Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowmobile Safety and Education Encouraged

Salt Lake City – With recent snowmobile-triggered avalanches in Utah, Utah State Parks rangers remind riders to check avalanche conditions and be prepared before heading out in the backcountry.

According to the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, snowmobilers lead the list with twice the number of fatalities as any other backcountry users.

Follow these safety tips to ensure your next outing is safe:

- Never ride alone. Always ride with a companion and let others know your plan.

- Check weather reports and avalanche advisories. Be prepared by wearing an avalanche beacon and carrying a shovel and probe.

- Dress for changing weather conditions. Wear layered clothing to adjust for changing conditions.

- Never drink and drive.

- Watch your fuel supply carefully.

- Always wear an approved helmet designed for motorized use. It’s the law for anyone under 18 to wear a helmet at all times. Utah State Parks encourages everyone to wear a helmet.

- Know basic maintenance procedures. Carry spark plugs, drive belts, tool kit and a survival kit which contains a map, compass, flashlight, extra food, extra clothing, sunglasses, first aid kit, pocket knife, waterproof matches, and candles or fire starters.

Utah law requires youth eight to 15 to complete the Utah State Parks Know Before You Go! online snowmobile education course before operating on public lands, roads or trails. Anyone 16 or older must have a valid Utah driver’s license or a safety certificate to operate snowmobiles on public land. It is illegal for any child under age eight to operate an OHV on public land. The course is $30 and is accessible through / .

Avalanche information is available by calling 1-800-OHV-RIDE or visiting Avalanche classes are also available through the Utah Avalanche Center. For more information, visit

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