Backcountry Riders -

Justin Sheaff

Name: Justin Sheaff
Age: 36
Nickname(s): J, Chief Sheaff
Instagram: @chiefsheaff
Facebook: Justin Sheaff
Website: /
Home Town: Tahoe City, CA
Certifications: EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), AIARE Avalanche Instructor, First Aid/CPR

Sled: My personal “go to” sled for the 17/18 season is a 2018 154” Ski-Doo Freeride wrapped by SCS Unlimited and sporting the Blow Hole from MTNTK & Pipe Kit from SLP. I’m running a fleet of Ski-Doo’s again this year to service my ride clinics and AIARE level 1 avalanche training courses. This year’s all new 2018 fleet includes; 1 Ski-doo Turbo Freeride, 2 Ski doo “Improved” Freerides, 5 “stock” Freerides & 7 Ski-Doo Gen4 summit 850’s all wrapped by SCS Unlimited & sporting a full line of quality products from MTNTK, TKI & SLP.

Favorite Riding Spot: I love ripping the technical lines, especially when it’s steep and deep! Now you know I can’t give up my “favorite” riding zone, but I will tell you I’m a fan of “my backyard”. Be sure to book a clinic or avalanche safety course to come ride my favorite spots. I frequently ride all over CA, NV, ID, UT & WY so if you see me out there, be sure to send a high five my way!

How did you get started sledding: Snowmobiling has been a passion for me since my wife introduced me to the sport in 2008 as a means to access her family cabin. From the very first moment I squeezed a hand full of throttle (on my 2000 Ski doo summit 700), I was hooked. I immediately realized how important good gear and equipment is, not only for comfort but for safety. Since this time snowmobiling has become a major focus in my life. Nothing excites me more than to teach snowmobiling skills, share my snowmobiling passion, and spread the “stoke” of snowmobiling throughout the power sports community and beyond.

What drives you: Everything! No really, I get so fired up to be outside in the backcountry exploring, learning and pushing the capabilities of man and machine. I constantly strive to improve my skills while taking great pride in teaching what I have learned to others.

Where will we find you this winter: Starting in early September, I will be on the road attending Hay Days in Minnesota and many of the western snow shows in CO, UT, ID & WA. From there, I will be providing riding clinics and filming with Alpine Assassins & Lets Ride Adventures in the surrounding areas of Lake Tahoe and all over the north western United States and B.C. I will also be teaching snowmobile specific avalanche classes and will be working closely with our local Search & Rescue Team.

Define yourself outside of sledding: I am an outdoorsman who places great focus on family and quality of life. I downhill mountain bike, moto, waterski, wakeboard, barefoot and surf several times a week when the weather permits. I am a career professional Fireman & also volunteer for our local Sheriff’s Search & Rescue team servicing the greater Lake Tahoe area. You will not find me in front of the T.V. (unless relaxing in the hot tub!) as there is always work to be done so that we can continue to play.

How do you train for riding: I’m very lucky to be a Fireman which provides for plenty of PT time. I am constantly training throughout the year so that I may avoid injury on and off the job and continue to improve my ridding skills.

Describe your riding style: Hmmmm… It depends who you ask! I would definitely say I have my own style! I would say conservative, well planned and smooth while my ridding partners might have a totally different observation! I love the super technical lines, tight trees, big inverted whips/re-entry’s and ridding with my pals. I am patient, yet focused and always strive to improve my skills and help those around me become stronger riders.

Your favorite MTNTK Product: The “Blowhole” !! By directly removing hot air from the clutches and belt, I am no longer having premature belt failure!

What does being a MTNTK Ambassador mean to you: Being a MTNTK ambassador means that I am representing an American made company whose focus is to provide high quality products to the motorsports industry. I ultimately represent YOU, the consumer, by ensuring every product MTNTK makes for your Ski-Doo has been rigorously tested bringing you the quality you would expect at a reasonable price. I ride for MTNTK because I believe in their products and desire to be a leading aftermarket supplier for a wide variety of snowmobile and side by side applications. MTNTK performs “real world” testing utilizing their athletes so you receive precision product that has been proven to work. I am excited to contribute in the R&D process and proud to represent the MTNTK Team in the backcountry.

Items you can’t live without: High quality gear and equipment, beacon, probe, shovel, avi pack and reliable transportation.

What is the most rewarding aspect of sledding: For me, it’s giving back. Whether it’s the all night search & rescue operation, teaching snow safety and riding clinics or coordinating backcountry experiences for wounded warriors & kids burn camps, I feel it is important to make a positive impression while promoting the sport and helping the community.

Do you have a special routine you perform before getting on your sled: Yes, I’m a firm believer in pre planning for your day prior to getting on the sled. I’ll give you the reader’s digest version… #1 Sled; fuel, oil & service, extra belt, tools and a strong once over to ensure all operations. #2 Equipment; beacon, probe, shovel (remove, inspect, test you and all in riding party), avi pack and medical gear. #3 Gear; communications, helmet, boots, gloves, goggles, pants, jacket and proper layering (important to plan for the worst and have extra items as necessary). #4 Plan; Local avalanche report, local weather report (current & expected), route, group strength/weakness and emergency preplan. While it may seem silly to some, the short time it takes to run through this routine can make the difference between life and death.

Additional sponsors: MTNTK, Ski-Doo, Logan Coach Trailers, FXR, SLP, ARVA, SCS Unlimited, Alpine Assassins, Caliber, TKI, Lets Ride Adventures