Wildsnow Goes Stealth – SCS Wraps

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 10, 2012      

I’m sure we’ve all been there; some guy is handing out stickers, your inner childhood thoughts of “I need that!” or “it would look awesome on my helmet” take over and you’re begging some brand rep for stickers. Sounds familiar. Well that’s exactly how I ran into Paul from SCS Unlimited as he was surrounded by sticker hungry kids at this years Winter XGames.

The official Wildsnow.com Sled Wrap

The official Wildsnow.com Sled Wrap

Well to be honest it wasn’t Paul who was surrounded but one of his sponsored athletes, Heath Frisby, who just threw the first front flip on a snowmobile in history. This one was planned, unlike my attempts at gunning the throttle into soft snow only to be ejected and therefore tomahawking through the air countless times.

I wasn’t in line or baring my chest for an autograph, I was there to check out the machine that just catapulted a human being hundreds of feet through the air.

Heath Frisby's's XGames sled

Heath Frisby's's XGames sled

Knowing that I would never truly know what the guts were inside, I simply went on what I saw from the outside: a seat with a hole through each side for a superman grab, handlebar wrist stoppers to perform inverted tricks, snowmobile foot straps to aid in-air control, and a sweet paint job. The last part was deceiving.

This was no paint job but a DPF 8000 3.8 mil satin white, high-tensile, polyvinyl chloride film combined with a Convex Gloss laminate that is 8 mil thick placed on top of the 3 mil base layer providing 11.8 mil of protection. 14.8 mil of protection that is guaranteed to last for 7 years. I was assured this was tougher than any paint job.

Mounting and remounting skis by day and night to form the Ultimate Quiver has had me make a few glances over my shoulder at the M8 dressed in black.

The naked Arctic Cat

The naked Arctic Cat

Something needed to be done to the trusty steed while Lou was over in Europe, telling tales of chest deep powder from yesteryear and then proceeding to ski just that for almost a month straight while eating Bavarian treats. Jealous I was.

After carefully selecting from one of the many wraps on his site we settled on “Playground” (See all the options here ) as our theme. Armed with one of Paul’s SCS Unlimited sled wraps the transformation began.

Shipped neatly in a tube, the wrap arrived and visions of backflips began. Not really but close. After flattening the adhesive on the bench I attempted to figure out just where each piece went on the sled. I caved in and turned to the online-directions for some help.

SCS Wraps online tutorial. The last sentence is especially true!

SCS Wraps online tutorial. The last sentence is especially true!

After giving the M8 a proper wash in some denatured alcohol I went about placing the precut stickers on the corresponding panels. Aided with a heat gun, Exacto knife, and a few pieces of flexible plastic (expired credit cards to be exact) I slowly, very slowly, placed the graphics in the desired place.

This is not a process that you can do in a few minutes. (See the last sentence in the instructions) Best to cue up a Grateful Dead show and prepare for the long haul from sound check to encore. Additionally, having a shop minion is highly advised for the larger sections such as the hood cowl. I was solo.

The results were nothing less than spectacular.

Naked Arctic Cat no more!

Naked Arctic Cat no more!

With a few alterations and re-tries the sled was ready for 2013’s X games. The real question is what is Lou going to throw over those jumps?

Finished SCS Wrap job. A tad bit longer then one complete Dead show but well worth the bling factor.

Finished SCS Wrap job. A tad bit longer then one complete Dead show but well worth the bling factor.

Many thanks to Paul and his team at SCS Unlimited for their help in transforming the Wildsnow petrol sherpa .


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


52 Responses to “Wildsnow Goes Stealth – SCS Wraps”

  1. Colin April 10th, 2012 12:24 pm

    They might not see you, but they’ll still smell and hear you. 😉

  2. Michael Pike April 10th, 2012 2:06 pm

    Not what I want to see on my favorite backcountry blogsite.
    Sorry Joe, this post is a no go.

  3. steveG April 10th, 2012 2:07 pm

    I LOVE the smell of Castrol in the back country, or any where. “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”

  4. Dave P. April 10th, 2012 3:32 pm

    Ugh- what an exercise in vanity and futility. Let’s stick to human-powered skiing, OK?

  5. Kevin April 10th, 2012 4:48 pm

    I am not a ‘biler, but I Like it! It’s about having a litle fun. Maybe you downers should seek more soulful reading. Even pastry write-ups get stale after awhile 😉

  6. Shane April 10th, 2012 4:48 pm

    I think that SCS is headquartered here in Bozeman. Other than a mural they did for MSU, all I ever see of their work is super guady effects plastered to giant diesel pick-ups. Unlike the stuff you put on the ‘bile the SCS logo is ALWAYS a prominent motif in their designs.

