Whether you are still deciding on a Swan Mountain Snowmobiling adventure, or have already booked and want to be as prepared as possible, you probably have a few questions! Find answers to some common questions below. If you still need help, you can also contact us!

 

Can we go in the Summit House on our snowmobile trip?

The Summit House at the Whitefish Mountain Resort is accessible by snowmobile and is a stopping point on many of our trips. Inside the Summit House, our snowmobilers are able to purchase hot food and beverages. This 2021-2022 season, the Summit House may be limiting their capacity due to State/Local regulations and COVID-19 concerns. Service at the Summit House IS NOT GUARANTEED for the 2021-2022 season. You may want to pack an alternative lunch for your snowmobile adventure in case you are turned away by the host/ess at the Summit House.  Read more about 2021-2022 season changes at Whitefish Mountain Resort here.

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How is Covid-19 affecting Swan Mountain Snowmobiling?

We closely monitor, and will comply with, state and local guidelines for Covid-19 restrictions and best practices. As these evolve, we will evolve with them. Currently, the Covid-19 measures in place in our office and on the tours are:

  • Covid 19: Upon your arrival- if you present any symptoms or exposure to Covid-19 you will be asked not to enter the building or participate in the trip or rental, and we will work with you via phone to reschedule your trip. Refunds can only be given with at least 48 hours notice of cancellation. So, if you have ANY suspicion of anyone in your party having symptoms or exposure to Covid-19 leading up to your trip, call us at least 48 hours before your trip to discuss cancellation or rescheduling. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Balaclava/buff/mask: We do require that guests arrive with a balaclava, buff, or mask to wear under their helmet.
  • Social distancing: Once you are on the sled and riding down the trail, social distancing isn’t as much of a worry! We do ask that you respect other groups and try to stay 6 feet from staff or other guests whenever possible.
  • Disinfecting: While disinfecting rental gear has always been important, we have carefully considered how to do MORE with revised methods and tools, including UV lights for hard-to-reach places. We disinfect points of surface contact around the office, and have installed hand sanitizing stations.
  • Summit Mountain House and backcountry cabins: these are places in which we may enjoy a nice warm-up and break from riding. However, these facilities are shared by locals or other patrons of ski/snowmobile businesses. During crowded times,  we may need to skip or limit our time in these buildings to respect everyone’s need for space and safety.
  • Gratuities: Guides always appreciate gratuities. We recommend asking your guide about contactless ways to leave cash with them, or perhaps use apps they may have (for example, PayPal or Venmo) to receive gratuities safely. You can also ask our office about leaving a gratuity for your guide via credit or debit card.

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What if the snowmobile gets damaged on my tour or rental?

In short, the driver assumes all financial responsibility for any damages to the machine. We do not offer insurance for the machines. Damages can range from small repairs, (such as a cracked mirror) to the total cost of the snowmobile (around $11,000) and everything in between.  Prior to tour departure, guests are required to sign an “Equipment Rental Contract” assuming liability for the risk of loss or damage to the equipment rented.  All guests will have ample opportunity to inspect the equipment to make sure it is in proper working order before signing the contract. Please understand, we are not familiar with each guests’ personal automobile or homeowners insurance policies, however, it is unlikely that these policies will cover any accidental damages on the tour.

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What if I have to cancel?

Full payment is required at the time of booking, but you can receive a 75% refund with at least 48 hours notice of a cancellation. Your booking is non refundable if you cancel within 48 hours of your tour or rental time. Your booking is not refundable if you are a no-show.

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Do you require a deposit?

Full payment is required to make a reservation. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted. A 75% refund will be given with at least 48 hours notice of cancellation. All no shows or cancellations with less than 48 hours notice are non-refundable.

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Do we tip the guide?

Guiding is a service business, and all guides throughout the world rely on their tips as part of their earnings.  That said, they must earn your tip! You may decide to tip based on a percentage of the trip cost or to go with whatever you think the guide deserves. It is a good idea to include gratuities in your budget ahead of time, and if you are coming with group, to discuss with each other to avoid confusion or embarrassment. Most folks prefer the traditional handshake and hand off of cash, but if you prefer a contactless way to tip there are options for that as well! Many guides will now have apps like Venmo. We can also apply a tip to a credit card if you ask our friendly office staff.

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Are there other things to do in addition to snowmobiling?

