As the snow starts to accumulate in the mountains, snowmobilers are reminded to prepare their machines and safety equipment for winter, and to get their annual registration.
"Snowmobiling is great fun, but breaking down far from the parking lot can be dangerous," said Josh Stoudt, trails coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Durango.
Here are some tips to ensure safe snowmobile outings:
- Check all your snowmobile clothing and make sure it will keep you warm and dry - hats, gloves, jackets, pants, overalls, boots, etc.
- Check to make sure all of your safety equipment is in good shape: helmet, goggles, flashlights, tool box, towing straps and spare parts.
- Be sure to check avalanche gear; test your beacons and make sure probe poles are working properly.
- Check all fluid levels, add grease to fittings.
- If your snowmobile still has fuel in the tank from last year, start the machine and let it run out. It's always best to start the season with fresh fuel.
- Start the machine and listen to the engine to make sure it sounds normal.
- Inspect all belts, cables and the track.
- Make sure the throttle and braking mechanisms are working freely and not sticking.
- Check all lights.
- If you are in doubt about anything, take your snowmobile to a mechanic.
Snowmobilers should check snow conditions with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center every time they go out: http://avalanche.state.co.us/
Remember that all snowmobiles must be registered annually with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Go to cpw.state.co.us and under the "Things to do" tab click on "snowmobiling" for information. If you are considering selling your snowmobile, also go to this link to learn what's needed to show "proof of ownership."