Unique territory contributes to Grand County’s vast snowmobiling industry
December 4, 2018
If there were one word to associate with snowmobiling it would be adventure. Whether it's riding up to the top of the Continental Divide or exploring the Arapaho National Forest, snowmobiling allows riders to really explore Grand County.
While there are plenty of ways to enjoy the county's vast natural beauty, snowmobiling is a top option for visitors because there's something for everyone.
"(There's) much easier access to the backcountry, so you really get those kind of unparalleled views that people wouldn't be able to access in the winter time," said Ryan Barwick, owner of Grand Adventures, a snowmobiling outfitter in Winter Park, Fraser and Grand Lake.
Grand Adventures offers both guided tours and rentals for unguided exploring. Regardless of the variety of experiences riders can have, what they all have in common is what makes snowmobiling so unique and thrilling, Barwick said.
"The freedom of it, especially when you're making powder turns, there's nothing quite like that feeling," he said.
Barwick said that having multiple locations in the county allows the outfitter to provide riders with an amazing experience for first timers and skilled riders alike.
"We are the only ones on the south side of the county, so we have access to Corona Bowl, Continental Divide, so we have a lot of terrain that nobody else does," he said. "Because we have so many different riding areas we really do have something for everybody."
One reason snowmobiling is a staple winter activity in the county is because of the unique territory. Grand Lake is one of the few places in the country where snowmobilers can venture on to the streets and explore the town.
On the Trails, a snowmobile outfitter in Grand Lake, offers a variety of snowmobiles from touring models to high-power machines. Owner Nick Hanson said their direct trail access allows riders to quickly get to their adventure without wasting time.
"This trail system is a world-class trail system and we see people from all over the world," Hanson said. "I think just the adventure of navigating the trail systems (…) is why many people do it."
However, if following a trail or a guide isn't your snowmobile style, Grand Lake still has options for you.
Spirit Lake Lodge, a snowmobile rental operation in downtown Grand Lake, sees a lot more experienced riders who are looking to explore. Michael Sobon, snowmobile operations manager for the lodge, said he especially enjoys the freedom of riding off trail.
"It's honestly relaxing in my opinion, but obviously a lot of work as well," Sobon said. "It's the aspect of, especially with backcountry riding, looking at something and saying hey I want to go there and, especially with today's technology, being able to achieve getting to the top of the mountain."e