Assuming your sled is prepped and ready to roll — the track is adjusted, chaincase fluid has been changed, gas is fresh and hyfax and carbides are in good shape — what other things should you should think about before you load up for your first snowmobile ride of the year? Here are five questions to ask yourself to help make sure your first snowmobile ride this season goes off without a hitch:
1. Is Your Sled Legal? — Working through all of the prep and excitement for the first ride, you might forget to check the license and registration of your snowmobile. So, stop, take a deep breath and look at the plate or stickers to make sure your snowmobile license and trail pass are up to date. And don’t forget to the check the tabs on your snowmobile trailer, too.
2. How’s Your Gear? — If during your final ride last season you put up with something like a frayed or broken boot lace or a balaclava that made your head itchy, now’s the time to tune up your riding gear. Re-discovering these problems the night before an early morning departure could leave you unable to remedy the problem, but inspecting gear now will allow time to head to a dealer to purchase a new helmet shield or whatever else you might need.
3. What About Your Snowmobile Cover? — If a seam on your snowmobile travel cover has split open, you’ll cause further damage if you continue to tow with it flapping in the wind. Fortunately for you, chances are good that you can have a damaged snowmobile cover repaired for a fraction of the cost of a new cover. Find a local canvas shop or seamstress.
4. Have Laws Changed? — For snowmobilers who ride from their houses, it’s a good idea to check in with city leaders to find out if local snowmobile laws or ordinances have changed since last season. For example, some communities allow snowmobilers to ride on streets if they are driving directly to the trail; make sure that you understand the finer points of rules like this so you don’t unknowingly break the law and get tagged.
5. Are YOU Ready? — It’s probably been months since you last rode a snowmobile, and it’s likely that some of your snowmobiling muscles have been on sabbatical ever since. Instead of shocking your body back into service during your first snowmobile ride this fall, do a few light exercises to tone up and add some elasticity to your body. Walking, jogging or stretching exercises and other fitness activities will reduce the chance of suffering injury or soreness. Or, take it easy on the first ride.