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My Winter Vehicle

What's Required?

Yes No
Yes No


Snowmobile Safety

View or download the "Snowmobiling in Idaho" brochure

Since avalanches are the number one cause of snowmobile fatalities in the west, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is presenting a free snowmobile based Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue clinics near you. These practical and popular classes familiarize the winter backcountry enthusiast with hazard recognition and techniques for safe travel in avalanche terrain.

5 key safety guidelines when riding in avalanche terrain

GET THE GEAR: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe on their person and knows how to use them.

GET THE TRAINING: Take an avalanche course.

GET THE FORECAST: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.

GET THE PICTURE: If you see recent avalanche activity unstable snow exists. Riding on or underneath slopes is dangerous.

GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY: One at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don't go to help your stuck friend. Don’t group up in runout zones.

 
Look for the 2017/2018 Avalanche Awareness and Companion Resche Clinic class schedules October 2017
  • North Idaho
     
  • Southwest Idaho
  • Southeast Idaho

These classes are divided into classroom and field exercises and are held regularly during winter months. For information about dates of classes in your region, contact your region coordinator:

 
Register Online for a Snowmobile Safety Course!
 
Northern Idaho
Ian Byrne
(208) 769-1511
 
Southwest / Southeast Idaho
(208) 514-2414
 
 
Snowmobile safety basics
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. 
  • Always keep to the right on snowmobile trails. 
  • Don't ride alone; two snowmobiles traveling together are much safer than one. 
  • Don't drink alcohol and ride. 
  • Always carry basic emergency and survival equipment (below). 
  • Be familiar with your snowmobile; try short trips and practice in open areas to become thoroughly familiar with its controls and operation before going on extended trips. 
  • Always wear adequate winter clothing and protective glasses, goggles or face shields. Use sun screen to protect your skin from sunburn.

Snowmobile survival kit

  • Avalanche beacon, probe and shovel
  • Waterproof matches in a waterproof container 
  • Several disposable lighters 
  • Cell phone 
  • Plastic whistle 
  • Map, compass, GPS 
  • Small flashlight with extra batteries 
  • 50 feet of 1/4-inch rope 
  • First aid kit 
  • Space blanket 
  • Candles 
  • High energy food 
  • Signal mirror 
  • Knife 
  • Metal cup 
  • Folding saw 
  • Extra drive belt, spark plugs and tool kit 
  • Tarpaulin or plastic windbreak

 

 

Snowmobiling is a fun and exciting sport that enables people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors in the winter. Each year in Idaho the sport continues to grow. While snowmobiling is one of the best ways to enjoy Idaho’s backcountry, it can be hazardous if you aren’t prepared.

Next Events

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See all Snowmobiling events


Idaho Snowmobile Program

The Idaho snowmobile program is funded through certificate of number fees purchased by snowmobilers. On November 1 of each year every snowmobile operated on private or public land must be numbered. Certificate of number fees are $32.50 for residents and non-residents and $62.50 for rental machines. Note: non-residents are not exempt from purchasing an Idaho snowmobile certificate of number.

Numbering statistics are available here under the 'planning and statistics' tab. 

Designations

To ensure the area you ride has enough funding to operate throughout the season, please designate your certificate of number fees to the county you ride.

How is your certificate of number fee broken down?

  • $1.50 vendor fee
  • $1.00 snowmobile related Search and Rescue efforts
  • 85% goes to the county operated snowmobile grooming programs 
  • Up to 15% goes to administration fees and the printing costs of registration stickers.

What are the certificate of number fees used for?

  • Grooming
  • Parking lot plowing
  • Signing
  • Clearing groomed trails
  • Avalanche classes
  • New rider classes

When does grooming occur?

Grooming happens as weather, snow and safety permit. The below bullets briefly identify when programs groom trails.

  • When safety of the equipment and operators are not a concern.
  • When there is a minimum of 18” of snow in the parking lot.
  • When avalanche conditions do not pose a safety concern for grooming operations.
  • When the grooming temperatures are between -20⁰F and 40⁰F.