    Pretty cool business model. I’ve always wondered how SCS gets people to pay them to turn their vehicles into rolling billboards. It’s kinda like paying a premium for a t-shirt because it says “Haynes” or “Fruit of the Loom” on the front.

    I don’t know, this blog entry is no more out of line than the “name the pastry” stuff.

  7. steveG April 10th, 2012 5:02 pm

    Ohoh! Here we go. 🙂

    1st – My first BC experience was enabled by a snow machine. Without it, the 6 mile trip to the skin up would have made the adventure impossible for me as a collector of Soc. Sec..

    2nd – If you purists were truly true to your heritage, you would still have leather in your bindings and wool in your britches. Your cheating.

    3rd – Seems like I’ll never run out of people to gift with one of my “If You’re Not Just Like Me — I’m Not Interested” Tee shirts.

    Nice Post Joe!!

  8. Joe April 10th, 2012 6:11 pm

    Snowmobiles and backcountry access for some are just a way of life. Not this winter for us here in CO as that sled hasn’t moved all season.

    With anything here at Wildsnow HQ we usually make it our own wether it be modifying boots, bindings, and yes sometimes even snowmobiles.

    My apologies to the purists.

  9. Chris April 11th, 2012 5:56 am

    When I lived in Bozeman, it was common knowledge that SCS stood for “Sierra Club Sucks.” I’m a skier and a sled rider and open minded about this stuff, but this sort of “us against them” attitude pisses me off. It doesn’t help anyone on either side of the fence. We need people who are willing to tear down the damn fence.

    Regardless of your inclinations, supporting such a company on a backcountry ski site is going to draw fire.

    COME ON.

  10. brian h April 11th, 2012 7:51 am

    Plake once said “skiing is still a hick sport that takes place at the end of a dirt road”. A lot of us who grew up in the west have lived in the interface of motors in the backcountry. Whether it’s dirt bikes in the desert or sleds in the mountains. The difference nowadays is TOO MANY PEOPLE. Too many suburban motorheads with no sense of where to ride, too many yupsters with urbane hypocrisy issues…

  11. Pierce Oz April 11th, 2012 9:21 am

    You guys must be new around here. Do a search, there are tons of posts on snomo’s, Lou’s bad@ss jeep, and even (GASP!) hunting. I bet I could even find a chainsaw post or two. I highly doubt you will get an apology.

    Not to speak on his behalf, but this site has always been about enjoying all aspects of the “backcountry,” which in old-school Colorado parlance includes all of the above mentioned along with lots of backcountry skiing, including the sled-accessed kind. Conversely, Lou has always preached enjoying the backcountry responsibly, no matter what you are doing, and has been a good steward for all users in this way by words and actions. I’m with Lou there.

    If you really want to get your enviro-senses offended, do a search of this site for “sierra club.” 🙂

    And, um, criticizing someone who responsibly enjoys things you don’t sure sounds like an exercise in vanity and futility to me.

  12. Rando Swede April 11th, 2012 12:40 pm

    You know, the only purists are skinning from town on their skis made of 200 year-old, reclaimed barn wood in carbon fiber boots from repurposed B1 Bombers, manufactured by adults who happen to be well-educated native peoples, eating locally harvested organic food who occasionally don’t feel well so they ride bikes to their low-VOC green-built clinics, utilizing wind/solar power, staffed by doctors and nurses who are paid by the national health care system.

  13. Matt Kinney April 11th, 2012 1:03 pm

    If the desire for the solitude is vanity then so be it.

  14. cory April 11th, 2012 2:11 pm

    Sorry but, modifying and decorating are 2 entirely different things. Modifying (at least what I’ve seen Lou do) is very purposeful…to make an item function better for the user. Decorating is done to make something more visually appealing for soceity’s eyes.

    I used to be into decorating. You should see my high school pee-chee folders. I’m still into modifying (my boots are affectionately called, “Frankenboots”).

    Especially on stuff like this, I refuse to advertise for a company for free. I giggle a bit when I see a huge nike swoosh in the back window of a Corolla. That’s just me. I also wouldn’t spend an entire Dead show decorating. That’s also just me.

    3 last things:
    -I love the way both sides have turned this into a battle over a snomobile’s place in this world.
    -If my friends are listening…pull a stunt like Joe while I’m away and you’ll get an a** kicking.
    -If my employees are listening…pull a stunt like Joe while I’m away and you’ll be fired and get an a**kicking.

