Growing up in the midwest, we did a lot of snowmobiling over the hills and through the woods. It was what we did in the flat country, but I've always wanted to snowmobile the mountains. If you have a ski vacation planned for your family for several days to a week and decide to take a ski day off, I would highly suggest taking, at least, a 1/2 day of your trip and trying a snowmobile ride. You won't be disappointed. It is a great family activity.
Although snowmobiling at Deer Valley has ended for the season, it's definitely something to put on your bucket list for next winter. Hopefully my experience will leave you counting down the days until it starts back up next season. Also, there is plenty of dining and skiing to be had until the mountain closes for the season on April 10, 2016.
Deer Valley snowmobile rides at are operated through Summit Meadows Adventures and run on a 7000 acre private land property in Browns Canyon only 10 minutes from Park City. You can either drive there yourself or they run a shuttle service for rides of 2 hours or more. You can choose from 1 or 2-hour rides or if you have a large group, you can book a group ride. Children 8 and under ride with an adult for free and you must be 16 years or older to drive.
You can either bring your own outdoor gear, or you can rent when you get there. There is everything from boots to jackets to mittens to rent. Helmets are a must and if you don't have one, it is included in your rental price. Also, you will need either sunglasses or ski goggles. I would suggest your goggles as it helps when you're zipping along to see better and your eyes won't be watering.
The tour is guided and we were greeted by Tabatha who had our snowmobiles out and ready. If you've never driven a snowmobile, no worries. Tabatha gave us a safety talk on how to operate the machines, what the tour was going to be like, where we were heading and how to stop/start and what to do if you got stuck. The machines have heated handles and are smooth to operate. We took our time on the way up to the great views! There was a meadow area where we had some time to go in circles and have some fun.
Tabitha was able to judge our driving skills as we went along the trails and took us back a really fun way down a small ridge. I guess we passed the "ok drivers" test. Once back at camp, there were lots of smiles and "can we go again?", so I guess it was a success.
1. Wear ski goggles
2. Make sure you've got boots
3. Put your camera in your pocket as you'll be using it a lot
4. If you want to take a small backpack, you'll want a drink of water.
5. Don't be surprised if your thumb gets sore-especially if you have small hands like mine
6. If your kids are really young, I would put them in front of you while driving. You can use your legs to squeeze them tighter, especially when making big turns and they can see well through the windshield. If they are older, you can trust them to hold onto the handle bars on the sides or feel free to have them put their arms around you.
On the Deer Valley website is where you can sign up for this thrilling adventure.
When you have kids, you know how hard it is to go out to eat. They are wiggly and have a short attention span. Mine decided the elevator was a good activity. (not!) The Lodges are just minutes from the base of Deer Valley and super kid friendly! We got there in time to take a few photos, Emily to lose her tooth and have to look for a bag to put it in and take part in a craft activity. This is the best part! Every night at 4 pm, there is a kids activity set up in the room opposite the Brass Tag! How brilliant is this! You can go into the restaurant and relax-what a concept- and the kids are across the hall doing an activity, watching a DVD or playing the Wii. You can have the kids choose from the kids menu and then you can either get a yummy appetizer ..we chose the chimichurri chips
Let the kids have a peak at the brick oven where everything is made.
They are known for the Brass Tag Burger and if you have room for desert, you'll love the cookie skillet which melts in your mouth.
Now for the tough part...driving back to Salt Lake on a fully tummy with our rosy cheeks.