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First big storm provides enough snow to get snowmobile trails ready

January 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Many snowmobilers in southern Ontario have been waiting out the season with their sleds still on the trailer due to a lack of snow.

That all changed on Monday (Jan. 17) when a storm dumped more than enough of the white stuff to start grooming operations on local trails.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs is encouraging its members to ‘make smart choices, ride with care and control.’

International Snowmobile Safety Week is observed from Jan. 15 to 23, and highlights the importance of safe practices on the trails.

“Safe trail riding is always a top priority for the OFSC,” said Ryan Eickmeier, OFSC CEO. “But it’s even more important for every snowmobiler to take our common sense message to heart this winter as we welcome so many new riders to our trails.”

The OFSC operates around 30,000 km of trails in the province. It is one of the world’s largest recreational trail systems totalling almost twice as many kilometres as Ontario’s provincial highway network.

Trails are groomed and kept clear. They are statistically the safest place to ride a snowmobile. However, snowmobiling does come with an inherent risk, so riders must always be prepared for the unexpected by making smart choices and operating their sleds with care and control.

Snowmobilers should always remain on a marked trail. Wandering off any trail surface into unbroken snow, unfamiliar terrain or farmer’s fields can not only be risky for the rider, it may also compromise the safety of landowners or their property.

The OFSC Driver Training course is the snowmobile safety course authorized by the Ministry of Transportation Ontario. It teaches new snowmobilers the skills and habits necessary to be safe and courteous trail riders.

Trail riders should always choose the right safety gear. This includes a property fitted, fastened and approved snowmobile helmet and brightly coloured weather proof outerwear with reflective materials that are purpose-made for snowmobiling.

There is a full check list of responsibilities for snowmobilers on the trails.

These include riding within your abilities and comfort level, always ride with a companion, riding in single file, and checking weather conditions before you ride.

Last weekend, the Orangeville Snowmobile Club was reporting that “trails aren’t even close to ready” on its Facebook page.

On Monday, someone posted the message, “the snow dance is working!” Meaning they were excited to see the storm front move into the area and give them enough snow that that they can get out and ride.

Once enough snow is on the trailers, local riders will be out and having fun.

Following safety protocols will ensure you have a good riding season.

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