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WINTER SAFETY: Snowmobile Tips For Riders

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With the record snowfall snowmobilers have been hitting the trails. However, there are safety tips to consider before hitting the trail.

Jeff Brown of West Des Moines has been riding for several years.

Brown says with the lack of snow, he and other outdoor enthusiasts were thrilled for the foot of snow dumped on Iowa two weeks ago.

However, he says in snowmobiling conditions can change quickly.

“By the conditions of the trail, this may be the last weekend, so we wanted to get out and  hit it for the final time, because if it stays warm above 35 for three or four days like they’re talking it’s done,” says Brown.

In central Iowa most riders head up to Polk City and the Slater area to ride trails maintained by the snowmobile clubs around town.

These trails are safe and are a safe way to ride without the risk.

“The thing is to stay on the trail, because if you get in the ditch, and it’s not part of the trail, the snow can go over things, that you don’t know are below it, like drain ditches, so if you stay on the trail and stay within a reasonable speed that’s what it’s all about,” says Brown.

Snowmobiles can reach speeds of 100 mph, so safety is always a priority.

It’s important to always wear a helmet, insulated clothing and wear good boots.

When traveling snowmobilers are also encouraged to bring a tool kit for minor repairs and have a first aid kit on board.

Brown says with any sport, it takes time, and snowmobiling is no different.

He recommends new riders start with a smaller machine and work their way up.

“There, very, very fast machines so you just have to be careful,” says Brown.

You must register your snowmobile with the state of Iowa before you ride, with an annual pass that costs $15.

If you’re under 19, you must pass an online exam before you’re allowed ride.