How Snowmobiling Won Die-Hard Skier Julie Weinberger’s Heart

A skier since the age of three, Julie Weinberger spent many a winter hitting the slopes. It wasn’t until she moved to Jackson, WY in her twenties that snowmobiling was even a thought in her brain.

“A friend asked me to go sled skiing. Having had zero exposure to snowmobiling, I had no idea what this meant. What do I wear?”

After figuring out her regular ski clothes would do the trick she headed out on her first snowmobile experience into the backcountry in search of untouched powder and some amazing turns.

“This was perfect. I love being in the mountains with just my friends, whether it’s skiing, hiking, camping. I was out in the middle of nowhere, skiing powder with friends. I’ll take that any day over standing in a busy tram line.”

Sled skiing soon became her go-to escape, a place to find solitude while still being able to slide on snow. In the beginning, she always rode with a friend, a little nervous to drive her own sled. But that soon changed when she was out with a group of friends and one of them said, “We’re in a meadow, you wanna drive?” And she did. And she loved it.

"My ultimate goal is to be more comfortable doing this so I can enjoy the terrain more. I need to build my confidence. Skiing is second nature to me and I know I can get out of sticky situations. With snowmobiling I’m afraid of crashing or getting stuck. To learn something new in my 30s makes it more challenging, but if I can mentally get there, I know I will like it even more."

While she doesn’t have her own sled, she is able to get out and ride quite a bit on friends’ extras. She even finds herself snowmobiling instead of skiing—especially when the ski mountain is crowded—just to get out and enjoy the woods and hang with friends.

“The best part of all this is that I have made new friends. Initially, I didn’t want to go with the guys and girls who were way better than me because I didn’t want them stuck waiting. But, everyone has been super supportive and wanting me to get better and that has been really fun.”

After just over a season of driving, she is getting more comfortable with more speed on the trails, she’s now able to make a powder turn, and the cherry on top, she’s invested in a new, legit snowmobiling outfit.

“I always went in regular ski clothes and I finally realized that I needed something more geared towards snowmobiling—warmer boots and a monosuit where snow doesn’t drip down my back. It was great to be able to try on all the stuff Mountainist rents before buying a whole new outfit. I was able to figure out what size, what helmet I liked, and what the fit was like for everything.”

The thrill of learning a new, more challenging sport is hard to pass up. We think Julie's skis may be looking a little dustier next season.



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  • Michelle L Labadie

    Such a great story!

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