During the winter months, Ontario is a snowmobiling paradise. From fast-flowing trails to pristine back-country, Ontario has it all. While snowmobiling is a lot of fun, with it comes a lot of responsibility.
Out here you will encounter frozen lakes and deep back-country powder far from the comforts of the city. Ensure that you are properly trained and equipped to survive a night outside or to help fellow snowmobilers in need.
Snowmobile Smart Tips
- Follow the rules: Regulations on sled registration and use are different in various parts of the snow belt. Check with natural resource and law enforcement agencies, and snowmobile dealers or clubs in the area you’re visiting to make sure your ride results in legal and hassle-free snowmobiling. Remember, too, that some provinces have age restrictions for snowmobile operation, often requiring that children are supervised by adults.
- Safe crossing: Be careful when crossing roads of any kind. Come to a complete stop and make absolutely sure that no traffic is approaching from any direction. Always cross at a right angle to traffic.
- Think ahead: Safe riders make snowmobiling safe. Many problems can be avoided by using common sense. Minor problems can be overcome by carrying a tool kit, spare parts, flashlight, first-aid kit and a few survival items such as high-energy food, fire-starting equipment and a compass.
- Take it easy: Always ensure that you are driving slow enough to see an object in time to avoid a collision. At night on the lakes and large open fields, estimating distances and direction of travel is more difficult.
- Take a friend:Never snowmobile alone. “Snow plans” which describe your machine and your planned route can be life-saving. Leave one with someone responsible, and always let that person know when you’re back or have arrived at your destination.
- Take care of the trail: Treat trails with respect. Always wait for enough snow cover to protect vegetation. Avoid running over trees and shrubs. Appreciate, but don’t disturb, animals or other wildlife.
- Beware of darkness: Low light and darkness require extra caution. Slow down and watch for others. Overcast days also require extra awareness.
- Beware of water: The safest snowmobiling rule is never to cross lakes or rivers. Falling through the ice is the most obvious risk but you also have far less traction for starting, turning and stopping on ice than on snow. Collisions on lakes account for a significant number of accidents. If you must snowmobile on the ice, make absolutely sure the ice is safely frozen. Drowning is a leading cause of snowmobile fatalities.
10 Snowmobiling Essentials
- Trip Plan left with a responsible person
- Full-face helmet
- Warm, waterproof jacket & pants
- Warm gloves, socks & hat, with extras
- Thermal underwear
- A second layer for warmth
- Spare gas, belt, plugs and tools
- First Aid Kit
A look at a breathtaking journey through the pristine Canadian back-country.