  15. Michael Pike April 11th, 2012 2:48 pm

    My negative response was not a blanket condemnation of snowmobiles, but a dislike of glorified acrobatic machine worship.
    I drive a car but I’m not a fan of NASCAR racing.

  16. Bar Barrique April 11th, 2012 9:18 pm

    Lou does love to stir things up. I,m glad to see that he got to play with his new sled this season, even though it was only in his shop. If he wants some real sledhead cred; he will have to replace the stock exhaust pipe with the noisiest aftermarket stuff he can find.

  17. Ralph April 12th, 2012 7:40 am

    Apropos stickers, check out my buddy Drew’s website:
    for some rad stickers and T-shirts I designed. Way cooler and easier to apply to your snowmachine than the above graphics 🙂

  18. dillon April 12th, 2012 6:13 pm

    So you spent time and money making your sled look stupid?

  19. Lou April 12th, 2012 10:41 pm

    Pierce gets it. The idea here at WildSnow.com is to explore and have fun with blogging about all aspects of the mountain life for a community of ski mountaineers. While we do emphasize the human powered parts of the day, once in a while we cover the machinery and tools we use in that lifestyle.

    And… opinions welcome in the comments so long as they’re not boorish personal attacks and stuff like that. Dillon thinks the sled looks stupid, so be it. He seems to be bewildered about the fact that we all have the right to our own bad taste (grin). As for me, just having fun with gear, Louie and Joe liked the idea of messing around with the sled skin, so we did. It’s reversible.

    Snowmobiles are a big issue for North American backcountry skiers, and they should be. Nice to see we can trigger some discussion with whatever type of snowmobile post.

    Oh, better set the record straight, we did use the new sled for a few days this so-called winter in Colorado. already looking forward to next year.

  20. Mark W April 13th, 2012 6:45 am

    I’ll stay non-partisan, so to speak, and just keep it positive: Nice work on the front flip!!

  21. See April 13th, 2012 8:28 am

    Snowmobiles are like cell phones– when it’s your own conversation, it doesn’t bother you, when it’s someone else yakking away in a shared space, it does.

  22. Lou April 13th, 2012 9:47 am

    See, I’d agree that’s part of the problem. But it goes way beyond the noise. The problem really is when sleds track up all the available snow. A bit of sled noise here and there doesn’t bother me at all, but when I’m competing with them for powder, I’m just like most other guys and start to get concerned, if not annoyed. Lucky for us, we just don’t get in that situation very often.

    Had a funny experience yesterday with all this. Our friend Ted was making a low angled powder run down a beautiful untracked bowl here in the Alps. About half way through his run, along comes a snowmobile heading down from the hut above for a resupply. Classic. (And our trip reports are coming…)

  23. Rob Mullins April 13th, 2012 10:25 am

    Americans ride snowmobiles and carry guns. God bless America! However, we just cannot shoot our guns anywhere as we please without law and good sense guiding us. Snowmobile use is a relatively newer phenomenon that we have not yet worked out as a society. It seems to me that it is worked out for both guns and snowmobiles in Europe, and I am glad to be ‘merican for that reason!

    That said, our group Wenatchee Mountains Coalition continues to work for reasonable management of the winter Forest that would have good designated areas for both snowmobile riding and areas for muscle-powered quiet recreation. At this point, the issues remains polarized with lack of honest consideration for the other side both ways in many cases. And since USFS refuses to deal with it, it is pretty much a free-for-all and guess which side gets the most acres of the Forest…that is, the side with > 150 HP!

    Our Wenatchee Forest here is a gem that would provide well for all of our uses, USFS has the regulatory tools to make it happen, and we will continue to advocate for management of the winter forest for the multiple uses.

  24. dillon April 13th, 2012 11:07 am

    Sorry if you took my comment personally. It was just what came immediately to mind after reading Joe’s post. I have nothing against using sleds to access great skiing. I have a Rev that gets used on a regular basis to do just that. My issue (if you could even call it that) is largely based on the nonutilitarian nature of this “mod”.
    What I’m saying is this: If you are going to post about sleds, I think most who check out your site frequently would prefer useful stuff like ski carry systems, exhaust re-routing, etc. and of course trip reports from actually using the thing to go skiing now and again.
    Can’t wait to see radical “truck skin” reports when you do up the Silverado.

  25. Joe April 13th, 2012 1:04 pm

    @Dillon some times there are some down days around here and we cant always be skiing the gnar in Europe. (aka Lou) While I do agree the post is pretty nonutilitarian if graphics didn’t matter we would all be skiing on unidentifiable wood/carbon sandwiched planks….

