Avoiding catastrophe on snowmobiles.
Some level of risk is assumed when taking to Montana’s snow-covered mountains. When it comes to snowmobiling, consider your physical limits, be prepared for cold, and expect the unexpected. And get educated—snowmobiler-specific safety courses are available through the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.
Know Your Limits
Using machinery to get you into the backcountry may sound easy, but that doesn’t mean everyone with a pulse can hop on a snowmobile and take off to whatever destinations they desire. In powder conditions, snowmobiling can resemble an acrobatic performance on handlebars. Get confident riding our abundant groomed trails before venturing off-trail. In any case, zipping through a life-size snow globe will surely get your heart pumping.
More throttle means more wind, so layer up. A helmet is obvious for safety, but if you need another reason to wear one, it’ll also offer warmth against the rushing cold air. If you’re climbing mountainsides with your Ski-Doo, you need avalanche equipment like a probe, transceiver, shovel, and medical kit. Know how to use the equipment properly, and how to assess avalanche conditions.
Nuts & Bolts
Snowmobiles break. You don’t have to go many times to see it happen, whether it’s your own machine or someone stopped alongside the trail. Brush up on maintenance and repairs in the warmth of your garage before trying it out in the cold.