People are through with their pandemic fatigue. They’ve had it. They’re traveling. And already, people are considering their winter travel plans.
And forget about skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. Think snowmobiling.
Though it’s not likely that snowmobiling falls in the top three on the winter-activity enthusiast’s sports list, it should. Cruising down trails at automobile speed limits behind 150 plus horses can be an exhilarating experience. Especially if done in the resplendent Adirondack Mountains and Park: one of the best regions in the country for snowmobiling.
“The Adirondack Park’s snowmobile trails are special due to the fact that they are located in the largest tract of New York State-protected land making up 6.1 million acres,” said Jim Rolf, trail coordinator with the New York State Snowmobile Association, said in an email.
Rolf said the mountains provide the perfect backdrop to the snowmobiling experience, and the vast landscape comprises a plethora of secluded trails, lakes, streams, rivers, partially-frozen waterfalls, rock cliffs, and “some of the nicest small communities in the entire State.” The Adirondack Mountains also possess the largest protected natural area in the contiguous United States, sans Alaska.
“Narrow, winding snowmobile trails through forests in the Park (private and publicly-owned) and also across the frozen bodies of water give the winter riders a completely different vantage-point to the winter snowmobile trail opportunities that they see in other parts of NY,” he said.
And by the way, there are 750 miles of trails to glide through.
Some of the best scenery in upstate New York can be viewed by renting a snowmobile in the communities of Old Forge and Spectacular or the Tri-Lakes area, Rolf said, adding that it’s the best place to start for the novice snowmobiler. Experienced riders will be able to hop on a machine and hit a trail loop but the inexperienced should hook up with a guided snowmobile tour operator, he said.
C&C Adirondack Snowmobile Tours in Chesterton, New York offers tours designed for the beginner crowd that lasts between one-to-two hours. Based in the southern zone of the Adirondack Park, in the popular Lake George region, C&C is just three hours from New York City.
“What we do is we cater to our riders,” said Craig Kennedy, who co-operates the snowmobile tour company with his wife, Cathy. “The experience is all based on how you ride your snowmobile.”
He said some people ride circles in their yard while other riders prefer kissing the elements.
“Others want to have a little more wind in their hair, wind in their face, go a bit faster.”
C&C can steer the tour based on the experience and desires of any given group.
C&C guides ensure that riders are comfortable with the snowmobile, even taking them out for practice laps beforehand, Craig said. Tour sizes range from one person to 24 total, with a maximum of 12 snowmobiles deployed. Two guides staff each snowmobile.
Snow comes early to the Adirondacks, due to their proximity to Lake Ontario and the lake-effect snowstorms it produces, Rolf said. The preferred window of time to ride is from late December through March.
“Usually, the months of January and February are the busiest months for snowmobile trail riding in the Adirondacks, but March is also a great time to ride,” Rolf said.
According to the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council’s Visit Adirondacks website, the Adirondacks consist of 12 unique regional destinations that offer skiing, sledding and snowmobiling in the winter, and extensive hiking and endless canoeing and kayaking during the warmer months.
Plenty of amenities and accommodations are available for the overnight traveler and snowmobiler. Lodging in enticing picturesque and bucolic towns throughout the region is a no-brainer.
“Traveling back in time within those communities is something not all snowmobilers in NY have gotten to enjoy over the year, and when they have the opportunity … they take it,” Rolf said.
Adirondack towns and villages provide restaurants, places to stay and interconnected trail systems that serve the recreational winter-sports tourist and community. Visit Adirondacks said vacation and dining packages exclusively catering to snowmobilers visiting the region are available. Adirondack Experience indicates that several local businesses offer reasonable lodging packages for riders.
With COVID-19 limitations subsiding, virus revenge travel has emerged. A diversity of folks are seemingly seeking something new in the outdoors.
“This past season was amazing,” Kennedy said. “We thought it was going to be the opposite. We’re starting to see folks from all over, which is really cool, and all walks of life.”
For additional information about snowmobiling in New York, visit www.nysnowmobiler.com.