What to carry in my sled pack when exploring and guiding on my sled?

To even think that people still snowmobile without wearing a pack still boggles my mind!  Why are you depending on someone else to save you in any unfortunate circumstance if one were one to happen?  In the She Shreds Mountain Adventures backcountry survival lessons, I always make sure to go over what everyone in the group has in their pack before we head out on an adventure, to make sure we are prepared for anything.  I highly suggest doing this with your buddies that you regularly ride with.

“You’re out there on your own far from civilisation, be the most prepared you can be!” – Julie-Anne Chapman

Here is what I carry in my Highmark by Snowpulse avy pack and Ski Doo Linq tunnel bags…

  • Full first aid kit Survive Outdoors Longer make amazing pre-packaged kits that you can add your own goodies to.  Its suggested to carry everything from band aids, antiseptic wipes, compress dressings, splints, gauze, triangular bandages, trauma/accident report sheets, etc, etc.  Make sure to keep all of this in a water resistant bag!  And it wouldn’t hurt to take a first aid course so you know how to mend someone.  The last thing they want is you trying to splint a broken bone if you don’t know how.  You ask why would someone even attempt to touch someone with a broken limb?  Well, because lets say you are very far from the trucks, you would want to make the limb immobile (make it the most comfy you can) for their ride down.  You’re out there on your own far from civilisation, be the most prepared you can be!
  • The pack itself – 18L (Highmark by Snowpulse avalanche pack recommended).  I rock the Ridge 3.0 vest. You want to be careful how much weight you carry on your back.  The Ski Doo LinQ bags are amazing to carry all the extra stuff you dont want on our back. 
  • inReach Explorer and Sat phone – two way communication SOS device that relates on iridium satellites.  Incase you need a helicopter for a big bobo, or text your lover at home (when you’re out of cell range) to get dinner started, these little gems of devices are awesome.  The inReach tracks you wherever you are in the world, allows you to communicate with people via text and email even when you are out of cell phone range, and if you call for SOS, your GPS coordinates are dispatched to the closest search and rescue in the surrounding area. The sat phone allows you to have a direct conversation if you need to request rescue gear brought to the scene.
  • 40-100+ft rope & carabineers – for rescuing “your buddy” that thought the throttle was the break when he approached the crevasse really fast.
  • Shovel & probe & transceiver– duh!!  Wear the transceiver on your body, not in the pack!  Duh! 
  • Snowmobile tools – hose clamps, spare break leaver, shock pump, basic kit with wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, zip ties, duct & electrical tape!
  • Survival kit – All hell breaks loose.  You have to stay the night in the backcountry.  I hope you are prepared! Survive Outdoors Longer make perfect survival kits to suit your every needs. Pack extra warm clothes/gloves, a tampon (to dip in your gas tank to ignite a fire), water resistant/strike anywhere matches, flint, wood carving tool (knife), compass, mini fishing kit, whistle, flare, bivvy sack…  And make sure to keep all of this is a water resistant bag!
  • Two way radios – You’re deep in the trees or over in the next drainage and you can’t find your buddy.  “I’m out of gas, Do you copy Bobby Jo?”… “10-4 rubber ducky on my way with the jerry”.
  • VHF Radio - to communicate with outside world to assist with things such as heli a evacuation
  • Mouth guard – For when I like to think I’m going so big that I need one.
  • Snow science tools – Snow saw, ruler, inclinometer, aluminium crystal card, thermometer, 10x loupe, field book (I call it my old lady diary, it’s the only book I write daily logs in). Always good to do your own research on what the snow is doing.   Once you are comfortable using your transceiver, I highly suggest taking an avalanche course that touches on snow studies/science. A course that will help you understand why avalanches happen. Doing a multiple day backcountry trip and don’t have access to the avy reports for days?  It’s a must to have these tools to observe what the snow is doing over such a period of time.
  • Extra food and water – High calorie food, energy blocks 
  • A wood saw – We all go into trees!  It’s so much easier to saw a branch off than to flip a 500lb machine that is all tangled in branches.
  • Head lamp – I’ve seen people smash their lights out on a tree and have to sled out in the dark with only their head lamp shining the way. Frankensled makes a great helmet lamp that attaches with a GoPro mount.
  • Extra goggles/lenses– The worst is when your goggles are all fogged up and you can’t see where you’re going!
  • Extra fuel – Going on a long haul?  Pack a jerry on your tunnel.  Don’t be the kid that’s full pin all day and runs out of fuel first and uses everyone else’s fuel!!  Every pack has a buddy like that!
  • An extra belt for the sled
  • One last thing – always find out if there is a safety cache near by with spine boards, etc. or a cabin you can make yourself a warm fire in.