 


Riding Your Snowmobile Legally in Idaho

Why should I number my snowmobile?

Idaho snowmobile owners are legally obligated to number their snowmobiles on or before November 1 of each year.

How do I number a new or used snowmobile?

 
A snowmobile must be numbered before it leaves the premises of a snowmobile dealer/retailer at the time of sale.  The purchaser of a used snowmobile, which has been previously issued a certificate of number, must transfer the certificate of number within 15 days of the sale. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation or its vendors (click here for a list) will prepare a new certificate of number with the purchaser's name and address. The transfer fee is $4.50. Applications for an Idaho title must be filed at the nearest county assessor's office. Idaho Code 67-7103.

How do I renew my snowmobile certificate of number?

 
The easiest way to renew your snowmobile certificate of number is to go online at Idaho Parks and Rec.  You may also renew at your local DMV or a designated vendor.
 

How much are certificate of number fees?

The numbering fee is $32.50 for personal machines, $62.50 for rental machines including a $1.50 vendor fee.

How long is my sticker valid?

For one year.  All certificates of number are valid from November 1 to October 31 of the following year. Idaho Code 67-7103

Do I have to number my snowmobile if I am a not a resident of Idaho?

Idaho requires all out-of-state snowmobilers to purchase a nonresident snowmobile user certificate. The certificate costs $32.50 and is available at authorized snowmobile registration vendors. It is good for a period of one year. Short term certificates are not available. Nonresidents may designate their certificate fees to the county snowmobile program of their primary use.

Where do I put the certificate of number stickers on my snowmobile?

The numbering stickers must be placed on the right and left side of the cowling of the snowmobile and be visible and legible at all times. Placing the numbering stickers on places other than the right and left side of the cowling invalidates the certificate of number. Idaho Code 67-7103

Where do my certificate of number dollars go?

Snowmobile Certificate of Number Designation Map

Back into your sport!  Certificate of number dollars collected go back into programs that benefit snowmobilers.  You can designate which Idaho county you want your certificate of number dollars to go.  Each county with a snowmobile program is entitled to 85% of the numbering fees designated for that county. The money may only be used for county snowmobile programs such as maintenance and operation of snowmobile trail groomers, signing of snowmobile trails, plowing parking lots, and maintaining warming shelters. Up to 15% of the state snowmobile account generated each year may be used by the department for administrative costs, such as the cost of the sticker and mailing renewal notices.

 

 

 


Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue Training

Avalanche safety and companion rescue training is a critical tool for snowmobile riders in Idaho today, from the extreme sport enthusiast to the casual rider.   

Since avalanches are the number one cause of snowmobile fatalities in the west, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is presenting a free snowmobile based Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue clinics near you. These practical and popular classes familiarize the winter backcountry enthusiast with hazard recognition and techniques for safe travel in avalanche terrain. In 90 percent of the avalanche accidents the victim or someone in the victim’s party triggers the avalanche. Avalanche conditions are predictable and many accidents can be prevented. If you are planning to ride in avalanche terrain, be sure to check the local avalanche forecast before your trip. We encourage you to take an avalanche awareness course if you ride in avalanche country, and check the United States Forest Service avalanche center forecast website. 

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation offers free avalanche safety and companion rescue courses throughout the state of Idaho during the winter months. Take the time to attend an avalanche awareness course and get educated about avalanche safety and companion rescue.

2017/2018 Clinic schedules (Schedules will be published October 23, 2017) 

North Idaho
 
Southwest Idaho
 
Southeast Idaho

    These classes are divided into classroom and field exercises and are held regularly during winter months. For information about dates of classes in your region, contact your region coordinator:

     
    Register Online for a Snowmobile Safety Course or Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue Clinic!
     
