Snowmobiling can be a hobby, a sport, a means of travel, or a combination of all these things. Find out the basics of the snowmobile, including speed, what to wear, registration, and more!
How Much Does a Snowmobile Cost?
One of the things most people want to know when it comes to snowmobiling is how much it costs. When it comes to buying a snowmobile vehicle, prices can vary. Some of the factors that influence the price of a snowmobile are:
- Brand. Some of the most popular snowmobile brands are Polaris, Arctic Cat, Ski-Doo, and Yamaha. Ski-Doo and Polaris are considered by some to be luxury brands.
- Model. Each brand has low, mid, and high-tier models of snowmobiles, all at different price points.
- Features. If you're looking for certain features in a snowmobile, like power steering or heated grips, these options will usually add to the cost of your vehicle.
Purchasing a snowmobile can be expensive. If you’re looking to buy new, a premium snowmobile from a brand like Polaris retails for over $10,000, with some models going as high as $18,000. Arctic Cat snowmobiles range from $6,000 to $21,000. Yamaha is often the least expensive option, with vehicles starting at a little over $3,000. There is also a used market for snowmobiles, with most ranging between $4,000 and $15,000 depending on mileage.
The initial cost of purchasing a snowmobile is just the starting point. Snowmobile insurance costs between $120 and $240 per year. Maintenance can also be expensive, although it is possible to DIY some aspects of snowmobile upkeep if you are a decent at-home mechanic. Snowmobiling is a fun hobby and winter sport, but unless you have the cash to devote to purchasing a snowmobile, it might be best to rent one.
- "Is a Snowmobile Worth It? Pros and Cons of Snowmobile Ownership": https://atvhelper.com/is-a-snowmobile-worth-it-pros-cons-of-snowmobile-ownership/
- "Snowmobile Price: Factors Affecting the Cost": https://snowmobilehow.com/snowmobile-price/
- "Average Snowmobile Prices: How Much Do Snowmobiles Cost?": https://powersportsguide.com/average-snowmobile-prices/
- "Snowmobile Prices: Why Do They Cost So Much?": https://fasttractraction.com/blogs/tips-for-the-trails/snowmobile-prices-why-they-cost-so-much
- "The Cost of Owning a Snowmobile: A Comprehensive Guide": https://www.motorcyclezombies.com/snowmobile/cost/
What to Wear Snowmobiling
When you set out for a day of snowmobiling, it is important to make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing for cold weather conditions. The main things to remember when getting dressed in the morning are to avoid cotton, layer your clothing, and wear protective gear like a helmet and goggles.
For layering, make sure the layer of clothing closest to your body is made from a synthetic material like polyester. Make sure your outer layers (e.g., ski jacket, ski pants) are made from a waterproof and windproof material. Some companies even make full snowmobile suits, which might be a good idea to buy if you want to go snowmobiling often!
- "Snowmobile Clothing: The Essentials for a Safe and Comfortable Ride": https://rmar1.com/snowmobile-clothing/
- "What to Wear Snowmobiling: The Ultimate Stay Warm Guide": https://atvhelper.com/what-to-wear-snowmobiling-the-ultimate-stay-warm-guide/
- "Wear It Right: The Ultimate Snowmobile Tour Dress Code": https://www.whitenwild.ca/blog/wear-it-right-ultimate-snowmobile-tour-dress-code/
- "What to Wear on a Snowmobile Trail: A Guide to Staying Warm and Comfortable": https://www.ski-doo.com/us/en/owner-zone/getting-started/accessories-apparel/what-wear-trail-snowmobile.html
- "What to Wear Snowmobiling: Tips and Ideas for Dressing for the Cold": https://snowmobilehow.com/what-to-wear-snowmobiling/
Do Snowmobiles Have Titles?
When purchasing a vehicle—even a recreational one like a snowmobile—one must consider whether it needs to be titled. Vehicle titles are legal documents that serve as proof of ownership and identify a person or business as the owner of a vehicle.
This is different from vehicle registration, which is what authorizes you to use that vehicle.
Some states do not require snowmobiles to have titles, but these states do: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Title costs in these states vary from $15 to $187 and can usually be obtained through the DMV or county clerk.
- "Do Snowmobiles Have Titles? Understanding Snowmobile Ownership" - https://www.thecoldwire.com/do-snowmobiles-have-titles/
- "The Importance of Snowmobile Titles and Registration" - https://outdoortroop.com/do-snowmobiles-have-titles/
- "Navigating Snowmobile Titling and Registration Requirements" - > https://offroadunlimitedexpo.com/do-snowmobiles-have-titles/
- "State-Specific Requirements for Snowmobile Titles and Registration" - https://www.dmv.org/articles/learn-your-states-requirements-for-snowmobile-titles-and-registration/
How Fast Do Snowmobiles Go?
