A basic local's guideline is 'Always be prepared to stay out for the night.' At our elevation, a warm winter's day can turn brutally cold in a short period of time. Carry gear, tools and leave a plan of your riding area plus expected return time with a responsible party.
More great tips to snowmobile safely can be found HERE. Safe Riders Safety Awareness offer the following tips about basic gear you should have with you when snowmobiling.
- Driver's license and/or other licenses and certification cards
- Insurance forms for vehicle
- Cell and/or satellite phone - charge the battery and keep it warm. Turn power off to conserve energy. Remember, phones do not work everywhere in the back country.
- Food, water, high energy bars
- Warm, weatherproof clothing and spare layers.
- Compass and map
- Waterproof matches with a candle or fire starter
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Extra ignition key
- GPS (global positioning system) unit may be helpful. Check the batteries before you ride, bring spares with you. Keep the warm. Be sure you are familiar to the operation of the device before riding.
- Small shovel, probe and avalanche beacon when riding in avalanche prone areas.
- Strobe light or flares can be helpful in an emergency situation. Keep batteries charged and follow directions when using flares.
- Ice picks fastened to a cord should be carried if traveling on frozen lakes and rivers. Thread the cord for the pick through the sleeves of your jacket, out of the way of your hands until they are needed. If you happen to fall through the ice, the picks will be right at your wrists covered by your jacket sleeves. By jamming the pointed end of the pick down in the ice, the pick will anchor you and allow you to pull your body back on the ice.
- Basic tool kit from your snowmobile's manufacturer. Check under the snowmobile's hood or under the seat. It should include a spark plug wrench, other wrenches for common adjustments, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, and a strap for emergency starting 2-stroke snowmobiles with a recoil start. These tools should always remain with the snowmobile.
- Make sure you have spare spark plugs and a spare drive belt with the snowmobile at all times in the event of a failure.
- Other helpful items include a knife, pliers/side cutters, adjustable wrench, electrical/duct tape, raps, bungee cords, and a tow rope to help perform general on-trail repairs and maintenance.
Emergency First Aid Kit
- Always carry a first aid kit. You can purchase good kits, or build your own. It should include, bandages, 2-inch compresses, 4-inch compresses, a roll of 2-inch gauze, a roll of 1-inch adhesive tape, a thermal/space blanket, knife or scissors, alcohol wipes, and antibiotic ointment. All items should be stored in a waterproof container; do not include liquids that could freeze.
- It is highly recommended that you take a certified first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) course to aid you in case of an emergency. Always be aware of the dangers of frostbite while snowmobiling; take precautions to prevent it by always keeping skin covered.