Virtika Co-Founder David Lesh Picks Up Fine & Community Service For Independence Pass Stunt

David Lesh, a former pro-skier and a co-founder of the Virtika Outerwear clothing and gear manufacturing company, is now receiving his consequences for illegally riding a snowmobile through a snowless Independence Pass in Colorado in July of 2019.

See Where Bragging Gets You -- Men Caught Snowmobiling Illegally In Colorado After Bragging On Social Media

Two men have been caught snowmobiling on a snowless Independence Pass in Colorado. Though the photo to right was taken by a physical witness, Karen Teague of the Independence Pass Foundation, there is even more evidence for this infraction...the snowmobile riders put it on social media.

In short, during the Independence Day holiday of 2019, a group of three ecologists happened to be at Independence Pass when they came across two men snowmobiling through an area where motorized travel is prohibited. During an investigation of the incident, it was confirmed that one of the men was Lesh, who had bragged on social media about riding in the area.

For this offense, in which Lesh, age 35, was cited for ‘possessing or using a motor vehicle in a designated wilderness, prohibited to operate or possess an over-the-snow vehicle on National Forest Lands in violation of restrictions, damaging any natural feature or other property of the United States, and selling or offering for sale any merchandise or conducting any kind of work activity’ and has been fined $500 and has been ordered to perform 50 hours of public service.

This ruling comes less than a week after Lesh's most recent stunt, again involving a snowmobile. Lesh took to Instagram to show a photo of his poaching a Vail Resorts property's closed terrain park. Though in the post he claims to be throwing the proverbial middle finger at Vail, he makes note of how "Those money hungry half-wits decimate wilderness around the world, build lifts, lodges, and resorts," only to receive his fine and community service orders that stem from a charge involving the destruction of wilderness.

Lesh has become infamous due to his past publicity stunts and immature actions that have been showcased on social media. These include an August 2019 incident in which he crashed landed his plane into Half Moon Bay, CA and live-streamed that plane sinking and the rescue operation, and an incident in which he was arrested and charged with arson after setting a fire at the Virtika warehouse while filming a promo video back in July of 2014. 

The man's antics have not gone unnoticed, though not in a "There's no such thing as bad publicity." way. His actions seem to have offended some of the residents of Colorado to the point that a petition has been started to kick Lesh and Virtika out of Colorado.

"David Lesh has made a mockery of the Colorado Outdoors for long enough. He continually puts our natural spaces at risk for his own entertainment and fiscal gain. He has resided in Colorado for 15 yrs, and I think that is long enough. If he can not, or will not respect the Colorado Outdoors he should not be allowed to live here. As a Colorado Native his behavior is disrespectful, harmful and just plain egotistical. He will not respect the rules, and he will do it again. It is all a joke to him, he is the reason colorado transplants get a bad name. Colorado is very proud of our outdoor spaces and an example needs to be set for those moving to Colorado. " - Natalie Bostow/

Photo: Taken during the Independence Pass Incident - Credit: Karen Teague


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