A Beginners Guide to Get Started with Sledding in the Mountains - Brought to you by She Shreds & Ski Doo

Here is a couple of basic tips that I could think of to help you gain confidence and start you off on your new snowmobile adventures in the mountains!

  • Take an avalanche course if riding in the mountains and learn how to use all your avalanche and survival gear.  This is the most important intro to the mountains you can have. It will help keep you and others safe in the backcountry.

  • Take a riding clinic or guided adventure with She Shreds Mountain Adventures or any other company with good credentials.

  • Momentum is your friend – The more confidence you have with the throttle the less you will get stuck.

  • Use your body weight – if you are a girl you will need to for sure use your weight a little more!  Swing those hips around; it will help you get that sled over faster.

  • Watch videos and others ride.  Most of us are visual learners.  Watch other riders closely (if you’re a girl – watch other girls) and listen to what they are doing with the throttle.  Its all about throttle control and body movement.

  • Email the pros for tips!  Feel free to email me with any questions you may have about sleds and sledding, I am MORE than stoked to help you out!  info@sheshreds.ca

  • Ride with experienced people (if you’re a girl – ride with other girls, you can learn lots from each other) and make sure that these people have patience to teach you and help you, don't be afraid of holding the group up.  These people you ride with should be happy and encouraging even if you get stuck lots.

  • Get stuck lots and be patient to get unstuck.  Get all that snow out of the track to make it the lightest possible for you to move it around. Here are a couple of Ski Doo & She Shreds tips on how to get unstuck in different terrain: 

  • Commit to anything you do.  If you tell your self you can you will most likely do it, if you tell yourself you cant you will most likely fail.

  • Always wear a teather.  This is your “emergency engine shut off” incase your snowmobile pins you down on top of you it will avoid the track from spinning and hurting you.

  • Don't park uphill always downhill it will save you a stuck!

  • Look where you want to go! If you look at the tree you will go into the tree!

  • Keep it flat in the deep snow at first until you get throttle comfy then move to slopes and tricky terrain.

  • Ride squirrel (in front of an experienced rider and hold onto the mountain bar).  Have the experienced rider scream in your ear what they are doing such as “shifting weight in the right leg, hips to the right, counter steer to the left, etc” and pay attention closely and listen to what they are doing with the throttle as they are moving their weight.  This will allow you to “get the idea” on how to counter steer and move around in deep snow and off camber terrain.

  • There are basic steps to start to learn how to snowmobile in the mountains… If you start with step one and move up it will make your life a lot easier! If you start with step 5 right off the bat, you will get frustrated and maybe hate snowmobiling! 1) Throttle control on the flats 2) pow carving/ counter steering on the flats with no trees or obstacles in the way, 3) side hilling on small slopes with no trees or obstacles in the way 4) downhill pow carving with no trees or obstacles in the way 5) wrong foot forward on the flats then on the slopes. Once you have dominated each step, you can then move onto the next.  Once you have dominated all steps that start to introduce tricky terrain with tree’s and ditches and such in the way!

  • Always choose appropriate terrain and set yourself up for success! Wide open terrain with no obstacles(trees), mellow slopes for a while till you're comfy on your sled.

  • Sled set up is pretty important.  (Click here for a little blog I wrote about sled set upLets start with handlebars.  They shouldn’t be any higher than your belly button and you should sit square above the bars with a slight bend in your elbows.  This is the position you are strongest.  If you are petite, think about a narrower handlebar set up.  Another thing is ski width.  Most sleds there are a couple of options for set up.  The narrower the skis are the easiest it will be to get the sled over on its side.  Next could be shedding a bit of weight off the sled if you are not quite as strong (ie: the pipe can easily shed 10-15 lbs). If you have small hands Skinz sells an adjustable break leaver for example that will bring the break leaver closer to the handlebar.  Lots of modifications to help sled set up available out there.

If you have any questions about anything please do not hesitate to email me at info@sheshreds.ca

Happy shredding!!

Emergency communication devices

Beyond cell phone range, there are a couple of reliable satellite communicators that you can maintain contact with family and friends and, perish the thought, emergency response teams.  I personally carry the Roadpost Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone and the inReach Explorer (which both have special debates offered if ordered before Dec 31 right now!)

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The main reason why I carry them is to call for help if ever I need it when I’m out in the mountains snowmobiling.  It’s a nice luxury to have as well to text your loved one not to worry if you are going to be late arriving back home because of that one last gnarly stuck you had on the way out!

