Yes, it’s loud. Yes, it can be a bit stinky. But boy, oh boy, is it fun.
I am never so happy than when astride a snowmobile. I’ve only been on a snowmobile a couple of times, but other than jet boating in Grand Junction, there’s very little that’s as exhilarating. Plus, snowmobiling gives the rider an opportunity to take in beautiful views.
We experienced snowmobiling in Leadville at White Mountain Snowmobile Tours this past weekend. It’s located at the same place as Top of the Rockies, a zip line outing I’ve been on several times. Top of the Rockies is a personal favorite and I recommend them a lot because this excursion stays open year-round. Ziplining here means you will see out-of-this-world views.
The same goes for snowmobiling here. The winter views here are unparalleled, but that’s just one reason to go.
Located just 10 minutes from downtown Leadville, we arrived at 11:30 a.m. on a Saturday and the place was busy. At first, I was a bit off-put because about 50 snowmobiles were getting ready to go. I wasn’t keen on being in a group of 50.
The group spent time learning about our snowmobiles and practicing in a large field with a lot of other sleds (sled is another name for a snowmobile). It was a glorious day with blue skies and crazy cloud formations, but I wasn’t too happy about having to snowmobile with this many people.
As it turns out, before you head up the hill you are placed in smaller groups and ours was just four sleds and our guide Terry. With so many sleds on the mountainside, I expected to see a lot more people, but the tours by White Mountain are a well-oiled machine and the timing was such that we barely saw another group except for on the highest peaks. I’m not sure how they pull off this feat, but they do and I am impressed.
We were on the Performance Tour but there’s a Prospector Tour that’s slanted towards families and sharing a snowmobile.
Our two-hour tour presented all sorts of scenery. We buzzed through pine trees flocked with snow and sped into wide open glades where the views were breathtaking. The mountains rose up around us like Rocky Mountain cathedrals and I was surprised the folks from Georgia, our mates during the outing, didn’t fall off their sleds in amazement. I’ve lived here for nearly 20 years and the Colorado landscape still puts me into a state of pure awe.
In fact, for the first time, I faced this winter begrudgingly. I wasn’t ready for the cold and snow but once surrounded by the glory of the Colorado winter, I fell in love all over again. There’s nothing quite as spectacular as winter in the Rocky Mountains.
At the high point, Terry brought our group to a halt and we took photos of the impressive 360-degree view around us. And then, we stopped again near the end of the tour for hot chocolate in the on-mountain yurt with other groups. It was here we learned that a couple had got engaged on top of the mountain – a good place for a Colorado engagement.
I also heard the couple from Georgia proclaim that it was their first trip to Colorado and that it was the prettiest place they’d visited. Despite my attempts to remain humble about my amazing state, I puffed up with pride.
Our two-hour outing on snowmobiles at White Mountain was just plain fun. I would recommend listening closely to the tutorial and asking questions if you have them, but in general, the sleds aren’t hard to operate and you do not need to have snowmobiled before to do this tour.
Why is snowmobiling is so appealing? Perhaps it’s being in control of something so powerful or perhaps it’s the views. I realized I’ve written about the views a lot but they are really, really astounding.
Whatever the reason, snowmobiling is going to be fantastic in Colorado this year and believe me, it’s the winter thrill you’ve been craving.