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5 Safety Tips for Blazing a New Trail with a New Snowmobile

It’s snowmobile season again! Where are the best places to ride? That depends.

According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, 80% of snowmobilers ride on marked and maintained trails. Many riders have favorite trails they revisit year after year, while some like to explore new territory. For them, and for new snowmobile owners looking for their own favorites, here are some tips for trail selection and preparation:

1. Know Your Limits

New riders might be more comfortable with flat, open spaces, while more experienced ones like the relative thrill of curves and hills. But even flat trails can become bumpy due to traffic and weather. Before choosing a trail, riders should consider their comfort and skill level, as well as the limitations of the vehicle, and plan accordingly.

2. Be Prepared

No one wants to imagine the worst, but it’s still a good idea to plan for it. Share planned trail maps with a point of contact, as well as a description of the snowmobile and riding clothes. Equip the vehicle with a GPS tracker — not only can it help with navigation, but riders can share their location with someone they trust to help with vehicle recovery in case of an emergency.

3. Respect Boundaries

Many trails are confined within state or national parks or other public lands, but some might border private land, or cross publicly used roads or even railroad tracks. It’s important to stick to the trail as closely as possible to avoid trespassing, and come to a stop before crossing any road to avoid accidents.

4. Share the Trail

Some trails are designated for only motorized traffic, but some might also be used for skiing, snowshoeing, and other winter fun. In those cases, as on the road in a car, motorized vehicles always yield to pedestrians and other trail users.

5. Use Available Resources

With more than 3,000 snowmobile clubs worldwide, there’s a vast network of riders eager to share their experiences. Sites like TrailLink, SnowTracks, and SnowGoer can help other riders find trails in the area, often with details like trail length, terrain, and personal reviews.


A new powersports purchase is exciting, and exploring new terrain is part of the adventure. Knowing the route and what to expect ahead of time can keep everyone safe on the trail.


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