Some personal reasons to give snowmobile riding a go or two

I always get a spiritual explosion and rush when gliding freely along, with Mother Nature slapping me in the face with the spritz of icy particles and the smell of pine in the air.

You can taste this exhilaration which leaves you craving for more. This is what snowmobiling is all about.

I always get gut-wrenching excitement as I descend straight down the face of a steep hill, enjoying every minute, but at the same time hoping my brakes don't give up the ghost.

What makes this magical is experiencing these great adventures with the people you love the most. My love and sidekick, Alan, and I love snowmobiling on the Tahoe Rim Trail, an awe-inspiring experience with views of Lake Tahoe at 9,000 feet. We also enjoy ripping along at high speeds while cruising the trails of Hope Valley, which takes you up into the Blue Lakes area.

We do not have our own snowmobiles. We choose to rent them from the different resorts around the Lake Tahoe area and have guides lead us out into the backcountry. The private guided tours are the ones we enjoy the most. These tours take you both on and off the trails into some pretty spectacular wilderness areas. Talk about a rush!

The following prices vary with the different resorts. Group Tours, which run two hours, cost between $100 and $110 for a single-rider machine. Double-rider machines cost between $150 and $160. Two-hour private tours cost between $125 and $210 per person for a single-rider machine. If you want to add an additional two hours, double the price. Helmets are always included as part of the package. Boots, goggles, gloves and snowsuit rentals are an additional $5 each.

People who are so inclined can also take their own snowmobiles out on both the Tahoe Rim Trail and Hope Valley, but may be required to get permits and licensing to operate in these areas.

• Mary Randall is a Carson City author who enjoys outdoor activities. Contact her at mrandall@gbis.com.

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