  26. Dave P. April 13th, 2012 1:41 pm

    Since Joe brought it up, I for one would love to see the ski industry back off on the increasingly gaudy top-sheet graphics. While my Manaslus are far superior to most and arguably a work of art, my favorite part of that graphic is where the top sheet is clear, showing the beautiful wood underneath. I wish I could get a pair with plain, clear top sheets- what a beautiful ski that would be! And don’t get me started on base graphics….

    Rob Mullins makes a great point about the need to manage conflicting uses on popular public lands. This is best done before things get out of hand, but unfortunately it rarely is.

  27. dillon April 13th, 2012 3:09 pm

    @Joe. I guess I’m not tallking about wether or not graphics matter. They definitely don’t matter to me – my rev 8 hood is held together with a couple hundred zip ties (and I’d be labeled a poseur around here if it wasn’t). Apparently graphics matter to you and that’s fine I guess. I assume you also have stickers plastered all over your vehicle, thule box, etc…which is fine as well but it’s just not my style. Believe me, if I could swap out the lame topsheet graphics on the megawatts with woodgrain topsheets I would. But that just opens up a new can of worms cause woodgrain would be considered a graphic design I suppose. Anyway, I just found your post dedicated to putting stickers on your sled kind of annoying. And it didn’t help that you paid top dollar to a bunch of meatheads like SCS to do so.

  28. jay April 13th, 2012 4:29 pm

    thank you ^^^ funny how all you “backcountry” people are worried about graphics and colors.

  29. dillon April 13th, 2012 5:56 pm

    All thats missing on your sled now are the gopros mounted fore and aft…

    The Gaper Spirit Sled…

    I am now fully kidding by the way.

  30. Joe April 13th, 2012 6:36 pm

    Thanfully my truck is not a moving billboard. I have one emblem “Toyota” that is all. Although my toolbox is another story.

    I too would love a pair of “stealthy” clear coated top sheets on a few pairs of skis.

    Just wait for our multi-POV setup these guys have nothing on Wildsnow! http://www.artworknotavailable.com/timeslice/

    Just kidding.

  31. John Gloor April 14th, 2012 12:29 am

    Nice looking sled Lou. With a snowmobile you can go another ten miles further up the same road you drove your vehicle on. In my 25+ years touring in Colorado, I have never had an issue with sleds competing with me for powder. Either I tour in wilderness, or I go in terrain which sleds cannot go up. I have a sled, but it only goes up gentle roads to the bottom of an area I want to tour out of.

    @ rob. I have not toured in the Wenatache, but here in the White River national Forest, muscle powered recreationalists have way more access and terrain available to them than snowmobilers do. Plus, I have never seen an area that did not give human powered access if motors were allowed, but it is often the case the other way around. Muscle powered recreationalists have way more terrain open to them, and they are the only ones who want to exclude other users.

  32. Lou April 14th, 2012 2:00 am

    Where in tarnation did the concept come from that backcountry skiers are any less interested in design, graphics and stuff like that, than anyone else? Sort of a revisionist view based on granola days of 4 decades ago? Even back then (for those of you who were around that long ago) many people dressed with care and required a certain look in their gear — even if it was monotone wool knickers and the Volkswagon van had some fluorescent Hendrix graphics.

  33. Lou April 14th, 2012 2:11 am

    Gloor, from what I know, the problem in Rob’s area is the result of several things. First, the snow up there is usually much denser and way easier for sledders to boondock around on without getting stuck (even the modern sleds have their limits, when it comes to bottomless facets). Also, they have a lot more logging roads and that sort of access that gets the sledders up there. Our legal Wilderness around Aspen area is much less accessible, though I’ve been aced out by Wilderness poaching sledders a couple times on Mount Sopris, and also on Independence Pass. I also think that in most of Colorado there are fewer serious boondocking sledders than in some other places I’ve been.

    They definitely have a Wilderness poaching problem in Rob’s area. We’re very fortunate that in our area it’s not that big a deal.

