Safe Snowmobiling: What You Need to Know
Taking a snowmobile out to freshly cut some brand new powder is a lot of fun. While it might seem like nothing to just hop on the machine and cruise out on a pristine white field, it’s vital that each driver and passenger participating in a snowmobile joy ride understands the risks involved and wears the proper safety equipment. It doesn’t take much to get a machine stuck in a mound of snow, and it’s likely that riders will get at least a little bit of snow on them. Here’s what you need to know about safe snowmobiling.
Keeping Your Body Warm and Dry
Even if it seems like a bright, sunny day, things get cold quickly once you start moving at high speeds on a machine over the snow. High-quality snow pants and a thick winter coat are imperative to keeping your core warm and the snow off of your skin. Most snow pants and bibs can even be worn over regular clothing for extra warmth. Choose snowmobiling apparel that is both waterproof and windproof. Synthetic materials tend to be a popular choice.
Protecting Your Head and Face
Wind is going to be whipping over your skin and in your eyes, and it’s important to remember that your body is exposed if you happen to tip or crash your snowmobile. Wear a well-fitting helmet, preferably a full-face one with a visor and chin guard. This will keep the wind off of your face and provide a cushion around your head if you fall. If you choose a helmet that does not have a visor, then you will want to get a pair of goggles to wear over your helmet. Choose a visor or goggles with colored lenses to add protection from sun glare while driving.
A face mask is also a great idea. Although a helmet protects much of your face, a face mask provides additional warmth, and if it extends down far enough, it will also protect your neck from the cold, biting wind as you drive.
Covering Your Hands and Feet
Choose water-repellant and use hand warmers to protect your hand while driving a snowmobile. You can wear many styles on top of another layer for extra warmth. Whatever gloves you choose, make sure they allow you to easily operate the controls on your machine.
Avoid cotton socks when going out in the snow. Choose wool, fleece, nylon, or synthetic material instead. Carry an extra pair with you in case your socks start to feel cold or wet. It’s also important to cover your socks with a pair of high-quality winter boots. These should be waterproof and provide solid traction at the sole. The boots should be lined with a synthetic material, fleece, or wool. They should also be high enough to keep snow and water out, but allow your feet to breathe.
Use Common Sense
Snowmobiling is a lot of fun, but drivers and riders have a lot of responsibility. Be sure to always wear the proper safety equipment and clothing to stay warm. Drivers should be of appropriate age and stick to areas where they are comfortable maneuvering their machine. Don’t forget to have fun—it’s hard not to when you’re the first to cut the fresh powder.