What keeps some motorcyclists riding even as the snow starts falling?
Riding a snowmobile!
Once you put your 2-wheeled baby away for the winter, a snowmobile can deliver some of the same thrills in a beautiful new landscape.
But along with the joys of snowmobiling, comes the age-old question:
How do you stay warm and dry?
Here are some tips for safer and warmer snowmobile riding this winter:
Snowmobile Riding Tips: Before You Ride
- Make sure your snowmobile is tuned up! The last thing you want to do is spend time walking around in the snow to repair your snowmobile.
- Wear appropriate apparel with waterproof, insulating and wicking properties.
- Throw in some snacks to bring along, to replenish your body's natural warmth from the inside.
- Bring water for hydration -- but remember that alcohol lowers body temperature -- so no drinking (alcohol) and driving!
- Look at the weather report, paying special attention to the wind chill.
Keep Hands Warm and Dry: Snowmobile Gloves (and Heated Grips)
Wind chill is made worse by the speed of your snowmobile. and exposed hands are especially vulnerable to cold. And most importantly, stay dry!
- Some snowmobilers will wear heated gloves, and some snowmobiles have heated grips for extra warmth. But, a good snowmobile glove keeps hands WARM AND DRY on or off the snowmobile, and whether or not you are equipped with heated gear.
Good insulated and waterproof gloves are a must ... because you won't always be on the snowmobile, and wet hands get cold fast.
Other suggestions for warm hands:
- Liners: always a good idea to carry an easy extra layer for warm hands. Polypropylene and Thermolite liners are a good insulating choice for the cold -- or a nice fleece layer can add warmth as well.
- Hand warmers are easy to slip in. But they do not substitute for a good warm glove!
- Believe it or not, we got this advice from an old time ski instructor: Put your hands in your armpits to warm them up (we know this is gross, but it works, so we had to add it!)
Other Important Gear For Snowmobilers
More than your hands will be exposed! In addition to outerwear, you'll also need:
- Facemask: very important if your helmet isn’t full-faced. It’s not good to leave any skin exposed in cold winter weather.
- Socks: the thicker, the better! It could be handy to bring an extra pair.
- Base layer: Avoid cotton. It gets wet and freezes much easier than other materials, so base layers and mid layers should all be moisture-wicking.
- Sunglasses: When the sun reflects off the snow, the reflection is brighter than normal and can cause temporary (or permanent!) blindness. Ride with UV-protected sunglasses to keep your eyes safe from snowblindness.
- Bring extra layers! Better to be too warm than too cold – you can always take layers off, but it is good to have extras handy just in case due to conditions you get wet.
Riding a snowmobile is a great winter sport for a motorcyclist, just remember to gear up and keep warm!