Not only do snowmobilers like winter, we look forward to it.
And then when winter does come, we celebrate it by throwing
big parties like poker runs and races and charity rides. We look for just about
any reason to be in the great outdoors, enjoying our favorite time of year.
Some of the West’s top events are well known across the
snowbelt and attract hundreds of winter enthusiasts. Others are small affairs
with a few dozen. No matter, if you’re planning a snowmobile trip somewhere in
the West we think it would be worth your while to plan your trip around one of
While we’re listing a handful of the West’s biggest winter
parties, there are other options for finding out what’s going on.
State and local snowmobile club events such as poker runs or
races are another great way to enjoy an area. To find out if there is
snowmobile club event going on where you’d like to ride, go to a state
association’s webpage and look for the calendar or events page.
World Snowmobile Expo
There are two really big snowmobile events in the western
Lower 48—the World Snowmobile Expo in West Yellowstone and the World
Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson
Traditionally, they happen a week apart so those who want to can hit both with
some snowmobiling in between. This year, you’ll have a little more time to play
between as they are two weeks apart.
The Expo is held the third weekend in March (this year’s
date is March 13-16, 2008) in West
There are so many events planned for the weekend
you’ll be left wondering how you’re going to take it all in.
Of course, there is the Expo part, which features
all the newest snowmobile models, aftermarket parts and accessories,
destinations and a bargain or two. Then there is the snowmobile racing—both
snocross and snow drags. The SnoWest
SnoCross, sanctioned by Mountain West Racing is the
season finale and attracts racers from across the western United States and Canada. The Washington State
Snowmobile Racing Association sanctions the snow drags, where you can see just
how fast your pony can run. Both races take place at the old airport on the
west edge of town. There will also be a vintage snowmobile display at the old
Freestyle sledders will once again take center
stage in the City
Park with all sorts of
tricks that continue to amaze fans.
Don’t forget Casino night, plenty of music and
great dining all over town. Then there’s the snowmobiling. The town’s fleet of
groomers goes into overtime to make sure the trails are in good shape for those
who want to explore the nearly 400 miles of groomed trails outside of town.
The Expo draws between 10,000-13,000 people each
For more information, contact www.snowmobileexpo.com.
They don’t come any bigger than this—regardless of where you
are. If you’re only going to get to see one hillclimb, then this is the hillclimb. It’s the most famous and
one of—if not the—wildest hillcimb you’ll ever see. This is one big party on
Annually held in Jackson Hole,
WY, the Jackson
hillclimb is scheduled for March 27-30 at Snow King Resort’s Exhibition Run.
Sanctioned by the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Hillclimb
Association, the hillclimb attracts more than 10,000 who come to see the
world’s best hillclimbers rock and sometimes roll. Spectators can either line
up at the bottom of Exhibition Run to watch the action or hike up (or take the
chairlift to the top and hike down) and line the course’s edge to get up close
to the racing.
The world’s best hillclimbers compete in this race.
Hillclimbing isn’t the only action planned during the
weekend in Jackson—there
are plenty of other events such as racer calcuttas to keep you busy. Several
vendors show their wares near the bottom of the hill, giving sledders one more
chance at season-ending bargains.
For more information, contact www.jacksonholechamber.com.
Winter X Games
This is a made for TV event. Created by ESPN, the Winter X
Games throws together non-motorized and motorized winter events together at a
major ski resort—Aspen, CO, again this winter—in a four-day snow
fest of activities. This season’s X Games will be the seventh for Aspen.
This winter’s X Games are Jan. 24-27 and the biggest
motorized event is the snocross, which attracts the sport’s biggest names, each
looking for the gold. Tucker Hibbert unseated Blair Morgan last winter for the gold
medal, breaking Morgan’s streak of wins at five golds.
Snowmobile freestyle jumping was added to the Winter X Games
last January with Chris Burandt winning the inaugural gold medal.
For more information, contact http://expn.go.com.
Snowmobile Charity Ride
If you want to participate in a great snowmobile ride and do
some good while snowmobiling, then consider the Transmontana ride.
