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#DontFollowCal Summer Snowmobile Riding

Updated: Jun 3

The thought of riding a snowmobile in Utah in the summertime seems like it would be impossible; but when you ride with me, anything is possible.

Cal Taylor snowmobiling in the Uintah mountains in Summer.
Cal Taylor snowmobiling in the Uintah mountains in Summer.

Back in 2018, we rode snowmobiles in late September and then in October. At that point, my brother Stu and I were just excited to put some new tracks down for the year. As time went on, we got a chance to ride again before Thanksgiving and then a few times in December. Stu started to talk about back in the days when the ski resorts would get early snow and then it sometimes would shut off in February and other years it would just keep going. We talked about how in the 80’s Stu skied at Snowbird, from the tram on July 4th. That was also a date, that I had snowmobiled on, on several occasions. Then as mother nature turned on winter the thoughts of maybe this could be the year that we get to ride on July 4th. As the season played out, we had good snow through spring and into May. As the rest of the snowmobile community found other activities to fill their time, Stu and I were still making weekly plans on where the next ride would be and who else was crazy enough to follow.

The July ride was so much fun that year. We met up with some other friends and fellow riders at the top of Mirror Lake Highway where Stu and I and my 2 kids Addie and Duncan had decided that this was the best place to ride. From old iron Phazers to Stuart’s new 2018 Polaris Pro, we were able to ride a few miles, make some high marks, and enjoy the comradery. It came as no surprise that those in my truck were flaunting red white and blue as any good patriot would do. A few others got the memo, but like always the Taylors never hold back.

Now at this point, we started thinking about August and if we could find a patch of snow to park our Polaris’ on for a photo opp and a chance to ride snow all 12 months of the year consecutively in the state of Utah. I remember it being hot that year and by the 24th you could no longer see any patch of snow looking up from the Wasatch Front to Fransis Peak. As I was sitting in church the following Sunday, one of my neighbors leaned over and said that his brother was hunting on the south end of the Uintah Mountains and they had driven through a patch of snow and that I would be able to drive right to it so I could say I rode my sled in August. This was it, Just what I needed and it totally came out of the blue. Stuart was stuck at work, but I was able to convince Matt Lund to tag along for the ride. It was about 4 hours each way because we had to travel to Duseshene and then head north, make a few turns off the main road, and then drove what seemed like forever on a very old unmaintained road. As we neared the top of the mountain, it felt like we were probably somewhere we shouldn’t be, but we were so close to the pin we had been given so we kept pressing onward. On top, the road was in better condition almost hard to pick out because of the new grass and wildflowers. It was then, that we saw the spot they were talking about. But to our surprise, it looked like the snow had melted out maybe the day before as it still had standing water and remnants of pressure from the snow. What a bummer. We pressed on up the ridge thinking that maybe there would be another chance for a patch of snow. Then we saw it, a cornice just off the ridge one hill over. Yes! It was going to happen!

As we neared the ridge, we could see a tree that had grown into the trail. Oh wait, that’s not a tree, it's a sign stating that it's the end of the road and marked the wilderness boundary. You could see where the old road kept going for many years before the new boundary was set. No one was anywhere nearby and our tracks were going to melt off with the snow, plus we would meet our goal of riding all 12 months in Utah, legally on snowmobiles… Wait, legally. Dang it! How could I live with myself if we cheated and went around the sign just to say we rode?

The ride home felt twice as long, twice as rocky and as we drove there was a lot left to talk about and the excitement was gone. The next week was pretty rough too, everyone who followed me on social media would ask me how it was, what it was like, and if they could come with me on my next adventure. As quickly as they came, they were gone when I told them I saw snow but it was off-limits so we didn’t ride it.

The next week after that Cade Beck from Snowbigdeal called me and started asking about our trip and I was like oh great here we go again. Then he told me that I needed to come down because he had scoped out a spot to ride and that I needed to join him and his brother Brian on that ride.

This time we planned it on the weekend so Stu could be there and off we headed down to central Utah to ride Skyline. The good thing about riding up there is there are some active mines still so the roads are paved and plowed all year round. Normally I like it when the mountain roads get their seasonal closures but not this time, I was thankful for smooth roads all the way to the top. Then we turned off the main road and were back on dirt, only this time it was well maintained thankfully. As we rounded a corner you could see where the snow had just melted away a few days before and once again my heart began to sink into despair. This was going to be the last time, the last shot we had and it was feeling like such a letdown. As we went another 5 miles Stu noticed some long white layers in the hillside. As we got closer our feelings of despair soon turned to excitement and questions about how we were going to get there. Soon we found ourselves on the ridge where we had seen the patch of snow and realized the road was a long way away from it. Not again. Luckily, we quickly came around another corner and there it was! Snow!! And there was a ton of it! It must have been at least a mile long, but only about 50 feet wide as it was a cornice formed by blowing snow all winter long.

Cade backed his truck right up to the snow and lowered his trailer door. I had the sled deck and was able to unload very easily. The snow was hard, wet, horrible, and bumpy, but we didn’t care. We had found snow in a legal area and were about to ride it in the month of August! We did it! We rode all 12 consecutive months of the year, on snowmobiles, in Utah!

I don’t know if we were the first to set this record, but man did it sure feel good!

#DontFollowCal Summer Snowmobile Riding

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