A beginner to snowmobiling might wonder just how fast one of these recreational winter vehicles can go. Snowmobile speed depends on many factors including engine size, model, vehicle age, terrain, and rider skill. Here are the top speeds of some popular models from different snowmobile brands:
-Polaris Switchback Pro-S 800: top speed 105 mph
-Polaris Assault 800: top speed 112 mph
-Ski-Doo 850: top speed 118 mph
-Ski-Doo MXZ X 850: top speed 128 mph
Of course, while these are the highest speeds these vehicles can reach, one must consider safety when choosing speed. Different states have set speed limits for snowmobiles so it’s important to check the laws in your area before setting out. Additionally, some trails will have guidelines for snowmobile speed to ensure safety for all.
- "How Fast Do Snowmobiles Go?" by Snowmobile.com: https://www.snowmobile.com/how-fast-do-snowmobiles-go/
- "The Top 10 Fastest Snowmobiles of All Time" by SnowGoer Magazine: https://www.snowgoer.com/top-10/the-top-10-fastest-snowmobiles-of-all-time/
- "Snowmobile Speed: How Fast Do Snowmobiles Go?" by Powder Addiction Snowmobiling: https://www.powderaddiction.com/snowmobile-speed-how-fast-do-snowmobiles-go/
- "Snowmobile Speed: What You Need to Know" by Rocky Mountain ATV/MC: https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/resources/snowmobile-speed-what-you-need-to-know
- "Snowmobile Speed: How Fast Can a Snowmobile Go?" by High Country Snowmobile Rentals: https://www.highcountrysnowmobilerentals.com/snowmobile-speed/
How Do Snowmobiles Work?
When purchasing or riding a snowmobile, it’s prudent to have a basic understanding of how the vehicle works. The main components in powering a snowmobile are the engine, clutch, tracks, and skis. Depending on what model of snowmobile you have, your vehicle will have either a two-stroke or four-stroke engine.
Though the engine of a snowmobile is like that of a car, it is connected to a track drive rather than a driveshaft. With every rotation of the snowmobile’s gear-like wheels, the tracks are powered, and the snowmobile is propelled forward. When the driver turns the handlebars, the snowmobile’s skis are turned in the same direction, steering the vehicle.
Another important thing about the way snowmobiles work is their fuel. A snowmobile’s fuel pump uses a system of valves to move gas from the tank into the engine, which in turn powers the vehicle. Typically, can fill your snowmobile’s tank with automotive fuel as long as it is at least 87-octane.
- "How Snowmobiles Work: A Comprehensive Guide”: https://snowmobilehow.com/how-snowmobile-work/
- "How Do Snowmobiles Work? A Beginner's Guide”: https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/snow-sports/snowmobile1.htm
- "Snowmobiles: How They Work and How They're Used”: https://www.explainthatstuff.com/how-snowmobiles-work.html
- "How Do Snowmobiles Work? An Overview of the Technology and Mechanics”: https://powersportsguide.com/how-do-snowmobiles-work/
- "Snowmobile Mechanics: How Does a Snowmobile Work?”: https://www.wellerrec.com/blog/how-does-a-snowmobile-work
How to Register a Snowmobile Without Registration
We already went over which states require titles for snowmobiles, but registration is another important legal factor in owning a snowmobile. Vehicle registration is a document that authorizes a person to use a vehicle, which is important to have if you own a snowmobile. Requirements for snowmobile registration vary by state. In some states, like Oregon, the title and registration are combined in the same document, which can streamline the process a bit.
It is important to remember that even if your state does not require you to title your snowmobile, they still may require you to register your vehicle within a certain number of days after purchase. If you have a snowmobile without registration, check with the DMV, county clerk, or Department of Fisheries and Wildlife for your state to make sure your vehicle is compliant with the law.
- “Options for Registering a Snowmobile Without Registration" - https://funintheyard.com/how-to-register-a-snowmobile-without-registration/
- "What to Do If You Have a Snowmobile Without Registration" - https://www.hardcoresledder.com/threads/snowmobile-without-registration-what-to-do.1774738/
How to Ride a Snowmobile
To have safe winter fun, it is important to know the fundamentals of how to ride a snowmobile before setting out on your adventures. Make sure you are wearing appropriate protective clothing and gear, including goggles to protect your eyes and a helmet to minimize potential injury. Most trails will have speed limits and rules for riders to follow to keep everyone safe, so make sure to read about the area where you’re planning to snowmobile ahead of time and make yourself aware of recommendations.
