It’s a common question. “Do you prefer the heat or the cold?” We all know what the snowbirds think. But what if you’re more like Elsa in Frozen, unbothered by the cold and ready to embrace it? If you do indeed identify with the princess (magical abilities aside) and you’re ready for you and your RV to feel the excitement of a winter adventure, read on!
Before picking a place to go, we’d be remiss not to inform you about SNO-Parks (especially for those exploring the Pacific Northwest). SNO-Parks are designated parking lots in range of ski hills where you can park overnight. They typically have plenty of space, bathrooms, and easy access to the mountain. It’s a dry camping setup, so be ready to boondock! A SNO-Park permit is also required. Look for more information and how to get SNO-Park permits for the states that have them: California, Oregon, and Washington.
Last note: if you’ve got a toy hauler and a winter toy, such as an awesome snowmobile, keep in mind that some places require you to rent their equipment. Two Top Tours in West Yellowstone, MT, for instance, requires riders to rent their sleds because they run quieter and are less likely to disrupt the Yellowstone wildlife. So, if you have a snowmobile of your own, call ahead to make sure you’ll be able to ride it at the place you are envisioning.
Now for the fun stuff: here are five places across the US to visit for some icy adrenaline.
1. Mt. Bachelor, OR
Just west of Bend, OR—an absolute gem of a city—lies Mt. Bachelor. Right in the center of Oregon is a powdery paradise for skiers and snowmobilers alike. The ski season lasts until the end of April, with alpine and Nordic skiing offered at all levels. Tickets are pricier for this mountain, but you can save up to 40% on lift tickets if you purchase them online. Plus, you can park your rig right at the foot of Mt. Bachelor (with electric hookups!) from late November all the way through May. The price is $40-$70/night and $10 for each additional car. You can also park at a SNO-Park in town.
Snowmobilers will find a comprehensive, 250-mile sledding network in and around the Cascades mountain range, right by Mt. Bachelor. The best part: many routes are accessible directly from SNO-Parks in the area. These SNO-Parks include Dutchman Flat—a smaller, multi-use site with gorgeous mountain views, cozy restaurants, and cabins by the lake—as well as Kapka, Edison Butte, and Wanoga. If you don’t have your own snowmobile, you can snag a rental from Central Oregon Rentals in Bend.
Learn more about these parks and and where to rev your sled at visitcentraloregon.com.
Clear across the country is another snowmobiling mecca—the entire state of Vermont. Since 1967, Vermont has maintained a network of more than 5,000 miles of winter snowmobile trails. The system is well-maintained by clubs throughout the state, complete with easy-to-read maps and trail markers, not to mention breathtaking scenery. To start, check out the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) website for info on trail conditions, rules and regulations, and places to visit on your trip.
Heads up: to ride your snowmobile in Vermont, you will need a trail pass (a TMA), a valid state registration, and liability insurance for persons and property. If you’re coming from out of state, you need not re-register if you are registered in your home state, but you still have to join a local club and purchase a TMA. Learn more about what VAST requires here.
Thanks to Vermont’s expansive snowmobile trail system, the campgrounds that are open in the winter are typically near or around one of the trails. In the Burlington area (northwest), look for Shelburne (full hookups, camp store, restrooms, showers, and the Dutch Mill Family Restaurant). Toward the southeast of the state, find Crown Point Camping—also with full hookups and direct access to the VAST trail system. Winter camping here is on a monthly or seasonal basis.
If you’ve got the “Ski the East” spirit, then Vermont is also the place for you! Check out the Green Mountain Family Campground a quaint and traditional campground with full hookups and electric situated just 40 min from Sugarbush Mountain.
3. Wasatch Mountain State Park, UT
Just south of Park City is a gorgeous and mountainous landscape that’s prime for snowmobiling. Wasatch Mountain State Park offers lots of snow and a variety of terrain across 23,000 acres, making it a great area for all levels to enjoy with their own sleds or on a rental. Tours are also available for all levels with safety certified professionals. If you’re bringing your own snowmobile, you’ll need to register it and grab a $7 day pass, and then you’re ready to hit the trails!
There are 79 RV sites right at Wasatch Mountain State Park (61 have full hookups!). Advanced reservations are recommended, and you can snag one here.
Be sure to also check out the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, the former Olympic center for the 2002 Winter Games. Located right at Wasatch Mountain state park, the center is known for its manicured cross-country ski trails, as well as the longest snow tubing lane in Utah with tow-lifts and night tubing—a.k.a. a perfect evening of entertainment for the young ones.
If you're looking to travel to Utah and you've never been, their website is an endless gold mine of information, and has even more great suggestions for snowmobile spots. Learn more here.
4. Powderhorn Mountain Resort, CO
Welcome to “one of the most family friendly resorts you’ll find anywhere in the West!” Situated on the northern ridge of Grand Mesa—the world’s largest flattop mountain—Powderhorn is the full package with breathtaking views and 1,600 acres of mountain terrain. They get over 20 feet of light powder snow each year, and nearly three quarters of the mountain is comprised of beginner or intermediate runs.
The mountain has designated lots with free overnight parking, so you can walk straight from your RV right onto the lifts! Fair warning—these lots have no hookups. Call Powderhorn to check RV parking availability and limits.
5. Whitefish Mountain Resort, MT
Experience the full beauty of Glacier National Park while on the slopes! Tucked into the northwest of Montana, Whitefish is an iconic and world-class ski spot. You’ll ski nearly 3,000 acres of uncrowded terrain and get in tons of runs on their lightning fast six-seater lift, dubbed the Snow Ghost Express.
Whitefish is a genuine ski town, founded by hardworking railroaders, loggers, and miners in the early 20th century. Many of the buildings, bars and restaurants from that time are still standing today.
RVs are permitted to park in the Aspen lot at the base of the mountain for a maximum of three days. (Rate is $25 + tax per day). Similar to Powderhorn in CO, this is a dry camping spot. If you don’t mind some distance between your home base and the slopes, you can take advantage of the full hookups at Whitefish RV Park for $80 per night. At the RV park, you’ll have easy access to the town, Glacier National Park (which is indeed open in the winter!) and Flathead Valley to the south. To get to the mountain from the RV park, simply get on the S.N.O.W bus at the Rocky Mountain Lodge stop, and it’s a 25-minute ride to the base lodge.
Adding some downhill or motorized fun to your RV adventure is a phenomenal way to enjoy your snowy escape. We’d love to know how your travels go! Share your best winter getaway story with [email protected] or tag us in your social post about your trip!