Vancouver Island Escape
Tom Walker | On 07, Apr 2016
The Sled Bum Chronicles: Vancouver Island Escape
Ever since I first began sledding in winter 2008, my obsession with exploring and adventure has been fulfilled. Sledding has ruined mountain biking, snowboarding and many other similar outdoor sports for me as none of them can top the rush of riding a snowmobile—and the freedom from singletrack trails and lift lines. The snow-caked mountains of BC have provided endless terrain and some of the deepest powder I could possibly imagine.
As snowmobiling has grown over the years, riding has progressed and stock machines are more capable than any mod sled of the past. The once low-traffic zones are now instantly paved by the growing sled population. Late in the winter it became time to hunt for powder on Vancouver Island, the true west coast and last frontier of Western Canada.
On the Island, I’ve been fortunate to find a crew of riders that seek the same dream that I do. There are so many uncharted ridges and bowls to be explored, with no one else in sight. And the last few storm cycles had blown in with low freezing levels and decent snow accumulation, making the Island primed for an adventure.
We began to climb the gravel road from sea level. In the near distance, I could see the defined snowline. The trees were caked with fresh snow and the sun was shining. There had been some blow-down across the road from the previous storm, but with 4x4s, sled decks, tow straps and saws we were not deterred.
We parked the trucks at the highest spot up the road. Locked and loaded we roosted up the road to higher elevation. This was my first experience sledding on the Island and from the first moment that I could see the snow covered sub-alpine I knew it was going to be sick!
As we headed up the ridge, we stopped to shred every meadow and plateau before moving on. The higher we rode, the more terrain appeared. On top of the ridge was an epic sub-alpine bliss of sparse trees and rolling meadows full of pow. I had never had this much clarity in a new zone. The possibilities were endless! Towards the end of the ride we were forced off the ridge by an oncoming, ill-lighted storm, and so we headed back down into the trees to shred the lower zone on the way out.
Down the road I look forward to a few more Island rides. Endless terrain and not knowing what’s over the next ridge keeps my anticipation alive for the next adventure!