    Northern Idaho
    Ian Byrne
    (208) 769-1511
     
    Southwest / Southeast Idaho
    (208) 514-2414

    5 key safety guidelines when riding in avalanche terrain

    GET THE GEAR: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe on their person and knows how to use them.

    GET THE TRAINING: Take an avalanche course.

    GET THE FORECAST: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.

    GET THE PICTURE: If you see recent avalanche activity unstable snow exists. Riding on or underneath slopes is dangerous.

    GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY: One at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don't go to help your stuck friend. Don’t group up in runout zones.

    Avalanche Equipment

    Make sure you and the people you ride with carry and know how to use the following avalanche equipment:

    • Avalanche beacon 

    • Backcountry snow shovel 

    • Avalanche probe 

    • Backpack to keep gear on snowmobiler, not machine

    EIGHT STEPS TO REDUCING YOUR AVALANCHE RISK

    1.  Get smart! The smart first step is to learn from the avalanche experts. This will take a commitment of time and effort on your part. Divide the task into three parts. First, take an avalanche course. Second, check out the videos on avalanche safety. Third, do some reading and expand on what you have learned. 

    2.  Utilize your resources. 

    WWW.AVALANCHE.ORG

    Sawtooth Avalanche Center (208) 622-8027

    Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center  (208) 765-7323

    Payette Avalanche Center (208) 634-0409

    3.  Identify avalanche terrain. Avalanches run repeatedly year after year in the same areas/slopes called avalanche paths. Avalanches most often start on slopes of 30-45 degrees but sometimes start on slopes as shallow as 25 degrees and as steep as 50 degrees. Knowing the slope angle is “rule number one” in recognizing avalanche terrain, for once slope angles reach 30 degrees, you are in potential avalanche terrain regardless of all other factors.

    4.  Read nature’s signs. Sometimes the snow shows clear and present danger signs of avalanche. Some signs are a fresh avalanche, snow collapsing beneath you or creating noticeable cracks. Some weather signs that the hazard could be worsening fast are heavy snowfall -- more than one inch per hour -- or strong winds creating blowing snow and snow plumes off the ridges.

    5.  Test the snow. Look for test slopes where you can dig snowpits and perform stress tests. A test slope is a small, steep slope, preferably 30 degrees or steeper, where you will not be in danger of causing an avalanche, but is close to a larger slope that you are concerned about. You can learn all about snowpits while attending Idaho Parks and Recreations Avalanche Awareness course.

    6.  Travel smart. There are several rules of safe backcountry travel that will help to minimize your avalanche risk. One at a time.  Only one person at a time should go onto the slope.  Avoid the center. The greatest danger on any steep slope comes when you are in the middle of it.  Stay on shallow slopes. You can always travel on avalanche-free slopes up to 25 degrees. Never ride alone.

    7.  Take your pulse. In other words, check your attitude. It can get you in trouble. Are you so goal-oriented to climb this peak or highmark that slope that you are willing to take unwarranted risk? Do not overlook clear and present danger signs! Do not fall into peer pressure! Are you letting haste or fatigue get you in trouble? To prevent accidents from happening, you must control the human factor in your decision-making.  Know your limitations.

    8.  Be ready for rescue. There are three parts to the rescue equation that will reduce your risk: what equipment to carry, what to do if you are caught, and what to do if a friend is caught.  

    Rescue gear. A snow shovel, probe and a beacon are the items that everyone who goes into the backcountry should not be without. Do not abandon the search or send searchers out for additional help: You are the buried victim’s best chance for survival.

     

    Take a Free Avalanche Safety and Companion Rescue Clinic

    The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation offers free snowmobile-based avalanche awareness courses throughout the state. Avalanche awareness training provides snowmobile riders with the information needed to make informed decisions. For your personal safety and the safety of those you travel with, take one of the free awarenss courses.



    Frequently Asked Questions about Snowmobiling in Idaho

    How do I prepare to go snowmobiling?

    The best thing you can do is take a free snowmobile safety and avalanche safety course from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. It's helpful to join a club to get to know other riders. Also, know your snowmobile. Take the time to read your owner's manuel.

