Next week is International Snowmobile Safety Week, so Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding snowmobilers to be safe while out in the backcountry. This is a good time to ensure snowmobiles and winter gear are properly maintained and all riders are up to date on common sense safety rules. Snowmobilers also need to follow all laws and regulations, including making sure their snowmobile is registered with the state, avoid trespassing on private property and never drink and ride. CPW also recommends all snowmobilers take an avalanche safety course and to always carry an avalanche beacon. It is also recommended riders monitor snow conditions, especially after large snowfalls, big changes in temperature, and high wind events. A complete list of snowmobile safety tips is available below. To view up to date Northwest Colorado avalanche conditions, click here.
Basic Snowmobile Safety Includes:
- Ensure your snowmobile is in top-notch mechanical condition not only at the beginning of the winter but throughout the season.
- Wear sensible, protective clothing designed for snowmobiling. Do not wear long scarves or other items that can get caught in the moving parts of the snowmobile.
- Use a full-size helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice chips and flying debris.
- Know the terrain before you ride. If it is unfamiliar to you ask someone who has traveled over it before. Don’t travel on unfamiliar ground at night.
- Be aware of wilderness boundaries and restricted areas. The Colorado Snowmobile Association provides maps of snowmobile areas and groomed trail reports for riders.
- Check the weather forecast and be aware of the ice and snow conditions in the area.
- Be familiar with the thickness of the ice and water currents in the area. Drowning is a preventable cause of snowmobile fatalities.
- Always use the buddy system. Never ride alone.
- Do not pursue domestic or wild animals. Harassing wildlife is a crime; if you see a violation of this rule, report it to the nearest law enforcement officer.