Chris Burandt &
the bba team
Arguably the world’s best all-around snowmobiler, Chris Burandt began riding snowmobiles at the tender age of six, in the Colorado backcountry surrounding his grandparents’ cabin. His natural talent to ride snowmobiles led to a successful career in snocross as a teenager. Over time, speed and standard jumps weren't enough excitement for the Colorado native and Chris’ strong competitive edge and a desire to give the crowd a show led to him seeing just how far he could make his machine fly. In 1999, the 20-year-old joined the Slednecks crew, where he showcased his talents in the film Slednecks 3, opening the door to his career as a professional snowmobiler. Chris’ success on a sled helped pioneer the sport of snowmobile freestyle, so much so that in the early 2000's, he acquired the nickname "Big Air Burandt." After learning how to back flip just two weeks prior to the first ever Snowmobile Freestyle event at ESPN’s Winter X Games, Burandt took home the Gold.
The drive to succeed at any cost has helped Chris to go farther and further than any other snowmobiler in the world, pushing backcountry riding to a whole new level. He brings that driving desire and unquenchable thirst for life to his business and the groups that he rides with…sharing with them all that he has learned, including a revolutionary new methodology for backcountry riding. His enthusiasm for what he does, and for making sure that your snowmobile tour excursion is nothing short of spectacular, will define your riding experience at Burandt’s Backcountry Adventure.
Ryan McConnell was born and raised in Washington State where he currently resides with his beautiful wife and two kids. At an early age, Ryan developed a passion for individual action sports and the freedom of the outdoors through countless camping adventures with family and friends. Ryan grew up fishing, biking, boating, wakeboarding, and riding motorcycles/atv's in the summer, and snow skiing in the winter. At the age of 13 his [now in-laws] introduced him and his family to snowmobiling in the Cascade Mountains on a Yamaha 250 Enticer. And despite being rattled on a short track sled with literally no suspension, he was instantly hooked on the mix of power and no limits freedom. Not long after, his parents made the plunge for the whole family and jumped into the sport head first. The passion for snowmobiling quickly grew into an obsession for Ryan, and progressed through his late teens and beyond. He spent countless hours dreaming of the next ride, and modifying sleds with his Dad and brother-in-law during those years when stock sleds just didn't cut it in the backcountry.
It wasn't until 2008, while surfing YouTube, Ryan stumbled upon Chris Burandt and his revolutionary backcountry riding style. In April 2009 Ryan and his wife Jeanie booked an adventure to ride with Chris and Sahen in CO. The experience changed the way he looked at backcountry riding forever, and Ryan was instantly addicted and committed to being a better backcountry ripper. After several trips to BBA and many discussions with Chris, Ryan put together a plan and secured a career with the BBA Team. Ryan currently manages all aspects of the business with the Burandt's, and loves sharing his passion for the sport and teaching backcountry skills to people from all over the world.
Kyle Pulsifer was born and raised in a small town in Minnesota where he still spends his summers enjoying outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, watersports, and anything with a motor! Kyle grew up playing hockey, baseball, football, and golf. All of those sports were great, but lacked the adrenaline to fuel his veins! At a young age, Kyle fell in love with motorsports and spent every free minute in a side-by-side, on a dirt bike, or ripping and wrenching on sleds.
Kyle races motocross in the summers and stays busy with the family business building commercial steel buildings and concrete work. Backcountry snowmobiling has always fascinated Kyle. Early on, family vacations out west fostered his love and appreciation for the mountains. When he was fifteen, he tagged along on a trip with a group from his hometown that came out west to ride each year. One trip is all it took, and the following year at age 16 he bought a mountain sled and left the flatlands of Minnesota in the rearview. Kyle’s aggressive riding style and desire to ride outside his comfort zone is an entertaining combination. Every day he rides a snowmobile, Kyle puts it all on the line striving to become a better rider.
