Snowmobile Basics—Riding Your Snowmobile
Deep Snow: Try to stay on hard-packed snow. In loosely packed snow, snowmobiles sink deeper and don’t produce as much traction. If you’re on deep, loose snow, make a wide turn and move to harder-packed snow.
Hard-Packed Snow in Drifted Areas: Snow sometimes hardens after the wind blows it into drifts. If so, it may contain hard-to-see bumps and dips. Back injuries can result from riding over these drifts at high speeds. Reduce your speed and be alert.
Whiteout Conditions: When the sky is overcast and the ground is covered with snow, the landscape may appear entirely white, with no visible horizon.
- Distances are difficult to judge, and variations in the terrain are not easy to recognize.
- Do not ride in a whiteout if you can avoid it, but if you must:
- Be extremely cautious, and maintain a low speed.
- Stay in familiar areas only, and watch for indications of hazards such as drop-offs beneath the snow.
Ice: Ice presents many of the same handling problems as riding on pavement. Also, ice causes spins and makes it hard to stop quickly.
- Maintain a slow, steady speed. Don’t speed up or apply the brakes abruptly.
- The safest way to stop is to release the throttle and coast to a stop.
- Do not ride on frozen rivers and lakes if you can avoid it, but if you must:
- Be sure there’s at least eight inches of clear ice.
- Watch for streams flowing on the ice. Typically, ice is thinner and weaker in these areas.