FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I go snowmobiling?

How do I know if there is enough snow for snowmobiling?

Where can I buy my ASA membership?

Do you need a membership per sled or per rider?

Who can I snowmobile with?

Do I need a license or permit to ride?

What is the minimum age to drive a snowmobile?

Where do I put my license plate?

Do I need to take a safety driving class before I snowmobile?

How many snowmobile manufacturers are there?

What types of snowmobiles are out there?

Where do I purchase a snowmobile and how do I know which one is right for me?

Where is the best place to look at snowmobiles?

What type of clothing do I need?

How much does it cost to buy a snowmobile and accessories?

How do I maintain a snowmobile?

What are the implications of modifying my snowmobile exhaust system?



Where do I go snowmobiling?

For where to ride in Alberta view our Trail Guide here:

http://albertasnowmobile.ca/discover/resources/tra...

There are snowmobile-riding areas located throughout the Snowbelt regions of the United States and Canada. In addition to extensive trail systems and riding areas, there are staging areas where you can start your journey. Launch your adventure by towing your snowmobiles to the staging area, park your vehicle, unload your snowmobiles, and then you can begin your ride to enjoy the wonders of winter on groomed and marked trails.

Call the club contact for trail headings and trail condition status. View the list of contacts here:

http://albertasnowmobile.ca/discover/trailsclubs/club-listing

How do I know if there is enough snow for snowmobiling?

Snowfall varies from location to location. We recommend you check the weather where you want, to determine temperature and snowfall in the region you’re visiting. Contact your local club or look at their websites to learn current trail conditions. Unfortunately the ASA is not updated on current trail conditions. http://albertasnowmobile.ca/discover/trailsclubs/club-listing

How can I purchase a membership?

You can buy you annual membership here http://albertasnowmobile.ca/get-involved/asa/join-asa or from your club or designated distributor. If you purchase your membership online, you will receive an email confirmation including proof of purchase and your membership number. Our office will then mail you your membership card and vinyl sticker through Canada Post (it usually takes about a week).

Do you need a membership per sled or per rider?

You need one membership per person not per sled.

If you have own two snowmobiles and are the only person riding them, you need one membership. Just keep your membership on your persons.

If you ride with a passenger, you will each need a membership to be insured on our trails.

Who can I snowmobile with?

There are over 3,000 snowmobile clubs in North America, all of which welcome new members. Snowmobile clubs are located in the area that you would like to snowmobile and are affiliated with the ASA. To get in touch with a club in your area view the list of clubs here:

http://albertasnowmobile.ca/discover/trailsclubs/club-listing

Do I need a license or permit to ride?

Yes, in Alberta you are required by law to have a valid class 5 driver’s license, snowmobile registration and insurance. Every snowmobile state and province requires that your snowmobile be properly licensed or registered. Licensing requirements for driving a snowmobile vary from state to state or province to province, and that information is available from your state or provincial snowmobile association.

Alberta’s laws regarding snowmobiles vary depending on where you’re riding. On your own private property, you don’t need a licence or insurance and there are no age restrictions- you can pretty much do what you like. On public land, like the Iron Horse trail, a rider has to be over fourteen to operate a snowmobile independently (younger children can still ride, but they will need to be supervised), they will need to register their vehicle and get insurance- a minimum of $200, 000 public liability and property damage insurance. Also, don’t forget that you’ll need to have your Alberta Snowmobile Association Membership– which also goes to support the trail and your local club!

It is always recommended that first-time riders attend a safety class, and also review the Safe Riders website for snowmobile tips and instructions that highlight the importance of snowmobile training

How old do I have to be to drive an off-highway vehicle (snowmobile, ATV, dirt bike)? What’s the minimum age to ride a snowmobile?

It depends if you are on public land or private land. Private land means land that you own or for which you have received permission to access. Public land is land owned by the government, such as parks and trails.

In Alberta when on public land, you must be at least 14 years of age to operate an off-highway vehicle independently. If you are younger than 14, you must be either accompanied by an adult or closely supervised by an adult. You must be riding a properly registered and insured off-highway vehicle. You must wear a helmet.

On private land, there is no minimum age requirement. You do not need a driver’s license, registration or insurance to operate on private land. Remember though that entering someone else’s land without their permission makes you a trespasser under Alberta’s Petty Trespass Act. The police can fine you for trespassing.

https://www.law-faqs.org/alberta-faqs/youth-and-the-law-in-alberta/how-old-do-i-have-to-be/youth-faqs-questions-about-activities/

http://www.transportation.alberta.ca/Content/docType41/Production/small_vehicle_booklet_final.pdf

Do I need to take a safety driving class before I snowmobile?

It is not required to take a safety class before snowmobiling. After you are licensed and insured we recommend becoming familiar with http://www.saferiderssafetyawareness.org/

Where do I put my license plate?

You can put it anywhere on the machine where it is visible, it doesn’t have to be in any specific place.

How many snowmobile manufacturers are there?

There are four major manufacturers that build snowmobiles:

Arctic Cat

headquartered in Plymouth, Minnesota
www.arcticcat.com

Ski-Doo/Bombardier Recreational Products(BRP)

headquartered in Valcourt, Quebec, Canada
www.brp.com

Polaris Industries

headquartered in Medina, Minnesota
www.polaris.com

Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA

headquartered in Cypress, California
www.yamaha-motor.com

What types of snowmobiles are out there?

Entry-level Snowmobile

Entry-level snowmobiles are often called trail models. These snowmobiles come equipped with engines ranging from 60-70 horsepower, are easy to ride and relatively inexpensive. They can be equipped with electric start for easy starting, as well as electric reverse for better maneuverability. These snowmobiles are very light and easy to handle and serve as a great way to ease into snowmobiling.

