Let It Snow, Let Us snowmobileAs soon as the snow falls the snowmobiles come out of their summer hibernation and are ready to go. There is nothing like zipping along a wooded trail covered in fresh snow on a cold day. All around the world in northern climates, people excitedly await that first good snowfall. If you are a novice, and even if you are a well seasoned rider, before you jump on there are things to know be aware of and know about. These skills should not be overlooked and practice is the key to mastery. When you understand and feel comfortable with your machine you will discover that it is one of the most enjoyable sports of the winter season.
First, you need to learn the all-important steps necessary to get yourself going. Begin by starting the snowmobile. After it is running, make sure that you put on your helmet. As with riding a bicycle, motorcycle, or any other device capable of moving at a quick pace, you must always wear a helmet. Beginners sometimes think that because snow is often soft, it will protect them if they should fall. Do not take a risk with this irresponsible approach. Always wear a helmet. Make sure that your chin strap is fastened under your chin. Next, sit yourself comfortably on the snowmobile. Allow your arms to reach the handlebars at a distance that is comfortable for you. After you have done this, you are ready to place your feet under the stirrups. These are located on the lower front section of the machine, and will allow you to have more control and a better chance of staying on the machine, as you eventually try to turn.
After you have properly positioned yourself on the machine, find the throttle. It will be on the right side of the handlebar. You will be able to control the speed of the snowmobile by using the thumb on your right hand. Of course, just as you want to go, you'll eventually want to stop. You will be able to achieve this by using the brake lever, located on the left side of the handlebar.
Be sure to give the motor a good amount of gas to get moving. From that point on, control the snowmobile the same way that you would ride a bicycle. Use your handlebars to move left and right, keeping in mind that the ease with which you turn is based primarily on the speed at which you are traveling. Turns are always easier when moving at a higher speed. Remember to always lean to the inside of a turn, as this will help the sled stay on both skis. It is helpful to know that stopping on hard-packed, more solid snow is more difficult than lighter, softer snow. Just as you do while driving a car on ice, gently pump your brakes.
The minimum age to rent a snowmobile is 18 years, while minimum age to drive a snowmobile is 16 years old with a driver's license and a parent present. This may vary by State so make sure you know if you are going to be riding through different areas than your own State. A snowmobile is not a toy and should be treated with care and respect. Make sure that your snowmobile is properly registered and insured, a state registration sticker must be displayed in accordance with the state that the snowmobile is registered.
Snowmobile Safety Tips:
Avoid traveling across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness or water currents. Rapidly changing weather and moving water in streams and lake inlets also affect the thickness and strength of ice on lakes and ponds. Snow cover can act as a blanket and prevents thick strong ice from forming.
Dress appropriately. Always wear a helmet with goggles or a face shield to prevent injuries from twigs and flying debris. Wear layers of water-repellent clothing and make sure you have no loose ends that might catch in the machine or tangle in equipment. Stay on marked trails or, where allowed, on the right shoulder of the road. Be alert for fences, tree stumps and stretched wire that may be concealed by snow. Riding a snowmobile can be dangerous, so always wear a helmet. Also, be sure to pay attention to other snowmobilers, keeping a distance of at least 150 feet between you and them.
There are over 12000 miles of trails in the USA which are maintained by thousands of local snowmobile clubs. A passion for the sport of snowmobiling is shared by many. Understand the basics to follow and you will have a very enjoyable experience this winter as you discover snowmobiling.
Toni Grundstrom is a freelance writer. When I work it is in the Marketing field and when I play it is outside. Don't let the winter keep you inside. Click here for information on a great cabin fever reliever.
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