I casually got into riding a few years ago while on a weekend trip with some family who’d invited my wife and I out to Barstow, California to camp in the desert and ride some dirt bikes.
I was cautious at first, but I instantly fell in love with this new type of adrenaline — It was potent.
That’s why I was thrilled when Polaris invited me out to Buena Vista, Colorado to stay and ride with snowmobile legend Chris Burandt at Burandt’s Backcountry Adventure, to get my first experience on one of their brand new Timbersleds.
A Timbersled operates exactly like your typical dirt bike, but it obviously feels much different. It’s a conversion kit that replaces the dirt bike wheels with a ski in the front and snowmobile-like tread in the rear. It’s the ultimate offroad vehicle and can quite literally go anywhere.
“We start with Husqvarna bikes (450cc, 4-stroke), offer several different Timbersled kit options (track length, shock options, etc.) and then add storage bags, heated hand grips, hand guards and that’s about it,” Chris Burandt tells us. “Put some gas in them and let it rip!”
From Denver International Airport, it was about a three-hour drive out to Buena Vista where they had me all set up at Burandt’s Backcountry Adventure’s Kodiak Lodge. The amenities were beyond comfortable, and the hospitality of the staff was as good as it gets.
Burandt and crew have set this operation up as an all-inclusive training hub for snowmobile enthusiasts to seriously step up their game in the backcountry.
Not only do they cater to amateur clientele looking to sharpen their skills, but many professional snowmobilers/bikers frequently make the trip out there to train exclusively with Burandt and his team. To call BBA the “real deal” would be an understatement.
“On the snowmobile side of things you must have previous experience to get the most out of this trip,” Burandt tells us. “On the bike side, it really doesn’t take much. Most everyone has ridden some sort of motorcycle in their lifetime and in all honesty that’s about all it takes to go have a blast on a Timbersled. They are that easy.”
“The addition of Timbersleds [to the fleet] has been great in order show people terrain they’ve never been able to access on their snowmobiles with relative ease,” Burandt continues.
On the morning of our ride, we headed to Burandt’s shop down the road from the lodge to get acquainted with the machines and go over all of the safety precautions. After about an hour of talking shop, we loaded up the Timbersleds and hit the road to the trailhead about 30 minutes away.
The trail up to the spot where we’d be spending the day was wide, relatively flat, and 5 miles long. It was the perfect way to get a feel for the Timbersled’s capabilities and operation.
We had BBA’s expert guide and snowmobiler/snowbiker Chase Bunting taking us out this day … And he wasn’t there to hold anybody’s hand.
But, that was no problem. One of the coolest things about the Timbersled is that basic motorcycle operation is all you need to know to get out and have a blast. The whole crew was cruising up the trail immediately.
Once we got to the spot where we’d post up for the day, it was time to push these things through some powder. Light snowfall the previous day left plenty of untouched pow for us to jam through. In fact, just about all of the tracks you see in the video below were from the small crew of four of us that were out there.
I’ve been snowboarding for over 20 years and the mountains are certainly my happy place. I love the snow and brisk air, and the wide open feeling of being way up in the sky. And jamming full-throttle in third gear up a snow embankment was certainly a new experience for me — it was as heart-racing and adrenaline-pumping as it gets.
“Whether you are a dirt biker seeking something new or a snowmobiler wanting to access terrain they struggle to get to on a sled, the Timbersled kit accomplishes these things and many more,” says Burandt.
“Prior to Timbersled kits, dirt bikes for many users were only for the summer months. Now you can enjoy your dirt bike all year round,” Burandt tells us. “The biggest difference between a snowmobile and a Timbersled is the amount of effort it takes to ride in off camber terrain. A snowmobile requires more effort and proper technique where as with the Timbersled kit you just ride around.”
And I can certainly vouch for that. As a guy that had never been on a snowmobile before, the Timbersled was the perfect introduction to gasoline-powered machines in the snow.
It was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever had the opportunity to try. Now, I just have to convince my wife that we need one of these in our garage.
“We really pride ourselves in offering a complete turn-key package where all you need do is bring your gear, appetite and the desire to become a better snowmobiler/snowbiker,” says Burandt.
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