New Snowmobile Company Offers Private Backcountry Adventures to Customers


Professional snowmobiler Clay Hockel hopes to take adventure to a new level with Thunderstruck Adventures.
Marlenee Photography / Courtesy

Professional snowmobiler Clay Hockel has a long-standing passion for the sport, and now the Steamboat Springs entrepreneur hopes to bring that same passion to his business, Thunderstuck Adventures.

“We get a lot of groups looking for that next level backcountry experience,” said Hockel, who studied business at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs. “A lot of our customers have been trail running on Rabbit Ears, they have been doing the trail sleds, and they kind of want this adventure to the next level.”

To offer something a little different, Hockel rented a private mountain in northern Routt County that borders Pilot Knob and is home to the Thunderstruck Adventures complex. The enclosure offers terrain suitable for all levels of cyclists, from powdery meadows to panoramic trails, including technical routes in trees, ravines, cliffs and drops.



“People going up north to Clark can see Pilot Knob in the west,” Hockel said. “It’s sort of behind Sleeping Giant, and from our mountain you can see Sleeping Giant, and above Sleeping Giant you can see the Steamboat Resort, the Mount Zirkel wilderness, Seedhouse and Nipple Peak. You can see everything and we have some great views from where we are driving.

Hockel is a professional backcountry rider who has played lead roles in several Thunderstruck Films productions and has been part of the pro team at that production company for the past five years. He started Thunderstruck Adventures – located at 2740 Lincoln Ave. in the West End Plaza building – in 2019, shortly after he bought Thunderstruck Films from his friend, founder Jim Phelan. Now he hopes to combine the reputation of the film company with the adventures he offers.



“We show films that showcase snowmobiling in the backcountry, hill climbs, cliff descents, driving in a ravine and technical driving. He’s the Warren Miller of the snowmobile industry, ”Hockel said. “(Phelan) knew I wanted to do what we do at Thunderstruck Adventures, and he offered to sell me the business because he knew the direction I wanted to take in the industry would be really great with the Thunderstruck name recognition From films.

Riders play in powder snow on a trip with Thunderstruck Adventures.
ThunderstruckAdventures / Courtesy

To make its adventures real, Hockel offers several tours that focus on its clients’ ability and the experience they are looking for from their trip.

Pro Ride adventure is the bread and butter of the company, but Thunderstruck Adventures has packages for everyone from seasoned bikers looking for the ultimate backcountry adventure to family rides for those in the know. are adventuring on a snowmobile for the first time.

A Thunderstruck Adventures client plays in the powder on a private mountain getaway.
ThunderstruckAdventures / Courtesy

Hockel said riders will have the ability to do power turns, cliff descents and rock climbing, and, once they reach the riding area, will not be on a groomed track.

“You’re on a groomed trail – Oregon Trail – to get to the driving zone, but once you get there it’s all in the backcountry,” he said.

The Pro Ride adventure with sled rental, priced at $ 425, includes access to the private mountain, the full day adventure with lunch and a new 2022 850 Matryx platform snowmobile with the possibility of upgrading to the Turbo BOOST model. The package also includes a guide from the Thunderstruck team, transportation if needed, and any additional equipment. The same package is available for customers with their own sled for $ 299.

A Thunderstruck Adventures client plays in the powder on a private mountain getaway.
ThunderstruckAdventures / Courtesy

For less experienced riders who are also looking for adventure, Thunderstruck offers the Trail Explorer Adventure for $ 245, which is a four-hour half-day tour and includes a new Polaris Indy LXT, professional guide, and access. at the private mountain Thunderstruck Adventures. Customers have the option of adding passengers: $ 75 for passengers 15 and over and $ 45 for passengers under 15.

“We try to identify as best people as possible which adventure to go on,” said Hockel. “Every once in a while you meet people who are a bit overwhelmed with The Pro Ride, but the good thing about us is that everyone has their own guide. So if the guy needs to adjust to our level and not ride that aggressive, we can do that.


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