Snowmobiling is an excellent way to take advantage of the upcoming winter weather. Contrary to popular belief, it does not take a pro to be a good rider. It simply takes an appropriate amount of planning. Check out our guide for planning winter family vacations for extra insight on your next adventure.
Issues like driver inexperience, excess speed, and poor judgment are leading causes of injury when riding.The good news is that these common problems are easily avoidable. Being responsible will ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time. Here are some snowmobile riding tips to help you ride like the pros:
1) Get your gear ready
Before you hit the trails, be sure to check your equipment thoroughly. Confirm that your snowmobile is running properly. If you are a snowmobile owner, be sure to follow the recommended service schedule to keep everything running smoothly. Before each ride, allow your snowmobile to run for at least a minute to warm up the engine. Check all fuel and oil levels, battery, brakes, drive belt, throttle, handlebars, and lights before your ride. It is also a good idea to keep the owner's manual on hand during your ride, if accessible.
You also want to assemble all of your protective gear. Make sure you have waterproof gloves, boots, a helmet, goggles, and a snowmobile suit. If you want to add extra layers, stay away from cotton as it will freeze if it gets wet. Stick to polyester blends for extra protection.
2) Learn how to read the trail map
Prior to heading out into the wilderness, research your route and the surrounding area. Print a trail map to help you find your destination with ease. Be sure to laminate your map or keep it in a sealed plastic bag as it may easily get wet.
If you choose Utah as your premiere snowmobiling destination, you should look at maps of the Salt Lake City region. The area has many great routes to explore, but they are not all necessarily easy to reach. You might want to consider a route with few obstacles if you are just starting out.
3) Be Prepared for Emergencies
If you are new to snowmobiling, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of safety risks that you take when riding. It is important to prepare yourself both mentally and physically.
Always prepare in case things do not go according to plan and it never hurts to bring a first aid kit. This way you can prevent minor injuries from becoming serious. In addition, you should have a cell phone with you that is fully charged and protected from harsh conditions. Even though service may be spotty at times, this may save you from being stranded.
4) Slow down when approaching obstacles
The key to an enjoyable time is slowing down, especially for novel riders. When driving a car for example, you must slow down when approaching a curve or traffic. The same idea goes for snowmobiling. Recall that a leading cause of injury is excess speed.
When approaching a turn, reduce your speed gradually and lean to the inside of the turn. This allows you to control your balance. Once inside the turn, you can apply more throttle to accelerate again.
5) Keep your distance from other riders
When snowmobiling, the last thing you want to do is run into someone else. Risk of serious injury is very likely as these machines are unforgiving. This is especially true if you are traveling in a group.
It is best to keep a sensible distance between you and other riders, leaving extra room for mistakes or unexpected turns. The recommended distance between any two given snowmobiles is at least 100 feet.
6) Be aware of your surroundings
Snowmobiling requires a decent amount of concentration. If you become distracted, you will likely miss out on enjoying the scenery. Even worse, you may fail to notice a roadblock and injure yourself or others.
You should always maintain a close eye on your surroundings. Focus on both the terrain and the weather conditions. Consistently look both ahead and around you to see if there are any hazards. Occasionally you may want to check behind you if you feel comfortable to do so, to check that everyone in your group is okay.
7) Never ride alone
It may seem tempting to want to go for a solo snowmobile ride, however it is extremely dangerous. The risk of getting injured or lost becomes life threatening when you are alone. Understand that safety will always outweigh the thrill of a solo ride, so be responsible and bring a buddy. If anything goes wrong in a remote location, you will have each other to count on.
It is recommended to tell a trusted friend or family member the trail you are headed on before you go. This will prevent you from being stranded and if anything happens, someone will know where to find you.
8) Position yourself properly
One of the most crucial yet overlooked riding tips is proper positioning. For example, a beginner may see an experienced rider standing upright and try it for themselves. Consequently they do not realize how easy it is to fall off the seat. It is important to not compare yourself to other riders and only do what you are comfortable with. Keep your hands on the handlebars at all times to ensure your stability. It also helps to keep your knees bent slightly, allowing your body to be more agile over the bumpy terrain.
Here are a few more proper positioning tips to keep you protected on the trails:
- When climbing up the slope of a mountain or hill, ride in a kneeling position to enhance control of the snowmobile
- When riding down a sidehill, do so in a sitting position further from the saddle to cover more surface area and avoid tipping over
- Always keep your feet grounded on the side rails to prevent slipping
- When applying the throttle, hold the handlebar firmly with both hands
For more information on how to position yourself properly, please check out this beginner's guide to snowmobiling.
The goal of snowmobiling is to have as much fun as possible while avoiding injuries or getting stuck. With these snowmobile riding tips, you can learn how to ride both faster and safer. Some key takeaways to remember are that the snowmobiling pros know how to position themselves properly. They also never ride alone, are aware of their surroundings, and never get too close to other riders. They prepare with proper safety gear and extra supplies for emergencies, and carry a trail map. With these tips, nothing is stopping you from becoming one of them!
At Daniels Summit Lodge, we take pride in providing our visitors with a one-of-a-kind snowmobile riding experience. We offer both guided and unguided snowmobile rentals to help you become an expert. We also provide a safe and fun environment where you can learn about our beautiful state while enjoying some of its finest outdoor activities. Our guides are knowledgeable and love sharing their passion for the outdoors with guests.
If you are looking for one of the best snowmobiling vacations in Utah, Daniels Summit Lodge is a perfect choice. Contact us today to make a reservation!