I had the best Super Bowl Sunday ever! I spent it snowmobiling around Mammoth. There was snow on the ground, no wind and not a cloud in the sunny sky. My friends and I had signed up through MammothMountain.com’s Snowmobile Adventures where, on Thurs-Sun, it’s $100 for your own vehicle and $120 when you double up ($90, $120 Mon-Thurs). However, I recommend getting your own rental since it’s more fun being the driver than the passenger.
With no experience whatsoever and minimal instructions (throttle’s on the right and the brakes are on the left, lean into the turns) I was still able to motor myself around, and if I can do it chances are _any_one can. Besides who’d want to stare at the back of someone’s head through a 1.5-hour tour? Also there are lots of whoops and ruts on the paths — stuff that are easier to spot at the helm than from the backseat. Plus you can go a bit faster since the vehicle is easier to maneuver with just you on it.
Case in point, I jumped on the back of one of the snowmobiles with my friend to try out being a backseat Betty for a change. He likes to drive fast and I usually love it, too, but having to anticipate when to lean into the turns and stand up during the bumps from the back made the ride kinda scary since I couldn’t really do any of it without following my friend’s lead. And by the time I’d figure out when to do all that, it could be too late. I could end up in the air. After one run around the snow bowl, I had to hop off. Me no likey.
But then I got back on my own snowmobile and had fun again. It was a gorgeous morning and our guide took us on this extensive trail circuit near the main lodge, and even some trails off the main drag. I’ve never had that much fun playing in the snow before. It was so awesome and everyone had a great time.
However, I will say it was a bit exhausting and 1.5 hours is just the right amount of time for this adventure. Because after awhile my throttle thumb got too sore, my legs started to hurt from acting as the suspension on the rough stuff, and fatigue set in.
If you find yourself in Mammoth with an extra day and you’re done with skiing, snowblading or whatever you do, go on a snowmobile adventure. It’s the best way to really appreciate Mammoth’s beauty and obviously so much fun.
Some pointers: Use the heel of your hand instead of your thumb on the throttle, stand up during the bumps so you don’t get bucked off your seat, bring a hydration system (screaming in your helmet can dry your mouth out), go ahead and pay for the $5 liability charge when you’re signing the papers before the tour and know the limits of your skill.
Main Lodge at 2001 Minaret Road
Mammoth Lakes, California 93546
800.MAMMOTH or (800) 626-6684