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ATV and snowmobile tours
I’m a total junkie. It started when I was no more than 6 and blossomed into full-blown addiction by the time I turned 10. Trail riding is my drug.
I hadn’t been able to hit the trail for a couple years. I blew up my motorcycle and had to sell its carcass. I’d almost forgotten what that high was like.
A trip to the Pine Nut Mountains south of Carson City brought it all back. I went on one of Lake Tahoe Adventures’ all terrain vehicle tours.
The ATV tour, which costs $107 without supplemental insurance or $142 with insurance, lasted about two hours and wound through beautiful, rugged country.
The Pine Nut Mountains themselves jut dramatically out of a flat expansive plain. Sagebrush and desert grasses co-exist with evergreens in these rocky hills. It’s the sort of harsh environment that reminds thoughtful riders that Mother Nature is still boss.
While Lake Tahoe Adventures also offers tours in Hummer SUVs, Jeeps, or dune buggies, it’s hard to match the purity of an open-air, single-seat vehicle like an ATV (unless you’re on something with less horsepower).
Lake Tahoe Adventures runs the Pine Nut Mountains tours cleanly and efficiently. My group, which consisted of one giddy journalist (me) and about 15 contractors on a business retreat, was provided not only with nice new ATVs. We were also given gloves, helmets, a bandanna to wrap across the nose and mouth and some goggles I couldn’t see out of. As a result, we all looked like combination bank robbers/chemists.
Randy Garret, a project manager on his business retreat, was glowing after we finished the tour.
“It was a lot more than I thought it would be,” he said. “I liked that they let us open up the throttle."And did they ever let us open up the throttles. While some groups are tentative or unsure of their trail-busting skills and just putt along, my group was entirely composed of testosterone-addled manly types. I, naturally, was not above doing oafish things like burn-outs up hills or power-sliding around every corner.
As such, the pace was brisk. Not fast enough to be really dangerous, but definitely quick enough to get my pulse racing. This excitement combined with the scenery clears the mind and sharpens the senses. When else would you notice how good the mountain air tasted?
David Avalos, trail boss for Lake Tahoe Adventures, said he’s been trail riding for more than 30 years.
“I love it,” he said. “The Sierra Nevada Mountains are my office.”
While the guides do go through a safety orientation and familiarization routine before hitting the trails, ATV accidents do happen.
“It doesn’t take much to roll those machines,” Avalos said.
He noted that people freezing up when they go into deep ruts or hitting obstacles causes most rollovers.
Avalos said he and the other guides at Lake Tahoe Adventures also guide expeditions on snowmobiles when the snow finally comes. For the really adventurous, he said, Lake Tahoe Adventures also offers trips down the notoriously difficult and technical Rubicon Trail. Avalos said that Lake Tahoe Adventures runs their snowmobile tours in much the same manner as their ATV tours. The guides lead their groups through the local mountains at a pace suited to the riders’ skill levels. However, he said Lake Tahoe Adventures offers the snowmobile tours in two flavors, a groomed trail “Summit” ride and a powder snow “Ultimate” tour.
Trail busting is an absolute hoot. Go forth and enjoy, but realize it’s only a little less addictive than drugs.
Lake Tahoe Adventures 3071 Hwy 50- Emerald Bay Road South Shore (Meyers Area) 530-577-2940 800-865-4679
Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours 2500 Emerald Bay Rd. (Highway 50) South Shore (At the Lake Tahoe Golf Course) 530-541-4869
Lake Tahoe Winter Sports Center 3071 U.S. HWY 50 South Lake Tahoe 530-577-2940
Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center Four miles north of Stateline on U.S. HWY 50 Zephyr Cove 775-588-3833
Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Tours 9980 Hwy 28 Crystal Bay (located in front of the Cal-Neva Resort) 530-546-4280 California 775-831-4202 Nevada
Northstar-at-Tahoe SR 267 at Northstar Drive Truckee Cross-Country Center 530-562-2475 Main Number 530-562-1010
The Ski Barn 8445 N. Lake Blvd Kings Beach 530-546-8774
TC SNO MO’S 205 River Road downtown Tahoe City Tahoe City 530-581-3906
Source: Lake Tahoe Adventure Guide, www.tahoevacationguide.com/Activities/snowmobiling.html
Reindeer Lodge 9000 Mount Rose Highway Reno 775-849-9902