Why a satellite phone and not just the inReach? Here are my views on the pro’s of a satellite phone… A satellite phone you can actually call the emergency response team and share details such as location, type of injury, patient information etc. This way the emergency response team is well prepared for what they need to deal with when they arrive and it improves efficiency of search and rescue efforts.  The Satellite phone is also the most trust worthy, dependable communicator on the market.  Unlike the inReach, there is an unmatched opportunity to exchange information, versus a pure SOS signal or a series of 160-character text messages.

Cons of satellite phone:

·      They are expensive to buy and expensive to operate but they do have “rental options for a couple of months if your activities are seasonal.

·      It can be difficult or impossible to have a conversation if only a weak connection can be made with the satellite

·      Because satellites are constantly orbiting, conversations need to be kept short to avoid dropped calls

·      A sat phone does not transmit GPS coordinates or offer tracking service.  Location and route information can, however, be shared by voice

·      It s a big bigger and heavier to carry in a pac

Some pro’s about the inReach device… It isa more affordable option compared to the satellite phone.  The inReach is great for minimizing worries of those loved ones back home and being able to constantly check in throughout the day by text messaging (max 160 characters per text).  Text messages can be exchanged even over weak signals and it’s a 2 way communicator.  Yes it does have an SOS button and gets dispatched straight to the closest search and rescue team of where you are, but they have no idea what to bring to save you or what to expect.  So that being said, if they don’t have the right gear to deal with your scenario when they get to you, rescue could get delayed a whole lot longer and if a life is on the line this might make it a “make it or not” kind of deal.  Another cool thing about the inReach is that people at home can watch you travel throughout the backcountry on a home computer if they link into your mapshare option.  It has a GPS coordinate locator too. 

Con’s of the inReach:

·      You can only text 160-character texts per message

·      Can not communicate with search and rescue team as to what you need

·      For ease and quickness of texting, it should be paired to your smart phone to do so.  Sometimes smartphones don’t like the cold and die quickly so texting from the actual inReach device take a long time.  Its like the old school cell phones where you have to type #2 three times to get to the letter C.

Feel free to check out my MapShare from inReach and watch me travel thoughout the backcountry!  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at info@sheshreds.ca

Sled set up!

I hope everyone is starting to get enough snow to get out on their snowmobiles these days!  Let me tell you, the Pemberton backcountry is game on for the season now! Just finished my break in period on the new Ski Doo 850; smiles and giggles non-stop on this sled.

Lets talk about the new Ski Doo 850 and setting it up for your specific needs.  First off I would like to say that this sled is probably the best sled I’ve ever owned as is taken out of the crate and ready to ride.  No mods necessary.  All mods are personal preference from here on in.  AND, I’m confident to state that this is the first sled I have ever ridden that won’t need the sway (steering stabilizer) bar taken out!  The first thing I usually suggest to most girls for ease of control and getting the sled on its side is to take out the sway bar, not this 850 though, its so easy to get on its side as is!

The first thing I like to suggest for most riders (females especially seeing they are usually smaller than men) is the handlebar height.  This is all personal preference, but I can guarantee you will have better ease of control if handlebar height is “correct”.  I like to suggest the bars should sit somewhere between the bellybutton and the pelvic bone.  Ski Doo summit’s come with an 8” rise which is usually perfect for a 5’10’-6’ person.  I am 5’7” and ride with a 6” rise personally.  Take into consideration if you are starting to put after market bars and risers on that some bars come already with a 1”-2” rise (unless you get a flat bar).  Ski Doo sells an amazing adjustable riser if you are not quite sure what height you like and feel most comfortable with.

Next, I like to suggest dialling in your shocks for your weight.  The guy putting your snowmobile together out of the crate in the shop has no idea how much you weigh.  If you buy your sled used, the guy or gal before you might have weighed double what you weigh.  Think about it, if the shock is set up for a 200lb guy and a 125lb girl tries to get the sled on its side and the shocks are too stiff to compress to get it on the side, you will struggle.  If the shocks are set up softer for that lightweight gal, you will have ease to get the sled over on its side.  Adjusting them in the field is very easy, I suggest trying a couple different settings to see what feel you like best.

For the front shocks on a ski doo 850 summit all you have to do is twist the metal or plastic (depending if you have an SP or X model) cap on the shock left and right to make it softer or stiffer (pre loading the spring).  Get your sled on its side so the ski is off the ground to make your life easier! 

For the rear, grab the tool that is in your tool kit (see photo) and place it on the plastic knob and twist on either (softest) 1-2-3-4 or 5 (stiffest).  This is your rear torsion spring, if its too soft and you weigh a lot, you may get stuck a lot more (track will trench and you will get stuck).  If it’s too stiff and you weigh as much as a peanut, you’ll be bouncing all over the place! Your rear shock can be adjusted the same way as the front shock to pre-load the spring. Play around with both of them, test them all and see what setting you like best!

