Ready to explore the backcountry on your own snowmobile? There is nothing quite as exhilarating as snowmobiling with family members or friends, but even the smallest mistake or miscue can spell trouble on the trail. Whether you are an experienced rider or you are just starting out with your first sled, not only are there are many hidden dangers to be aware of but you must also know how to dress properly for the cold and know how to communicate with other riders on the trail. In this snowmobile safety guide, we will teach you all the basics, so you can start your snowmobiling adventure with your best foot forward. With this information, you will be better prepared for your ride and make it a safe experience.
Snowmobile Safety for Beginners
Dangers to Avoid: The backcountry is undeniably beautiful, but it can also be hazardous if you don't keep potential dangers in mind. When you are snowmobiling, you must be cautious about careless operation, impaired operation, and speed as well as avalanches, ice, and risky crossings. Excessive speed is one of the top causes of snowmobile crashes, which is why it's important to make good choices and maintain control of your sled at all times. You should only maintain a speed that will allow you to safely respond to any changes in terrain or trail conditions. You should also stick to a low speed when visibility is limited or you are in an unfamiliar area. Always abide by posted speed limits on trails and roads.
Dressing Properly: When you're out in the cold weather all day, you need to stay comfortable and dry. An appropriate snowmobiling outfit consists of base layers, mid layers, and an outer shell. Base layers should be thin and fit tight to the body, so they can remove excess moisture from the skin so you don't get the chills. Mid layers should act as insulation between your base layers and the outer shell of your outfit. On top of those layers, you should wear a jacket and pants that will keep you warm and dry from rain or snow. By dressing in layers, you'll also be prepared for any changes in the weather conditions. Don't forget to invest in a quality pair of boots and gloves. If there's a chance of a wind chill, you might also want to invest in a balaclava or facemask to keep your face and neck warm. Last but not least, you should always wear a snowmobile helmet that has a DOT, ECE, or SNELL safety marking.
Riding Safely: In addition to keeping yourself safe, you also owe it to other riders to make the trail a safe environment for everyone. You should always consult your owner's manual to become familiar with your sled before starting and taking it for a ride. An owner's manual will provide you with a way to learn more about all the controls and adjustments of your machine. You should also perform a pre-ride inspection to ensure your sled is running smoothly. Once you have determined that your snowmobile is ready to ride, it's important to review the correct riding positions before you hit the trail. Riding positions may vary depending on the type of riding you'll be doing, but they should be comfortable and allow you to easily control your snowmobile at all times. There are also specific hand signals you should use when stopping, turning, signaling to oncoming sleds, slowing down, or signaling to the sleds behind and ahead of you.
Surviving Emergencies: In the backcountry, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. Once you're aware that avalanches, blizzards, extreme wind, and other hazards can happen, you have the upper hand. Before heading out on the trail, you should assemble a first-aid kit and other safety supplies. If you plan on taking a multi-day trip, you should assemble enough food, water, warming materials, and other items to help you through any emergency situation. You should also take every precaution to let friends and loved ones know where you are and where you are headed. There are a variety of communication devices you can buy to stay connected even in the backcountry. If you should become lost or trapped in extreme weather conditions, you must immediately seek shelter under a tree, in a cave, or at a trail shelter. It is recommended that you pack an emergency kit complete with waterproof matches to help you start a fire.
When it comes to snowmobile safety, you should always use common sense and be considerate of everyone else on the trail. Last but not least, know the law and be aware of your surroundings. Please contact us with any questions!