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Snowmobile Water Crossing - Sport or Insanity?

Updated on August 30, 2016
Polaris 600 XC Photo used with permission.
Polaris 600 XC Photo used with permission. | Source


Definition of Hypothermia from the Mayo Clinic states the following:

"Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia (hi-po-THUR-me-uh) occurs as your body temperature passes below 95 F (35 C)."

In water that is 40 degrees Fahrenheit a person can survive for approximately ten to twenty minutes. After this time has elapsed your muscles weaken causing you to lose your strength and coordination.

Once hypothermia sets in your organs stop working properly along with your nervous system, which can lead to total heart and respiratory failure, then death if not treated right away..

The first time I saw a snowmobile doing what is called water-crossing I couldn't believe my eyes. Are these guys insane or what? My husband works with a few younger guys that are right into doing this. Talk about pushing it to the edge!

Whatever happened to driving on narrow groomed trails at 60 mph plus?

After speaking with these young men they said there wasn't enough excitement left in trail riding so they took it to the next level, which to them was water crossing. Let me point out that they are not wearing any flotation equipment, and they are on top of water that is so cold that you freeze in a matter of minutes.

There's a big difference between dipping your toe in ice cold water and having your entire body submerged.

There has to be safer ways to get an adrenalin rush.


Snowmobiling Over Ice

Is ice safe?

  • Ice that is closer to the shoreline is normally not as safe as ice that is farther out on a lake or river.
  • One can never really tell where ice is the thickest as it can be a foot thick in one spot, and then a few feet away, it may only be a few inches thick.
  • When snowmobiling over water on a lake or river the ice should be at least 5" thick.
  • When ice is snow covered it will usually be weaker and warmer as the snow works as an insulator.
  • Outdoor temperature, how old the ice is as well as the water depth and water currents should all be taken into account when sledding over ice.

Watercrossing Gone Wrong

This snowmobile guy was lucky!

Crazy Canadian loses machine in water. I apologize for the swearing in this video.

When water-crossing, paddle tracks are usually used.

This is what could happen to a sled driving on any lake or river

This sled likely had a fair bit of damage done to it.

To retrieve his snowmobile the owner had to cut a large hole in the ice, then dive down into the icy cold water to retrieve it. I hope that he was wearing a dry suit to do this.

Snowmobiling Safety

  • Whenever snowmobiling, you should always have a safety/survival kit with you along with a first aid kit. This kit should include matches or a lighter; flashlight, knife; saw or an ax; food such as an energy or granola bar; rope, tools for the sled (wrench, screwdriver, and hammer), spark plug and a drive belt.
  • If you are unsure of the trails bring along a map of the area you will be.
  • Always be sure to let someone know where you are going and how long you expect to be gone.
  • Check the weather conditions and dress appropriately.
  • Travel with others and try not to ever go out alone.
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The penalties can be severe and one may also lose driving privileges of any motor vehicle.
  • Always obey the speed limits on trails and roads.
  • Remember to always wear a helmet.

Water-crossing on a snowmobile

Is water-crossing something you'd like to do?

See results

Thank you for reading, and if you'd like to read more articles by Just Ask Susan please visit my profile page. Have a great day!


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    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Snowmobile, Think I'll pass and just be a spectator. :)

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      haha, very common out here in Sweden. Go renting a snowmobile and try it for yourself :).

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Mouse! I've been on a snowmobile but you'd never catch me doing this :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      4 years ago from United States

      That seems downright scary to me! I had no idea people did that. Of course, I have yet to even get on a snowmobile to blaze a trail.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      mts, you wouldn't catch me going over water either lol

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      While I love the snow and driving a snow mobile is a blast, I would not drive it over would probably stall mid way - lol...cheers

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Cyndi, Insanely fun perhaps :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I think they're crazy too.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      kikalina, a little dangerous for me :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      That looks entirely fun...and cold. hahah. If we could just take out the "cold" element, we'd be good, haha.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      What nuts! I remember back in the 1970s we had several really cold winters. People drove CARS out on lakes and on the Chesapeake Bay. I was young then and still thought they were crazy.

    • kikalina profile image


      7 years ago from Europe

      No snow in my country but this looks like great fun.

    • JPSO138 profile image


      7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

      I have not tried this and I am quite interested to try it out. We have no snow in our country so obviously no one has this kind of vehicle. Great hub, perhaps this will remind people to be careful in riding things like this.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      That must have been a bit frightening Rolly.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 

      8 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Susan... great hub and us Canadians do anything for fun... lol... I did something very similar. I got out onto the Wapiti River in the Peace River country... it was late in the spring and we were heading back out after a day of fishing. My machine started to get sluggish and boggy feeling. When I looked behind the ice was open. I was blazing trail, I was able to get off the river a little ways up but earned my lesson well.