Those are personally to me the 2 most important adjustments someone should do when getting a new sled.  After that, accessories are my personal favorite!  A must is a skid plate! Protect that undercarriage from rocks and stumps.  The Ski Doo LinQ system it bomb! I carry an extra fuel can and the 3L tunnel bag to bring all my necessary items on adventures.  I also got the 12 volt charger installed incase I need to charge my emergency communication devices while I am out an about.

If you have any questions about setting up your sled please do not hesitate to email me at info@sheshreds.ca

Janice Mcwilliam joins the She Shreds coach/guide team!

I am very proud to announce that Janice Mcwilliam will be joining the She Shreds coach/guide team this season! Janice has been a close friend and one of my favourite girls to sled with.  She is positive, fun, full of knowledge when it comes to teaching sled progression, very skilled sledder, safe, and best of all she is humble. I cant wait for all you ladies to have fun with her this season.  Welcome to the team Janice! I caught up with Janice and this is what she had to say...

Snowmobiling has always been a big part of my life - I can remember my grandpa's 1st snowmobile was a 1972 Bombardier Olympic - it was a tank! I would be riding around on it with my brother when I was 8 yrs old back in Muskoka, Ontario. At that time in Ontario, when you turned 13 yrs old, you could do a 2 day course to get your snowmobile license so that you were legal to make road and railway crossing. So my friends and I did the weekend course together and it was our 1st taste of freedom! Riding to school on snowy weekdays and on the weekends hitting the trails to go to different restaurants for french fries! Snowmobile Rallies, Poker Runs and Puddle Jump competitions! So much fun!

When I moved to BC in 1996 it was obvious that mountain riding was where it was at!

With the intention of buying a sled for access to backcountry skiing - I never did put my skis on my sled - not once! The powder carves and face shots on a snowmobile are unparalleled! Instantly addicting! Although now, as life has a way of changing,  I take my 15yr old daughter sled skiing and she loves the access to fresh powder all day long! 

I have always ridden Ski-Doo's and have owned many! It is unbelievable how the technology has advanced so far over the years - from a 1972 Olympic to now riding the Gen 4 Skidoo 850 165" the transformation is incredible! With years of riding experience on our local mountains in Pemberton I am so excited that I now have the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with She Shreds Mountain Adventures! 

What do you like most about sledding?

I love the adventure! Whether you are exploring new terrain or you are in an area that you've been a hundred times - no 2 days in the mountains are ever the same!

What is so inspiring riding with a bunch of girls?

"back in the day" I was always the only girl - If I saw another chick on a sled in the mountains I would ride right over and introduce myself. Now there are days when there are no guys with us - girl power!! so much fun energy & team work! 

Sledding in 4 words:

cheeks sore from smiling

What do you look forward to most working with She Shreds?

I love to teach people riding (or getting unstuck) techniques that can make life easier. Also seeing the smiles on people's faces is just priceless! Introducing people to a sport that I am so passionate about is a dream come true!

Most memorable sledding day?

so many that it would be impossible to pick just one!!  

Feel free to follow Janice on her facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/janice.mcwilliam.7

What do to to prep your body before sledding season!

I keep blabbing about how important pre season training is for sledding, let alone any sport and I've had quite a few emails from girls asking what I do to prep for the season... Here it is ladies!

It helps to condition your body for the hard physically strenuous days in the deep pow! You don’t want to be “that person” struggling to get your snowmobile unstuck while the rest of your group waits for you to catch your breath and have enough energy to continue riding? You don’t want to be that person that cant bend over to tie their shoes the next day after an amazing day riding the sled ? Then do something about it! Help condition your body for those intense days in the winter!

Im not going to tell you what to do or how to do it seeing im not certified to be a personal trainer or nutritionist, but what I will tell you is what I do to help my body get ready for winter…

There are 3 general body types; ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. Not sure what those 3 body types are? No problem check out the chart below for you to get a better idea. I am personally in between a mesomorph and endomorph so you get an idea where I’m at throughout this article…

Food plays a huge part in having enough energy to be able to work out or play in the snow. Everyone is different in how much they need to eat and what kind or foods they need to eat. If you can’t figure out what foods make your body feel good and give you enough energy then I would suggest seeing a nutritionist. Are you completely clueless about what to do to help you physically get ready for winter? Then I suggest seeing a personal trainer! I used to think that light weight, many reps at the gym is what I needed to do because “ I didn’t want to bulk up” but I was wrong. Heavy weights little reps is what does it for me personally! I won’t “ bulk up” unless I eat a whole ton of food/protein shakes before and after my work out.

