Just when most skiers head inside the lodge to sip a hot chocolate or a beer, my crew set out to explore the mountain from a new vantage point: the snowmobile. I always thought one of the greatest aspects of skiing was the speed you gain flying down the mountain. I only feel satisfied when my eyes start to tear up (I’m not a goggle girl if it’s not snowing) and my lips chap a bit mid-run. If you ever encountered some 80’s Airforce movie with a pre-crazy Tom Cruise, you might say I have a need for speed. This is where the snowmobile comes in.
The fine folks at High Country set our group up with an hour-long tour. Upon entering their wood cabin right off the slopes, they outfitted us with gloves, boots and helmets before sending us out to claim our vehicles. I grew up riding Sea-Doos and was pleased when each of us got to claim its land counterpart, a Ski-Doo. Each machine was adorned with a rapper name from a budget label maker and I was hooked up with Jay-Z. Solid start.
After signing our life away with the customary waivers, we got the rundown on how to use the Ski-Doo. If you ever had a spin on a wave runner or an ATV, you can handle the snowmobile. Not only is there a typical hand-accelerator, the throttle is even heated so that your phalanges don’t freeze off mid-ride! The engine itself keeps your legs and feet cozy along the way. Add the helmet and we’re talking serious luxury cruising with a snowmobile.
Just as the sun was setting behind the mountain, our group took off in a single file line that would have made my second grade teacher proud. We quickly climbed the ski runs and took note of the groomers working their way down the slopes. It wasn’t long before we jetted off into seemingly uncharted territory, however. We took a turn off a larger ski run to find a narrow trail that cut abruptly into the forest. As the sky’s blue began to deepen, we charged on up the mountain going some 25 to 30 mph. Under my helmet I an ear to ear grin creep across my face. Faster! Man, if only Frost got his hands on one of these things back in the day, then Stopping By The Woods on Snowy Evening poem wouldn’t have been so short. What’s after ‘These woods are lovely, dark and deep’?
We emerged from the forest to find ourselves following the perimeter of the Somerset Reservoir we had seen earlier in the day from the top of the mountain. To my delight, we crept our way onto the ice and began gaining speed as we jetted across the reservoir. It started at an earnest 30 mph, then 40, and the last time I looked down at the speedometer I saw the needle hovering around 60. And miles to go before I sleep! Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta. (You were always wondering how I would work a Top Gun reference, Office Space song and Robert Frost poem into one post, weren’t you?)
At some point during my speed craze, the sun set completely and we began our descent down the mountain with a couple sparkling lodge lights in the distance. Finally, we found ourselves back at the home base completely intact and still full of adrenaline. I realize not everyone is a speed junkie, so please know if you decide to embark on a snow mobile tour you can travel at a comfortable (cough, granny) speed.
High Country: www.snowmobile-tours.com
One Hour Ride: $55, weekday; $75 weekend and holiday
Group Rates: 10% off regular rates