    What type of clothing should I wear when I snowmobile?

    • DOT and SNELL approved helmet 
    • Goggles or face shield 
    • Polypropylene base layer for wicking moisture (long sleeve shirt and pants)
    • Warm fleece insulating layer (jacket & pants) 
    • Waterproof/windproof/breathable outer layer (jacket and bibs)
    • Warm merino wool or wool socks that wick moisture
    • Waterproof/insulated winter pac boots or snowmobile specific boots
    • Waterproof/insulated gloves or mittens
    • Warm hat

    What are the snowmobile safety basics?

    • Take a free snowmobile safety and avalanche course from Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
    • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. 
    • Always keep to the right on snowmobile trails. 
    • Don't ride alone; two snowmobiles traveling together are much safer than one. 
    • Don't drink alcohol and ride. 
    • Be familiar with your snowmobile; try short trips and practice in open areas to become thoroughly familiar with its controls and operation before going on extended trips. 
    • Always wear adequate winter clothing and protective glasses, goggles or face shields.
    • Use sun screen to protect your skin from sunburn.

    How do I prepare if I go snowmobiling in Idaho backcountry?

    • Take a free snowmobile safety and avalanche safety course from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
    • Be prepared for harsh weather.
    • Wear synthetic and waterproof/windproof clothing. 
    • Bring a GPS or cell phone and keep in close contact with people. 
    • Be prepared to spend a night out in the woods if necessary. Preparedness can mean the difference between being a little uncomfortable or becoming a statistic. 
    • Make it a point to assemble a survival kit and be sure to carry it with you every time you go out.
    • Always let someone know where you are headed. 

    What is in a basic snowmobile survival kit?

    • Waterproof matches in a waterproof container 
    • Several disposable lighters 
    • Cell phone 
    • Plastic whistle 
    • Map, compass, GPS 
    • Small flashlight with extra batteries 
    • 50 feet of 1/4-inch rope 
    • First aid kit 
    • Space blanket 
    • Candles 
    • High energy food 
    • Signal mirror 
    • Knife 
    • Metal cup 
    • Folding saw 
    • Extra drive belt, spark plugs and tool kit 
    • Tarpaulin or plastic windbreak

    Why should I number my snowmobile?

    Idaho snowmobile owners are legally obligated to number their snowmobiles on or before November 1 of each year.

    How do I number a new or used snowmobile?

    A snowmobile must be numbered before it leaves the premises of a snowmobile dealer/retailer at the time of sale.  The purchaser of a used snowmobile, which has been previously numbered, must transfer the certificate of number within 15 days of the sale. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation or its vendors  will prepare a new certificate of number with the purchaser's name and address. The transfer fee is $4.50. Applications for an Idaho title must be filed at the nearest county assessor's office. Idaho Code 67-7103.

    What is the snowmobile code of ethics?

    • I will be a good sports enthusiast. I recognize that people judge all snowmobile owners by my actions. I will use my influence with other snowmobile owners to promote safe snowmobile conduct. 
    • I will not litter trails or camping areas. I will not pollute streams or lakes. 
    • I will not damage living trees, shrubs, or other natural features. I will go out only when there is sufficient snow so that I will not damage the land. 
    • I will respect other peopleís property and rights. 
    • I will lend a helping hand when I see someone in distress. 
    • I will make myself and my vehicle available to assist search and rescue parties. 
    • I will not interfere with or harass hikers, skiers, snowshoers, ice anglers or other winter sports enthusiasts. I will respect their rights to enjoy our recreation facilities. 
    • I will know and obey all federal, state, and local rules regulating the operation of snowmobiles in areas where I plan to ride. 
    • I will not harass wildlife. I will avoid areas posted for the protection of wildlife. I will not ride under the influence of alcohol.
     
     
     

     

     

    My Winter Vehicle

    What's Required?