  34. Rob Mullins April 14th, 2012 8:28 pm

    Lou does illustrate some of the situation correctly. It is always interesting when advocating for some balanced management (something for all the uses) where now snomos get most of it, snomo guys and others say muscle-powered folks are being selfish. If one is fit and wants a 12 hour tour for a few thousand vert., that is often possible if the avy hazard allows it. But a lot of moderate and accessible terrain where one would go with high avy hazard will likely be snomo speedway. On our Forest, in about thirty miles of pristine roadless crest in the Wenatchee Mountains just four sections of land is CFR set aside closed to snowmobiles from the road access side. There is great terrain over the crest in Wilderness, but even that is heavily tracked in recent years by snowmobiles, and requires two hours+ of walking through non-Wilderness snomo speedway to access for a skier. Twenty years ago, most of the open slopes did not have snomo tracks, we few had a lot of skitouring, But now any open slope up to 35 degrees is heavily tracked by snomos and they are climbing slopes approaching 40 degrees up to the cornices in some areas.The largest amount of open terrain with slopes less than 35 degrees is here on the drier and sunny east slope, and it has been taken over by snowmobiles since there has not been management on the Wenatchee of where snomos may go.. It is wide open, no guidelines, no rules, if someone can get their machine up it, if they discover a stash by following ski tracks, then it is theirs for motorized recreation from that time forward..

    Wilderness here is not that accessible in an average day tour, except in a few places, very busy places. A lot of the west slope/ crest skitouring is nearly all avalanche path, other than tree skiing which may be good in old-growth timber, or not if drippy and refrozen. So if there is a decent open slope anywhere outside Wilderness that is not some steep avy path, skiers want it, and snomols want it more all the time. The exponential expansion of snomo riding due to new technology now is starting to get into even the ‘west-side/ crest beginner skitouring areas. Another interesting thing is that the big access points such as Mt Baker and Mt Rainier Paradise, Crystal Mtn, even Snoqualmie has skitouring that snomos have not gone on, are more accessible to west siders and not as close for east siders.Stay tuned, with ever-expanding snowmobile use there may be more expressions of concern from the Pugetopolis folks many who do not get our east-slope concerns.

  35. Rob Mullins April 14th, 2012 8:32 pm
  36. Lou April 15th, 2012 1:03 pm

    Interesting how these threads go. I just had to delete a comment from someone attacking Rob for trying to help get the Wenatchee snowmobile situation under control. Please ZM, realize that every place is different and they really do have a problem up in Washington with sled poaching of legal Wilderness. Re-post if you like, leave off the profanity and attack mode. We’re trying to have a reasonable discussion. For attack mode, please head over to TGR, they make lots of money off big long argument threads, so help them out (grin). Lou

  37. Bar Barrique April 15th, 2012 10:50 pm

    I would agree that solutions between user groups (motorized, and, non-motorized) can be found. I think that respect for each other is a reasonable starting point.
    The rise in popularity of BC skiing has created a renewed push for accessible non- motorized use areas.
    And, if I had a “port a hut”; I would probably use a sled to access it, but my joy is in climbing for turns through quiet forest, and, alpine terrain.

  38. Lou April 16th, 2012 12:06 am

    Bar, I think it’s helped a ton during more recent years that many snowmobilers are also backcountry skiers. Years ago, this was much less the case. Now the two groups cross enough to have quite a bit more respect and reasonable discussion. Nonetheless, a divide exists. Working through that is important and can be done, but the will needs to be there, on the part of the USFS to enforce their own rules, and on the part of user groups to sit down and work things out.

    One of the most annoying things is when the USFS uses the “we have no money” excuse when they can’t regulate this stuff. What the USFS does with their money is sometimes a matter of allocation, in many cases they choose to do other things with it. Some of that is set in law and they can’t do anything about it, but they do have some discretion and we constantly hope they’d spend more money on enforcement of existing regulations.

  39. cory April 16th, 2012 2:01 pm

    Gloor’s quote, “Muscle powered recreationalists have way more terrain open to them, and they are the only ones who want to exclude other users.”

    This frustrates me as this is usually where all land use disagreements go. People quickly try and shift the discussion away from the “stuff” that is prohibited and then falsely make it seem as if it is about excluding people.

    What is the next technology that will be invented that the people expect the goverenment to supply them a place to use? I think of ATV’s (invented in my lifetime) and now it seems as if there is an expectation that they are able to use them as they please on public land. It is the welfare state run amok where we feel like the government must supply us with everything.

    For the record, I stand to inherit a D4 bulldozer. I do not expect the government to supply me with a place to play with it.

