Taking 14 yr and 17yr old daughters to the mountains for the first time”backcountry riding” NEED ADVICE


New member
Lifetime Membership
Jan 26, 2008
I want them to enjoy themselves and will be teaching them some basics. Mostly meadows and rolling hills
I have been going to West Yellowstone for 20yrs
Both girls Have been trail riding with me in the flatlands since they where two but have no backcountry experience.
They weight 150-160lbs and have been riding there own sleds since 11.
I would like to hear first hand experience of which sled I should bring or buy for this entry level trip..
My stable includes
05 800 gade with 1.25 track
06 freestyle 300 121 with .88 trach
09 gade xp 600 1.25track
19 850 165
They have mostly ridden the freestyle but we do switch off and they comfortable on both gades but the 05 is kinda a pig

I am not opposed to buying a different sled like a 144 but I don’t what to make the mistake of giving them too much sled.
I am open to extending the freestyle and getting a 136 track for it
Or putting a bigger paddle on the other gades
Any Ideas would be appreciated
Jan 20, 2009
Northern Utah
The high altitude is gonna tame the most capable of sleds. That area should be easy to rent a couple pro 600s. My daughter still rides her 600 dragon. She started with me when she was 7. She is 20 now. We ride in Utah


Well-known member
Lifetime Membership
My girls are 13 and 15 and too have been on sleds since 1 yr old...they struggled when we got to the larger sleds for sure. But now both are riding snow bikes and oh man what a game changer, they can follow me anywhere and we can ride tons of off trail off camber and they love it


Modding mini's
Lifetime Membership
Jul 5, 2001
Twin Rivers
My oldest is on a 600 Assault 144" but it's too much for her off trail. Our Summit 600 is just about right tho. So I'm trying to get the Assault fitted to her better. (Handlebars, skis, revalve shocks etc)

Nothing helps more than experience and a level head. I rode a 440 fan with a 121 until I was 14-15 years old and I took it to Revelstoke every second weekend(Or whenever we weren't racing) and that same sled got my brother to the same places when he was 10. Regardless of sled, its the experience that counts.

I'd take the FS and the 09 Gade.
They'll like how easy the Gade is to stop and start compared to the FS but the FS will handle the off trails infinitely better.

Remember, momentum is what off trail riding is all about. Never let off the throttle completely and keep those eyes forward. Only stop in other tracks and never pointed even remotely uphill.


Undefeated mountain clutching champ of the world.
Lifetime Membership
Oct 14, 2008
Take them on blue bird sunny day. Ride the trails, see the buffalo, wildlife and enjoy the time together. Those short track sleds will be stuck all day and no one is gonna have any fun.
They won’t wanna ride mountains again if it’s teaching and getting stuck.

Make it fun and memorable and they will want to ride there again! Good luck!


Well-known member
Lifetime Membership
Dec 8, 2007
My Opinion: Rent some Polaris 600 155 sleds if you can find them. Also, either don't go until March, or go on a day when it hasn't snowed for a while. When I'm teaching somebody to be a snowmobiler, I start out with a few days in March. It's warm, the sun is out, and the snow doesn't just gobble up the sleds and make beginners be stuck all day. Then after a few days in March, I will consider a few days in February the next year. Preferably not right after a storm, hoping the snow is mostly not deep powder but maybe a few places that they can start to feel what it's like in snow that's just a little softer. Then finally we get to some January days to see if they can handle the cold, at least on a sunny non-powder day. From there on out, they can start to work their way up on how deep of a powder day they can go on.

I've spoken with countless masses of people who tell me about their first time snowmobiling where it was a bunch of beginners together and they all spent the whole day being stuck and not knowing how to get out. Surprise surprise, snowmobiling isn't real high on their list anymore of things they want to spend time and money doing.
Dec 24, 2018
id recommend teaching them the basics of throttle control, counter steer and body position on flat land, if you can balance a sled on one ski on hard pack or shallow snow, at a slow speed it will help drastically in deep snow. counter steer is a key element the girls should learn, making the sled do the work vs having to muscle a sled around will be a major advantage. also in my experiences with new riders in deep snow, that primarily rode trails prior its hard to give up the habits of what you know. not always do good trail skills translate into good deep snow skills


Scott Stiegler
Staff member
Lifetime Membership
Nov 1, 1998
W Mont
Pick a bluebird day.
Keep them warm and dry.
Bring fire starter so you can take a break not run them too hard.
Jan 10, 2020
Why don't you ask your girls what they would like to do. See if there is something specific that they would like to learn, or do . In the end it's all about learning, but also having fun, makes for good memories.
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