Noob from NorCal interested in Powder/Mountain sleds
Hello SF. I'm a total noob to sleds and sledding but have been interested for a long time being a snowboarder for the last 14 years who wants to access more back country terrain. I have pretty much never even ridden a sled and I know this does not match up well for what the ideal mountain and powder sled is. Some of my snowboarding friends have started getting sleds and I'm thinking about getting one too. I've been doing as much research as possible on my own and want to get some of your input to see what it's going to take for me to get into this.
I live near and ride in the Sierras where we have some pretty steep and high elevation mountains with fairly deep snow. Combine this with requiring to ride 2 up and haul boards and other gear. It seems like long track width, deep paddles, narrow ski stance and wide skis, along with decent power make a good mountain or powder sled. It's easy to pick the best NEW powder snowmobile and I *could* buy any sled I want new, but that doesn't mean I need or want to. It seems like there have been more and greater advances in the powder market in the last 3-5 years, and I know climbing 2500'+ elevation isn't the easiest to manage on older carbed engines. RMK and Summits both seem to have been popular for this type of use for a long time.
Though I've enjoyed modifying my vehicles most of my life I am not particularly interested in needing to modify a mediocre older sled very mich to suit my needs if I can buy something more suitable that is newer. Reliability and relative ease of riding given the sleds size is key for me here over top speed, although power is never a bad thing if used wisely.
What used sleds would you recommend?
I currently drive a 2000 Toyota Tacoma TRD with stiffer lifted springs etc. for off road and snow and I know some people manage to haul bigger sleds on these, sometimes with special platforms and ramps. However, I do see more full size trucks with sleds in back. I'm not very interested in having to tow a trailer in the deep snow, on icy mountain passes and in the highway and city in between, and it is 3+ hours to my ideal terrain. How realistic is it for me to haul a powder sled with 150+" track in the bed of this truck? Just trying to see if getting into this sport will require a bigger truck too.
Thanks for any advice!