For snowmobile fans, winter is the most wonderful time of the year, and if you're new to the sport, we know you'll love it! That is, as long as there's enough snow on the ground to get out and enjoy your sled. The one place we know guarantees snow every year is in the mountains, so if you're planning a snowmobile trip, make sure you're prepared for anything.

At Canvasworks in Cokato, we love manufacturing SnoCaps Trailer Enclosures to help snowmobile owners make the most of their time on their sleds wherever they go. In this post, we’re sharing our most helpful mountain riding tips for beginners.

Check out our advice and have fun in the snow this winter!

Consider Taking an Avalanche Safety or Mountain Riding Course

Mountain riding is entirely different from most trail riding, and avalanches are a very real danger. Even a seasoned snowmobiler may still find mountain riding challenging or need guidance on what to do or not do to stay safe.

You can find avalanche safety classes online, and mountain riding classes for each mountainous state can easily be found using Google. Taking these courses before your backcountry adventure will prepare you for the dangers and unique challenges of backcountry riding.

Dress the Part

Before you take off on your mountain riding adventure, make sure you're dressed appropriately. Dressing for safety can mean the difference between a fun day out on the trails and a dangerous one.

Although it may be tempting to wear a cotton underlayer due to its breathability, cotton will eventually become wet from your sweat or the snow. Instead, begin with a layer of polyester, silk, or a synthetic blend. It's better to start with extra layers because removing them if it warms up is easier than adding them in the cold.

Next, add an insulated snowsuit, boots, gloves, and a balaclava. Finally, don’t forget your DOT-approved protective gear.

Stay in Touch

Before leaving for your snowmobiling adventure, ensure someone knows where you'll be and when to expect you back. Map out your route ahead of time and make sure someone knows where you’ll be at all times.

It’s standard procedure on any snowmobile excursion, whether on a mountain or a Minnesota trail, to ride with others and to always keep your friends in sight. Stick together and stick to your planned route so no one gets lost or winds up alone.

Finally, be sure the batteries in your avalanche transceiver are good, and you know how to use it. In the mountains, you likely won't have good, if any, cell reception, so you cannot depend on your phone if there is an emergency.

Carry Emergency Equipment

Be sure to pack everything you need in case of an emergency. Bring waterproof matches, an emergency blanket, a knife, a tool kit, a spare snowmobile belt, and overnight essentials. You should also pack plenty of food and water.

Most importantly, you should always have an avalanche transceiver, a probe, and a shovel. Those items can literally make the difference between life and death if you or your friends are caught in an avalanche.

Be Cautious

Know where avalanche paths are ahead of time, and never park beneath one for any reason. Even if things look fine, that doesn’t mean they are. Stick to known and marked paths, and ideally, ride with someone who is familiar with the area and has taken these routes before. 

Familiarize yourself with common snowmobile safety hazards and how to prevent them before you hit the trails. 

Avoid High Marking

High marking means trying to ride up a steep mountain slope as far as possible. High marking is an extremely dangerous activity, especially for a beginner. Due to individuals trying to high mark, snowmobilers are the group of individuals that are most likely to be killed in an avalanche.

Watch Out for Ice

Just because you’re in the mountains doesn’t mean you won’t find lakes or rivers that seem frozen over. While tempting to ride out on the surface of a gleaming iced-over body of water, always be on your guard and remember no icy surface is truly safe.  

The safest thing to do is avoid riding out on the ice. If you do have to cross the water, know these ice safety tips before venturing on it. 

Pay Attention to the Path Ahead

Watch the path ahead and take your time, especially on trails you are unfamiliar with. Mountainous terrain often features trail hazards like rocks, trees, and ditches that can wreck your snowmobile or send you flying if you’re not careful. 

Also, slow down at the top of a hill. Taking a hill too fast can cause you to go airborne, which may sound like fun but leaves you with no control over your snowmobile. Plus, you never know what’s over the hill or snowbank, like a down tree, other riders, or worse, a cliff. 

Call About SnoCaps Trailer Enclosures

Now that you know how to be safe while mountain riding, it’s time to talk about protecting your sled while getting to your ideal snowmobiling destination. Our Canvasworks founder first developed SnoCaps Trailer Enclosures for his own snowmobile using a soft-sided trailer enclosure that is durable enough to haul cars and airplanes. 

With long-lasting durability, our SnoCaps Trailer Enclosures protect your snowmobile equipment from dirt, road grime, and theft while you travel across the country to your favorite mountainous spots. Our enclosures come with a five-year limited warranty, the Shelter Rite skins can last at least 12-15 years, and our custom aluminum framing can withstand wear and tear for even longer. 

To check out our trailer enclosures, stop by our online gallery. Then give us a call at 320-559-0165 or contact us online to connect with a member of our team and order your custom trailer enclosure today!