Snowmobiling in Western Newfoundland is an incredible winter experience with an abundance of snow, about 16 feet annually, beginning in December and continues until late April. Added to this is much wide open wilderness. The snow and the incredible wilderness contribute to the natural beauty and serve as a backdrop to great winter recreation, especially snowmobiling in Newfoundland.
Adventure travel including snowmobiling in Newfoundland has increased in popularity not just for local people but also visitors who come from across Canada and parts of the United States. Some 5000 kilometres of snowmobiling trails can be found in Newfoundland and Labrador with many taking you into remote backcountry. The thrill of backcountry snowmobiling through fields of fresh powder and onto unmarked trails can be exhilarating but also not without danger. To ensure positive and safe backcountry snowmobiling, riders must be safety conscience. Wide open spaces, groomed trails, blue skies and lots of snow to electrify the senses mean backcountry snowmobiling should be enjoyed but respected! Unexperienced riders should travel with experienced guides such as the guided tours at Marble Mountain Ski Resort taking you to places such as the Lewis Hills which offers some of the best snowmobiling in Newfoundland.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobiling Federation, the provincial governing body of volunteer snowmobile clubs across Newfoundland, have listed five safety guidelines for snowmobiling in Newfoundland. For detailed information regarding those safety guidelines, visit the Federation’s website. The first safety guideline centers on a safe riders checklist where the rider should be very aware of his/her abilities, the capabilities of the snowmobile and know the area where he will be riding. This is especially true for backcountry snowmobiling. When a rider has to cross a road, make a complete stop to ensure no traffic is approaching. Cross at a right angle to traffic.
Because of winter conditions, dressing appropriately is extremely important. It is best to dress in layers so as to add or remove a layer of clothes. Wear a windproof outer layer, warm winter boots, gloves or mitts, and a cap. A properly fitting helmet with a visor is a necessity. When the sun reflects off the wide expanse of snow, goggles provide protection.
When some adventures take you off groomed trails for backcountry snowmobiling, remember never travel alone and let family or friends know your route. Stay Alert to the following things that could make a day of fun go horribly wrong:
- Beware of the snowmobile ahead of you; don’t focus too much on the tail light of the snowmobile in front.
- Your reaction time slows down after snowmobiling too long. Your senses may be dulled due to the motion, wind and vibration of your snowmobile.
- Beware of darkness and low light. Watch your speed.
- Beware of water – the Federation states that the safest rule is to never cross lakes or rivers. If you must snowmobile on ice, make sure there is sufficient ice. You might consider purchasing a buoyant snowmobile suit.
- Beware of avalanches when backcountry snowmobiling.
Pay attention to safety and make snowmobiling in Newfoundland, especially backcountry snowmobiling, a magical trip to savour and remember!