      Hugs and Blessings

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Vellur, I agree dangerous indeed :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      This sounds like great fun, but a dangerous sport. Interesting and informative hub.

    • Kasman profile image


      8 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Anytime Susan!

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Kasman, Looks too scary for me to try. Matt has been doing this for years but still it reminds me of something Evel Knievel type guys would do :) Glad you liked the hub, and thanks for voting and sharing it.

    • Kasman profile image


      8 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      The snowmobile looked so dang shaky going across the water. I honestly would consider this fun but I'd be so extra cautious before trying to go over some icy waters. I like Jetskiing.....that's what it's for but not over icy waters. A very intriguing and detailed hub Susan, great job for keeping my interest. I'm voting it up and interesting.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      LongTimeMother, Thanks :) Some people are pretty crazy.

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      There's a series of books called the Darwin Awards that profile people just like these, except they died as a result of their stupid actions. Can't turn the clock back when it all goes wrong. I wonder why people think they are invincible.

      Voting your hub up. No reflection on how I view the people in it though. :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Sue, I know eh, I'd never attempt this. Thanks and have a great week.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Susan,

      Over ice is one thing but water! I have seen everything now. Crazy Canuks!

      Voted up and awesome

    • moonlake profile image


      8 years ago from America

      I have heard of this and I would bet our boys have done it. They won't tell Mom because they know I would get upset. The have friend's that have died on snowmobiles. Every time they're out snowmobiling I worry and so does my husband. We snowmobiled years ago but never took the chance they take now. The trails run right by our house so we see all the snowmobiles go by and wonder if they will all make it home safe.

      Voted up and shared.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      8 years ago from Rome, Italy

      This was a thrill and a half. Wish i was young again. This is just my kind of thing, dangerous and fast! Nice hub.

      Sharing and voting and pinning.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      8 years ago from Shelton

      I have done it and enjoyed it.. of course we have to follow rules and regs.. but it's amazing thank you for the hub justasksusan

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 

      8 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      They do this not far from where I live. "They", not me!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      8 years ago from UK

      Never heard of this before, but enjoyed watching!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 

      8 years ago from New York City

      I read this the other night, but was rushing to get other things done, and so I returned here to finish it off. I enjoyed this hub Susan, it goes to show that not everybody will think of doing the most safest stunts while having loads of fun and all. I'm just glad the dude didn't fall into the freezing waters there, them guys are really crazy, yikes.

      Great tips by the way, it adds to your awesome hub making it far more helpful and very effective in terms of safety issues many folks may have no idea about while playing in such a chilling element outdoors. Oh and that dude who lost his snow mobile in the water LOL, wow what a way to have to try to retrieve such a vehicle, thank god he's OK.

      Thumbs up and out, this very hub was definitely a great way to help make something aware to folks who have no clue of its occurrence, I never seen this before reading your hub, and that speaks volumes about you as a writer. Awesome sauce!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never heard of this activity before. It looks like a crazy sport! It was fascinating to learn about it though. Thanks for the information, Susan.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      That's crazy! I loved the videos but that doesn't look like anything I'd endeavor. No way! I had to go get a jacket on just so I could finish watching.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      8 years ago from Wales

      A wonderfully interesting hub.

      I loved it and vote up.


    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      These snowmobile riders definitely have a death wish. Don't they realize the machine is called a snowmobile because you are supposed to ride it over SNOW. Period! Thanks for the rush, Susan.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      When my sister was here last month, I discovered that she loves to snowmobile and has been up some really steep hills. I was a big shocked, but she says it is lots of fun. I'll take her word, and yours, for it. Thanks for the share on this one.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Some people are just excitement crazy and will try anything. I used to think teens were bullet proof and never worried about tomorrow.. Getting older does put a curb on all of that. I am amazed at what people will try to do...This was fun to read and I am glad I am not there.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is like watching an episode of Jackass! Crazy! Someone once said that individually, young men are just wonderful, but in groups they become temporarily insane. Perfect case in point. I had no idea people were doing this... wow. Just speechless. I notice the first thing said while filming the crash was "I got it on tape!" Doesn't that just put everything into perspective about this activity? Well done. I learned something new today :)

    • point2make profile image


      8 years ago

      I have watched this "sport" up close and personal. It usually is done in the company of "alcoholic fortitude" assistance. It is amazing to watch but the consequences can be deadly. I have seen machines not make the "other side" and those moments can be terrifying for all involved. Best advice.....don't do it!!


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