Snowmobile Safety

Avalanche Forecast Center
Call for updated snow conditions and weather information about the region you plan to visit before venturing into the backcountry.
Toll free: 1-888-999-4019
  • Let someone know where you're going and when you expect to be back. Never ride alone.
  • Watch your fuel supply. Head out only to a point where the fuel gauge reads one-half; then follow your tracks back to the trailhead.
  • An adult should accompany and supervise operators ages eight through 15 at all times.
  • Dress for changing weather conditions. Layered clothing allows riders to adjust as temperature and weather conditions change.
  • Be familiar with your machine. Know its fuel capacity and basic maintenance procedures. Carry spark plugs, drive belt, tool kit, and survival kit.
  • Check weather and avalanche danger forecasts. Avoid potentially dangerous situations.
  • Please don't harass wildlife.

Please park cars, trailers, campers, etc., in designated snowmobile parking lots. Check with local U.S. Forest Service offices for trail guides of ungroomed trails and other areas open to snowmobile use.

Have a safe and enjoyable snowmobile experience.


The greatest danger for OHV winter riders is hypothermia. The body loses heat faster than it produces it, and energy drains from the body. Hypothermia can usually be prevented by dressing in warm layers.

Hypothermia is a very real, very dangerous situation. As body temperature goes down, a person begins to lose coordination and judgment. Unconsciousness and death follow.

Factors that contribute to hypothermia include:

  • Cold, but not necessarily severe cold.
  • Wetness from rain, snow, water immersion, or condensed perspiration.
  • Wind and the wind chill factor.
  • Exhaustion.

Symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Uncontrolled shivering.
  • Vague or slurred speech.
  • Fumbling hands or stumbling walk.
  • Memory lapses.
  • Drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.

To treat someone suffering from hypothermia:

  • Remove the victim from the wind, rain, snow, or cold.
  • Set up a shelter or move to a timbered area.
  • Remove the person's wet clothing. Put the victim in dry clothing or a sleeping bag. Get in the sleeping bag with the victim to add warmth.
  • Give the person warm drinks if possible. No alcohol!
  • If the victim is conscious, give him or her quick energy food (sugar).
  • Keep the victim warm and dry. Get medical help as soon as possible.


Frostbite is caused by the prolonged exposure of unprotected flesh to freezing temperatures. Fingers, toes, ears, and nose are particularly susceptible to frostbite. Tissue damage occurs as the flow of blood to those areas is reduced.

Symptoms of frostbite are loss of feeling and dead white appearance to the affected area.

To Treat Frostbite:

  • Restore body temperature as rapidly as possible by providing external heat (campfire, hot water bottle, immersion of affected areas in water bath of less than 110 degrees).
  • Cover the affected body areas.
  • Do not rub, vibrate, or apply pressure to frostbitten area.
  • Do not apply snow or attempt to thaw frostbitten areas in cold water.

Avalanche Danger:

Avalanches are very real, life-threatening winter hazards. The best way to avoid an avalanche is to avoid areas where avalanches are known to occur.

  • Snowmobile in timbered areas, along ridges, and on rocky outcrops where snow tends to be anchored.
  • Spend as little time as possible on open, steep slopes.
  • Don't drive across long, open slopes where avalanches have occurred.
  • Avoid crossing steep-sided hills. If you must cross, stay on the side where the wind blows.
  • Stay out of narrow, steep canyons — getting out may be difficult.

If you get caught in an avalanche:

  • Call out to others so they can see your course.
  • Stay calm.
  • Move away from your machine and equipment.
  • "Swim" with the avalanche.
  • Move toward the side of the avalanche — don't swim against it.
  • Before coming to a stop, place your hands over your face to form an air pocket.

In soft snow you may be able to dig yourself out. Be sure to dig up! If you are disoriented, drop a handful of snow. Gravity will pull it down.

Don't waste your strength and oxygen by shouting. Sound is easily transmitted into snow but transmits out poorly.

If you survive an avalanche, don't desert other victims. You may be their only hope! Search for victims by probing the snow with a pole directly downhill from the point they were last seen.

Snowmobilers are urged to telephone the Avalanche Forecast Center for updated snow conditions and weather information.

Salt Lake City - 801-364-1581
Ogden - 801-626-8600
Provo - 801-378-4333
Logan - 435-752-4146

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