Riding Tips

Snowmobile Riding Tips and Techniques

Do not drive your snowmobile at excessive speeds or fast acceleration rates. Consider the environmental surroundings and weather conditions, your abilities and limitations, and the capabilities of your machine.

A snowmobile driver should know the machine’s handling and performance, as models may differ.

Age. Parents must decide driving age. Learning to drive a snowmobile properly is not as simple as it may appear. Remember, you must be 14 years or older to operate a snowmobile on public lands or waters or across a public highway. The parent must be able to judge his child’s ability to understand and control a gas or electric powered machine. Children can start the thrilling sport of snowmobiling at almost any age if they understand their parents will be the judge and jury on responsibility!

Like their parents, children love snowmobiling. Warn them against excessive speed, over confidence and carelessness. Never let children snowmobile alone.

Load. Don’t overload your machine. Most snowmobiles are engineered and designed to carry one driver and one passenger; others are designed for one person only. Overcrowding canRiders Imagecause safety hazards because of dangling arms and legs.

Loan. Never loan your machine to a stranger for a quick spin or to inexperienced drivers. You could be responsible for his inexperience or recklessness!

Leave. Never leave an unattended or idling machine. An idling machine is a temptation to a thief or a passing child.

Before you leave your snowmobile, always turn it off and take the ignition key with you.

Clear track. Never lift the machine’s tail to clear track. This practice is dangerous for any machine, as over revving may cause mechanical failure of the engine or drive components. Rocks, ice chunks or other items may be hurled out the rear of the machine at very high velocities.Clear Track Image

Practice. Practice turning radius, effect of speed, riding position and balance. Always operate your snowmobile with caution. Due to varying driving conditions of terrain, ice or snow, there is no fixed formula for turning, stopping or starting distances. Practice drive under all conditions. Approach turns slowly and avoid possible collisions with stumps, trees and stationary obstacles by allowing a wide skid margin.

The new driver should practice on a level field to master the three basic riding positions and techniques: sitting, kneeling and standing; turns; and weight shifting. Lean in the direction of the turn. Never extend your arms or legs out from your snowmobile while driving, turning or stopping.

Tailgate ImageTailgate. Don’t tailgate other machines. Traveling closely to the rear of another machine may seem like great sport—but if your buddy suddenly slows down or hits a bump or obstacle, you could ram or drive over the other machine. Always maintain a safe interval and allow ample stopping distance if you must track another machine’s trail. Watch the machine ahead.

Deep snow. Your snowmobile was designed to travel across snow under a great variety of conditions, but it does have limitations. If you are traveling in deep snow or going uphill you may find yourself stuck. When this happens, turn the engine off; free the skis by pulling them out and downhill; place the rear uphill or on undisturbed snow and ease it out with slow, even throttle pressure, or free the skis by pulling them up and ahead. Stand upright on the running board with your weight on the back of the machine and Deep Snowrock it slowly to pack the snow and give maximum track contact and traction. Accelerate with a slow, even throttle pressure. In most cases this will put you back in operation. If it doesn’t, be patient. Deep snow can be hand scooped out until you are back on the trail. Do not overexert yourself.

Hard pack snow or ice. On hard pack snow or ice, be even more careful. It is very difficult to make a turn and you will need considerably more room to make a stop. Reduced speed is essential to safe operation under these conditions. Take extreme care turning or using your brake, as both of these executed improperly could result in dangerously spinning out of control.

DownhillHills. For uphill driving, accelerate before you start the climb. Reduce the throttle pressure as necessary to prevent track slippage.

Downhill driving requires full control of your machine. Maintain slight throttle pressure and allow the machine to run down on the engine compression. If you go too fast, use the brake to slow down, but use a light touch. Never jam it and lock the track.

-New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, 2003 Snowmobile Manual