October 5, 2016
If you are a mountain snowmobiler, or snowmobile-access skier or snowboarder, you may have heard about Backcountry United. Or you may know, or have met a guy named Jon Miller while you were out hunting for powder.
Jon is a Colorado native and experienced backcountry snowboarder, who spent a decade of his career working as a marketing creative director, doing brand-building and advertising for one of the leading snowmobile manufacturers. During that time, he became an industry-insider whose passion was to shift the snowmobile industry marketing model to an “action sports” model via influencer and content marketing. But his obsession was all about bringing snowboarding into the snowmobile industry.
We met Jon at SIA last season and he started telling us about his startup and unique vision for the future of backcountry culture. What’s interesting to us, is that Backcountry United is building an authentic brand via community and stewardship, and they are on a mission to raise avalanche awareness around some topics that we at BCA can get behind.
So what is Backcountry United? Jon calls it a lifestyle brand and social influencer campaign which works to bring backcountry communities together. Human-powered, Motorized, Skiers, Snowboarders, Snowmobilers, Snowshoers, Ski-Tourers, XC Skiers. if you are a winter adventurer and you are dedicated to the backcountry, Backcountry United wants your support.
Why? Jon says, “It’s simple. The division between backcountry cultures and the industries that serve them is working against the common good. We are all out in the same places and for the same reasons—regardless of how any of us choose to access it. Let’s work together to enjoy it, and to put the right messages into the backcountry consumer culture.”
Jon goes on to say that there are three main focus points to spread awareness and bring people together.
Stewardship, to promote and get people involved in preserving our access to public lands. Jon has been working with the Vail Pass Task Force, a board committee that brings motorized and human-powered stakeholders together, to collaborate and advise the White River National Forest / Dillon-Ranger District on management of the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area. Jon has also made in-roads and worked to support Conservation Colorado in establishing the first Public Lands Day in Colorado, to celebrate public lands and the quality of life they provide.
Education, to influence people to get the gear and training to be safe in avalanche terrain. Jon used Backcountry United to make an example of himself last year, and completed his Avalanche Level 1 certification with Mike Duffy and Silverton Avalanche School last season, and is continuing to push his education and others he meets to get the gear and training to be safe in the backcountry. Jon has also helped with CAIC fundraisers in the past, and collaborated with the Colorado Snowmobile Association to develop beacon checkpoints at popular snowmobile trailheads in Colorado.
Respect, to get people to take the time to consider one another, get to know each other, and look out for others’ safety and experiences in the backcountry.
Backcountry United is a lifestyle brand that is working to bring people together, to sustain the access we all love, to help keep one another safe, and to remind us all to respect one another.
As if Jon’s goals weren’t ambitious enough, he has also come to market with a line of aftermarket accessories designed to make the modern snowmobile more ergonomically functional and versatile for the sled-accessed backcountry skier and snowboarder. BCU released a patent-pending ski/snowboard rack, the TSAINA RACK which Jon says “elevates the hybrid experience by solving most of the user-experience issues that have been discovered using traditional rack design configurations.”
We’ve enjoyed getting to know Jon and hear about his goals, and we look forward to the rise of Backcountry United in the coming future.
Check out Backcountry United on Instagram and Facebook @backcountryunited.