It sounds easy. Even fun. To go snowmobiling for five days . . . wind in the face, eyes watering, senses alert, thumb on the throttle and the constant purring of a highly-tuned engine at high speeds.

And, obstacles to avoid, directions to maintain, conditioning to consider and others to look out for. All, of course, part of snowmobiling in country said to have "some of the best snow in the world."Half a decade ago a long-distance ride made from Vernal to Bryce Canyon, done with such relative ease and speed, wouldn't have been possible.

Better snowmobiles and modern groomers and grooming techniques have put new dimensions to riding, and to destination snowmobiling.

Riders can go faster, smoother and quieter, and get into more areas than they could five years ago.

Utah lacks connecting trail systems, so groomed-smooth trails are not always available. Routes often take on tones of early exploration . . . through trees, along narrow ridges, up valleys, across meadows and then having to climb from terrace to terrace in "Z" fashion to reach the next canyon . . .

Encountering snow that is sometimes firm, sometimes bottomless; sometimes the consistency of mush and other times like sugar. A direct route is sometimes the best, but other times debilitating.

Which puts new meaning to averaging 100 miles a day - something fairly easy to do in less time than a good movie in a car on dry roads, but not so easy on a snow machine and with no roads.

Someday, if Utah continues to develop its snowmobile program , and groups like the Utah Snowmobile Association, Division of Parks and Recreation, and the U.S. Forest Service, continue support program, Utah will have such a trail system, and riding between points will be easier and convenient.