Snowmobile Tips for a Safe and Fun Trip, Part 1

Once you take a snowmobile out in the Western Wyoming and Eastern Idaho mountains, you’re hooked. The majestic beauty of Bridger Teton National Forest and Targhee National Forest surrounds you–the peaks, valleys, soaring trees and peaceful wildlife aren’t just scenery anymore. You’re in the middle of one of the most beautiful areas of the world.

That’s why so many people flock to the Alpine and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to snowmobile. It’s an experience like no other. But while riding is exhilarating, common sense and awareness of your snowmobile, your surroundings and your safety have to be your first priority. To help you prepare for your snowmobile trip, here are some tips to keep in mind as you plan.

First, the snowmobile you ride is only as safe as you make it.  Before you fire up the engine and head off into fresh powder, make sure you have full knowledge of the snowmobile. It’s a vehicle, just like automobiles, motorcycles or scooters are vehicles. You’ll encounter a variety of situations peculiar to riding a snowmobile (it’s not like driving on the street, to say the least), so understand your snowmobile’s capabilities and limitations in the snow, and in all weather conditions and terrain. At Rockin’ M Snowmobile Rentals we’ll make sure you are completely familiar with your machine before you start your ride. And we provided guided backcountry tours using mountain sleds with at least 120 horsepower, which is double what most other tour companies use. Our guides are knowledgeable and able to tailor your tour to the skill levels in your party.  For the unguided snowmobiler we will make your adventure as trouble free as possible.  We will deliver your machine right to the trailhead so you don’t have to deal with the hassles of renting a trailer or tow vehicle and the additional expense of gasoline and time involved. Rockin’ M Snowmobile Rentals makes it easy.

A few general tips about snowmobiles:

  • Make sure the hood and guards are always firmly in place before operating.
  • If you’re carrying passengers, especially children, go slow and take additional care on slopes and turns.
  • Make slow, smooth starts and stops and go over bumps carefully.
  • Keep a good following distance to the machine in front of you (a few hundred feet).
  • Stay on the right side of the trail.  You will have oncoming traffic.
  • Check out play areas first at a slower speed to identify hidden or buried obstacles including rocks, stumps, and ditches.
  • Avoid identified avalanche prone areas. 
  • Stay out of identified wildlife refuge areas.
  • Always take along basic survival gear including, matches, first aide kit, water, and food.
  • Never ride alone.
  • Remember my favorite saying, “If you don’t get near a tree you can’t run into one.”  Play out in open areas!

Rockin’ M Snowmobile Rentals provides top quality Klim snowmobile gear.  This includes coats, bibs, and boots for a small fee ($5 per item or $15 for all three).  There is no additional charge for a helmet. You should watch the weather and plan your additional clothing needs accordingly. A few necessary items regardless are a balaclava (headsock), warm gloves and as many layers of clothes as needed for the weather.  Don’t forget long underwear.  I always wear a vest to keep my core extra warm.  Layering works best because you can take off a shirt if it gets too warm, or put it back on if it gets cold. You’ll also need a DOT safety rated helmet. If you’re helmet doesn’t come with a facemask, you will definitely want goggles. Amber or yellow goggles are good for dark, cloudy days or in the late afternoon. Wool socks are also a must to keep your feet warm. One very important safety tip is to leave any scarves or loose fitting clothing at home. These items can get caught in the snowmobile.  If you have plans to ride in avalanche prone areas, check the local avalanche report the morning before you ride.  If riding in these ares, it is wise to carry avalanche safety equipment and know how to use it.  This may include a beacon, shovel, probe, Avalung, or A.B.S. backpack. Ride Safe!