Okay, okay, I get it.
Every year we send out nearly 2,000 surveys asking SnoWest readers where their favorite riding spots are. There is one line on the survey which asks for "Other Favorite Riding Areas."
And every year we get more than one response saying something to the effect of, "Can't tell you, it's a secret."
I know you people have your secret riding spots. I even have a few where I like to go that seemingly no one has discovered. And no, I won't divulge them, either. Fair's fair.
Another thing I can count on every single year is, whenever or wherever I go to work on a travel feature (like Sanpete County, UT, in this issue), those showing me around always say, "We'll take you to this one spot but you can't write about it." Okay, fair enough. More than likely, though, I have a picture of it somewhere in the hundreds of pictures I take on every trip like that.
So okay, I don't need to know and definitely don't need to write about every last place you can snowmobile in the West. I'm willing to let you have that one spot all to yourself.
I also like to read the comments some of you put on the surveys you return. We don't necessarily ask for comments but some of you take the time to write and it's fun to read the comments.
Here is a sample of some we received this year.
From California, "Mammoth Lakes, CA, is one of the best kept secrets in California. More than 250 miles of groomed and ungroomed trails. No crowds. Close to Mammoth Mountain for gas and lodging. I've been riding at Mammoth for 31 years. This year 668 inches of snow (a new record). Lake Tahoe is good also. Rode two trips of 200 plus miles." I've ridden the Mammoth Lakes area and concur. It's a great place to ride.
From Minnesota, "Lane, I believe West (Yellowstone) gets a bad rap for crowds. No one there compared to the late `90s." I do, too. No matter how busy it is in and around West Yellowstone, we can still manage to find untracked snow. And just this past season, we rode in places around West Yellowstone that I never knew even existed and there were definitely no crowds where we went. I've been riding that area for 12-13 years and had never ridden in those spots we did last winter.
Again from Minnesota, a rider sent us a detailed report of where and how many miles he rode last winter. He made a trip west in March and here's his report:
March 4-7 Wycolo Lodge, WY 517.7 miles
March 9-11 Dubois, WY 304.1 miles
March 12-16 Cooke City, MT 287.9 miles
Total 1,109.7 miles
Wow, I need a job where I can ride all month like that. Oh, wait, never mind. I do have a job like that.
From North Dakota, "All these areas are great. The snow quality and depth are always what make the most difference, along with good hospitality and service. Cooke has always been a favorite cause there's always pow to find. Amen to the snow quality and depth. I can have great riding in my backyard if the snow is deep and light enough. On a good year I can ride from my house to the Big Holes in eastern Idaho.
From Oregon, "When conditions are right, i.e., adequate snow, Fairfield, ID, offers every kind of riding for every kind of rider. You can take the kids to wide open play areas or you can be as crazy as you want."
From Washington, "Last year was a 10-plus-deep powder, lots of snow. I've been riding snowmobiles from 1973. Everybody talks about favorite places to ride. I've been to northern Idaho, West Yellowstone, Lake Chelan and more. I know for a fact, the Packwood area (Washington) is undiscovered and has been for years. Lots of area to ride where nobody goes. The motels, hotels and lodges don't even know how many snowmobile trails there are in the area." Your secret is out now. And as for the offer to give us a tour of the area, we just might take you up on that this winter. And I definitely agree on the 10-plus for snow this past winter. It was one of the best I've ever had snowmobiling.