Life Hacks
April 6th, 2018

Sled Ski and Snowboard 101: Tips For Sled-Accessed Skiing and Snowboarding

Many riders out there today were lured into a mountain sledding love affair through skiing and snowboarding. I personally did not purchase a snowmobile to sled ski or snowboard at first. However, those sports did fuel my desire to explore farther into the backcountry.

My first used sled was a 2003 Ski-Doo HO 800 151″ Summit. I remember knowing absolutely nothing about it at the time. But when the owner fired that thing up I had such a rush of adrenaline and stoke, I just had to have it!

After spending a year riding and exploring, I finally encouraged my girlfriend to bungee our skis and poles onto my sled and head off into the beautiful backcountry. That was another epic learning experience! However, by the end of the day we were dropping sweet pow laps. She was having as much fun tandem riding up as skiing down!

Fast-forward 12 years, and sled skiing and snowboarding is something we spend half our time doing in the backcountry. First off, I am one lucky guy to be able to have this as my job! I am out at least four-to-six days a week riding sleds, sled skiing or touring into zones. I wouldn’t trade one for the other, as they are all so fun!


Sled Ski Snowboard

Photo: Brad Dean @carboncake


If you are looking at sleds as a way to get into awesome ski and snowboard terrain, or are a sledder looking for a different way to enjoy the mountains, then here are a few things to make that adventure go a little smoother.




Sled Ski and Snowboard 101: Tips For Sled-Accessed Skiing and Snowboarding

Ski and Snowboard Rack

There are a number of ski and snowboard racks available for sleds now. I put the CFR (Cheetah Factory Racing) and the Ski-Doo LinQ Ski/Snowboard Rack at the top of that list. They are not cheap, but nothing good ever is. These systems will allow you to shorten your laps times and have more fun! Remember however, that no snowmobile tunnel was designed to have excess weight on it. So consider that when you have a fully-loaded rack, tunnel bag and extra gas loaded up on your way into a zone!


Sled Ski Snowboard




These days, almost every ski boot manufacturer makes a Vibram sole/walk-mode ski boot. These provide a better grip on the running boards and still be stiff enough to crush hard lines. Sled snowboarding is less troublesome, as snowboard boots are easier to ride in and many riders already wear these regularly. I spend a lot of time now on a GrassRoots Pow Surfer (a binding-less snowboard). I love the simplicity of it.


Sled Ski Snowboard



Setting a Proper Up-Track

The most important thing you can do before you start skiing or snowboarding is to set a proper up-track. This is important, as there will be two people on each sled going up. The best way to do this is to get everyone to ride from your top point down to the bottom setting a single smooth, firm track. On the way back up, use an alternative route so as not to set deep trenches or ruts in the doubling up-track. Once it is set up and you’re doubling, use a steady throttle to keep the up track free of whoops and trenches. A smooth up-track will get you faster and more comfortably to the top.



If you plan to sled ski or snowboard, you will be required to double with your partner or buddy. The easiest way is to have one person sitting in-front, as this gives you the most control. However, most dudes don’t want to do this with their buddy, so tandem-style side-by-side is the second best way. Working together and keeping the power smooth will allow you to stay in the track on your way up. This way, you’ll be able to spend more time riding, and less time diggin’!


Sled Ski Snowboard




As with all sledding, safe practices are what will keep you alive in the mountains for years to come. Use radios to communicate and always sled ski or ride with a buddy. Use best practices so that only one person is exposed to avalanche terrain at a time. The ideal group number is four, so that two people are riding down together and two people are skiing or snowboarding together. If there are just two of you—which there often is in my case—then we just spend an extra lap resetting a sled at the bottom. This is safer than riding alone, and it’s always more fun shredding with someone else!


Sled Ski Snowboard

Photo: Chris Bowers @christos.bowers



Have fun!

Getting out into the backcountry is all about having good times with your family and friends. Start with mellower terrain to figure it all out. Afterwards, you can start pushing into more advanced terrain with the knowledge that you have everything dialled!


Sled Ski Snowboard



– Dave

Dave Norona is a backcountry rider for Ski-Doo and skier with Elan Skis and Genuine Guide Gear. He likes to have as much FUN as possible!

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