    Yes No
    Yes No


    Snowmobile Safety

    View or download the "Snowmobiling in Idaho" brochure

    Since avalanches are the number one cause of snowmobile fatalities in the west, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is presenting a free snowmobile based Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue clinics near you. These practical and popular classes familiarize the winter backcountry enthusiast with hazard recognition and techniques for safe travel in avalanche terrain.

    5 key safety guidelines when riding in avalanche terrain

    GET THE GEAR: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe on their person and knows how to use them.

    GET THE TRAINING: Take an avalanche course.

    GET THE FORECAST: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.

    GET THE PICTURE: If you see recent avalanche activity unstable snow exists. Riding on or underneath slopes is dangerous.

    GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY: One at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don't go to help your stuck friend. Don’t group up in runout zones.

     
    Look for the 2017/2018 Avalanche Awareness and Companion Resche Clinic class schedules October 2017
    • North Idaho
       
    • Southwest Idaho
    • Southeast Idaho

    These classes are divided into classroom and field exercises and are held regularly during winter months. For information about dates of classes in your region, contact your region coordinator:

     
    Register Online for a Snowmobile Safety Course!
     
    Northern Idaho
    Ian Byrne
    (208) 769-1511
     
    Southwest / Southeast Idaho
    (208) 514-2414
     
     
    Snowmobile safety basics
    • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. 
    • Always keep to the right on snowmobile trails. 
    • Don't ride alone; two snowmobiles traveling together are much safer than one. 
    • Don't drink alcohol and ride. 
    • Always carry basic emergency and survival equipment (below). 
    • Be familiar with your snowmobile; try short trips and practice in open areas to become thoroughly familiar with its controls and operation before going on extended trips. 
    • Always wear adequate winter clothing and protective glasses, goggles or face shields. Use sun screen to protect your skin from sunburn.

    Snowmobile survival kit

    • Avalanche beacon, probe and shovel
    • Waterproof matches in a waterproof container 
    • Several disposable lighters 
    • Cell phone 
    • Plastic whistle 
    • Map, compass, GPS 
    • Small flashlight with extra batteries 
    • 50 feet of 1/4-inch rope 
    • First aid kit 
    • Space blanket 
    • Candles 
    • High energy food 
    • Signal mirror 
    • Knife 
    • Metal cup 
    • Folding saw 
    • Extra drive belt, spark plugs and tool kit 
    • Tarpaulin or plastic windbreak

     

     

    Snowmobiling is a fun and exciting sport that enables people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors in the winter. Each year in Idaho the sport continues to grow. While snowmobiling is one of the best ways to enjoy Idaho’s backcountry, it can be hazardous if you aren’t prepared.

    Next Events

    No events found.

    See all Snowmobiling events

    Idaho Snowmobile Program

    The Idaho snowmobile program is funded through certificate of number fees purchased by snowmobilers. On November 1 of each year every snowmobile operated on private or public land must be numbered. Certificate of number fees are $32.50 for residents and non-residents and $62.50 for rental machines. Note: non-residents are not exempt from purchasing an Idaho snowmobile certificate of number.

    Numbering statistics are available here under the 'planning and statistics' tab. 

    Designations

    To ensure the area you ride has enough funding to operate throughout the season, please designate your certificate of number fees to the county you ride.

    How is your certificate of number fee broken down?

    • $1.50 vendor fee
    • $1.00 snowmobile related Search and Rescue efforts
    • 85% goes to the county operated snowmobile grooming programs 
    • Up to 15% goes to administration fees and the printing costs of registration stickers.

    What are the certificate of number fees used for?

    • Grooming
    • Parking lot plowing
    • Signing
    • Clearing groomed trails
    • Avalanche classes
    • New rider classes

    When does grooming occur?

    Grooming happens as weather, snow and safety permit. The below bullets briefly identify when programs groom trails.

    • When safety of the equipment and operators are not a concern.
    • When there is a minimum of 18” of snow in the parking lot.
    • When avalanche conditions do not pose a safety concern for grooming operations.
    • When the grooming temperatures are between -20⁰F and 40⁰F.

