my place in Revelstoke to the Riverhouse tavern in Golden. Factor in a one-hour time change between the two places, sometimes known as the Revelstoke time warp. It’s actually 8:07 p.m. and we’re having drinks in the future. 

8:23 p.m.

Colin walks into the dimly lit pub, a cold Pilsner awaits him on the counter. We discuss where we should go the next day—which, as always, depends on the weather. We’d like to push up into the alpine. If the sun cooperates, we have the perfect spot in mind.


January 26

8:12 a.m.

We make breakfast, watch some videos from our last sled trip, and texts are sent to line up the rest of the crew. Yesterday’s cloud cover has parted, and the sun is shining. That makes our destination choice easy, so we gear up and head to the hills.


Above and Beyond


10:36 a.m.

At the start of the zone we find a fun hip jump over some trees. We made quick work of a session there and move on to the next spot.


Above and Beyond


2:34 p.m.

Building jumps is an art form, and we sculpt the perfect lip on a classic tabletop feature. Everyone is riding and having a blast. Nature’s terrain park brings out good energy.

4:09 p.m.

One of the sleds in our group has a mechanical issue with a chaincase. On the way out there are some steep hills, which make towing interesting. Eventually we all make it out without further problems. A good day.


January 27

11:29 a.m.

Our crew is smaller today and the weather worse, but we are still in high spirits. We plan to go farther into the same zone we rode the day prior. Before trekking farther back, we decide to warm up with a jump session.

2:05 p.m.

There are some weird sounds coming from my clutch. I notice there’s a subtle crack in the secondary. The sled is still running okay though, so I part ways early and head for the trucks. I get within a few kilometers of the parking lot when my secondary grenades. 


Above and Beyond


3:12 p.m.

After getting towed out thanks to a random trail encounter with a friend, I make some calls; my friend Jason has a secondary for me, but getting it means a three hour drive in the wrong direction—to Airdrie, Alberta. Naturally I load up, grab fuel and hit the road again. Missing the rest of this trip because of a broken part isn’t an option.


Above and Beyond


6:27 p.m.

I make it to Jason’s and we get to work on the sled. At one point we have to drive to Calgary for more parts, then back to Airdrie to put them in.


Above and Beyond


10:17 p.m.

New secondary installed and primary serviced and my sled is back in action. I load up and hit the road again, this time heading west.


Above and Beyond



January 28

1:45 a.m.

I make it back to Golden and get some sleep in while I still can.

9:02 a.m.

The third morning we have a bigger crew to ride with. It is kind of cloudy, but we’re still excited to get out there. We have commercial content to film, so we’re hoping the weather will cooperate. I hope my efforts from the previous night will pay off.


Above and Beyond


2:07 p.m.

The sun comes out in patches and we battle with flat light throughout the day. A big step-down jump is built and we session it. The landing is hard, but the air-time feels amazing and it is certainly well-earned. After, we hunt around for some fresh powder but it’s in short supply. Eventually we find some and drop into a bunch of descent lines. I am feeling pretty good about my decision to drive all night to get my sled running.


Above and Beyond


January 29

6:10 a.m.

When you’re in the middle of a powder drought you have to go far into the mountains to find the deep stuff, so our group arrives at the gas station early. 

10:17 a.m.

It’s a long drive into the zone. Sleds are unloaded. Backpacks and avalanche safety gear are checked. It looks to be dumping snow higher up on the mountain. As we head up the ungroomed trail, suddenly my rear suspension starts rebounding hard on every whoop. I stop to take a gander underneath the tunnel; sure enough, a suspension piece is broken, ending my day before it gets started.


Above and Beyond


1:08 p.m.

After limping my sled back to the truck and heading back to Golden with Dave, one of the photographers, we decide to go for lunch at a pub in town just as Winter X Games Best Trick starts live streaming on the TV. The timing isn’t anything to complain about.


Above and Beyond


4:17 p.m. 

Work beckons the next morning, so I hit the road heading west for Revelstoke to get some sleep and figure out how to get my sled ready to hit the snow once again.


– Brandon