Backcountry Exploration: Snowmobile-accessed ski touring
Sleds unloaded and fully charged, professional skiers Mark Abma and Greg Hill fastened their skis to the Ekko snowmobiles with excitement and set off for a new kind of sled-accessed ski touring.
Quietly and peacefully the pair powered their way through the vast offerings surrounding Whistler BC last spring to explore the backcountry via 100% electric snowmobile for the first time.
Who better to test the Ekkos than professional skiers that have built their careers on accessing remote ski-able lines.
Abma has painted a name for himself in the ski industry with a specialty of sled-accessed ski touring followed by big technical descents. Hill on the other hand, is known for his human powered “epics” - big traverses and unfathomable backcountry exploration trips.
Due to environmental impact reasons, Hill does not routinely utilize snowmobiles, but with the right technology he would like to embrace them again for ski-access, making him the perfect person to analyse the Ekko.
During the week with Abma and Hill took the Ekko through deep valley bottoms for sled-accessed ski touring objectives, snowmobiled high into the alpine, over glaciers and through glades. Each obstacle was no match for the well equipped Ekko.
Abma elaborates, “the range is more than enough to get you to a place where you want to start touring. For people who ski, they enjoy the quietness - you can enjoy the scenery and the environment so much more.”
Ski tourers often value the preservation of the backcountry, connection to nature, solitude and the simplicity of the sport. Inhibited by difficult and/or long access, more and more backcountry enthusiasts are embracing sled-accessed ski touring to further their backcountry exploration with a conflicted mindset.
Taiga is motivated to transform the way we access the backcountry in a way that offers protection for the environment. Taking the current challenges as opportunities, Taiga is driven to improve sled access experience by altering the perception of what that looks, sounds and smells like.
The next-to-no maintenance on our machines means no messy or harmful oil changes, blown belts or clutch replacing - not to mention the costs associated with the rigorous maintenance required by traditional snowmobiles. Nearly silent when operating, users can appreciate and interpret their surroundings peacefully.
Traditionally hard to communicate while snowmobiling, Abma and Hill found the quietness enhanced group communication. Taiga hopes that this will aid future Ekko owners in having more conversations leading to thoughtful decision making while sledding through avalanche terrain for a safer experience.
At the close of the testing period, Abma and Hill both expressed the welcome change of pace to their established sled accessed ski touring routine and look forward to joining us moving forward - the feeling is mutual!