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SNOWMOBILE SAFETY

be careful - stay safe

Know Before You Go

  • All snowmobiles will be operated under a lawful trail use Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permits;
  • All operators and passengers willingly use the OFSC prescribed Trails at their own risk;
  • Operators and passengers know and will obey the law, including, The Occupiers’ Liability Act, The Motorized Snow Vehicles Act and the Trespass to Property Act;
  • It is recognized and accepted that snowmobiling is essentially an off-road activity taking place in the natural environment;
  • The OFSC is a volunteer-based organization with finite resources and manpower;
  • It is not practical, possible or desirable to maintain all trails uniformly or to remove all potential hazards;
  • The OFSC is providing the privilege of OFSC prescribed Trails access without any guarantee of service or quality;
  • Operators and passengers will not consume alcohol prior to or while using the OFSC prescribed Trails;
  • Operators and passengers will be prudent and responsible and shall ensure that snowmobiles are operated with appropriate care and control at all times;
  • Operators and passengers know how to snowmobile competently and understand that the operation of snowmobiles requires full cognitive abilities;
  • Weather conditions affect OFSC prescribed Trails and snowmobile operation and they may change without warning;
  • The maximum speed on OFSC prescribed Trails is 50 km/h unless reduced by law or conditions;
  • There may be permitted users on the OFSC prescribed Trail other than snowmobilers;
  • Operators will stay to the right of the trail notwithstanding that there are no centre lines;
  • Operators know that there may be grooming or other maintenance activities under way at any time of the day or night which may take up the whole or any part of the trail and have the right of way;
  • Operators and passengers know that snowmobile trails are not engineered highways;
  • All operators and passengers know and will adhere to the principles published as the Safe Riders Pledge by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers’ Association;
  • Operators and passengers are aware that emergency and cell phone service may not be available;
  • Operators and passengers are aware that there are generally no legal requirements for signage on OFSC prescribed Trails and, when provided, it is only for assistance and convenience;
  • Operators and passengers know that snowmobiling on OFSC prescribed Trails is regarded as a family-oriented activity;
  • Operators and passengers know the unique and particular dangers of ice crossing;
  • The grooming and maintenance of OFSC prescribed Trails, when provided, is meant solely to enhance the comfort and enjoyment of the safe and prudent operators and passengers;
  • Operators and passengers will dress appropriately for all conditions and will have appropriate safety and emergency equipment at all times.

Staying Alive & Healthy

A disproportionate number of snowmobiling incidents, including nine out of ten fatalities, occur after dark. Most often night riding also includes alcohol consumption and excessive speed.

Forward visibility is reduced by darkness and it is much more difficult to spot and identify potential hazards in time. Overdriving headlights can also be a serious problem, so slow down when snowmobiling after dark. Becoming disoriented or lost is much more likely at night.

Never travel alone at night and if you approach an ice crossing, know before you go. Remember that cell phones can’t get a signal in many remote areas and getting help to you can be greatly hindered.

Always wear outer clothing with reflective trim on the arms, back and helmet. Never ride alone at night. Always dress in your full snowmobiling outfit even if your intended destination is just next door.

We want you to Arrive Alive!

  • Nine out of ten fatalities occur after dark
  • Visibility is reduced
  • Overdriving headlights means you cannot miss hazards
  • Becoming disoriented and lost is easy to do
  • Never ride alone
  • Wear reflective outer clothing
  • Always wear full gear even if going “next door”
  • Often includes alcohol consumption and excessive speed
  • Carry a small FLASHLIGHT!

  • Drowning is one of the leading causes of snowmobile fatalities. Wherever possible, avoid riding on frozen lakes and rivers because ice conditions are never a safe bet. Ice conditions can change in a period of several hours. If you must cross ice, ask first, then stay on the packed or marked OFSC prescribed Trail. Don't stop until you reach shore. If you hit slush, don't let off the throttle. If you are following someone who hits slush, veer off to make your own path. If you must travel over lakes and rivers then consider using a buoyant snowmobile suit which will assist you to reach the closest ice surface. Also consider carrying a set of picks which will help you grip the edge of the ice more easily.

