I was recently invited to go out with one of High Country Activities' snowmobile partners, to try their brand new snow cat tour, just off Scenic Highway 91 on the way to Leadville, with several other concierges from Summit County.
We were picked up by our friendly shuttle driver, Eric, and then headed west on Interstate 70 to the Copper Mountain exit. This road is a National Scenic Byway known as Top of the Rockies http://bit.ly/cnnD4l. We headed up and over Fremont Pass where the snowmobile tours take place http://bit.ly/9Ab34H and just after passing the Climax Molybdenum Mine http://bit.ly/g3ossS and the headwaters of the Arkansas River we turned off left into the base for the tour. The property is the former site of the Colorado Belle Placer Mine owned and mined by a colorful Leadville character named Cecil, and some of the old buildings are still on the property. There was our "chariot" for our tour, a shiny red snow cat, manufactured in Germany, weighing 2500lbs and 25' wide.
|View of Arkansas River Valley|
After we had crossed the old rail bed of the Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad built in the late 1800s http://bit.ly/AVI3W we ascended to the area designated for snow biking that is part of the tour, after reading our instructions on how to operate the bike. We clamber out the the cat. There is a platform to step out onto and then steps with a hand bar to descend onto the snow.
|High Country Activity owner Jane Shafroth|
on the right with Jan from Blue Sky, Breckenridge
Here stashed literally in the middle of nowhere are the snow bikes, small and large, with one tiny one for a child to try. There are also short outrigger skis with a snowboard binding that can be strapped to any boot, if you want a bit more stability. The snow bikes were a blast and we descended an untracked slope that was not too steep but had enough pitch to find some speed. The bikes were easy to control and could be ridden at any speed, depending on your adrenalin junkie status.
|Snow bikers starting out from the Cat|
|10th Mountain Division Plaque|
|Mount Elbert and Mount Massive from the Yurt|
|Inside the Yurt|