Winter is a fact of life in the northern USA, cold temperatures usually bring snow and snowmobiles are a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months. Even if you’re a seasoned rider it’s important to follow some guidelines in order to keep yourself and others safe. Read on for a quick look at what to do to make sure you’re prepared for the trail.
- Make sure you have your safety certificate if required by your state. Many states are requiring riders to undergo a snowmobile safety course before being allowed out on the trails. Don’t leave it to the last minute, it’s illegal in MN and many states to drive on the trails without your license. If you aren’t sure where to start, check your state’s snowmobile association website or call a local snowmobile club for help. We listed most of the state snowmobile association websites below for your convenience.
- Get your snowmobile registered! Not only is it the law, but money from registration helps support trail system upkeep, ensuring that there are trails to ride for many years to come.
- Join your local snowmobile club, not only will you meet plenty of new people to ride with over the winter, but supporting local clubs is very important in keeping trails open and useable as well as giving snowmobilers a voice in legislation.
- Outfit yourself with appropriate snowmobiling gear, an emergency kit, and a map of area trails. Be sure that your helmet is rated for snowmobiling and the rest of your gear is designed to keep you warm and dry while snowmobiling. When the temperatures are below freezing and you’re riding at higher speeds it is easy to become overly chilled quickly. Frost bite and hypothermia can quickly become a real concern when you’re far away from help, so it’s important to avoid becoming chilled in the first place.
- Don’t ride alone, not only is it more fun to ride with friends, there is also safety in numbers.
- Last, but definitely not least, is to stay on the marked trails! Going off trail can be dangerous and carries the risk of angering landowners who generously allow snowmobile clubs the use of their land for trails. One rider going off trail and upsetting a landowner can result in an entire trail system being interrupted or even closed.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide to snowmobiling and are ready to enjoy some snow this winter! See below for a list of state snowmobile associations. They are a great resource whether you are new to snowmobiling or have been snowmobiling for years.
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