Sled Head: Derek Heidt

TWS: Why and when did you first get into snowmobiling?

I started pretty much after Jon Boyer filmed a section in Revelostoke for his movie The Young and the Restless–the first people to start the whole sled/snowboard filming thing in 1996.

What kind of snowmobile do you own now, and what made you decide to buy that particular model?

I still have my first sled, which is a Yamaha Mountain Max 600. It has the usual upgrades; it's piped and has Fox shocks. Yamaha hooked us up with deals back in '96 after they saw how much coverage snowmobiling was starting to get.

What are some of the dangers you've encountered while snowmobiling, and how can these be avoided?

Definitely the biggest thing is the fact that sleds get you into situations and areas, you probably wouldn't have hiked into, and on top of that, you're now an extra 500 pounds of detonation to set off avalanches. Take an avy course to get informed. The course will only tell you what warning signs to look for–it won't make you invincible.

What sort of maintenance do you do to your sled?

I take it to the local Yamaha dealer. I'm slightly mechanically inclined, but I don't want to test my knowledge and possibly end up stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to buy a sled?

Buying a used sled can be sketchy–especially when there's no real place to drop it off and get it checked out. When buying one, look for something upward of 150 horsepower, which translates to 600cc or better. If you want to tow friends or get to the goods, a two-inch paddle track and an extended track is a must for deep-snow areas.

If you plan on buying one because you're a pro snowboarder, make sure you stop rooping around when you're supposed to be filming snowboarding or else you'll only have a sled part.