  40. John Gloor April 16th, 2012 8:45 pm

    Cory, I am in no way advocating a free for all. Here is where I am coming from. In the summer, I mountain bike, and dirt bike. I often go to areas which were dirt bike areas long before mountain bikes existed and before I rode dirt bikes. I cannot put a number on the amount of times I have run across mountain bikers who voice their opinions that motorized users should not be allowed on the legal trails which they created. Have you ever heard a moto user say hikers/ bikers should not be on their trails? That concept is absurd, yet closing legal access to moto users is rampant, and apparently popular. I use my sled conscientiously on legal roads here, yet getting the stink eye from dog walkers and nordic skiers is the norm. These same people have literally hundreds thousands of wilderness in our county alone, yet I am the bad guy since I use my machine on one ribbon of road which is one of several which we are allowed to use. I am on this site because I love to skin for my turns. However, I do not like skinning ten miles on snow covered paved roads, hence the sled access. If the road was plowed, as it is in the spring, I’d drive my vehicle to the same starting point. If you are getting scoped out of your lines by wilderness moto poachers, that is another issue compared to me driving on the snow covered roads legally. That is a bit of where I am coming from. I guess we are lucky here in that the huge amounts of wilderness we have minimizes a lot of conflicts. On the flip side, there needs to be places where moto usage is allowed.

  41. Rob Mullins April 16th, 2012 11:03 pm

    Our efforts are for balanced use, planned and designated motorized use as well as non-motorized areas accessible outside Wilderness. WMC is not against snowmobile use. I ride a snowmobile since the 1980s to go out to skitour. In that time I have seen the undesignated and unregulated snowmobile takeover of the offroad Forest- domination, taking reasonable use of most of the Forest from the majority muscle-powered winter recreationalists. WMC has no issue with snowmobile use on the established network- road systems with few exceptions. If process is followed per law, regulation, and EO, offroad riding designated and managed would be appropriate. On our Forest is a lot of pristine roadless area, not in Wilderness, that has been taken over by new-technology snowmobiles, without consideration, designation, without regulation. As a result, the problem has spilled into Wilderness while USFS repeats little or nothing can be done.

    The first step is the proper process, proper study, designation, and boundaries. Public involvement- all sides- are required in that process. Much of the desirable terrain gets ridden completely by snowmobiles, and the areas used by snowmobiles is ever-expanding in the vacuum of no rules, no designation, no consideration, no boundaries. In our Wenatchee Forest, the more appropriate term would be Snowmobile National Forest since all but four sections of land outside Wilderness is considered available for snowmobile riding. WMC asks for winter muscle-powered Forest users to step up to describe and defend their use.

  42. cory April 17th, 2012 11:06 am

    You did it again!
    “closing legal access to moto users is rampant, and apparently popular”

    It is about STUFF, not PEOPLE. When they make laws and rules banning a specific group of PEOPLE, be very afraid.

    When it comes to land use, I think the safest route is to think of what existed when the land was made public and utilize that to create the land use regs. If they make a new area of public land, they should have a reasonable expectation that current technologies will be used there. To expect past American leaders to read the future as to what technology may have an impact on that land is obviously impossible.

    I worry that the indoctrination is complete when people are constantly expecting their government to take care of their every need. Take care of yourself. Don’t expect the government to give you a place to use everything you buy. Don’t expect them to take care of you.

  43. brian h April 17th, 2012 4:11 pm

    Cory- So, your opinion is that land use should be based on the ideas, intentions, and technology that existed when the Forest Service was created???

  44. John Gloor April 17th, 2012 7:15 pm

    Cory, yes, I expressed my opinion again, and I bet it is different than yours. I get what you are saying. I am just not looking at this like it is some constitutional right which is being oppressed. I get it that no type of person is excluded, such as an ethnicity, or a religion, sexual orientation, etc. I get that you probably do not think machines have any place on public lands. My view is that there are places suitable for activities other than hiking and skinning. Sometimes sharing the land with multiple users is ok.

    I have to disagree with you view that only activities around in 1870 are things that should be allowed. That is certainly a safe view, which protects the outdoors to an absolute degree, but not all newer activities are so damaging that they should be banned. Your inherited bulldozer might be an exception. Activities such as snowmobiling, jeeping, mountainbiking all have restrictions on when and where they can be done. In Colorado, sleds need a foot of snow. Jeeps have to stay on roads. Bikers may not make trails wherever they please. These are things which are pretty democratically supported to some degree. If you cannot concede that, then I would bet you views would land you outside the norm in some extremist camp. I am also in no way looking for someone to take care of me. I don’t know where your view of a welfare state for motor users came from.

  45. Justin April 18th, 2012 11:10 am

    Guys, this is a great conversation. Joe asked me to peek in and see what I thought, and I have a few things to toss in there… I am the Education and Stewardship Programs Manager for Tread Lightly!. We work nationally to promote responsible use of public lands through ethics education and stewardship. The organization originally began under the USFS, similar to the Smokey Bear campaign, but became a non-profit in 1990 to facilitate public-private partnerships towards supporting respectful access.

