Putting Safety First When Snowmobiling in Newfoundland
The temperatures are dipping, the wind has a bigger bite, and a flatbed truck’s loaded down with boxes of SNOWMOBILES – all reminders that winter is just around the corner. The west coast of Newfoundland, in particular the Corner Brook area, gets around 16 feet of snow each year and, for that reason, the area is well-known as a great ski area. BUT the west coast of the province is also known as one of the best places for snowmobiling in Newfoundland.
For those who love the snow and winter, the thoughts of riding in vast open spaces blanketed in white snow add great anticipation and exhilaration to their lives. Both seasoned, and novice snowmobilers must recognize that the snow, and the incredible wilderness are to be enjoyed but must be respected. Therefore the first rule of snowmobiling in Newfoundland is SAFETY.
Companies offering snowmobile tours take safety very seriously. Before starting out on snowmobile tours with novice riders, operators spend a sufficient amount of time at the beginning demonstrating the basic operation of a snowmobile. The Newfoundland and Labrador Snowmobiling Federation have listed many safety guidelines for snowmobiling in Newfoundland. The first safety guideline is a safe rider’s checklist, where the rider should be very aware of his/her abilities, the size/capabilities of the snowmobile, and know the area where he will be riding. For that reason, novice snowmobilers should travel with experienced guides before attempting to explore the great outdoors on their own.
Inexperienced riders should be very wary of weather conditions and dressing appropriately. A proper fitting helmet with a visor is a necessity. When riders decide to go off groomed trails for backcountry snowmobiling, they should never travel alone, and always let family or friends know their route. The Snowmobile Federation advises riders to stay alert to things such as speed, and the amount of time spent riding in a day as reaction time slows down after snowmobiling for an extended amount of time. Novice riders should be aware of the snowmobile ahead of them, but not to focus too much on the tail light of the snowmobile in front. The Federation states that one of the safest rules is to never cross lakes or rivers. If you must, make sure there is sufficient ice. As some of the snowmobile tours take riders into remote backcountry, always beware of the possibility of avalanches. And, of course, all snowmobile riders must make sure they have their trail passes!
There are several snowmobile tour companies where you can rent a machine and offer guided tours. Those snowmobile tours take you to several destinations to experience the spectacular scenery and superb riding this part of the country has to offer. One such company, located at the base of Marble Mountain Ski Resort, will take you to places such as the Lewis Hills, which offers some of the best snowmobiling in Newfoundland. Other touring guides are available near Cox’s Cove where riders can take half-day or full-day tours starting near Hughes Brook. Explore the west coast portion of the 883 km T’Railway Provincial Park that crosses the province and follows the old Canadian National rail bed.
As a novice snowmobiler, by observing safety rules and respect for your environment, enjoy the vast pristine outdoors this winter on the west coast of Newfoundland!