Carbon County is the perfect cure for wintertime blues. From watching cowboys tow alpine skiers around a racetrack to hunting for prizes frozen in ice cubes, this place really puts a spin on what you can do in the snow. Fans of more traditional–but just as fun–activities like ice fishing and snowmobiling will enjoy plenty of opportunities, too. So go ahead, try your hand at a new activity this winter in Carbon County, Wyoming.
This story was created in partnership with Carbon County Visitors Council.
Discover Winter’s Best Spectator Sport: Skijoring
If there’s one thing that’s taken the west by storm in recent years, it’s the revival of the fringe activity of being towed on skis behind a horse. Yep, you read that right. Called skijoring, this highly entertaining mixture of western heritage and modern ski prowess is a fan favorite. And what better place to cheer on your favorite athletes than in Wyoming? Established in 2017, the event takes place in the town of Saratoga each February. General admission is only $5.00 per person, and kids 12 and under are free! Bring the whole family along for back-to-back races all weekend. Should your toes get chilly, there are plenty of places to warm up downtown (and grab a bite to eat). We recommend bellying up to the bar at the Wolf Hotel for a hot toddy. Or, mosey down to Firewater Public House for a burger. The Devil on Horseback would make a great pairing!
Snowmobile Like a Pro (Or At Least with a Pro)
For the first time this winter, you’ll be able to rent snowmobiles directly from Saratoga Hot Springs Resort in the heart of Carbon County. It’s not just the ease-of-use that makes this such an enticing adventure—it’s the fact that Saratoga is home to over 200 miles of well-marked trails to explore. But don’t worry, you won’t be left squinting at a map on a brisk winter afternoon. Experts who know the Medicine Bow Forest like the back of their hand guide each trip. They’ll help you navigate the vehicles themselves–all shiny new models from Polaris–and take you for the tour of a lifetime. You even get to pack a lunch to enjoy out on the trail. Shredders 21-years-and-over will receive a craft beer of their choice from Snowy Mountain Brewery to wash down their efforts.
If you opt to head out on your own, be sure to use our interactive maps for your snowmobiling adventures. Either way, after your day snowmobiling elbow-deep in powder, relax in one of the mineral hot springs back at the resort or in town.
Win Best Story in an Ice Fishing Contest
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on water? There’s a reason ice fishing is one of the favorite winter pastimes in Carbon County, Wyoming. It’s incredibly fun to reel in a trout no matter what time of year it is, but sipping hot chocolate and grilling lunch while cozied up on the ice is a special treat. Saratoga is a fantastic basecamp for your ice fishing adventures. Plus, they host an annual Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby every January. Founded in 1983, up to $6,000 in cash rewards are up for grabs this year, as well as awards for “Best Hut” and “Best Story.” (According to official rules, it’s legal to bribe the judges with cookies.) For visitors hoping to go ice fishing for the first time, a number of local outfitters are happy to take you out at any time. Of course, serious anglers may consider booking another trip in the summertime when fishing the entirety of Carbon County is at its finest!
WinterFest photos courtesy of Rawlins Times
Find an Ice Cube at WinterFest in Rawlins
Kids of all ages will feel like they’ve landed in the North Pole in Rawlins, Wyoming this winter. Swing by for the annual WinterFest happening December 10 to 12, 2021. Activities vary based on the day you’re in town, but include ice skating, a Christmas parade, an ice carving contest, and live music. There is even an “Ice Cube Hunt,” in which prizes hidden in frozen ice cubes are stashed around town for visitors and locals to discover. While you’re in Rawlins, other great wintertime activities include visiting the storied Frontier Prison or Carbon County Museum. Historic downtown is a wonderful place to stretch your legs with a warm drink while enjoying a number of colorful murals. Art galleries and shopping opportunities abound, too. Rawlins is home to a handful of locally owned restaurants featuring juicy steaks and warming chilis; the perfect solution to a cold winter day.