We’ve been incredibly busy powder skiing, so our Nytro snowmobile ski rack fabrication project took way longer than anticipated. It’s finally done, though tweaks are ongoing (as with anything at WildSnow HQ). How to do it:
|Yesterday, headed out with the Nytro for some backcountry skiing. Two guys grabbed the ropes. Our new snowmobile ski rack holds my Black Diamond skis and a shovel. Avy danger around here has been rather high, so for backcountry hits the past couple of days we’ve been staying in the aspen forests, where lower angled timber terrain provides good turns if the snow is based and deep. West of our town here in Colorado, a vast network of groomed snowmobile trails provides access. For most of the season the snowpack in this zone is too shallow and sun damaged for good skiing, but sometimes you get an 8 week period in February and March when anything steep enough to ski goes off. It’s that way now. The sled is the key. And yeah, it’s got to have a ski rack to be functional.
|Ski rack is designed by Louie Dawson. It’s built with light gauge steel rectangular tubing, 1/2 inch size so bungee cord hooks easily fit.
|Front of our snowmobile ski rack is low so you don’t bang your knee on it when dismounting, rear vertical angle is raked for aesthetics. Krylon cherry red compliments the Yamaha anniversary red of the sled highlights. We insulated the exhaust tube with three layers of header wrap. It still gets hot, but you can briefly touch it with bare skin without getting burnt and place luggage on top if you’re careful to inspect once in a while to make sure things are not getting cooked. Don’t want it to get too bulky, however, so figuring the insulation out is tough. Exhaust tip is nice soft silicone tubing so it’s one less hard edge to bump.
|The ski supports are quickly removable from this rack, for times we might go snowmobiling for its own sake. Louie built the ski latches using recycled snowboard bindings.
|Ski rack supports fully attached and assembled. The lower part of the system is also assembled from snowboard binding parts, and bolted to the side of the track tunnel. The whole system is super simple and amazingly solid due to the ski lying flat on the upper support.
|Ski support in use.
|Another view of the ski rack we made fro this snowmobile. It’s about as light weight as we could engineer, provides the much needed exhaust extension, and holds two pairs of skis like they’re part of the sled. We wrapped the upper rack bars with electrical tape so they don’t get scratched by bungee hooks and ski bindings. As mentioned above, two layers of header wrap is not quite enough insulation on the exhaust extension tube, so we’ll be working on that issue. In all, super functional and makes our backcountry lives much easier, it carries luggage as well.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.