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Sal Passantino, 23

North Bend, WA

Rides: Polaris AXYS 800 163

I jumped on a snowmobile at a friend’s cabin at an early age and have been in love with winter ever since. From Stampede Pass to eastern Washington, Mt. Baker and Canada, I have had the opportunity to ride some of the best backcountry.

I work for King County Search & rescue in the Regional Special Vehicle Unit division (RSVU) which allows me the opportunity to help people that are lost in the woods during the winter and summer seasons. I love the feeling of being in the backcountry when you challenge yourself against the mountain and push your skill to the next level.

It does not matter if you are a beginner or an experienced rider, anybody can have fun in this sport and pick it up at any time. Whenever I ride with a group, we always take the best and smartest safety precautions when it comes to avalanches and inclement riding weather. Mother Nature can change on you at any moment, so it is crucial to be prepared for anything. My experience in Search & Rescue has helped me adapt to changing environments, react quickly to dangerous situations, and work as a team in the backcountry.

This coming winter is supposed to be a good one. To all of those riding this year: be safe, plan ahead, be prepared, and have fun! See you on the mountain.

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