Snowmobiling is a huge attraction for many of the locals and visitors of Northern New Hampshire. Cruising through miles and miles of trails and forests offers a chance to view a side of the outdoors that not everyone sees. An extensive trail network in the Bretton Woods area has almost limitless possibilities, and the great snowpack this spring means that riders are still enjoying this winter pastime.
A guided tour can take you out on the groomed trail network and give you a sampling of what it's all about. Kids can ride along with an adult and take it all in.
But what if your little people want to be in charge and drive their own machine? Tucked between the Bethlehem Express Quad and the Zephyr Quad at Bretton Woods is a new activity for your little rippers - a Kids Snowmobile Park that offers 4- to 13-year olds a chance to zoom around a track and drive a kid-sized sled.
Looking a bit like a bobble-head in her giant full-face snowmobile helmet that they gave her for the ride, Bridget was excited to finally get to steer her own sled after watching them from the lift all season.
Before taking off, the attendants got down to Bridget's level and went over some basics of running the machine.
Although the track is in a confined area where the banked turns keep them from going too far astray, they also put a safety strap around her wrist, so that if she did fall, it would cut the engine.
To someone who's never driven a motorized vehicle, however, staying on that circular track proved to be a bit of a challenge. Bridget drove into the rope marking the lane, but as the attendant said to me, "at least she knew enough to stop when she got tangled up! Some kids just keep on driving!"
She was soon zooming again, with a giant smile for me every time she came around.
The 15-minute tour seemed just right for the 5-year old attention span and she was all giggles as she hopped off.