This is the lowering of the body’s core temperature. It can happen in water or on land. Hypothermia does not require extreme cold and accelerates with wind and wetness. Dressing warmly in water resistant layers helps, but if immersed, quickly replace wet clothes, keep moving to generate body heat, and find immediate shelter and warmth.
This occurs when direct and reflecting sun glare are too bright for the eyes. Riding without good quality, UV protected sunglasses can cause permanent damage.
Frostbite results from freezing temperatures and poor circulation. Most common on extremities and exposed skin, it can be identified by unnaturally white and numb skin surrounded by harsh red colouring. Cover up and layer well, making sure that socks fit loosely within your boots. And remember mitts with liners are warmer than gloves.
Wind chill is lower temperature caused by wind and/or the forward momentum of a fast moving sled. Wind chill exposes you to severe cold which in turn can cause hypothermia. Wind-proof outer garments, extra layers and a balaclava will offer some protection, but keep your face shield down to prevent wind burn and to protect your skin and eyes.
With high tech winter wear and proper layering, winter comfort is easy. Start with polypropylene and thermal under layers that releases moisture while retaining heat. Add other heat retentive layers depending on the temperature. Also consider the fact that your forward motion will add to the wind-chill factor. Avoid cottons and sweat shirts which retain moisture, making you cold and clammy which leads to hypothermia.
Good snowmobile wear contains materials that retain heat, release moisture and resist both water and wind. Even better try to find suits that are water and wind proof. Consider wearing an buoyant snowmobile suit if you plan on traveling across ice as they will assist to keep you afloat but most of all help to protect you against hypothermia. . Snowmobile suits should have reflective trim for night visibility. Carry extra clothing, socks, boot liners and mitts for layering. A helmet and face shield combat cold and hazards, while waterproof, insulated boots and leather snowmobile mitts provide warmth and protection.
Proper Ice Thickness
A disproportionate number of snowmobiling incidents, including nine out of ten fatalities, occur after dark. Most often night riding also includes alcohol consumption and excessive speed.
Forward visibility is reduced by darkness and it is much more difficult to spot and identify potential hazards in time. Overdriving headlights can also be a serious problem, so slow down when snowmobiling after dark. Becoming disoriented or lost is much more likely at night.
Always wear outer clothing with reflective trim on the arms, back and helmet. Never ride alone at night. Always dress in your full snowmobiling outfit even if your intended destination is just next door.
Snowmobiling is an inherently risky off-road activity that occurs in an unpredictable natural environment, so every rider enters OFSC Prescribed trails at their own risk. Snowmobilers must know the “Assumptions for OFSC Trail Use” prior to using an OFSC Trail.
You can easily snowmobile beyond immediate help, so basic repair and survival kits, expandable for longer tours are essential.
The Repair Kit should contain:
—spare spark plugs
—manufacturer’s tool kit
—nuts & bolts sized for your sled
—extra ignition key
An Emergency Kit should contain:
—First aid kit
—waterproof matches or lighter
—high energy snacks
Proper Hand Signals