If you’re new to the world of riding snowmobiles, here are five beginner tips to help make your first experiences safer and more enjoyable.
Beginner Snowmobiling Tip 1: Start Out Small
Trail conditions vary, so choosing the right snowmobile involves several factors, including snow and riding types, and whether or not you’ll have passengers. A good rule of thumb is to choose a snowmobile that’s comfortable but has a smaller, lightweight chassis. This makes it easier to handle, and coupled with a smaller, two-stroke engine around 400ccs, the snowmobile can offer enough muscle to handle any trail, but not so much power that it’s difficult to control.
Beginner Snowmobiling Tip 2: Check Local Rules
There are trails all over North America perfect for snowmobiling. Do a web search and you’ll find miles of trails to explore, as well as “off trail” spots to go see some real wilderness. Before you go riding anywhere though, check the local rules regarding snowmobiling both on and off the beaten path.
Beginner Snowmobiling Tip 3: Prepare for Passengers
If you plan on riding with passengers, find a snowmobile that comes standard with a second seat, or one that can be retrofitted with a 2nd seat to accommodate a passenger.
Beginner Snowmobiling Tip 4: Dress Warm
Think about how cold temperatures need to be to produce snow, then remember that the air moving around you on the snowmobile creates a wind chill.
Don’t forget you’re moving at speed, so safety also needs to be a considered. Here’s a good checklist for what to wear on your snowmobile rides:
Wear layers you can peel off if you get hot, but also bring a little something extra along like a sweater in case you’ve underestimated the cold.
Beginner Snowmobiling Tip 5: Find Out If You Need a License
Check with your local jurisdiction, as snowmobiling in places like Canada requires you to be 18+ and to have a regular driver’s license. It depends on where you ride, but there may be allowances for people under 18 to operate a snowmobile. Some places have special licenses for operators as young as 12.