    There was mention of declining budgets to enforce and support regulations on public lands. While this is true, there is proven benefit in promoting responsibility in maintaining a balance between access and environmental protection without additional cost to agencies. What’s the need for additional enforcement if everyone is behaving appropriately, right?

    On that same note, I would like to emphasize that the OHV/Snowmobile communities are required by law in most states to pay an annual registration on their vehicles. These fees range from $10 every two years to $30 or $35 every year, and there is rarely any reciprocity between states. Where does that money go? It goes to fund trail crews, maintenance projects, signage, snow grooming, trail head construction, etc etc. These projects add up to tens of millions of dollars each year paid by the “motors” that benefit everyone.

    There has been much success nationwide, and Colorado especially with working with user groups to open dialogue that works to establish areas for specific uses. Vail pass is an excellent example of this. It all comes down to respect for each other, respect for the land, and an understanding of why we all recreate. I bet that deep down, the internal motivation for using sleds (even boondocking) is about the same as the internal motivation for skinning/BC skiing. And I say that as someone who doesn’t care what my method is… I just love being outdoors on any given day.

    A couple more thoughts, then I have to bounce… Can’t be trolling the blogs and forums all day, unfortunately.

    This concept of “expectation of the government to provide…”. Well, these lands are public lands. We all have the ability to access areas that are managed for different types of recreation to cater towards our desires. There is debate over whether this access is a “right” or a “privilege”, but regardless… There is a responsibility. A responsibility on the part of the land managers to provide a managed recreation setting, whether its for hiking, equestrian, ATVs, snowmobiles, or hang-gliding… And a responsibility on the part of us to behave appropriately with actions that do not ruin the landscape or the experience for other users that will follow along behind us. The problem with not providing managed sites for recreation of these established activities is that people WILL find places to do it. Managed recreation is far better than unmanaged. Hands down.

    Last thought. Our 5 principles lay a pathway for responsible and respectful use:
    T – Travel Responsibly (designated routes and areas)
    R – Respect the Rights of others (be nice. seriously. that’s all it is)
    E – Educate yourself (Avy course anyone?)
    A – Avoid sensitive areas (such as wetlands and critical wildlife habitats)
    D – Do your part (by modeling appropriate behaviors)

    We have a number of programs, PSAs, and resources available. Please visit our website, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


    All the best,

    justin (at) treadlightly.org

  46. Lou April 18th, 2012 2:18 pm

    This might be off topic by now (grin), but it should be made clear that the sled wrap post above is a gear review, and the company did provide the product at no charge for us to mess around with.

  47. Rob Mullins April 18th, 2012 6:16 pm

    Justin, great comments about responsibility and designated recreation. Motorsport, contrasted to motorized travel, is very different from other uses on public lands. This is at the heart of the matter but is not recognized and evaluated. The question, unasked and unanswered is, “are public lands appropriate for providing terrain for daily motorsport?” Perhaps it is appropriate for some public lands/ routes to be designated for travel using motorized vehicles. Motorized use of the Forest by some is simply an act of using the throttle and sport-riding, perhaps on challenging terrain. Others use motors for transportation to a trailhead. Unfortunately, our Forest and many are managed as if it is long ago, when snowmobiles did not have the capability to venture offroad very far- especially in the steep Cascades. As a result there is now an offroad snowmobile free-for-all that displaces other Forest users/ citizens from their reasonable use of the winter Forest.

  48. Lou April 19th, 2012 12:14 am

    The irony continues. Over here in the Austrian ski touring heaven, you’re not allowed to snowmobile for recreation. Instead, the constant march of new ski lift cables is something to behold. Unlike a snowmobile, once the cable is there it is permanent, and it is backcountry no more. Not sure what lesson we can learn from this, except that perhaps human nature is such that any kind of mechanized access requires great care in terms of where it’s allowed, otherwise it seems to grow exponentially and has huge impact.

    Not to be elitist, we should all remember that human powered recreation is growing as well, and in some places the foot travelers can overwhelm the environment (I’ve seen that in National Parks, and on the Colorado fourteeners in summer).

    In the end, we have to get back to basics and decide if outdoor recreation is worth some sacrifice of backcountry and wilderness quality, no matter if it’s human powered or not. Beyond that, all users will have to admit that the muscle powered variety is much easier on the land.

    One lesson I’ve learned over here in Europe, everyone, you’d better be vigilant. It’s one thing to regulate snowmobiles, but what about all the proposals for new ski lifts? Heli skiing? Or, what about building new high-country huts for ski touring? How much impact does that cause? If we’re going to get harder on the snowmobiliers, should they turn around and say “hey you guys, no more huts?”

