When Jason Cobb was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, his parents took family vacations to Steamboat where they would often go snowmobiling. “That’s where it all started,” he says. “One thing led to another and the next thing you know, we moved to Steamboat and Steamboat Snowmobile Tours came up for sale. My family bought it and that’s all she wrote.”

It’s a familiar tale, only instead of skiing, it was about snowmobiling.

For the same reasons the Yampa Valley is an amazing place to ski, it’s also an ideal place to snowmobile; ample snowfall, vast wilderness areas, relative safety from avalanches, and hundreds of miles of groomed trails to explore make it as desirable a destination for snowmobiling as skiing.

Despite what you might think, you don’t need to be from Canada or Minnesota to understand what being a “sled neck” is all about. You don’t even need to know how to drive one—Cobb says it takes less than 15 minutes in an open meadow to figure it out.

We caught up with Cobb to talk engine size, terrain preferences, and why getting a snowmobile stuck is what it is.

Why is the Yampa Valley an ideal place for snowmobiling?

We have excellent terrain, from tree riding and steep hill climbing to different types of ravines. We also have outstanding snow. This year’s snow has been insane! On Rabbit Ears Pass where we do the majority of our snowmobiling, there is a huge area that goes from the Zirkel Wilderness all the way down to Gore Pass. We have over 150 miles of groomed trails to ride.


What is the benefit to exploring the outdoors on a snowmobile?

You can cover a lot of ground very quickly, and you can see a lot of terrain that you typically wouldn’t get to see otherwise. In the summer you have to stay on the roads. I suppose you can go hike all this terrain, but it would take you a lot longer to cover what we can see in a day. In the winter, you can cover a ton of ground without disturbing any vegetation and see some amazing country.

Tell us a little bit about the overall experience and what makes it special.

The terrain, the views, the conditions, and the trails really completes the package. You get up there with your family and friends and it just becomes this bonding experience. People aren’t sitting around on their phones, but rather are talking, interacting, and enjoying the experience.


Describe your sleds for someone who doesn’t know much about snowmobiles.

We’re running these new Skidoos. They’re super quiet, super easy to ride, super responsive, and they’re fast even though they’re just a 4-stroke. The throttle is easy to use so the machine is friendly for anyone to ride. Still, a stuck snowmobile is heavy no matter what kind of sled it is—which is why we are there to help.


What can a new rider expect on their first day?

When you come to our place we’re going to get you all suited up and ready for the conditions, whatever it may be. We’re going to give you an orientation on how to ride, what to expect, and where we’re planning to go. We’re going to start out in a big giant meadow and turn you lose to learn your snowmobile. Then we get a sense of the group and where the group wants to go. Most people are comfortable on the sleds within a few minutes and ready to ride almost any trail.

Is it safe?

Snowmobiling is super easy, and we stay out of areas that would pose any potential danger.


How old do you have to be to enjoy it?

You have to be 16 to drive and 18 to drive with a passenger. We can take real young kids depending on the conditions that day, as long as it’s not too cold.


What’s the benefit of going out with a guide?

We can take you to the good spots that you typically wouldn’t be able to find on your own. You have someone there to help you get unstuck. We have knowledge of the area because we ride there all the time. We can also keep you safe. There are definitely some areas you need to stay away from and having a guide comes in huge. We keep you safe and show you the best places to ride. What more can you ask for than that? //steamboatsnowmobile.com