Snowmobiling and backcountry skiing are just a couple of the more enjoyable winter recreation activities we can partake in within the Sawtooth Mountains. Like any activity, there are some things to be aware of when it comes to your own safety, wildlife protection, and being eco-friendly.
Be aware of winter weather conditions before you go. Always bring another rider with you, as well as a first aid kit. Avoid frozen waterways being sure to stay on the trail and maintain a safe speed. In addition to wearing protective clothing, certification courses are also highly recommended.
Minimize your impacts
Never harass wildlife- yes, that means keeping a safe distance when taking pictures and avoiding wildlife habitats altogether if possible. Be sure to keep your snowmobile well maintained. Doing so will produce minimal noise and exhaust. And always- take your trash with you.
Safe backcountry skiing
The essential safety gear for backcountry riding includes an avalanche transceiver, a shovel, and a probe. Taking an AIARE avalanche course or similar training is especially important. Skis and snowboards will need to be equipped with backcountry bindings or skins allowing for uphill travel.
Always create new skin tracks, -don’t walk in existing tracks. Also, fill in the snow pit dug out to analyze the snow. These can be dangerous holes for unsuspecting skiers, snowboarders, and small animals. Be aware of other ski groups around you. This is especially important if an avalanche were to occur. If playing music, keep the volume low- or off if there is another group nearby. Dispose of waste properly. Yes, that includes human waste!
Enjoying the great Idaho outdoors while appreciating and respecting your surroundings not only makes for a great day, it assures these activities (and animals) will be around for generations to come.