    No clear answer to all this. Instead, it’s a progression of discussion, experimentation, and adjustments of regulations. Not to mention enforcement of existing regs.

    This latter item, enforcing regulations, is incredibly important. If we make regulations for backcountry use and don’t enforce them, the whole process of experimentation, negotiation and fine tuning is halted. That’s basically what’s happened in Colorado. Only recently has there been any more than a paltry attempt at enforcing Wilderness ban on snowmobiles. And you still see plenty of poaching evidence (or witness the actual act in person). My theory is once they get stricter with that, you’ll see snowmobilers become much more politically active, which in turn will inspire the opposite end of the spectrum to be more politically active.

    This is possibly what happened with the Hidden Gems wilderness campaign in west central Colorado. Much to the Wilderness advocate’s surprise, they came up with yet another Wilderness proposal and had much more opposition than they’ve had in the past. I feel this is because many people have realized, due to better public education as well as stepped up enforcement of existing rules, that legal Wilderness is the most restrictive land use designation and pretty much shuts down every form of backcountry recreation we know of, from hut building/use to mountain biking (with the exclusion of things like horse packing and cattle grazing, of course). What ensued was a much more healthy debate and discussion than in the past. The general public seems to get it now. More Wilderness might cause a warm fuzzy glow as you sit at home in your armchair reading a John Fielder book, but you’re not going to be mountain biking up there, or staying in a hut, or riding your sled. Where it leads I don’t know. BUT, enforcing existing rules is the key to much of this.

    As Rob alludes to, if existing rules for snowmobiles were enforced and obeyed, much of the problem of snowmobile conflicts would go away in many regions (though the problem remains in many places as well.)

  49. Lou April 19th, 2012 12:20 am

    Hi Cory, thank for your comments but I have to ask, according to your logic, in Colorado should we grandfather in all the mining that existed when most of the land parcels were created in the western Colorado mountains? That question is rhetorical, as I know you wouldn’t want that. My point is, perhaps you’d better think through your logic (grin). I’d love to be able to do on my land what was allowed in the late 1800s, could build virtually anything and dig mines all over the place. Liberty! Lou

  50. Rob Mullins April 19th, 2012 12:25 pm

    Great discussion, Lou about mechanized-cable dominance and huts’ influence on the backcountry.

    In our area, WA, access is limited and huts rare. Sadly we have discovered in our advocacy that USFS for various reasons will first recommend Wilderness rather than dare to designate some of the Forest as winter non-motorized. Within the areas of the Wenatchee Mountains Coalition Proposal for winter non-motorized areas is a great opportunity for several huts. Those huts could be placed in areas to serve muscle-powered travel, and also in areas that would allow snowmobile access. As well, the huts would be along a crest that is the Wilderness Boundary and gateway to the Stuart Range and Enchantments, world-class spectacular glaciated, granodioritic, mountains.

    Unfortunately, we have not achieved the degree of genuine discussion and collaboration from the snowmobile riders who currently have use of most of the Forest. USFS refuses to specifically manage the winter Forest, instead substituting proposed Proposed Wilderness Area in place of reasonable management for all of the uses on the winter Forest.

    WMC encourages citizens to become involved and give input for the reasonable management of the Forest that reduces conflicts and provides areas for quiet, muscle-powered winter recreation.

  51. John Gloor April 21st, 2012 11:21 pm

    Rob, you seem to have a different situation than Lou and I do here in Colorado. We have so much wilderness that getting away from the noise of motors is really easy. In addition, the vast majority of the huts around here have a non-motorized boundary around them. I think you and I are comparing apples and oranges when we talk about our experiences with sleds in the back country.

    In our area of Colorado, the USFS does not advocate on way or another on wilderness. It is generally a politically motivated system where citizens get a congressman or representative to submit a wilderness bill to Congress. The fact that people who have never seen or set foot in the proposed wilderness areas yet vote on them is irksome to me. The way the political system works, large advocacy groups sway politicians, and people who have lived in the area for decades are not really listened to. Rambling response over

  52. Rob Mullins April 22nd, 2012 7:15 am

    Thanks, John, good discussion. It seems difficult at times to illustrate the situation. We have much Wilderness also, but generally inaccessible in winter. From what I understand, if our area had management in winter similar to CO Forest lands, we would have what we ask. My theory is that our situation came later because of the sttep nature of the Cascades resisting snowmobile riding until recent technology advances. And as Lou states, after the HP and long tracks came along then our snowpack allows for snowmobile riding extensively. Skiers tend to tour certain accessible places most of which have not had snowmobile use, only those of us on the open east side mountains experience the issues to the extent described.

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