Famous for snowy peaks and posh ski resorts, Colorado is also home to history and breathtaking winter scenery. Old mining and ghost towns in the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains make Salida, Colo., a prime adventure spot. A number of places accomodate both the experienced and novice rider, such as Tin Cup Pass, Napoleon Pass and Silver Creek. Check out this site for prices and dates.
Mammoth Lakes, Calif., is a classic spot for beginner, intermediate and advanced snowmobile riders. Situated around the San Joaquin Ridge and Lookout Mountain, trails wind around the snowy area. Family tours, guided tours and self-guided tours provide fun at any level. Log on to this site for rates and availability.
In the East the Adirondack Mountains are always changing and ever beautiful. But when the leaves fall, snowmobile riders become eager to hit the hills. This site gives winter lovers a chance to take advantage of the weather for a day or two and tour the hills. Reservations are required, and group rides are available. Log onto the website for more information.
Snowmobiling can also be a winter spectator sport. Snowmobile racing has its place in extreme sports, and there are hundreds of races in several snow states each year. These races are not for amateurs with racing sled speeds up to 150 mph, but a need for speed can be quelled just by watching these machines rip through powder and over water.
Eagle River Derby Track in Eagle River, Wis., is home to the World Championship Snowmobile Derby Jan. 12 to Jan. 15. The race began in 1964 and has since become one of the largest sled races in the world. The track also features a vintage-racing weekend, Jan. 6 to Jan. 8. For more information, check out this site.
Vintage snowmobile racing is life in the northern Minnesota town of Strathcona, known for its historic racetrack. Strathcona hosts races through January and February, featuring the Triple Crown in January. Log on to this site.
A combination of speed, strategy and (sometimes) insanity give the Artic Man race in Summit Lake, Alaska, a space on your lifetime must-see list. Every year, 13,000 spectators flock to the state to witness a relay race between teams made up of one downhill skier and one snowmobile racer. The skier begins at 5,800 feet and drops to 1,700 feet in less than 2 miles, where he meets his teammate on the snowmobile. The snowmobile then pulls the skier by a tow rope a little over 2 miles, uphill, at over 86 mph. Then the skier and snowmobile split, drop another 1,200 feet and meet at the finish line. The 2006 race is set for April 5 to April 9. Check out this site for photos and information.
As usual, we recommend using the Net if you find yourself in winter wonderland country and think about doing a little snowmobiling. For starters try going to google.com and typing into the search box “snowmobile rentals.” As the cowboy with the horse used to say in the days before snowmobiles, “Happy Trails.