On November 22, 1927 Carlson Eliason of Sayner, WI (near Eagle River) took out the first patent on the device he built three years earlier,. (trumpets and angels singing) The Snowmobile. From the machine’s humble modified toboggan birth to this year’s fastest sled, snowmobiles are the way to travel where there’s snow. Wisconsin snowmobile trails total 15,210 miles of signed and extensively groomed snow highways. That would be like driving the length of the entire country five times. Needless to say, you bet’cha it’s a big deal in Wisconsin when sledding season is upon us.
For those that are looking to plan a Wisconsin sledding adventure you may want to start with SnowTracks.Com for weather, trail status, rule & reg updates, web-cams, rentals and other information centric to snowmobiling. Use Explore Wisconsin’s new map feature to find places to shop, eat, sleep, and play on and off the trail. Sledders should always keep in mind the following tips that safety specialists recommend you practice this winter:
- Buddy Up – Never travel alone because usually snowmobiles accidents result in serious injury. Being alone, in the unfortunate circumstance that you were involved in an accident, increases the odds of something dangerous happening drastically. When forced to travel alone, be sure to inform someone about where you’re going, how long you’ll be there, and when you’ll be back.
- Stay on the Trail – Keeping yourself on the trail, or right hand side of the road, will reduce your chances of encountering hazards and legal liabilities.
- Avoid Bodies of Water – Ice is unpredictable and can change in thickness with the weather.
- Slow Down – Especially after sunset your rate of travel should be adjusted to safely navigate trail/road conditions. Almost all fatal snowmobile accidents site speed as a contributing factor.
- Prepare - Plan your route,wear your personal safety gear, and pack a first aid/emergency kit. This kit should include the minimum of a:
If you follow these simple tips you’re sure to enjoy Wisconsin’s snowmobiling season that much more.
For more safety tips and information visit the Wisconsin DOT’s website or take an online snowmobile safety course and exam here: http://www.snowmobile-ed.com/wi/