    As a rule of thumb, "If you don't know, don't go."

    If you do break through the ice, don't panic. Follow these self rescue tips:

  • Kick vigorously into a horizontal position and swim to the nearest ice edge.
  • Place hands/arms on unbroken ice while kicking hard to propel your body onto the ice, like a seal.
  • Once clear, stay flat and roll away to stronger ice.
  • Stand, keep moving and find shelter fast.
  • Alcohol is involved in over 70% of snowmobile fatalities
  • Small amounts of alcohol impair perception, reaction time and ability to control your sled
  • Alcohol increases susceptibility to hypothermia, decreasing your chance of survival
  • Operating your sled while impaired is a Criminal act and will result in suspension of all driving privileges
  • Police forces and STOP officers are on snowmobile patrol to enforce The Motorized Snow Vehicles Act
  • Be extra alert for danger
  • Never assume what another operator will do

  • Watch for...

  • Obstacles hidden by snow
  • Trees and branches on OFSC prescribed Trail
  • Slow grooming equipment
  • Oncoming sleds
  • Other OFSC prescribed Trail users. (Some OFSC prescribed Trails are multi use)
  • Wildlife
  • OFSC prescribed Trail washouts, flooding and boils
  • Snow banks and moguls
  • Road and railway crossings
  • Unexpected corners, intersections and stops
  • Bridges, open water, unsafe ice and logging operations
  • Start with thermal under layers that release moisture and retain heat
  • Add extra heat retentive layers depending on temperature
  • Outer layers to resist moisture and wind
  • Avoid cottons and sweat shirts, they hold moisture
  • Consider a buoyant snowmobile suit
  • Snowmobile suits & helmets should have reflective material for night riding
  • Insulated boots rated to necessary temperature
  • Proper mitts for warmth and wind protection
  • Extra socks, clothing, boot liners, and mitts for layering
  • An approved helmet and face shield
  • What You Should Know

    1. On a snowmobile, the same rules of the road and penalties apply as for driving a car, including possible fines, loss of driver's license, criminal record, and/or imprisonment.
    2. You are required to carry your driver's license, snowmobile registration, and proof of insurance at all times.
    3. To drive a snowmobile legally, a valid driver's license or a snowmobile operator's Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permit is mandatory.
    4. You and your passengers must wear a helmet while riding a snowmobile.
    5. In order to ride OFSC snowmobile trails, a valid trail use Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permit must appear on the windshield of your sled. Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permits can be purchased from your local snowmobile club.

      In this trend-setting program, OFSC volunteers are trained by partnering police services, and sworn in as Special Constables and Provincial KLSC Offenses Officers. They then become members of the Snowmobile Trail Officers Patrol (S.T.O.P.), empowered to enforce provisions of the Motorized Snow Vehicle Act by issuing tickets or making arrests. They also assist police in sobriety enforcement. For MSVA enforcement purposes, S.T.O.P. Officers have the same authority as police officers.


      Visit their website at www.stopofficer.com  

      The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) Snowmobile Trail Patrol Program commenced in 1983 at the time when snowmobile OFSC prescribed Trails were being managed under a user – pay system. Trail Patrol Officers are dedicated Snowmobile Club Volunteers who regularly patrol Ontario’s snowmobile OFSC prescribed Trails, provide valuable trailside information to snowmobilers and promote the provincial user pay system.

      KLSC Unique opportunities exist by joining the Trail Patrol Program. It demands an adventurous spirit and a high degree of personal integrity. You will often deal in unstructured situations that will test your resourcefulness.


      For more information about volunteering contact us at 705 887-1288.

