Safety Tips For Riding In The Snow
With winter comes snow riding, which is the favorite of many in the powersport world. Riding snowmobiles and Timbersled®s both recreationally and competitively offers some of the most exciting experiences riders have. Which do you drive? A fully equipped snowmobile or the dirt bike turned snow bike Timbersled®? Whatever the case, you’ll need the proper safety measures for snow riding locked down for a safe ride. It goes without saying that you should have prior knowledge of riding in the snow before heading out. If you don’t, it’s a worthwhile idea to enroll in a safety course. These can often be done online, but also in person if you’d prefer. Everyone can benefit from useful tips, which is why we’ve put together this list of snow riding safety recommendations. Whether you’re a new rider or quite experienced, you’ll be able to take away valuable information for your next trip out in the powder.
Pack for Every Scenario: Whatever powersport vehicle you choose, install storage bags where applicable. Many first-time riders don’t consider all of the what-ifs like exhaustion, bodily accidents, and machine malfunctions. Although you can’t bring everything with you, you can pack the top essentials. In your bags, include enough food and water for the entire day, as well as items like waterproof matches, a flashlight, a map of the area, a compass, a tarp, rope, a small tool kit, and a first aid kit. Of course, you aren’t planning for an accident or natural disaster to occur; however, these things do happen, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Should you get lost in mountainous terrain or you sprain an ankle, you want to be prepared enough to get out safely. A backpack will allow you to carry more with you so you don’t have to overpack your bags. If you foresee an increase in temperature over the course of the day, make sure you have enough room to store outer layers if you decide to remove them. Doing this will help keep you sweat-free and comfortable during your ride.
Be Mindful of Weight Distribution: When riding any powersport vehicle, how you disperse weight is crucial to the overall control and performance of the machine. Too much on one side could cause it to flip over. Our first tip above is a factor here as well. The items you bring cannot weigh more on one side than the other. Say you’re driving sideways across a hill. If there is too much weight on the right-hand side of the snowmobile or Timbersled®, you’re going to have a serious issue. Evenly distributing weight and being mindful of how you’re sitting will make your ride much safer. Unless you’re a professional, don’t attempt jumping tricks or any other kind. You could seriously damage your vehicle and hurt yourself.
Always Have an Out: Should things go amiss, having an out will potentially save your life. One form of an out is a buddy. Don’t ever ride alone! Having another person or a group can greatly increase your chances of survival if something were to happen. If there were an avalanche, would you have a plan of escape? What if a friend’s snowmobile breaks down—can you get him back home? Take time to familiarize yourself with the area if you don’t know it. A paper map will allow you to determine where you’ll be riding and how best you can get out of that area. Try to inform someone—if applicable—where you’ll be riding in case you don’t return that night. While it’s unlikely, it’s good to have someone aware of your general location in the event you need to be rescued. Plus, relying on a cell phone could be a poor choice if service is bad or it dies. If you can, keep a small tank of fuel in case you run dangerously low. Thinking and planning ahead for outs will ensure you make it back home.
Join A Snowmobile or Timbersled® Club: This one makes #3 a much simpler process. If you’re open to joining a snowmobile or Timbersled® club, you’ll be with a group of other riders of varying experience—some extremely and some not so much. These groups groom trails for riding and post hazards to ensure group safety. There are many different kinds of these, too. Clubs offer a great way to meet new people who could even show you a thing or two about snow riding that you didn’t know before. Some focus more on recreational riding, others may be involved in racing and competition. The success of a club is largely dependent on safety, so more than likely you’ll be in good hands. Reach out to the club president or leader to talk about what your goals are as a rider and if you’d be a good fit for the club.