Pinedale Hill Climb 2018
RMSHA Event Held at White Pine
by Terry Allen
April 4, 2018
I heard a motorized buzzing on the other side of the White Pine Lodge and went around the corner and found a race going on. Justus and Myka from Star Valley were riding double in the three-year-old age group of the Rocky Mountain States Hill Climb being held on the mountain Saturday March 31st and Easter Sunday, April 1st. This was Mykaís 2nd year racing at the event, so she did the driving and Justus did the holding on. It worked out well because they won a trophy.
Over in the pits at the bottom of the big hill Aly Bledsoe of Missoula, Montana was shoveling snow into the workings of a racing snowmobile to keep parts from getting too hot and breaking down as Luke revved his machine. Once things got adjusted, Luke Bledsoe hopped onboard and went to the starting line and waited for Mike Carrillo to give him the okay to climb the hill.
I didnít have a snowmobile, but I did have a lift pass and that got me up the mountain where a fire was burning and hamburgers were being grilled by Chef Jed and cold drinks were being downed by a happy huddle of Sledheads.
With the help of a couple of agreeable people and very accommodating Snow Explorer Club personnel, I found my way to the top of the snowy mountain where some exciting climbing was going on. Thatís where I saw my first Timbersled Snowbike in action. Owner Sandy Sletten had shown me one on the showroom floor down at Buckyís Outdoors. It might be just a few old-timers that know what a BSA, a Norton or a Ducatti sound like, and my sound memory may be off, but the roaring sound of these machines doing an uphill slalom course rocked me to the bones. I wasnít the only one either. The noise, the handle bar to handle bar action, and the tight corners had everyone shouting every time they were on the course.
I went down the mountain a little to get some shots and met young Brock Sharp sitting in the snow watching sleds go thru a corner about 10 feet away. He had an alert and conditioned look about him and I figured he knew what he was looking for. "Iím looking at how they pick their lines and where they end up," he said. "Iím interested in if they are using one runner or two." This is Brockís first year as a pro, so check the results link down below and see how he did. I walked away thinking he'd do pretty good.
Sandy Sletten, the new owner of Buckyís Outdoors, agreed to co-sponsor this story, so I was interested in what he had to say about our community, sledding history, and the new Polaris sleds. "I think I was about age 10 when I started riding sleds and I started competing in about 1999," he said. "That seems like a long time ago to me, but Buckyís has been here over 50 years serving the sledding community. If you have a chance, you should go out to the Snowmobile Museum and then come back to the showroom and I'll show you how far weíve come." I did go out there and took a nice picture of a couple sleds, but there are many more to seeÖlike machines from the 40ís and 50ís. Back in the showroom, I marveled at the sleek new Polaris 850 and the new Ranger 1000 that has over 100 new changes for 2019.
April 17th is Bucky's Snow Check, so be sure to be there. They sell Polaris snowmachine's. There are special sleds and features that are only available at that time. Also, Sublette County was designated Ranger Country USA and that event is April 12th at the fairgrounds, so you will see a ton of equipment, great food and a nice music concert in the evening.
I spent a lot of time on the track watching athletes doing track walks. They were studying how to best get thru tough gates without losing speed and time. Cody Wilson of Tip Top Search & Rescue was in a particularly busy section of gates and I don't think I've seen a busier and happier TTSAR person on the job. There was a bit of action too. Unfortunately, we were there when a young man of my general age got tossed off his sled into a stand of sturdy aspens and he broke his arm real good. Another young man, John Durmas was able to fight his way around the same corner without flying off it until he was free of the trees...but the photo sequence gives you an idea of the fight in the guy. I only included three photos due to space in this story.
If you haven't been to watch a hill climb, I sure do encourage you to put it on your list. The skill of the young men and women, and the refinement of their machines is heart-warming and inspiring.
I'm sorry I didn't capture every rider in the event, and I'm sorry I can't I.D. riders and bikes in the various classes.
A huge thanks to my friends at RLT photography who are the official photographers of these events. Ryan and Rob were so helpful.
Thank you to Sandy Sletten for co-sponsoring this story so I could share this part of our community...and because it is online...with the world.
Dawn Ballou of Pinedale Online knows I love the hill climb, so she cosponsored this story because she knew I could figure out how to take good action photos.
It takes a ton of people to put on a successful event like this. I hope I listed all your organizations. If I missed one, please let me know.
If you have a story idea and you'd like to cosponsor it, give me or Dawn a ring.
You are all free to share these low resolution photos among yourselves. I do sell hi-rez photos to those in the photos at both a personal and commercial rate. I donate 50% of the sale price to Tip Top Search & Rescue and The Snow Explorers Club.
Terry Allen: email@example.com
Next Stop on Tour: Tamarack Ski Resort Hillclimb, Tamarack, Idaho, April 7th.