Swan Mountain Snowmobiling is limited to just snowmobile tours and snowmobile rentals. But Glacier Country is a true winter wonderland! Try cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, downhill skiing or snowboarding, dog sledding, ice skating, ice fishing, sleigh rides, or a visit to Glacier National Park. Check out our area resources page to learn about other local businesses and associations.

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Can we rent snow apparel from you?

We offer an array of snow apparel (boots, gloves, pants, jackets, suits) for rent for a flat rate of $20. Remember, your helmet is always required and included in your trip or rental. If the helmet you are issued does not have a full face shield, we will provide goggles too. You are welcome to bring your own ski goggles if you wish.

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What do we need to bring?

You’ll want to dress for playing in the snow all day! We suggest a good pair of Polypropylene style long underwear (top, bottom–and women will appreciate a good sports bra); a good pair of ski socks (polypropylene or wool, no cotton); comfortable middle layers over long underwear suits such as sweaters, sweatshirts, and sweatpants; polar fleece; waterproof and windproof outer layers (ski or snow pants and jacket); gloves. Warm and waterproof boots are essential!

In addition to your warm layers, you need to have a balaclava or buff or some other face covering is. Keep in mind that earrings can be uncomfortable under helmets, so you will want to leave those behind. Don’t forget a camera to capture the spectacular beauty of snow dusted trees, frozen lakes and blanketed mountain sides.

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What is not included the tour or rental?

The cost of your snowmobile tour excludes transportation to/from the airport, lodging, lunch, gratuities and winter apparel (although you can rent this from us for a nominal fee).

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What is included in the tour or rental?

All of our Montana snowmobile tours include helmets and avalanche beacons for all riders, an avalanche backpack and shovel per sled and all the fun you can handle! Additionally, our sunset tours include a tasty pastry and hot cocoa.

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Where do we go?

Where we ride

Swan Mountain Snowmobiling proudly operates in more locations than any other snowmobile outfitter in the Flathead Valley. We offer guided tours and unguided rentals, under US Forest Service permit, on three unique trail systems. The first is the Desert Mountain area which lies between Hungry Horse and the Great Bear Wilderness and boasts spectacular views of Glacier National Park. The second area is Canyon Creek which originates north of Columbia Falls and crosses Werner Peak to connect with the Olney Creek and Taylor Creek trails up to Big Mountain. Finally, we are the only outfitters that operate commercially in the Crane Mountain area, which is located in the Swan Valley and known for stunning views of the Swan and Mission Mountain ranges as well as Flathead Lake.

Where to meet

Depending on the trip you’ve booked, you may start from an array of trail heads. For simplicity, we will have most folks check-in with us first at our Columbia Falls office. Here we will complete necessary paperwork, distribute helmets and rental gear, and give you tailored driving instructions on getting to your trail head. For some special cases and Crane Mountain tours, we may have a different meeting point. If that’s the case, we would be sure to let you know when you are making your reservation. Most folks will need the following address to use as their check-in point:

Swan Mountain Outfitters Snowmobiling

680 Railroad Street

Columbia Falls, MT 59912

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Is transportation included?

No. If your group needs transportation from your lodging to our office/trail head, it may be arranged for an extra fee. We can accommodate up to 6 passengers in a vehicle. The cost is typically $100- each way.

If you plan to use an Uber or shuttle service: Be advised that while you will be checking in at our office in Columbia Falls for a 45 minute process of completing paperwork and receiving gear and instructions, you will then drive an additional few miles to the trailhead. You are responsible for arranging your transportation to and from the trail head!

We strongly recommend vehicles with 4 wheel drive!

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Is lodging included?

Swan Mountain Snowmobiling does not personally provide lodging but we have very close relationships with several lodging providers who range from bed & breakfasts, cabins, condos, lodges and ranches to small, independent motels and deluxe, full service hotels. See Our Business Partners for more information.

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What is the minimum age to ride a snowmobile (as a passenger)?

The minimum age to participate in our snowmobile tours/rentals is 5 years old.

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What is the minimum age to drive a snowmobile?

To drive a snowmobile, you must be at least 16 years old and have either a snowmobile safety certificate or a driver’s license. Snowmobile safety certificates can be acquired through Snowmobile-ed.com.

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Is prior experience required for snowmobiling?

At Swan Mountain Snowmobiling, our first priority is your safety. All of our guides are certified in CPR, Wilderness First Aid and Avalanche Awareness. We walk all of our guests, whether they are interested in guided snowmobiling or snowmobile rentals, through a very thorough equipment overview and safety orientation. No prior experience is required for our guided snowmobile tours, however, we do require some experience for snowmobile rentals.

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