The enjoyment of the great outdoors is one of the main reasons we recreate – “to get away from it all”!! Snowmobile access to trails provides the opportunity to explore and enjoy the great outdoors.
- Snowmobile riders may find themselves in harsh weather conditions. Today’s snowmobile clothing is excellent at providing warmth and preventing wind and moisture from chilling a rider. Do not cut corners when purchasing your riding gear because it is your best protection against the elements. Be sure to select garments that do not absorb moisture, robbing you of body heat.
- Wear a helmet when snowmobiling. It is your head’s best protection in case of an accident. It is also the best protection from wind and cold. Full-face helmets provide the greatest safety. 4 Make sure your helmet fits properly.
- Make sure your helmet fits properly. A helmet should fit snugly without pinching or hurting. You should be able to slide a finger between your head and the helmet padding. With the chinstrap buckled, you should not be able to pull the helmet forward off your head.
- Dress in layers so you can remove clothing if you get warm or wet and put it on again when needed. The clothing closest to your skin should be non-absorbent, which wicks moisture away from your skin to prevent chills. The next layer or two should be comfortable and loose enough to trap warm air. The outer layer—your bibs, jacket, and gloves or mittens—must be the most protective: as waterproof and windproof as possible and durable enough to withstand branches along the trail.
- Keep your feet warm and dry; it is essential to staying warm as you snowmobile. Choose boots that are waterproof and have a warm lining or insulation, preferably a removable liner you can dry at the day’s end. Rubber is the most effective at keeping soles sealed and waterproof. For uppers, thick leather or waterproofed fabrics are good at keeping water from reaching the insulation or liner.
- 4 Some riders, especially those who ride in areas laced with rivers, streams, and lakes, wear flotation suits. These suits provide protective shells and warm insulation as well as internal flotation devices that keep a rider afloat if he or she ends up in water. Look for suits whose flotation materials are approved by regulatory agencies. Remember that this extra protection does not diminish the need for caution near bodies of water.
REWARDS OF RESPONSIBLE RECREATION
If you act responsibly and do everything in your power to conserve the land and opportunity to use it, chances are that the land will remain open for you to use.
- Remember—if you abuse it, you will probably lose it! Careless operation of your snowmobile can cause damage and may result in authorities closing areas to snowmobile enthusiasts.
- Snowmobiling provides the opportunity to get away from the rush of everyday life and build family traditions.
- Respect the environment and other trail users. By using common sense and courtesy, what is available today will be here to enjoy tomorrow.
SAFETY ON THE TRAIL
- The number one cause of snowmobile accidents is alcohol. Do not drink and ride. Even one drink impairs your response time and judgment, two vital skills for snowmobiling. Alcohol also thins the blood and allows the body to cool faster, which may be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
- Learn the limits of your ability and drive at safe speeds. Since stopping takes longer on slick surfaces, such as snow and ice, be extremely aware of your surroundings and of other snowmobilers so you can react and respond in time to avoid accidents.
- Ride with a partner. Not only is there fun in numbers, but riding with at least one companion is also essential to your safety. Remember that you’re going off-highway, sometimes into remote country at great distance from roads and towns. The buddy system is vital to avoiding tragedy in case of emergencies, such as a mechanical breakdown or an accident. A buddy’s extra snowmobile can take you both farther than you can walk back.
- A cellular phone is a smart, potentially lifesaving link to help in case of an emergency. Before your day’s ride, write down local emergency telephone numbers and bring them with you. Keep in mind, however, that you may not have service in the area. In some locations only satellite phones will provide service.
- Modern snowmobiles have excellent brakes, but when riding on inherently slippery surfaces (snow and ice), you cannot expect to stop as quickly as is possible in a vehicle. If you cannot stop a safe distance from the sled in front of you, you are tailgating. Leave yourself plenty of room to stop and watch for the brake lights of riders ahead of you.
- When not on a groomed or marked trail, be aware of unmarked hazards or obstacles hidden beneath the snow, including fences, rocks, gates, and ditches.
- Ride defensively. Make safety the highest priority when deciding whether to proceed or to give way when encountering other riders and road crossings. Do not assume that other riders or motorists will always see you or respond properly.
- Watch out for trail groomers, especially at night. They are big and typically move at slow speeds on the trails. Make sure you can stop if you round a corner and encounter one. Inquire at trail stops about whether any groomers are on the next stretch of trails you will ride. Always assume that a groomer is on the trail.
- If you snowmobile in avalanche terrain ALWAYS ride with a partner. Have a rescue plan before you begin. What will you do if you trigger an avalanche? How will you respond if you are the rescuer?
- If you enjoy riding steep slopes remember, ONE RIDER AT A TIME! NEVER ride above your partner. If a sled gets stuck don’t send help. The extra weight on the slope may trigger an avalanche.
- Understand cornice safety. Cornices are overhanging deposits of wind-drifted snow that form along the leeward side of a ridge. Cornice breaks can be caused by the additional weight of your machine. Make sure the snow trails your on have solid ground underneath. Do not ride on slopes that are overhung by a cornice.
RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Remember to always …
• Take out what you bring in.
• Properly dispose of waste.
• Leave what you find.
• Minimize use of fire.
• Restore degraded areas.
- Top off your gas and oil.
- Grease all fittings as suggested in the Owner’s Manual.
- Check the brake fluid level.
- Inspect belts for wear.
- Replace any worn spark plugs.
- Have a snowmobile dealer do maintenance work to keep your sled running its best.
- Travel maps.
- Extra fuel.
- Spare drive belt.
- Spare spark plugs.