Beginning to Ride

Riding Uphill

  • Use the kneeling position.
  • Lean uphill.
  • Increase the throttle to maintain your speed. The deeper the snow, the more speed you need.
  • Don’t stop until you get to the top. If you lose forward momentum, you may not be able to start climbing again.
Riding Uphill

Figure 1: Riding uphill

Riding Downhill

  • Use the sitting position.
  • Sit as far back on the seat as possible.
  • Stay focused and be prepared to stop—losing control is the greatest hazard.
  • Do not release the clutch. Keep the clutch engaged to help you slow down.
  • Pump the brake firmly every few seconds to maintain a slow speed or stop. Applying a hard brake abruptly can cause the snowmobile to slide.
  • If you are at the top of a hill and other snowmobiles are coming up, allow them to pass you before going down.
Riding Downhill

Figure 2: Riding downhill

Traversing a Hill

  • Use the kneeling position with your uphill leg standing on the running board and your downhill leg on the seat.
  • Lean your body uphill at all times, which keeps your weight on the uphill side of the track.
  • On hard-packed snow, your snowmobile may slide. Try pointing the front at a steeper angle uphill, or look for more loosely packed snow.
Traversing a hill

Figure 3: Traversing a hill


  • Lean into turns to gain more control while turning.
  • Placing more body weight forward and into the turn puts more load on the inside ski and keeps it down on the snow, giving it a better bite.


  • Pull over to the extreme right.
  • Stop on the right side of the trail.
  • Don’t stop on a curve or hill

Crossing a Road

  • Select a crossing point that offers good visibility in both directions.
  • Before crossing, come to a complete stop on the shoulder of the road.
  • Look both ways and yield to any traffic on the road.
  • Drive forward slowly. A snowmobile is hard to handle on pavement.
  • Drive straight across, not at an angle, to minimize the distance you need to travel.
  • Large snow banks often line both sides of the road. To drive down a bank, post and lean toward the top of the bank as you descend. Never attempt this if a vehicle is approaching. To climb up a bank, lean toward the bank and apply the throttle.
  • When traveling in a group, appoint a crossing guard who crosses the road first. The crossing guard then gets off his snowmobile, watches for traffic traveling in both directions, and signals for one snowmobile at a time to cross the road.

Trail Etiquette

  • Ride only where permitted.
  • Be courteous to others on the trail.
  • Ride on the right side of the trail.
  • Slow down when someone is passing you.
  • Yield the right-of-way to skiers, horses, and hikers.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • Report downed trees and trail maintenance needs to land managers.
  • Report illegal riding.
  • Carry out what you carry in.