So in the summer I do a lot of mountain biking, horse back riding, and yoga on the regular. When comes fall I usually spend a lot more time in the gym. My trainers Lindsay May, Anngela Leggett and Jessica Turner keep my butt in line at the gym and I thank them huge for that. I usually start with a 15-20 minute warm up on the bikes, followed by a good hour of muscle conditioning…

The following are great exercises that target specific muscles that your body uses for snowmobiling. Make sure when you go to try these yourself you get someone who is professionally trained to show you how, I wouldn’t want you to get hurt. Use weights that you’re comfortable using. The weights/sets/reps suggested below are what Im personally comfortable with!

Over hand pull ups – A little more difficult than underhand chin ups. This targets your lateral back muscles. I try to do as many as I can, which is usually about 4-5! They are hard!

Under hand chin ups - This targets more your biceps forearms, mid back and lats. I try and do as many as I can, which is usually about 8!

Plank with/without a ball – Great for the abs and core. There are many variations to plank from easier to harder - side plank, leg up side plank (adds a bit of a leg work out), on elbows plank, plank with/without a ball.

Sliding Pike – Great core work out. I start off in plank with my feet on the ball then engage my core to bring my butt high in the air, then back down to plank. Usually do about 2 sets of 12-15 reps.

Straight legged dead lifts – Lower back and legs (gluts, hamstrings, calves) as well as core. Start small with just the bar (usually about 45lbs) as I got comfortable doing these I added weight slowly. Usually do 2 sets of about 15-20 reps.

Lunges with/without weights in hands – Great leg workout. I do about 15-20 repetitions with 2 sets with 2x 25lb weights in each hand. Want to throw in a little bicep workout too? Do a bicep curl with the weights as you stand up!

Deltoid raises – Great shoulder workout. I stand straight and raise my arms in front of me then back down. On the next rep I raise my arms out like im spreading my wings. I hold about 10lb weights and do 2 sets of 12-15 reps.

Mountain climbers – Good for upper arms, core/abs, and legs. I do about 15-20 repetitions with 2 sets of these. Get the cardio up with these ones!

Bent rows – Works the back and shoulders. I do about 15 repetitions with 2 sets of these with 25lbs dumbbells.

Ski squat jumps – Great leg workout and cardio boost! I do about 15 repetitions with 2 sets of these.

Alternating limb drops with a ball – Great for the abs/core - I do about 15-20 repetitions with 2 sets of these. Get the cardio up with these ones!

Bicycle legs with upper body crunches - Great for the abs/core - I do about 15-20 repetitions with 2 sets of these. Get the cardio up with these ones!

End your workouts with a good full body stretch always! I hold my stretches for about 20 seconds each. Looking for a good stretching regime? Here’s a good one I found online that does the whole body….

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxsQr7YOq7o

Here’s my recipe for my morning smoothie I always eat before going to the gym. It gives me enough energy to work out, and keeps me full for about 3-4 hours without bulking my muscles like a body builder!!

  • ¼ cup water
  • 2tbs chia seeds
  • 1tbs macca powder
  • 2tbs yogurt
  • 1 ½ tbs Barlenes greens powder (gives me my veggie intake for the day)
  • 1tbs spurlina
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup frozen berries

If you have any questions about anything or would like me to explain anything else in detail feel free to send me an email at info@sheshreds.ca

Lets talk layers with Klim!

So stoked on Klim's new colours and styles! I received a couple boxes full of amazing gear this week from them. Lots of goodies for all the She Shreds clients this season!

But lets talk layers here! The photo below is my personal favorite suite for this year.

The womens Alpine parka (non-insulated) and the mens Powerxross pants (non-insulated).

Why do i pick non-insulated stuff? Well let me tell you!

I like to layer it up! Riding in the mountains we are constantly standing, moving and jumping around on our snowmobile. We get hot very fast. Thats why I like to layer it up.

Lets say its about -10C outside my layering choices for that day would be for a base layer the Lady Tach LS T, followed by the Ladies Sundance Shirt then the Alpine Parka. That would give me the option to shed a layer if I get too hot and put it back on once I cool down at lunch or something. Don't get me wrong, if its colder outside I will probably be wearing my other suit - the womens Allure Parka (insulated) and the Allure bib pants (insulated) with less layering - probably just the Lady Tech LS under the jacket (I may consider putting the Sundance shirt in my pack for additional layering incase). Ill be wearing the Adrenaline GTX boot and Powerxross gloves as well!

Visit klim.com for more on this years outerwear.