     

    Riding Your Snowmobile Legally in Idaho

    Why should I number my snowmobile?

    Idaho snowmobile owners are legally obligated to number their snowmobiles on or before November 1 of each year.

    How do I number a new or used snowmobile?

     
    A snowmobile must be numbered before it leaves the premises of a snowmobile dealer/retailer at the time of sale.  The purchaser of a used snowmobile, which has been previously issued a certificate of number, must transfer the certificate of number within 15 days of the sale. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation or its vendors (click here for a list) will prepare a new certificate of number with the purchaser's name and address. The transfer fee is $4.50. Applications for an Idaho title must be filed at the nearest county assessor's office. Idaho Code 67-7103.

    How do I renew my snowmobile certificate of number?

     
    The easiest way to renew your snowmobile certificate of number is to go online at Idaho Parks and Rec.  You may also renew at your local DMV or a designated vendor.
     

    How much are certificate of number fees?

    The numbering fee is $32.50 for personal machines, $62.50 for rental machines including a $1.50 vendor fee.

    How long is my sticker valid?

    For one year.  All certificates of number are valid from November 1 to October 31 of the following year. Idaho Code 67-7103

    Do I have to number my snowmobile if I am a not a resident of Idaho?

    Idaho requires all out-of-state snowmobilers to purchase a nonresident snowmobile user certificate. The certificate costs $32.50 and is available at authorized snowmobile registration vendors. It is good for a period of one year. Short term certificates are not available. Nonresidents may designate their certificate fees to the county snowmobile program of their primary use.

    Where do I put the certificate of number stickers on my snowmobile?

    The numbering stickers must be placed on the right and left side of the cowling of the snowmobile and be visible and legible at all times. Placing the numbering stickers on places other than the right and left side of the cowling invalidates the certificate of number. Idaho Code 67-7103

    Where do my certificate of number dollars go?

    Snowmobile Certificate of Number Designation Map

    Back into your sport!  Certificate of number dollars collected go back into programs that benefit snowmobilers.  You can designate which Idaho county you want your certificate of number dollars to go.  Each county with a snowmobile program is entitled to 85% of the numbering fees designated for that county. The money may only be used for county snowmobile programs such as maintenance and operation of snowmobile trail groomers, signing of snowmobile trails, plowing parking lots, and maintaining warming shelters. Up to 15% of the state snowmobile account generated each year may be used by the department for administrative costs, such as the cost of the sticker and mailing renewal notices.

     

     

     

    Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue Training

    Avalanche safety and companion rescue training is a critical tool for snowmobile riders in Idaho today, from the extreme sport enthusiast to the casual rider.   

    Since avalanches are the number one cause of snowmobile fatalities in the west, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is presenting a free snowmobile based Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue clinics near you. These practical and popular classes familiarize the winter backcountry enthusiast with hazard recognition and techniques for safe travel in avalanche terrain. In 90 percent of the avalanche accidents the victim or someone in the victim’s party triggers the avalanche. Avalanche conditions are predictable and many accidents can be prevented. If you are planning to ride in avalanche terrain, be sure to check the local avalanche forecast before your trip. We encourage you to take an avalanche awareness course if you ride in avalanche country, and check the United States Forest Service avalanche center forecast website. 

    The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation offers free avalanche safety and companion rescue courses throughout the state of Idaho during the winter months. Take the time to attend an avalanche awareness course and get educated about avalanche safety and companion rescue.

    2017/2018 Clinic schedules (Schedules will be published October 23, 2017) 

    North Idaho
     
    Southwest Idaho
     
    Southeast Idaho

      These classes are divided into classroom and field exercises and are held regularly during winter months. For information about dates of classes in your region, contact your region coordinator:

       
      Register Online for a Snowmobile Safety Course or Avalanche Awareness and Companion Rescue Clinic!
       