    • Stay on OFSC prescribed Trails
    • Close gates where applicable
    • Report property damage of any kind. Call 705 887-1288
    • Avoid riding late at night
    • Leave tracks not trash
    • Help preserve small shrubs and saplings
    • Avoid disturbing domestic animals or wildlife
    • Be polite and respectful of landowners and their families
    • Leave private property when asked to do so
    • Use the OFSC prescribed Trails only for snowmobiling in the winter
    • Stay off the OFSC prescribed Trails during all other seasons
    • No camping, fires or having cookout along the OFSC prescribed Trails without permission
    • Use toilet facilities provided by clubs or at local pit stops
    • Do not contribute to noise pollution by altering stock exhaust pipes
    • Obey the speed limit
    • Refrain from obnoxious or boisterous behaviour
    • Do not drink and ride
    • Accidents Give All Snowmobilers a Bad Name
    • Most snowmobiling accidents result from operator error, overconfidence or inexperience. Males aged 15 to 34 are the highest risk group. The main contributing are:
      • Alcohol
      • Speed
      • Darkness
      • Unfamiliar terrain or ice, and
      • Off-trail riding on roads or lakes

    Your Legal Rights

    As a condition of use of OFSC Prescribed Trails, the operator or passenger of a snowmobile agrees to never leave the trail base and assumes all risk of personal injury, death or property loss resulting from any cause whatsoever including but not limited to the risks, dangers, and hazards of snowmobiling; collision with natural or manmade objects, other persons or grooming equipment and other snowmobiles; travel within or beyond the authorized trail boundaries; or negligence, breach of contract or breach of statutory duty of care of the part of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), its member clubs and districts, their respective directors, officers, employees, volunteers, landowners, independent contractors, subcontractors, representatives, sponsors, successors and assigns (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “OFSC”).


    The operator of a snowmobile agrees that the OFSC shall not be liable for any such personal injury, death or property loss and releases the OFSC and waives all claims with respect thereto.


    The operator of a snowmobile agrees that any litigation involving the OFSC shall be brought within the exclusive jurisdiction of the court of the Province of Ontario. The operator of a snowmobile further agrees that these conditions and any rights, duties and obligations as between the OFSC and the trail permit holder shall be governed by and interpreted solely in accordance with the laws of the Province of Ontario and no other jurisdiction. (Refer to https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90m44​).


    The operator of a snowmobile agrees that they have a duty to inform all passengers of the assumption of risk, release, and waiver of liability conditions of use.


    The online Interactive Trail Guide (ITG) available at http://trails.evouala.com/ofsc/ is the sole source of Trail Availability status information. The Trail Status information posted here is for general information only and does not necessarily reflect the Trail Status at the time of your ride or the actual local trail conditions you may encounter. The Trail Availability Status is gathered from club volunteers and is valid only at the time of their observation. Their observations may not meet your expectations and the Trail Status may vary from the time of posting. The Trail Status may vary throughout the day due to changing conditions such as temperature, snow quality, type of terrain and usage.


    Snowmobiling is an off-road experience in a non-engineered wilderness environment. As snowmobiling occurs in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural setting, there are inherent risks which demand constant rider preparedness, vigilance, caution, unimpaired reaction and smart choice. Legislated speed limits represent the maximum permitted speed and not a recommended rate of travel. Operators must exercise caution at all times, be prepared for the unexpected and only travel at a speed which ensures their safety and that of passengers based on their personal assessment of many factors including: terrain, trail familiarity, trail width, snowmobile equipment, personal attires, cognitive skills, experience, weather, visibility, traffic and grooming. In many instances, operators will choose a speed which is substantially lower than the maximum legislated limit.


    Trail signs are posted by volunteers for your convenience for situations where there is an expectation that a safe, prudent and legal operator would un-expectantly be required to take evasive action such as heavy braking or steering. Operators should familiarize themselves with snowmobile trail signs as they are not the same as the signs associated with engineered roadways. As signs are installed as a courtesy, there isn’t any guarantee that they will be there at any given time due to wind, rain, storms or vandalism.


    This Interactive Trail Guide is intended only as a reference. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs accepts no responsibility or liability for any discrepancies, inaccuracies, errors or omissions which may occur, for actual trail conditions encountered on any trails shown on this trail guide, or for any resulting loss or damage.

    Rice Lake Snow Drifters

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