So, you started digging around and learning about your next dream snowmobile purchase? You are not alone. Over 100,000 snowmobiles were sold in the world just this year, with 1.2 million registered snowmobiles in the United States alone.
There are few things in the world more exhilarating than gliding atop the snow with a small compact engine and only your wits and senses to navigate you along.
Snowmobiling is one of many riveting winter things to do in Mammoth. As the winter season progresses, owners across the country are getting their fuel lined up, their engine kickstarted, and their tracks restored. It’s time to glide.
If you want to join the many snowmobile owners in the world, you need to know a few basics. The Mammoth snowmobile buying guide below will get you started.
Snowmobiles must be licensed and registered, and you must have a government-issued ID card to ride one. Your county website can provide further details.
Not all states require snowmobile insurance, but for obvious reasons, it is certainly worth having. California, for example, does not necessitate snowmobile insurance, but the state does require that you get your snowmobile street-legal with the proper licensing.
Helmets are not required in most states, including California, but again you should strongly consider wearing one for safety reasons.
Road shoulders and ditches are not available for snowmobilers, so you will have to use the roads. To stay within the law, you have to stay on the roads or within 10 feet of them.
Typically, snowmobilers utilize the trails for travel. California has at least 1,800 registered snowmobile trails in the state. Out-of-state snowmobilers do not need special trail permits to navigate these pathways.
Though there are countless brands covering different areas of the industry (apparel, parts, gear) there are about four major snowmobile brands.
- Perhaps the most popular and iconic is Arctic Cat. The company’s first name was Polar Manufacturing but was soon changed to Arctic Enterprises.
- Yamaha is also a major provider for snowmobiles. If you are familiar with the brand for its electronics, musical gear, or sports bikes, you may want to explore its snowmobile line-up.
- Ski-Doo is especially popular in Canada, even earning the company’s bike 7th place on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Greatest Canadian Invention list in 2007.
- Polaris is another leading brand out of Minnesota, perhaps more well-known in the US than Canada.
Now that you know the basics of the road and the best snowmobile brands, you need to learn some basic maneuvers and snowmobile riding tips.
First, it’s much easier to start on trails instead of deep powder. It’s the perfect place to get a feel for the machine and test it out. Lean into curves and get a feel for it.
Relaxing on the throttle will keep you stationary or spinning, even though you might be inclined to do that at first. You have to “gas her out,” as they say.
This means keeping the tracks moving along the snow. If the tracks are not moving, you have no control. You will also stay above the snow as it powers through the powder by giving your snowmobile gas. Once you let go of the throttle it is easy to lose control.
Once you are moving, you have to tackle handling. One important skill is to learn the countersteer, especially in deep powder. This is leaning your weight and the sled into the turn while also steering the skis in the opposite direction to balance it out.
It requires some practice and getting a feel for how to adjust your weight during the turn. You should feel it naturally as you ease into the turns for better control, but take your time learning this tactic to maximize your control.
These are only a few tips of hundreds you can learn. But with some basic navigation and control, you are bound to have a blast pummeling your way through the mountains.
Overall, this beginner’s guide to snowmobiling only covers the basics of getting your snowmobile street legal, navigating the trails, what to buy, and how to ride. Buying a snowmobile is so much fun, but riding one is even better.