New Hampshire is home to many ski slopes and natural trails in the White Mountains and the Appalachian system. What surprises many people to find out is how many of these trails and areas are welcoming, and even designed for, snowmobiles. In areas like New Hampshire where winter isn’t just cold and snowy, but the snow can reach depths of 8 feet or more, the snowmobile has become increasingly popular as a means of transportation as well as a sport. As far as sporting and snowmobiles go, New Hampshire is home to the annual East Coast Sno Cross Race which takes snowmobiling one step further in providing you with winter excitement. Whether your goal is to compete with the best, use your snowmobile to pull your ice shack into place, or just ride the trails – New Hampshire can provide you with everything you need.
Taking to the trails
The New Hampshire Snowmobile Association provides excellent resources on trails and events around the state. You can even purchase a special map of New Hampshire snowmobile trails for your Garmin. If you don’t have a Garmin, get one at our gear shop to make sure you can find your way around easily once you are out there. You don’t have to be a member of the NHSA to join in on one of their rides. This can be an excellent way to get to know the area. Every month there are different sponsored events around the states that will take you out on everything from a simple trail ride to a ledge climb to a ride up some of the highest peaks accessible to snowmobiles in New Hampshire. Not all of the rides are on groomed trails so you want to make sure that you are up on what you need to stay safe and stay on your machine throughout the whole day. A quick check of the local outdoor businesses in the event area you want to attend will help get you outfitted correctly.
Snowmobiles and hunting or fishing
Snowmobiling can open up your opportunities for hunting and fishing in New Hampshire. There are many lakes and preserves that are difficult to access in a timely fashion except by snowmobile. Using the machines also allows you to easily carry in supplies you need, or relocate the supplies you have. Ice fishing shacks can be moved easily with snowmobiles providing that the ice is thick enough to support the weight of the machine. By setting up a vacation that combines snowmobiling with ice-fishing, you can go deeper into the New Hampshire wilderness faster than on foot and for less money than an aerial lift. This means you will get much more out of your experience. The upper White Mountain region around Cannon Mountain, plus the areas surrounding Mount Washington, Adams and Carter Dome are excellent choices for deep wilderness expeditions on a snowmobile.
If getting competitive is more your thing you can take it as far as participating in the Sno Cross, or you can check out the local and statewide races that are sponsored by the New Hampshire Snowmobiling Association. Some of the highlight races go beyond a flat out run and can feature peak climbs. The New Hampshire Trail Dawgs Poker Run outside of Allenstown is one of the most popular runs. Occurring every February you will find many Laconia enthusiasts off their Harley’s and onto their snowmobiles for this event. There is also the annual Groomer Rodeo in Stark that takes the rodeo competition and turns it on its head. It is a surprisingly difficult event to participate in and you can increase your skills in handling a snowmobile by participating in the workshop trainings, amateur and open competitions or enter in the actual rodeo event itself.
Bringing in your own
If you are traveling in with your own machine, you want to follow all the normal cautions for towing on potentially icy roads. If you are planning to do a deep woods hunting and fishing trip, you will want to make sure that you have an appropriate permit and license to do so in New Hampshire. You can find out information about registering for the Sno Cross, Rodeo or any other event on the NHSA or ECSC sites listed earlier.