Beginner's Guide to Snowmobiling

A group of people on snowmobiles on a snowy mountain.

Unlike snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or off-piste backcountry skiing, snowmobiling affords almost everyone the opportunity to access truly remote backcountry. In Grand County, that means accessing more than 1,000 miles of trails in the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

While snowmobiling doesn't require years of practice or training, it does require proper preparation and awareness. Here are our tips on what to wear and how to prepare, as well as links to helpful resources and outfitters in Grand County to make your snowmobiling trip a success:

What to Wear

Stay warm and — just as importantly — dry by dressing in layers with a waterproof outer shell. Begin with a layer of thermal underwear and warm socks.

You may want to wear another layer of fleece, followed by snow bibs, a wind- and snow-resistant winter coat, a neck gator and thick gloves. Another essential item is a snowmobile helmet, which will not only protect your head, but also proved insulation from the cold.

Hint: Be sure to avoid cotton layers. Cotton absorbs moisture and once you're wet, you won't just get cold, but you'll also stay cold.

Who to Travel With

If you're new to snowmobiling, we strongly urge that you go out with an outfitter on your first time out. Their knowledge of equipment and operations is only surpassed by their in-depth study of local terrain and familiarity with changing conditions. Not only will you be in great hands with one of Grand County's outfitters, but you'll also enjoy yourself more.

Outfitters provide snowmobiles as well as safety equipment like helmets. Inquire directly with an outfitter on what else may be included in a package tour.

What Outing to Choose

Snowmobiling tours vary by length of outing and terrain covered. Before you inquire about a tour, think about the type of setting and trails you'd like to explore.

Tamer journeys typically follow meadow and forest backcountry trails, while more adventurous trips traverse steeper pitches and open bowls where you can open the throttle a bit and play in the powder. View our terrain guide for more information on some of the rides you can find in Grand County.

Either way, traveling with a guide allows you to explore the right terrain when conditions allow.

What Restrictions to Consider

Snowmobiling is undoubtedly fun for the entire family. However, Colorado law dictates that no person under the age of 10 years old is allowed to operate a snowmobile. For more on age restrictions and regulations, visit the FAQ page on the Colorado Snowmobile Association's website.

Where to Snowmobile

Grand County includes some of the most dazzling snowmobiling terrain in the country. To help you sort out the features of the different areas, we've compiled this Terrain Guide to Snowmobiling Grand County.