Snowmobiling is a fun and adventurous sport for the whole family! At White River Snowbank Riders, we are committed to promoting safe snowmobiling practices.
Before heading out on the trails, it is a good idea for all snowmobilers to take the time to review these important safety precautions. It could save a life.
Some of the topics we cover below include snowmobile safety tips, gear, maintenance and repair of your snowmobile, ice rescues, and hand signals.
Remember, snowmobiling accidents give all snowmobilers a bad name. Let's work together to create a safe snowmobiling environment in District 16!
Snowmobiling Best Safety Practices
- Do NOT drink and ride
- Do NOT ride alone - always have a buddy or join our club
- Do NOT use excessive speed
- Obtain a trail map (visit the Trails page and download one)
- Ensure there is enough snow cover so your snowmobile will get adequate lubrication
- Make sure your snowmobile fits you, and that you can adequately start it and maneuver it
- Familiarize yourself with the terrain of where you will be riding; if you haven't travelled that trail before, check with someone who has
- Check the weather forecast, as well as the ice and snow conditons before riding
- Plan your ride; tell a friend or relative where you're going, so they can notify authorities of your location if you get into trouble
- If not familiar with the thickness of ice on a lake, pond, etc., avoid that area
- Do not chase or follow animals (whether wild or domestic)
- Stay on marked trails, or trails that are familiar to you
- Please obey all trail signs, markers and any speed limits
- Use correct hand signals
- On all groomed trails, keep in mind that it is two-way traffic
- Place reflective materials on your snowmobile for riding at night
- Buy or put together a safety kit that includes a tow rope, first aid kit, survival food, spark plugs and an extra snowmobile belt
- Remain continually aware and cautious
Maintenance and Repair of Your Snowmobile
- Ensure your snowmobile is in top mechanical condition prior to the winter season
- Read your snowmobile's manual to (re-) familiarize yourself with your equipment
- Throughout winter, be sure to regularly maintain your machine
- Do not attempt to make repairs to your snowmobile that you do not understand; you are better off to hire a professional; visit your local snowmobile dealer
- Allow your snowmobile to adequately warm up before riding
- Ensure your lighting system is in working condition
- Regularly service your snowmobile for maintenance and repair
- Check your belt, track, oil, grease, headlights and taillights to ensure they are working properly
- Change old fuel
- After making an adjustment to your snowmobile, check it periodically to ensure it is functioning properly
- Wear warm, protective clothing
- Check the condition of your snowmobiling gear
- Carry extra accessories that provide warmth: balaclava, warm gloves, mitts, pants, jacket, one-piece snowmobile suit, warm boots, heavy outdoor socks
- Make sure your helmet fits you properly, and is approved; ensure neither helmet nor face shield have cracks
- Use goggles or a face shield to prevent injury from twigs, ice, etc.
- Do not wear a long scarf; it could get caught in the track of your snowmobile and cause injury
- Place reflective material on the back of your jacket/snowmobile suit and on your helmet
- A wrist mirror is an excellent safety device that allows you to check behind you easily and safely
Please see the website for the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations to view the hand signal associated with the following:
- Turn Left:
Place your left arm straight out and even with your shoulder, parallel to the ground.
- Right Turn:
Put the upper part of your arm at shoulder length height parallel to the ground. Your forearm should be vertical with the road. Your arm will form the shape of the letter "L", and your hand should be open (not clenched).
Raise your arm straight over your head. Your palm should be open and flat.
- Last In Line:
Lift the upper part of your arm at shoulder height parallel to the ground with your forearm vertical with the road, forming the sahpe of the letter "L". This is the same as the signal for turning right, except that the fist should be clenched.
- Sleds Following:
Raise your arm in front of you with your elbow bent and your thumb pointing behind you. Move your arm and hand in this position backward past your shoulder and then forward again. Repeat as many times as needed until communication has been seen.
- Slowing Down:
Extend your left arm out and low, just below being parallel with your body. Move your entire arm and hand up and down several times.
- Oncoming Sleds:
Lift your arm above your shoulder with your elbow bent. Your forearm should be vertical with your body and your wrist bent. Move your hand from left to right over your head as though you're pointing in the direction of the oncoming sleds.
If someone goes through the ice, it is important that you act very quickly. The longer that person remains in the water, the less chance of survival they have. Here are some quick tips:
- Do NOT step on the ice
- Have the person who has fallen into the water, grab as far as they can along the edge, and kick their feet (this will help them stay afloat)
- Call out for help
- Look for something you can use to pull them to safety; perhaps a scarf, tree branch, jacket or belt
- Lie down on the ice as closely as is safely possible to the open hole and reach out with whatever item you have
- If there is a group of people, form a human chain
- When the person is up on the ice, they must remain lying down and pull themselves away from the hole
- It is important to get the person warm and dry right away, and to seek medical attention