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A Guide to Snowmobiling

Updated on March 5, 2012


Snowmobiles are great to enjoy with family and friends. I have been snowmobiling for a number of years in the Sierra's. This is a fun activity whether you are up in the back country of the Sierra's or the trails of upper Michigan.

Having fun at this great activity one must consider the safety issue involved when out riding. The main concern when out is keep an eye on the weather. If things get nasty one should have the proper gear and equipment to survive. I will cover this and more in this hub.

Snowmobiling in Lake Tahoe

Picture time.
Picture time.

Snowmobiling: Being Safe and Having Fun.

As we all know that snowmobiling is done in the winter when that cold white stuff is on the ground. Riders, or even possibly a passenger will need to be properly clothed. The clothing should keep you warm and dry. Snow friendly clothing such a snow pants, gloves, jacket or bib overalls are recommended. Then you will need warm socks and snowmobile boots. Too top everything off is the all important helmet. Snowmobile dealers carry a full line of clothing geared towards keep you warm on your outdoor snowy adventure. There are also many websites that sell snow gear and can sometimes find great deals. I suggest some shopping around since this is an expensive activity if you count in the gear and the snowmobile.

Out on the trail this is a must. Carry a cell phone when out just in case you have problems and need help. Up in the mountains sometimes getting a signal can and will be an issue. It is better to have the phone than be without one. Two way radios are good for the riders to carry. If something happens and they are close by you can reach them by calling on the radio. We had a rider go off the trail and the radio helped us find him. One the back of the snowmobile there is a pouch and in this you will put important items, such as: snacks, water, extra pair of socks, extra pair of gloves, lighter and maybe even a solar blanket. Lighter just you case you spend the night and need to light a fire. Solar blankets do keep you somewhat warm but is also good for signaling if in the back country and planes are out looking for you. Hopefully it never comes to that. One never knows what will happen. Some riders even manage to carry a shovel. Why do ask? From experience you may be digging someone out. Carrying a map of the area is a very good idea; better yet a portable GPS is a good investment. Last but not least tell someone back home where you are going, possible route and when you are expected back. With this in mind there is a GPS gadget called SPOT. You can send a satellite person message which means it can send your location via e-mail. The e-mail recipient opens it up and it will load up a map and have your location. Now remember this uses satellite and sometimes you are in an area where it cannot send out the signal. If you are down in a valley you may want to get to higher ground. There are other PLB (personal locator's beacon) out on the market but SPOT I have found is the best priced. One last word, check the weather.

If you have never snowmobiled before you may want to find someone that has an extra one and go for a ride. If this isn't possible there are places that rent snowmobiles and some of the rental places will also do rides geared towards your experience. I suggest this just like I do when it comes to a hobby that is a bit pricey. I want to make sure you like it before you go out and buy all that is necessary. Even a used sled will cost a few thousand, and then throw in all the personal gear it will cost you a few bucks.

Buying a Snowmobile

If you decide to buy one do some research there are various types and styles. The mountains with deep snow you would need a sled with a long track. This allows it to stay on top of the powdery snow. Short tracks can be fun but you may find yourself digging more than you would want. Going to a dealer will help because they know their stuff and can help steer you to the right snowmobile for you.

If you decide to get one you need to check what is required to ride. For instance if you ride in California you need what is called a "green sticker". Without one and you get caught by US Forestry you will be told you cannot ride. Each state is different and if you ride in one or more states check each state for what they require.

Places to ride are endless. There are websites to help you choose an area to ride in; there are even snowmobile tours and adventures.

Sharing the Trails

One thing to discuss is you may be sharing the trail with cross-country skiers, dog sleds or those on snow shoes. Please be courteous. Be polite even when they are not. I have had some very rude cross-country skiers that thought we had no right to the trail we were on. They didn't realize that the "green sticker" I pay for, helps keep the trail they were using maintained and groomed. I had every right to be on the trail and politely told them so. When they have to pay for a user sticker maybe then they will have some room for discussion. As you can probably tell that this is a sore subject with me. Had this problem when riding on designated motorcycle trails in Sequoia National Forest with hikers. It is doable to share the same trails and roads if we are all patient and courteous.


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      Sumampow80 7 years ago

      This is a very well put together hub. Snowmobiling is so much fun.

      If your in need of a snowmobile renal try they have alot of listings of places to rent them.