msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/6/2008 6:55:14 PM ET 2008-01-06T23:55:14

Heavy snow Sunday was hindering the search for two families on snowmobiles that were last seen Friday headed towards a mountain pass 10,000 feet above sea level.

A search team on the Colorado side of Cumbres Pass resumed looking Sunday for the six. But a search from the New Mexico side was suspended due to snowy conditions and bad roads.

The Denver Post identified the snowmobilers as members of two families from Farmington, N.M.: Jason and Shannon Groen and their daughter Aspen, 14; and Mike and Missy Martin and their son Jessie, 13.

The Post quoted Betty Groen, Jason Groen's stepmother, as saying the families were only planning to snowmobile for the day, returning Friday evening.

Officials were alerted Friday night, and the Groen family's pickup and trailer were found Saturday at a snowmobile parking area in Colorado.

Betty Groen said the families took the trip to celebrate Aspen's recent birthday.

She described her stepson as having experience in snowmobiling in wilderness areas.

"I saw Jason and Mike ... buying things to go on this trip. Jason always carries water bottles and snack bars, food," she said. "If they are all stranded out there somewhere, they have something to eat and water. They dress very warm because they stay out all day."

The pass, located in the Rio Grande National Forest, was described has having lots of snowmobile trails as well as cabins scattered around where the families might have taken shelter.

"Maybe the snow was too soft for the snowmobiles and they are huddled together somewhere waiting to be rescued," Betty Groen said.

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