In 2017, Kyle scheduled a trip to Burandt’s Backcountry Adventure. He rode with Chris and gave it his all, proving he had what it takes. It all paid off when Kyle received an exciting and unexpected job offering a couple months later. Kyle says, “Getting to be a part of such an amazing team and business is truly an honor.” Kyle loves progressing on his own as much as teaching others and watching their progression – It’s the coolest thing about his job!
Andrew Maddox grew up in Western Nebraska, his childhood was spent coming to Colorado to spend time in the mountains. He even spent a day or two on a snowmobile as a kid. While going to college at the University of Nebraska Andrew got a summer job as a whitewater rafting guide in Buena Vista Colorado. That was when he realized that this was that place that he wanted to live. After several years as river guide, big game hunting guide and ski patroller at Monarch Mountain, he decided to get a real job. Andrew spent 10 years working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife where he was introduced to mountain riding. He quickly became an instructor for their snowmobile and avalanche training program and a passion for teaching new mountain riders developed.
Andrew met Chris Burandt in 2011 when he moved his operation to Buena Vista. Andrew and his wife pulled into the trailhead at St. Elmo on a 1999 RMK 800 and a 1997 Summit 670. Chris came over and talked to the two of them and by the end of our conversation he had given him his cell phone number and a friendship was formed. Chris took Andrew under his wing and let him tag along just about anytime he asked. Andrew's riding skills quickly developed into a new and more efficient way of mountain riding.
Andrew decided in 2018 to walk away from his career and start a fly fishing business on the Arkansas River called Salida Fly. One of the first people he called to tell about his new venture was Chris Burandt. Of course he asked him for a job at the same time to get him through the winter months when the fishing was slow. Guiding year round is the greatest career, but Andrew could not do it without the support of his awesome wife Kayla and his son Emmett.
Andrew specializes in helping riders that are new to the sport of mountain riding master the basics, he also has a passion for avalanche education and safety.
Shane Reinhard was born, raised and still resides in a small town in Wisconsin. During the off season you can find him neck deep in his lawn & landscape business or spending time by any body of water he can find. Growing up he spent the summers on the ATV trails in northern WI, but the winters mainly were consumed with wrestling. There was always a snowmobile to ride at the Reinhards, but they usually took a can of ether to get started and didn’t have working headlights. Once he was able to save up enough money from summer jobs, Shane bought his first trail sled. From 16-20 years old that was the only type of riding he had ever done. At that point Shane took a few year hiatus from snowmobiling to get his lawn and landscape business started. After a few years off, he decided it was time to get back into the sport, but this time the mountain side of it. Shanes first trip to BBA he came solo because his friends booked a trip with BBA later that season and he didn’t want them to be better than him. Shane drove from Green Bay, WI to Buena Vista with no heat in his truck and a clapped out Ski-Doo. Let’s just say we were going to remember him one way or another. After that trip Shane was completely addicted to what the sport had to offer and had been out to BBA about 20x over the past few years. To which last year he decided to bring his family with him and just live in Buena Vista. At that point we figured he might as well be on our Payroll!
TJ Kounkel was born and raised in NW Iowa where he still resides with his wife and daughter. He stays plenty busy during the off season with farming and working for the family trucking company. Tj grew up trying to get in the drivers seat of anything with a motor, from snowmobiles and dirt bikes to tractors, combines, and everything in between. When he’s not trucking or farming you’ll find TJ behind the wheel of his RZR competing in cross country races across the Midwest or trail riding with his family in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
TJ’s love for snowmobiling started at a very young age on a Kitty Cat, but his real passion for snowmobiling grew after he graduated from high school and used every dollar he had to buy a brand new Polaris AXYS and put every aftermarket part on it that he could afford. He would tag along with any group of people that would let him just to get out to the mountains.
In March of 2021 after years of trying to book a trip with BBA, TJ got an email from Ryan that there was an opening. TJ and his best friend loaded up all their gear and sleds and headed for Buena Vista. Chris must have seen something that he liked because on the drive back to Iowa, TJ got a call from Chris asking if he wanted to come back out and ride/interview the following weekend. After a couple seasons under his belt, Tj most enjoys building mod sleds, teaching people and getting to work with his hero Ryan McConnell.. ;)