We often sled at night, sometimes we sled at night because we have been on the hill all day and into the night, sometimes we ride at night because we got onto the hill late and we still have fuel to burn, sometimes we ride at night to help rescue a fellow sledder off the hill. Certainly, in December and January, we end up riding at night because the days are so short, it gets dark early and we are out riding as we try to extend our day in the early season. For whatever reason we are up on the hill at night we love the experience. Based upon the weather, each time we are on the mountain at night it is a different experience. If it’s snowing, the wind often is calm and the quiet snow falling is a special experience. If there is a clear sky and the moon is out, being on top of the mountains with the moonlight in the trees or open meadows makes things seem surreal and ethereal.
Whatever the conditions are at night riding at night seems more intense as you often can’t see beyond a short range, the sledding areas you might be very familiar with during the day looks very different at night. The familiar zones take on a new feel and a new challenge as you have to navigate the terrain and snow conditions without the ability to pick lines and view the terrain as you would be able to do during the day. The landscape and terrain become less predictable and hidden objects, hazards and creek beds become less visible. Riding at night also can trigger many people’s animal instincts as we know that inherently there are more dangers at night, we grew up with ghost or scary stories about things that go bump in the night. But it is not always completely dark when we have ridden at night, we have ridden on full moon nights and it can be almost as bright as the day, you can see long distances in open bowls, and tree riding in twilight takes on a mystical experience with the moon casting long shadows through the trees or glistening in the snow covered open meadows.
When you are riding at night it is very important to ride with a buddy. You should never ride alone even under ideal conditions but riding at night it is doubly important to stay close to someone who can help if you are stuck or need help. It is easy enough to struggle to find people during the day, but at night if someone in your riding party is stuck or in need of help and they can’t start their sled to show where they are it will be even harder to find them.
Riding at night will have the terrain, hazards and stationary objects coming at you even faster as your vision and sled lights will often result in you driving faster than your light. What this means is that your light will not project out far enough to help you better prepare for the terrain and possible hazards. If the snow is deep enough, it may completely cover your headlight, resulting in limited to no vision or ability to navigate the terrain.
This needs to be mitigated by having a very good external light that gives you the ability to surveil the landscape and provide the lighting needed to get off the hill safely. We like having a powerful light that is independent of our sled, one that we could use hands free to work on our sled, find items in our Avy packs or navigate the terrain. We at sled-revy we have tried and used several options offered in the marketplace, some were good, but very expensive, others cheap and you got what you paid for. Ultimately, you need to find a light that works for you.
We hope that you get the opportunity to head out into the backcountry at night, and enjoy a fantastic night riding experience, we also hope that if your out there that you stay safe. To help you stay safe check out our line of Backcountry Gear, including a survival kit with free shipping.
Sled-Revy has a complete line of Merch and Backcountry Gear that we have tested in the backcountry.
We are people that love sledding in the backcountry, we love getting out and away from the crowds and enjoying the challenge of the deep snow and mountains. We love the Revelstoke area, we believe it to be the best place to backcountry sled. We are people that dedicate a lot of time to becoming better sledders and we want to pass this passion onto others as we believe there is no better sport than sledding in the backcountry.