10 Things You Need To Know About Attacking Technical Terrain

Published in the January 2019 Issue April 2019 Feature

-By Jay Mentaberry, Ski-Doo Backcountry Ambassador and RMSHA No. 411--Photos by Trent Hooks


Confidence, Commitment, and Momentum are without a doubt, some of the most important aspects of backcountry riding. As a racer and a backcountry rider, these are key to getting through mountain terrain. If you find yourself getting frustrated and getting stuck because you can’t make it through some of the technical terrain pinch points you think you should be able to get through, follow some of this advice. 

1. You don’t have to be 100% confident that you will make the line. Part of progressing is stepping out of your comfort zone. But do it in small steps. Riding too far beyond your abilities can end in major carnage to body and machine. 

2. You do have to be 100% committed. When you face uncertainty, full commitment, will give you a much better chance at success. 

3. When we don’t fully commit, we tend to not carry enough momentum which leads to getting stuck or having to turn out, and there’s not always another option. It’s also hard to learn from your mistakes when you don’t commit because you can’t know your true limits. If you don’t fully commit, you are relying on luck. And luck is inconsistent. 

4. After you try and fail multiple times (yes, you will fail… I do it all the time), keep trying and eventually you will pull it off. Then you will realize that it wasn’t so bad after all. I like to call that moment “leveling up.” Those moments are huge boosts of confidence. 

5. Momentum is a very valuable skill. It’s basically the difference between getting stuck or driving through the obstacle (hitting trees is another story… there can be too much momentum in some cases). Think of your sled as an object. What tends to keep an object in motion when it encounters resistance? More motion from the start. 

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