Not everyone who comes to Summit County likes to ski or snowboard. But even avid snowriders like to take a break from the slopes from time to time. Snowmobiling allows you to enjoy Colorado’s backcountry with little exertion and no crowds.
“Snowmobiling is a fun family sport that can be multi-generational,” says Andrea Karageanis, at High Country Snowmobile Tours. It’s something kids as young as 3 can enjoy, and their grandparents, too.
Several local companies offer guided or unguided snowmobile tours around Summit County. You don’t have to be experienced to sign up. All abilities are welcome – beginners included.
In general, family tours are slower-paced than others to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the children on board, says Judith Gilman of White Mountain Snowmobile Tours, Inc. White Mountain is one of the few local outfitters that offers kid-sized sleds, for children under 75-pounds.
Parents needn’t worry, Gilman says. Kids are required to ride on their parents sled for the tour itself, but are invited to try driving the miniature snowmobiles when the group stops at a practice meadow where the kid-sleds are waiting.
“The kids love it,” Gilman says. “We’ve been offering this for years and it’s very popular.”
Warm ski and snow gear is ideal for snowmobiling. Ski boots and ski helmets, however, are not suitable.
“Ski helmets are not rated for snowmobiles,” Gilman explains.
Guests are advised to wear warm gloves, goggles or polarized sunglasses, and sunscreen. Most companies provide helmets. Some offer complimentary coveralls and snow boots. Check with your outfitter beforehand.
Tours vary depending on the outfitter, but most wind through forest trails and open meadows as they make their way above treeline. You might pass abandoned mining cabins, ride over the Continental Divide or see some of Colorado’s14,000-foot peaks. Regardless of where you ride, one thing is certain: The views will be amazing.
You definitely don’t want to forget your camera, advises Mora Rojas, of Fun for You Rentals.
For more information on guided and unguided snowmobiling: