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Frozen lake

Ice

Ice presents many of the same handling problems as riding on pavement. Also, spins are common and fast stops are impossible.

  • Be extremely cautious.
  • Maintain a slow, steady speed. Don’t speed up or apply the brakes abruptly.
  • Stay seated for better control.
  • To stop safely, release the throttle and coast to a stop.

Frozen Bodies of Water

Riding on the frozen surface of water should be avoided due to the risk of death from falling into freezing water. If you cannot avoid it and must cross frozen water:

  • Scout ahead to make sure the water is frozen solid.
    • Go to as high an area of elevation above the lake as possible and use binoculars to look for dark spots on the ice. This indicates slush, water, or deteriorating ice. Do not attempt to cross this ice.
    • Watch for rivulets flowing on the ice or streams flowing under it. Even when the surface looks solid, a current under the ice causes erosion from below. Ice over a flowing river is at least 15% weaker than ice over a lake.
  • Check for hazards on the water such as fishing houses (which can be especially difficult to see at night), blocks of ice, pressure ridges/heaves, boat docks and posts, snow drifts, rocks, and the shoreline.
  • Wear a brightly colored inflatable personal flotation device (life jacket) on the outside of your snowmobile jacket.
  • If you’re in a group, avoid crossing in single file. If the group leader falls through, riders in single file may not be able to stop or maneuver the snowmobile quickly enough to keep from following the leader through the ice.
  • Since lakes provide wide open spaces for riding, look not only ahead of you but also from side-to-side as you ride. To avoid collisions:
    • Always watch out for snowmobiles or other vehicles that could come from any direction.
    • Keep a lookout for obstacles.