      Northern Idaho
      Ian Byrne
      (208) 769-1511
       
      Southwest / Southeast Idaho
      (208) 514-2414

      5 key safety guidelines when riding in avalanche terrain

      GET THE GEAR: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel, and probe on their person and knows how to use them.

      GET THE TRAINING: Take an avalanche course.

      GET THE FORECAST: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.

      GET THE PICTURE: If you see recent avalanche activity unstable snow exists. Riding on or underneath slopes is dangerous.

      GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY: One at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don't go to help your stuck friend. Don’t group up in runout zones.

      Avalanche Equipment

      Make sure you and the people you ride with carry and know how to use the following avalanche equipment:

      • Avalanche beacon 

      • Backcountry snow shovel 

      • Avalanche probe 

      • Backpack to keep gear on snowmobiler, not machine

      EIGHT STEPS TO REDUCING YOUR AVALANCHE RISK

      1.  Get smart! The smart first step is to learn from the avalanche experts. This will take a commitment of time and effort on your part. Divide the task into three parts. First, take an avalanche course. Second, check out the videos on avalanche safety. Third, do some reading and expand on what you have learned. 

      2.  Utilize your resources. 

      WWW.AVALANCHE.ORG

      Sawtooth Avalanche Center (208) 622-8027

      Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center  (208) 765-7323

      Payette Avalanche Center (208) 634-0409

      3.  Identify avalanche terrain. Avalanches run repeatedly year after year in the same areas/slopes called avalanche paths. Avalanches most often start on slopes of 30-45 degrees but sometimes start on slopes as shallow as 25 degrees and as steep as 50 degrees. Knowing the slope angle is “rule number one” in recognizing avalanche terrain, for once slope angles reach 30 degrees, you are in potential avalanche terrain regardless of all other factors.

      4.  Read nature’s signs. Sometimes the snow shows clear and present danger signs of avalanche. Some signs are a fresh avalanche, snow collapsing beneath you or creating noticeable cracks. Some weather signs that the hazard could be worsening fast are heavy snowfall -- more than one inch per hour -- or strong winds creating blowing snow and snow plumes off the ridges.

      5.  Test the snow. Look for test slopes where you can dig snowpits and perform stress tests. A test slope is a small, steep slope, preferably 30 degrees or steeper, where you will not be in danger of causing an avalanche, but is close to a larger slope that you are concerned about. You can learn all about snowpits while attending Idaho Parks and Recreations Avalanche Awareness course.

      6.  Travel smart. There are several rules of safe backcountry travel that will help to minimize your avalanche risk. One at a time.  Only one person at a time should go onto the slope.  Avoid the center. The greatest danger on any steep slope comes when you are in the middle of it.  Stay on shallow slopes. You can always travel on avalanche-free slopes up to 25 degrees. Never ride alone.

      7.  Take your pulse. In other words, check your attitude. It can get you in trouble. Are you so goal-oriented to climb this peak or highmark that slope that you are willing to take unwarranted risk? Do not overlook clear and present danger signs! Do not fall into peer pressure! Are you letting haste or fatigue get you in trouble? To prevent accidents from happening, you must control the human factor in your decision-making.  Know your limitations.

      8.  Be ready for rescue. There are three parts to the rescue equation that will reduce your risk: what equipment to carry, what to do if you are caught, and what to do if a friend is caught.  

      Rescue gear. A snow shovel, probe and a beacon are the items that everyone who goes into the backcountry should not be without. Do not abandon the search or send searchers out for additional help: You are the buried victim’s best chance for survival.

       

      Take a Free Avalanche Safety and Companion Rescue Clinic

      The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation offers free snowmobile-based avalanche awareness courses throughout the state. Avalanche awareness training provides snowmobile riders with the information needed to make informed decisions. For your personal safety and the safety of those you travel with, take one of the free awarenss courses.

      Frequently Asked Questions about Snowmobiling in Idaho

      How do I prepare to go snowmobiling?