If you’re a beginner snowmobiler, make sure you know these key skills before setting out on the snow:
-Starting and stopping. Familiarize yourself with the controls of your specific snowmobile, and make sure you know how to apply the throttle to accelerate. Snowmobiles have both hydraulic disc brakes and emergency parking brakes, and to stop you should use the brake lever on the handlebar to slowly apply the hydraulic brakes.
-Turning. Snowmobiles make their turns using the advanced system of skis and tracks present in the vehicle, but it can sometimes be difficult for beginners to get a feel for the steering system. To gain more control when turning the vehicle, make sure to lean into your turns!
-Look out for other riders! If you’re driving on a popular snowmobiling trail, there may be other vehicles to look out for during your ride. Make sure to follow all the marked rules of the trail and yield to other snowmobiles when necessary!
Once you’ve gotten down the basics, there are also many advanced techniques to learn on the snowmobile. Comfortable riders can safely attempt to climb steeper slopes and make sharper turns, as they have a better feel for the vehicle’s steering apparatus. Advanced snowmobilers may also want to try off-trail riding for a more rugged, adventurous experience!
- "Step-by-Step Guide: How to Ride a Snowmobile" - https://compositsnowmobiletracks.com/blog/how-to-ride-snowmobile/
- "Essential Tips for Riding a Snowmobile Like a Pro" - https://snowmobilehow.com/how-to-ride-snowmobile/
- "Expert Advice on How to Master Snowmobile Riding Techniques" - https://snowmobiles.polaris.com/en-us/articles/snowmobile-riding-tips/
- "Beginner's Guide: How to Safely and Confidently Ride a Snowmobile" - https://powersportsguide.com/how-to-ride-a-snowmobile/
- "Overcoming the Challenges of Learning How to Ride a Snowmobile" - https://atvhelper.com/are-snowmobiles-hard-to-drive-how-to-make-it-easier/
How Much Snow Do You Need to Snowmobile?
Another thing to consider when setting out on a snowmobile ride is whether there is enough snow cover to operate the vehicle. Riding a snowmobile with uneven or patchy snow can be a safety risk and risk damaging your vehicle, so it is recommended to have at least four to six inches of snow for snowmobiling. Ice, wet snow, and powdery snow can also be risks when snowmobiling, so it’s recommended that only advanced riders attempt to snowmobile in these conditions and that they keep their speeds lower than normal.
- "Determining the Optimal Amount of Snow for Snowmobiling" - https://snowmobilehow.com/how-much-snow-to-snowmobile/
- "How Much Snow is Enough for a Fun and Safe Snowmobile Ride?" - https://outdoortroop.com/how-much-snow-is-enough-for-snowmobiling/
- "Factors to Consider When Deciding How Much Snow is Needed for Snowmobiling" >- https://powersportsguide.com/how-much-snow-do-you-need-to-ride-a-snowmobile/
- "The Minimum Amount of Snow Required for a Satisfying Snowmobile Experience" - https://www.thecoldwire.com/how-much-snow-is-needed-to-snowmobile/
- "Expert Insights on How Much Snow is Necessary for Snowmobiling" - https://www.snowmobileforum.com/threads/how-much-snow-do-you-need.64717/
Can You Drive a Snowmobile Without a License?
We’ve already gone over titles and registration for snowmobiles, but in some states, you also need to have a valid license to operate one of these vehicles. In most places, if you have a valid driver’s license (or are being supervised by an adult with a valid driver’s license if you’re under sixteen) you’re good to go. Generally, most states have rules against children under twelve driving snowmobiles.
In some states like California, adults with suspended driver’s licenses cannot operate a snowmobile even though the license is not a prerequisite to driving the vehicle. Other states require you to have a specific snowmobile license, so it’s important to check the rules and regulations for your state, or you could risk getting a ticket or losing operating privileges for your snowmobile.
- "Obtaining a Snowmobile License: Tips and Requirements" - https://www.brp-world.com/int/en/brands/ski-doo/owner-zone/getting-started/riding-information/snowmobile-license.html
- "The Necessity of a Snowmobile License: A Beginner's Guide" - https://snowmobilehow.com/snowmobile-license/
- "Is a License Required to Drive a Snowmobile? Understanding the Rules" - https://www.wellerrec.com/blog/do-you-need-a-license-to-drive-a-snowmobile
- "Navigating the Snowmobile License Process: Tips and Resources" - https://powersportsguide.com/snowmobile-license/
In conclusion, snowmobiling can be an enjoyable hobby and winter sport, but it comes with many important considerations like its high cost, safety regulations, and legal paperwork and restrictions. Once you get prepared by educating yourself and putting on the right gear, snowmobiling is a great way to enjoy the winter landscape and have some seasonal fun!