Vermont is a winter wonderland. Snowmobile rentals, snowshoeing, ice climbing? You’ll want to try it all but do you have the gear? When making your things to do in Vermont winter list add Stowe and Mount Mansfield to it. Snowmobile rentals with Snowmobile Vermont include gear and knowledgeable tour guides.
Things to Do in Vermont? Everything winter!
One of my more unusual quirks? Despite living in New England for the first 33 years of my life, I don’t ski or snowboard. Furthermore I still claim winter as my favorite season. Ice climbing in the mountains, snow shoeing, or most recently ripping all over creation on a snowmobile- I’ve tried it all.
I cut my teeth riding snowmobiles up and down ski trails, at night, in Vermont blizzard conditions. Just me a negative 30 degree wind chill and a troop of other adrenaline junkie snow makers. How does someone who doesn’t ski get a job as a snow maker? The listing in the local newspaper dramatically declared “must be willing to work independently in any/all extreme weather conditions”. Also listed? Tons of warnings and hazards of the job. Fancying myself as a bit of an amateur Bear Grylls, I knew I had to try it. (And yes, I was provided free lift tickets, season passes, and even free lessons as a benefit of my employment, and no I never bothered to utilize them).
Snowmobile Rentals in Stowe- A Must Do
When my wife floated the idea of a snowmobile rental while staying at Stoweflake in Stowe, I was all in. With my prior experience I was mildly concerned that a “tour” might be on the mundane side. I can happily report the Mount Mansfield trail rides provided by Snowmobile Vermont were anything but boring. Riders of all skill levels (be it brand spanking new to seasoned veteran) could go out and have a whopping good time.
We arrived at Umiak Outdoor Outfitters in Stowe Vermont early in the morning to find a well-organized, laid back, encouraging, and anything but intimidating atmosphere. Snowmobile Vermont operates out of Umiak’s space during the winter. Umiak runs other winter activities such as snowshoeing tours, sledding and Fat Bike tours.
Each member of the party was outfitted with remarkably high quality gear and appropriate winter apparel. They had items for every shape and size. Even the most inexperienced summer loving Southerner could show up woefully unprepared for the conditions and leave the shop fully prepped. Uniquely, the safety brief was informative and funny. After arriving at the trails head the attentive guides did a quick review of features and safety.
Mount Mansfield State Forest is the Perfect Playground
Our mixed group combined beginners and pros. Let me state unequivocally- the guides had skills. They matched the ride to the group so that a great time was had by all. Opportunity was given to test the limits. Looking for a slower pace? That was fine too and no one felt like they were holding the group back. Everyone had the opportunity to push themselves as far as they wished. There was no pressure to do anything beyond your comfort zone. With an active sport this was truly remarkable.
The trail was the perfect blend of technical terrain and wide open spaces that allowed the operator to feel the awe inspiring power and speed of these snow machines. Valuable advice allowed the operators to get the most out of the experience. My wife, who accompanied me on the trip and had no previous experience on a snowmobile also had a great time. Admittedly, there were a couple time while riding behind me she smacked me in the ribs urging me to slow down.
Have the experience.
Often on “seasonal” specific sports folks worry that they don’t have the skill, equipment, or knowledge to participate. Don’t worry. On the fence about whether or not this is for you? Give it a shot. I can’t imagine a better place or atmosphere to try snowmobiling for the first time. Alternatively, go reacquaint yourself with the hobby. Snow, machines, Mount Mansfield State Forest? What’s not to love!