November 1, 2009

Body English




(We started out in the 
October issue with a couple 
of questions for Chris Burandt 
that address his riding style. 
We continue with a few more 
questions. —Ed.)

When you get stuck, 
you’re probably by yourself 
with very low odds of help 
getting up to you. What are 
some of your tricks to getting 
a sled out by yourself 
and not getting completely 
buried in the first place?

Ahh getting stuck …. Yeah, 
the last time I got stuck a couple 
of years ago it was terrible. 
Ok that was a joke. Getting 
stuck for me is honestly awesome. 
It means that I put 
myself and my sled in a situation 
that somebody is going 
to get a good laugh out of. 
Sure I might have to show the 
people the picture of the stick 
on my phone later, but I know 
Mother Nature is laughing her 
butt off and those stupid little 
tree squirrels are whispering to 
each other, “That guy just ran 
out of talent, didn’t he?”

The key to being able to 
get yourself unstuck is you 
must always have the thought 
in the back of your mind that 
nobody else is going to be 
able to get to you, so you’re 
on your own. This means that 
instead of sticking the sled 
straight up and down, make 
sure right before the inevitable 
happens you turn the sled 
down even if it’s just a little 
and allow gravity to help you 
out a bit. 

I am a big fan of rolling 
the sled. This is something 
you can do even if it’s on flat 
ground. Grab a hold of the 
uphill ski and pull the sled 
over on its side. I’ve even got 
quick enough on most sticks 
to where I’m out just before 
someone else gets there. That 
way I can claim I didn’t get 
stuck, you know. Oh, by the 
way, never leave home without 
a saw either. Those trees like 
to jump out in front of people. 

However, there is another 
tactic that I like to use and 
that is don’t get stuck. Getting 
stuck is a last resort for me. I 
will do everything in my power 
to not succumb to the humiliation 
of knowing that I just 
got served. This includes such 
things as going into “hover 
mode,” pedaling a foot to try 
to push the sled, jumping off 
of the sled and running next to 
it while keeping it pinned (kind 
of tricky), jumping off the sled 
and pushing it away from you 
in order to keep it on top of 
the snow, “lightly” bouncing 
off of the tree without letting 
go of the throttle, and last but 
not least, buy a Boondocker 
turbo. There have been times 
that I even bet myself that 
there was no way I was going 
to be able to pull a particular 
line without calling for the cavalry. 
That dang turbo just does 
things each and every time I 
ride it that makes me shake 
my head and grin ear to ear. 
I just got a smirk on my face 
thinking about boost.

 

Why do you never use 
the sidehill bar or a left hand 
throttle?

The sidehill bar and left 
hand throttle are great tools 
for the average mountain ride. 
However, you can’t change 
your direction on a right to 
left hand sidehill with being 
able to change the direction 
of your skis. With a mountain 
bar you are stuck holding the 
skis in one position—straight. 
To take your backcountry skills 
to the next level, take a day 
and focus on doing right to 
left hand sidehills only without 
using that silly mountain bar. 
Counter steering and throttle 
control are the two most 
important things to focus on. 
Foot position on the sled and 
sticking your opposite foot 
out for balance will be next on 
your agenda. 

 

When you look for new 
lines, you are looking at stuff 
that very few people would 
even consider. What do you 
look for? 

No matter what level 
of rider you are, normally 
throughout the day your eyes 
are constantly scanning the 
terrain looking for the next 
challenge. When you start 
picking up on all these little 
tricks and pushing your comfort 
zone each and every time 
you ride you will start to realize 
that the stuff you thought 
once to be tough or impossible 
becomes possible. I think 
that has been one of the coolest 
things for me riding over 
the last couple of years. No 
longer do I feel as if there are 
boundaries to where my sled 
and I can go. It truly is almost 
like playing a video game—
anything is possible.






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