Western snowmobiling lost one of its giants late last week when Arctic Cat hillclimb racer and backcountry riding star Rob Kincaid was killed in an avalanche while riding in Idaho. He was 46.
Owner of virtually unrivaled riding skill and a larger-than-life personality, Kincaid has been one of the most prominent faces of snowmobiling for Arctic Cat riders and fans for more than 20 years in the West.
He was out riding in with family and friends on Friday, April 3, in the Sheep Creeks area of western Idaho near the Wyoming border when he triggered the avalanche in a chute at about 5:30 p.m., according to media reports. For some unknown reason, his avalanche beacon was not turned on – which was odd, considering that Kincaid was a big advocate for avalanche safety equipment.
Searchers returned to the area on Saturday morning and recovered his body. He leaves behind a wife, Kim; a daughter, Shelby; and a son, Riley.
Here’s the press release from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Department:
UPDATED PRESS RELEASE
Victim: Robert Kincaid, 46 of Victor, ID
Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputies, Search and Rescue, and Air Idaho Rescue were able to resume operations this morning and recover the victim from yesterday’s avalanche, 46 year old Robert Kincaid of Victor Idaho.
At the time of the avalanche, a party of approximately 10 riders, including Kincaid, were riding together in the Austin Canyon area. While one rider went to call for help, others in the party immediately began probing and searching for Kincaid with the assistance of 6 other riders that arrived to the area.
After approximately 2 1/2 hours of searching, Kincaid was located and despite first aid efforts could not be resuscitated. It was determined that Kincaid was wearing an avalanche beacon but it was not activated at the time of the avalanche. It’s unclear at this time why the beacon was not activated.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is saddened by this tragedy and the effect it’s had on the Kincaid family and their friends. Again we remind those who winter recreate to always be prepared for emergencies, be aware of current conditions before you go, and stay away from avalanche-prone areas that are dangerous for riders and rescue personnel.
Kincaid’s riding prowess gained him notoriety – including World Championship acclaim at the Jackson Hole World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb. But as social media exploded with shock and fond remembrances as word of his death spread, he was most remembered for his bold personality – he had a quick wit, loved to needle people with a smile on his face and loved to portray himself as a redneck or hillbilly, backed up by his distinctive drawl.
“This is hard. I lost my brother and best friend. There’s no words to describe the pain,” longtime riding friend and partner on the Arctic Cat team Dave McClure posted on social media. “We all loved Rob so much, and we are all better people for knowing him. Rob was a legend in every aspect of the word. I looked up to him and learned so much from him, he made me a better person and I will forever be grateful for that.”
Kincaid and McClure were known to pick on each other incessantly, yet they were inseparable.
“Rob Kincaid was unlike any other person you could meet. He could be polar opposites of himself sometimes. He was one of the most abrasive, and at times, over the top fellers you could have a conversation with. Then 5 minutes later he could share something deep with you and tell you how much he cares about someone troubles,” Brad Ball, founder of Motorfist, a longtime sponsor of Kincaid’s, posted on social media.
“Damn Rob, we weren’t ready for you to leave us yet,” backcountry riding legend Chris Burandt posted. “I’m going to miss your love for life and our talks about family and hunting when we saw each other. Your legacy as a father, friend, hunter and of course snowmobiler will live on forever.”
Cameron Chimenti posted, “Every time I’m told another snowmobiler was lost it hurts. When it’s someone you know it really hits home. Rob Kincaid was a true snwomobielr and ambassador and will be missed in our industry. RIP Rob!!!”
In January Kincaid released a riding video titled, “Every father’s dream to share his passion with his son and watch them follow their dreams,” announcing that his 18-year-old son Riley was joining the Arctic Cat backcountry team as a sponsored rider.
When not riding, he was the owner of Teton Custom Homes and also was a rancher.
Editor’s Note: This review was originally published in the October 2020 issue of Snow Goer. Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.