Recently, I went up to Winter Park, Colorado, to try snowmobiling for the first time! Not only was this my first experience snowmobiling, but it was also only my second time up in the mountains in Colorado during the winter, even though I am a Colorado native. The only other time I’ve been up in the mountains during the winter was for a friend’s birthday last year where we had the opportunity to go snow tubing! Other than that, I have never been skiing or snowboarding, and chances are, I won’t have a chance to until I am old enough to pay for ski passes and equipment myself. Overall, this was a brand new experience for me in many ways!
The only problem I came across during the entire planning process was finding gear to wear up in the snow! I had no snow boots, pants, jackets, ski socks or gloves, no undershirt, and no ski mask. I was completely unprepared (or, at least, I was prepared to freeze). Luckily, one of my best friends skis religiously, so she had extra garments for me to borrow.
Once we got up to Winter Park, we stopped by McDonald’s (super exotic and classy, I know) before we drove up to the snowmobiling location, which was at the Winter Park Mountain Lodge. Once there, the snowmobile tour company provides you with helmets, and the people I was with were nice enough to rent me a pair of ski goggles, because, as I mentioned before, I was completely unprepared for any adventures in the snow. We did have to wait for a while before our tour went out, about half an hour, which doesn’t seem like a long time unless you’re dressed in have full snow gear on and you’re sweating like crazy. To be fair, in an hour, I was wishing I was sweating inside rather than freezing my butt off, but that’s beside the point.
Soon, we were on our way out to listen to a few instructions before we were able to get started with the actual snowmobiles. If you can believe it, I was nervous after hearing all of the instructions, even though I wasn’t even the person driving the snowmobile. This was because our guide mentioned about twenty times how easy the machines were to flip over. What if something like that were to happen to us?!
Nonetheless, our helmets were tightened, and we were off after learning about the snowmobile controls. As I said, I didn’t get to drive, which was a bummer, but the experience was still fun even riding on the back of the machine! I do hope that someday I can go for a second time and drive my own snowmobile.
The best part of the entire experience was the beautiful trail that we drove on! Winter park is gorgeous anyways, but it is particularly amazing when you are driving through a thicket of pine trees and you can’t see anything else but tall, green trees and white, fresh snow. The snow was so powdery while we were up there, which caused a few problems for our tour group, but more on that later.
After driving along the trail through the trees for a while, the tour takes you up the mountain to an overlook where you can see across the landscape for miles and miles. Just watch out for snow-covered sinkholes while you’re walking to the edge of the mountain to take pictures! Fair warning.
When you don’t get the thrill of driving the snowmobile, you live for the fantastic views of Winter Park.
We took a different trail down the mountain, so we got more out of our drive and got to see new things on the way back down! But like I said, the snow was very fresh and powdery, and three different people got stuck on the side of the trail as we were driving down the mountain. There was so much snow that the snowmobiles were rooted down in that it took about twenty minutes to get the machines out from the snow piles and back on the trail. The good news was, the snowmobile that I was riding on never got stuck!
Overall, the drive took about two hours to complete, and I thought that was the perfect amount of time to be out riding the snowmobiles! I might also be biased, though, because the boots my friend let me borrow were not real ski boots and so the toes of my boots and my rocks were entirely soaked through. I was really ready to get my toes warm somehow! Our guide was awesome, even when he was gruff with the people who were driving their snowmobiles off of the trail. I’ll leave the link to Grand Adventures Snowmobiling down below so you can explore the different packages that the company offers! They also have a lot more activities they offer other than snowmobiling, so maybe I’ll be back up in Winter Park another time to try out a new adventure!
Afterwards, since we saved on lunch by eating at McDonald’s, we got to splurge on Beau Jo’s Pizza for dinner! I hadn’t eaten there in over 8 years, so it was awesome to get to eat there again and have some yummy pizza, which has the thickest crust ever. If you haven’t been, it’s definitely worth a trip. Pizza also tastes amazing after a long day in the snow. I have learned after my two forays into the mountains during the winter that playing in the snow really wears people out!
Let me know if you guys have any stories about snowmobiling adventures of your own, or have had other winter experiences in the mountains that I need to try out! Thanks for listening about my first time snowmobiling…
And Don’t Forget to Make It Meghan!