Sponsored by the Montana Snowmobile Association and
supported by Teva Neuroscience, the six-day, 500-mile ride starts at the
Canadian border north of Eureka, MT, and ends at
just outside of West Yellowstone. The ride
begins Jan. 20 and ends Jan. 25. Sledders can ride all or part of the 500
The proceeds from Transmontana 2008 goes to the Northwest
Region of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America to help fund programs
to ease the challenges of individuals in Montana
with multiple sclerosis.
To participate there is a registration fee as well as
pledges to support those with multiple sclerosis.
For more information, contact Rene Kempa (406) 771-7371.
Tesoro Iron Dog
If you want to really find out what you’re made of, you
enter the Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile race—the most grueling cross country race
on the planet. The rest of us prefer to watch the action.
Teams of two racers cover a monstrous 1,971-mile course from
Wasilla, AK, to
Nome and then on to Fairbanks. As of press time, a record number
of Pro teams—38—had signed up for the 2008 race, which begins in Wasilla Feb. 10.
The race is scheduled to end Feb. 16 in Fairbanks.
Racers leave Wasilla, race to several checkpoints/towns on their way to Nome and then head back west to Fairbanks,
all the while traveling through Alaska’s
backcountry. This year’s race purse is $75,000.
There are lots of places along the race route where
spectators can catch a glimpse of the passing racers and keep track of their
For more information, contact www.irondog.org.
An Alaska original that has become a must see for anyone who
likes something a little out of the ordinary is the Arctic Man Ski & Sno-Go
Classic. When was the last time you saw 13,000 or so people drive in the winter
to essentially the middle of nowhere to watch snowmobilers and downhill skiers
compete in teams racing at insane speeds?
That’s the Arctic Man.
Held near Summit,
AK, the Arctic Man is April 9-13,
2008 and combines snowmobile racing with downhill skiing. Here’s how it works.
A skier begins at a summit elevation of 5,800 feet and drops 1,700 feet in less
than two miles to the bottom of a narrow canyon where he/she meets up with a
snowmobiling partner. Of course, the snowmobiler is on the go, hands a tow rope
to the skier and pulls the skier 2.25 miles at speeds up to 86 mph. The
snowmobiler and skier then separate, whipping the skier over the side of a
second mountain, with the skier dropping 1,200 feet to the finish line. The
best do all this in a little more than four minutes.
Add to the racing fun the fact that there is some great
snowmachining in the area and this is gone great vacation. Plans call for a
hillcross as well this year.
For more information, contact www.arcticman.com.
Tok To Dawson
City International Poker
Now this is a poker run to remember.
What started out as a small (in size, not length) club event has turned
into a famous ride from Tok, AK,
to Dawson City, Yukon Territory. The event’s popularity has
necessitated the ride going from just one to three.
The dates for the 2008 runs are: Feb. 21-24; Feb. 28-March 2 and March 6-9.
Each ride begins in Tok and travels 200 miles (each way) to Dawson City,
where riders spend three nights before returning to Tok. While in the Yukon, riders are
treated to banquets, scenic snowmobile rides and plenty of entertainment.
For more information, contact www.alaskatrailblazers.com.
Here is a handful of other option you might want to take a
Mountain West Racing
The circuit offers a full schedule of snocross racing in Idaho,
Racing www.wsrracing.com. Several
race events take place in California and Nevada.
Rocky Mountain Snowmobile
Hillclimb Association www.rmsha.com.
This circuit sanctions professional hillclimbs across the West.
Snowmobile Racing Association www.wssra.com.
This circuit focuses on snowmobile drags.
Alaska Motor Mushers
Club www.ammcracing.com. This
group offers something for everyone, including vintage, hillcross, snocross,
hillclimb and cross country racing.
Club www.valdezsnow.com. The club
offers snocross and hillclimb competitions.
Racing www.xmrracing.com. XMR
replaces the Mountain States Snowmobile Racing circuit and offers snocrosses in
Colorado and Wyoming.
Another big cross country race in Alaska and Canada.
The race is scheduled for Jan. 19