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Video: Gearing Up To Ride

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Video Transcript

On screen: GEARING UP TO RIDE

The person behind the camera whistles to Haley to get her attention and waves. They are in a snowmobile supply shop.

Haley

What? You? You’re into snowmobiling, too? Hey, Rob, look who’s here.

Rob

Nice, another adventure lover. So, you snowmobile?

The person behind the camera gives the hand signal for so-so.

Rob

Oh, you’re just getting started. That’s cool. Well, where we’re heading, it’s going to be more than just cool. It’s going to be downright freezing.

Haley

Which is why we’re getting the right gear to keep us warm. And we’re actually just getting started if you want to join us. All right. Let’s go get some layers going.

Rob

All right, ask any penguin what the secret to staying warm is, and they’ll tell you. Unfortunately, we don’t have a talking penguin, so I’ll tell you. The secret is three layers. Here’s the deal.

On screen: DRESSING FOR THE ELEMENTS

Rob

To avoid the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite in a frigid environment, we start with the inner layer against our skin. The secret here is that it needs to be a breathable layer that wicks moisture away from our skin so that it can pass to an outer layer.

Haley

If that inner layer gets wet, you are going to be cold, miserable, or worse. That is why no snowmobiler wears cotton against their skin. Just remember the old trapper’s saying, ‘If it’s cold outside, wet cotton kills.’ But no worries, because there are always other options, like polypro.

Rob

After our breathable layer comes the insulating layer. Choose something loose-fitting that has some loft—you know, like small pockets of air that are going to help trap body heat. Wool is great for dry conditions, and synthetic and fleece are great for when it’s damp. And you can always add more than one insulating layer. A protective outer layer completes our three layers. You want one that’s insulated that also shields our inner layers from wind and water. If you happen to find yourself in lake country, having a suit that drains easily and will float is a plus. For mountain country, find one that’s wind-resistant.

Haley

Let’s complete your outfit with mittens or gloves—ones that prevent air from blowing up your sleeves. Again, a multi-layer design works best. Passengers or kids keep warmer wearing mittens. Scarves are a no-no. It’s too easy to get them caught in the track. Instead, stick to a balaclava to keep your head and neck warm. Hmm, are we forgetting anything? That’s right. Any time we ride as an operator or a passenger, we always wear head protection. Your helmet is the most important personal piece of safety equipment you can wear. And wearing it means that your safety strap is securely fastened.

Rob

You want a snug fit and safety-approved, and that means a safety label like this.

Rob points to the safety label on the back of his helmet.

Haley

There are three main types of helmets.

On screen: OPEN FACE, FULL FACE, and MODULAR

Rob

We prefer full-face helmets because they give us the most crash protection. Modular helmets offer the most in warmth, comfort, and wind protection, and there’s also the option where the entire front flips up for easier communication. And you need to protect your eyes and face. Even if it’s just goggles, you’ve got to protect your eyes from branches, snow, and trail debris. Those beach sunglasses won’t work. Use the real deal.

Rob

All right. Always start with a new helmet that fits your head. And that’s the same for kids. too. And remember, helmets get brittle over time, so replace it every five years—or immediately, if it’s ever been dropped or involved in a crash.

Haley

And don’t forget these. You’re going to want an over-the-ankle, multi-layer boot that’s going to give you some ankle protection and has a waterproof exterior. Some boots come with a removable insulation for easy drying. Perfect. Now you’re outfitted for warmth and safety.

Rob

Let’s pick the right machine for you right over here.

Haley

Yeah, what exactly are you looking for?

Rob

Oh, you’re not sure yet. All right, first, let’s start with common sense.

On screen: MATCHING THE RIDER TO THE RIDE

Rob

As you can see, they come in many sizes and styles. So we need to match the operator to the machine and how they intend to use it. First, consider age and size. Younger and smaller operators should ride smaller and lighter machines so that they can safely handle them.

Haley

Next, consider the operator’s experience. Beginners should really learn how to ride and handle a machine well before opting for a more powerful machine that’s faster.

Rob

So the bottom line is that it’s best to get professional help in selecting the right sled for you and how you’re going to use it. That’s where a pro will help sort out whether you need a single-rider machine, a two-person touring sled with a longer frame, or a mountain-style sled with an extended track.

Haley

No matter what snowmobile you end up getting, it’s a smart idea to become familiar with your snowmobile by reading your Owner’s Manual.

Rob

OK. Let’s get the rest of your gear on and hit the trails.

Proper Clothing

Nothing can protect you completely; but knowing what to wear can reduce the chance of injury, as well as make your ride more comfortable.

  • Benefits
    • The proper clothing protects you from scratches as well as extremes of the weather.
    • A protective suit helps cushion you in falls or collisions.
    • Wearing a snowmobile suit may help you float for several minutes.
  • Selection
    • Ideally, wear a snowmobile suit.
    • Alternatively, use pants with kneepads, long-sleeved shirt or jacket with chest and shoulder protectors, and a riding belt for lower-back support.

Snowmobile Suit

The ideal winter outfit for riders is a snowmobile suit. In addition to keeping you warm, a snowmobile suit will keep you afloat if you fall into freezing water. Because it traps air, it acts like a flotation device. Some suits also have flotation material sewn into the lining, and others have special air pockets that you can inflate by blowing into a tube.

Clothing should fit snugly and still be comfortable. Clothing that’s too loose can snag on your sled, twigs, and branches.

Man in a snowmobile suit