      The best thing you can do is take a free snowmobile safety and avalanche safety course from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. It's helpful to join a club to get to know other riders. Also, know your snowmobile. Take the time to read your owner's manuel.

      What type of clothing should I wear when I snowmobile?

      • DOT and SNELL approved helmet 
      • Goggles or face shield 
      • Polypropylene base layer for wicking moisture (long sleeve shirt and pants)
      • Warm fleece insulating layer (jacket & pants) 
      • Waterproof/windproof/breathable outer layer (jacket and bibs)
      • Warm merino wool or wool socks that wick moisture
      • Waterproof/insulated winter pac boots or snowmobile specific boots
      • Waterproof/insulated gloves or mittens
      • Warm hat

      What are the snowmobile safety basics?

      • Take a free snowmobile safety and avalanche course from Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
      • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. 
      • Always keep to the right on snowmobile trails. 
      • Don't ride alone; two snowmobiles traveling together are much safer than one. 
      • Don't drink alcohol and ride. 
      • Be familiar with your snowmobile; try short trips and practice in open areas to become thoroughly familiar with its controls and operation before going on extended trips. 
      • Always wear adequate winter clothing and protective glasses, goggles or face shields.
      • Use sun screen to protect your skin from sunburn.

      How do I prepare if I go snowmobiling in Idaho backcountry?

      • Take a free snowmobile safety and avalanche safety course from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
      • Be prepared for harsh weather.
      • Wear synthetic and waterproof/windproof clothing. 
      • Bring a GPS or cell phone and keep in close contact with people. 
      • Be prepared to spend a night out in the woods if necessary. Preparedness can mean the difference between being a little uncomfortable or becoming a statistic. 
      • Make it a point to assemble a survival kit and be sure to carry it with you every time you go out.
      • Always let someone know where you are headed. 

      What is in a basic snowmobile survival kit?

      • Waterproof matches in a waterproof container 
      • Several disposable lighters 
      • Cell phone 
      • Plastic whistle 
      • Map, compass, GPS 
      • Small flashlight with extra batteries 
      • 50 feet of 1/4-inch rope 
      • First aid kit 
      • Space blanket 
      • Candles 
      • High energy food 
      • Signal mirror 
      • Knife 
      • Metal cup 
      • Folding saw 
      • Extra drive belt, spark plugs and tool kit 
      • Tarpaulin or plastic windbreak

      Why should I number my snowmobile?

      Idaho snowmobile owners are legally obligated to number their snowmobiles on or before November 1 of each year.

      How do I number a new or used snowmobile?

      A snowmobile must be numbered before it leaves the premises of a snowmobile dealer/retailer at the time of sale.  The purchaser of a used snowmobile, which has been previously numbered, must transfer the certificate of number within 15 days of the sale. The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation or its vendors  will prepare a new certificate of number with the purchaser's name and address. The transfer fee is $4.50. Applications for an Idaho title must be filed at the nearest county assessor's office. Idaho Code 67-7103.

      What is the snowmobile code of ethics?

      • I will be a good sports enthusiast. I recognize that people judge all snowmobile owners by my actions. I will use my influence with other snowmobile owners to promote safe snowmobile conduct. 
      • I will not litter trails or camping areas. I will not pollute streams or lakes. 
      • I will not damage living trees, shrubs, or other natural features. I will go out only when there is sufficient snow so that I will not damage the land. 
      • I will respect other peopleís property and rights. 
      • I will lend a helping hand when I see someone in distress. 
      • I will make myself and my vehicle available to assist search and rescue parties. 
      • I will not interfere with or harass hikers, skiers, snowshoers, ice anglers or other winter sports enthusiasts. I will respect their rights to enjoy our recreation facilities. 
      • I will know and obey all federal, state, and local rules regulating the operation of snowmobiles in areas where I plan to ride. 
      • I will not harass wildlife. I will avoid areas posted for the protection of wildlife. I will not ride under the influence of alcohol.