Performance Snowmobiles

Performance snowmobiles, like performance automobiles, feature slightly higher horsepower engines. The engines generate 85 horsepower and up. These vehicles are slightly heavier than the entry-level vehicles due to engine size differentiation and additional weight related to suspension systems, shock absorbers and more. These vehicles are often equipped with reverse gear and electric start, and are

Touring Snowmobiles

Touring snowmobiles feature a seat configuration that is designed for up to two individuals, and features a backrest for added comfort. Touring models usually include side-mounted mirrors, larger windshields, reverse gear and electric start. These vehicles are larger and heavier than both performance and entry-level snowmobiles and are designed for riding long distances in comfort. The track length of a touring vehicle is also greater. This longer track length cushions your ride, adds stability for two people and provides more comfort and weight.

Mountain Snowmobiles

These snowmobiles, made specifically for mountain riding, are longer and narrower. The vehicle configuration allows for riding hillside in mountainous terrain and through heavy powder. The vehicles have specially designed long lug tracks, which allow them to maneuver through heavy, deep powder conditions. These vehicles generally have high horsepower engines, since horsepower is lost at higher elevations. The riding characteristics of a mountain snowmobile generally lend it to better handling abilities in mountain riding over trail riding.

Utility Snowmobile

Utility snowmobiles are common when any work or utilitarian needs are required. The vehicles are longer, slightly wider and heavier than other snowmobiles. They function exceptionally well on trails and heavy snow, and come equipped with electric start and reverse. They are often used to tow work sleds or toboggans. View utility snowmobile models.

Crossover Snowmobiles

These snowmobiles are versatile vehicles that can go from the trail to powder and back. With a longer track for deep powder, these snowmobiles can be taken off the trail to find fresh powder in the woods. Suspension enhancements give it greater handling for aggressive drivers and maneuverability in any situation. Crossover snowmobiles are ideal for trail riders who want the option to explore into the woods and beyond.

Where do I purchase a snowmobile and how do I know which one is right for me?

Like any motor vehicle, snowmobiles can be purchased new or used from a licensed dealer. Snowmobile dealers are conveniently located throughout the northern tier (Snowbelt regions) of the United States and Canada. For a full listing of dealers, you can visit the manufacturers’ websites.

When purchasing a used snowmobile, buyers should follow the same guidelines in buying a used snowmobile as when buying a used car or boat and have the vehicle inspected by a knowledgeable mechanic. A visual inspection will help determine if the vehicle has been properly cared for. Make sure to always ask for service records!

When beginning to snowmobile for the first time, there are many considerations. If you will be taking a rider with you often, then you might consider a two-person snowmobile where you can travel comfortably with a rider companion. If you plan to snowmobile on your own, a standard snowmobile with mid-range power should provide the best quality ride. Individuals that ride in the mountainous regions of North America should purchase a sled specifically designed for mountain riding.

As a tip, you may want to test ride a friend's snowmobile and find out why they purchased that particular vehicle. What to look for: snowmobile type (one or 2-riders), engine size and options.

Discuss your preferences with the dealer to make sure you get the snowmobile that’s right for your needs.

Where is the best place to look at snowmobiles?

The best place to begin your search for a snowmobile is to attend one of the many snowmobile shows held in the states and provinces throughout North America, and visit local dealerships. Snowmobile manufacturers’ websites also offer helpful information and you can even build a snowmobile based on your preferences. The ASA hosts The Alberta Snowmobile and Powersports Show every fall.

http://www.albertasnowmobileshow.ca/home.html

What type of clothing do I need?

Snowmobile clothing comes in all shapes and sizes and all snowmobile clothing, helmets and accessories should be purchased from reputable snowmobile dealers. The following snow-friendly clothing is recommended: bibs (pants that extend up your chest and back), jackets, gloves, boots and helmets. Snowmobile dealers offer a full line of clothing that is specifically designed and manufactured to keep you warm and help withstand winter weather.

How much does it cost to buy a snowmobile and accessories?

Snowmobile prices range from $2,000 for a used snowmobile to $10,000 and up for a new snowmobile. Snowmobile clothing costs approximately $100 for a jacket and $80 for bibs (pants that extend up your chest and back), $50 for boots, $20 for gloves, and $100 for a helmet. If you need to trailer your snowmobile, snowmobile trailers start at $500 and can go up to $3,000 for an enclosed trailer. Many clubs and associations sponsor swap meets and sales where you can find snowmobiles and clothing at reduced prices and information to help get you started.



How do I maintain a snowmobile?

Maintenance on snowmobiles is basic and similar to motor vehicle maintenance and operation. A licensed mechanic through a dealership is usually the best way to ensure the vehicle will be ready for use. Always check the oil, belts and moving mechanisms of the snowmobile and refer to the owner’s manual that comes with every machine.

What are the implications of modifying my snowmobile exhaust system?

The snowmobile manufacturers certify all new snowmobiles meet two rigid sound testing procedures. The certification procedure is designed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and recognized worldwide. The manufacturers work diligently to ensure snowmobiles are as quiet as possible and pass the strict SAE sound standards. If a snowmobile is modified, there is a good chance the snowmobile will no longer pass the rigid SAE sound test. Many states and provinces prohibit the operation of excessively loud snowmobiles and require the sound level to be equal to that of the SAE sound level.

Exhaust systems are tuned to work efficiently with the engine. Many jurisdictions carry considerable fines for violating sound laws that can be caused by snowmobiles with non-original equipment exhaust systems. In some municipalities it is against the law to modify a snowmobile exhaust system with any exhaust system that does not pass the SAE sound certification test procedure.




For information on snowmobile certifications and standards visit www.snowmobilesafetycertification.org.