Beautiful backcountry scenery, wildlife spotting, untouched snow, clean air, and loads of fun are some of the reasons to head to the mountains with a snowmobile. It’s a great getaway for a day or a weekend with family or friends. Snowmobiling is fun for all ages. Parents can even rent two-seaters to ride with their younger kids. Utah’s snowmobiling season typically begins in early December and ends in early April.
Snowmobiling and other outdoor adventures have been used as therapy for wounded military veterans and those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD). Lyric Murphy, female snowmobile athlete, has taken veterans snowmobiling via the Wounded Warrior Project.
“I teach them how to ride snowmobiles in the mountains, letting them go where they want to go, see what they want to see. It gives them a different kind of peace when they leave. It’s therapy for me too,” she says.
Responsible snowmobilers stay on trails and in designated areas so as not to damage sensitive terrain. Utah offers many places for snowmobiling. “Monte Cristo Snowmobile Complex is my absolute favorite place to snowmobile. One reason is that it is super versatile,” says Murphy.
Guides are available to take you through groomed trails, wildlife tours or off-trail adventures. Snowmobiling at Monte Cristo Snowmobile Complex, Hardware Ranch Snowmobile Complex, or many of the other snowmobile parks offer many levels of trails that are easy to navigate on your own.
A great way to find out if snowmobiling is right for you or to try different equipment before making a large purchase is to simply try it out. You can rent snowmobile equipment and gear. Most rental companies, such as locally owned and operated Club Powersports, offer their rental equipment for guided or unguided experiences.
Contact the rental companies or snowmobile complexes to get a complete list of gear to make for a safe and fun day. “A radio is a key piece of safety equipment,” says Murphy. “You can communicate with search and rescue if you get in a bind.” An avalanche beacon is needed and can also be rented. Avalanche training is good to have even if you don’t plan on going off of the groomed trails. “People don’t realize that avalanches cross trails.”
The Utah Snowmobile Association wants people to enjoy the outdoors and then to make it back home. “Snowmobile safety is your number one concern. No matter what your skill level is, or how much snowmobiling you have done, the only good day of snowmobiling is a safe one.”
The Association has a variety of safety information on their website.
Utah Avalanche Center offers avalanche education with online and in-person classes. Free safety and avalanche training in English and Spanish is offered on the Know Before You Go.