By BCA Ambassador, Brandy Floyd
Honestly, I think my average riding days have become all about being an #unepicadventures type of riding style. After being involved in 2 avalanches 10 years ago I started adjusting my need for a certain level of adrenaline with my need to stay alive and keep my friends alive. It isn’t always easy to reel yourself in, especially when on a long road trip to say Revelstoke, BC or McCall, Idaho. You want to make it all worth it! But I had a good reminder last year as to why it is preferred to have #unepicadventures.
We were in McCall, Idaho, which is an 8 hour drive from home. The drive had been snowy, the conditions were incredible with all the fresh snow and I had a new snowbike I was itching to ride. I was on my second day of riding my new Timbersled Mountainhorse, still learning the navigation style, not feeling quite in control yet and letting myself wander all over the hill. We had checked the avalanche forecast and it was moderate to considerable, which for us usually means low angled trees or powder filled fields. My riding buddy and myself found this treed hill and set off across it for some fun low angle sidehilling and really, this was about as fun as it gets. Normally we would be quite content with this area on sleds, but I was on my bike and they just get you into trouble. I’m blaming it on the bike.
As I’m sidehilling along it is getting steeper and steeper and this is exhilarating as my shoulder is almost dragging in the snow, effortlessly. I’m giggling, I’ve left my riding partner in the dust. Yes, I’m competitive. I realize I’ve gotten too far away from him so I stop to look around for my route back. This is when I see that I am now on a steep, pretty open face with a cornice above me and trees below me. And then it hits me what all of this means, I’ve deviated from our plan. I am now in avalanche terrain, I am alone, I have terrain traps below me. I am in trouble. I start to shake. I reach up to touch the handle of my Float airbag to make sure it is on the ready.
I hear my buddy on my BC Link radio, “should I come up there” and all I could say was HELL NO! So happy to have this so handy at my shoulder and not either digging for it in a bag or leaving him to make the decision to follow me. Another person on this hillside would have surely set off a slide! I got out of there, down through the trees and out into another glorious bumpy field full of powder. It was a confirmation, THIS is where the fun was today, no need for that area I was just in that had me shaking and alone.
So many adventures can be had in the worst of avalanche ratings in a bumpy field with powder and with this reminder we proceeded to tear this one up and move on to more low angled fun until we couldn’t hang on anymore. Gnarly is fun, great, adrenaline producing but honestly the majority of my best days ever still come from a low angle, #unepic by today’s crazy standards bumpy hill. I’ll take this fun every day!
BCA sled ambassador Brandy Floyd is a world class snowbiker and snowmobile