Spontaneous Trips: Sled Golden
If there’s anything I’ve learned from the past few seasons it’s that you can never go wrong with spontaneous sled trips to Golden. Just check the avy conditions first. When someone says “we should go to the mountains today”, you’d best throw all your gear in a bag, load the sleds up and hit the highway.
We arrived in Golden, BC late in the day and decided to ride into Gorman to check things out. The sun was going down just as we pulled onto the lake, backlighting the Dogtooth in an orange glow. After taking that in we crossed the lake and shot up the mountainside into Holt. The snow conditions weren’t the greatest and the entire area needed a fresh dump of powder, but when in the mountains you always have to make the most of it. We found a decent wind lip and pulled some re-entrys until it got dark. After being off the sled for a month it felt great just being there. That night we got a text from a couple friends that also decided to come up last minute, more spontaneous decisions leading to a bigger crew to ride with.
The next day we decided to head back to Gorman. The morning ultimately held the best lighting we had all trip. A few jumps were sessioned until the clouds rolled in and the light went flat, which plagued us the rest of the trip, not that we let it hold us back from having a blast. Yet we still wanted some fresh powder and ventured all the way back into Cirque. It was mostly windswept, so we knew we had to go deeper into a different zone the next day.
Hope Creek is long way off the highway and devices like an In Reach or Sat phone are recommended when going there. Our crew of four had reached the first section of trees when sled issues struck on the mod XM, issues that can’t exactly be fixed when you’re over an hour and half away from anywhere. After pulling the ECM out of a stock sled and putting it in the mod to double check, it was clear the mod’s ECM was fried. The guys took it in stride, left a sled and doubled into the zone anyway. We may have witnessed the pinnacle of 2-Up freeriding with a doubled up pillow jump between trees. Without a doubt there will always be shenanigans while sledding in the backcountry…sled-nanigans. A few technical lines were carved up in the trees and a jump was even mobbed in the flat light. The snow was actually better there so ECM issues aside we partially got what we came for. Darkness consumed the valley fast and we headed out. Towing a dead sled out takes some time, especially when you have to drag a sled up a steep hill by hand. Luckily some guys were in the area and we were thankful they helped us out.
Unfortunately with the sled issues our friends had to head home the next day so it was down to two of us again. Quartz was close and we decided to head there for a short ride. The light was flatter than a table and a snowstorm was impending but yet again we tried to make the most of it. We shredded some descent lines and then I spotted a drop just as the snowstorm hit in full. The visibility was so bad we didn’t even shoot it. The hit was blind to begin with and the landing was mostly a surprise with two transitions and a rutted run out. It was just for the hell of it, to know you’ve done something badass that pushed you. Launching it was totally worth it.
The snow was still coming down hard in the parking lot when we loaded up. We had to leave right when the powder was getting deep but it didn’t matter, the trip was spontaneous and any day on a sled is a damn good day.
Be back soon Golden. –BW