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Are Snowmobiles Hard or Easy to Drive? (Explained)

Snowmobiles are high-powered and recreational vehicles that operate on ice and snow. They are very fun to ride. You can only enjoy snowmobiling at certain times of the year which is why many people take it as a hobby. But, is it hard to drive or easy? Let’s find out. 

Are snowmobiles hard or easy to drive?

Snowmobiles are neither hard nor easy to drive. Whether they are hard or easy depends on several factors. It can be hard to drive for beginners but it gets simpler over time. It is not the easiest sport but you should be able to drive it properly by the 5th or 6th attempt. 

How difficult is it to ride a snowmobile?

Riding a snowmobile is not that easy but it’s not overly difficult either. You should be able to perfect a few techniques before you go on your own. Before that, you need to be accompanied or supervised by an experienced snowmobile rider or an instructor. 

Once you get to know the basic parts of the vehicle and have the appropriate gear, you’ll be closer to operating one.

You need to know how to sit on the vehicle properly, what to wear, what to bring with you, what type of sled you need, and many other things. Learning to turn and going up and down the hill are the first things you will learn. 

You need to prepare yourself before starting. With the right amount of dedication and practice, you will see that snowmobiles aren’t that hard to drive. 

How to make snowmobiling easier?

Bring the proper gear:

Winter clothing and boots are not the same as snowmobiling gear. Improper gear will make snowmobiling an uncomfortable and excruciating cold experience for you.

You can even go numb which can make you fall. At least rent the gear if you don’t want to buy it. Ensure that the gear is comfortable for you. 

Apply the throttle:

Don’t be afraid of the throttle. It is true that you have to drive safely but don’t be too slow.

Stick to a medium-level speed and don’t be afraid to accelerate using the throttle. This can be very useful while snowmobiling to get back on track, to get over a hill, or to navigate a trail. 

Follow your instructor and don’t go alone:

Always listen to your snowmobile instructor because they have the experience and know-how to deal with beginners. You can listen to the advice of fellow riders too.

Do not drive solo in the beginning as you might need help so it’s better to have someone by your side. For your safety, drive in groups. 

Limit your expectations:

Don’t expect to master all the techniques in one day. Snowmobiling is a sport that requires skill and lots of practice. Have realistic expectations and don’t rely on youtube videos. 

How to operate a snowmobile?

Sit in a driving position:

Find yourself a comfortable position. Make sure it’s not too close or not too far. Take a firm grip on the handlebar but stay relaxed and flexible at the same time. 

Foot rail:

Always keep your feet on the foot rail. Never keep it hanging on the outside nor the ground while moving.

Do not try to stop the snowmobile by using your leg even if you’re starting to tip over. Snowmobiles weigh a lot so it will be uncomfortable for your ankle.

Driving controls:

Control the gas using your right-hand thumb. Press the accelerator and the snowmobile will start to move forward. When you release the accelerator, it will slow down and eventually come to a stop.

The brake is situated on the left-hand side of the handlebar. It allows you to stop your snowmobile very quickly. Do not use the brake and accelerator at the same time to prevent damage to the engine.

There is an emergency switch, a red button. Press it to immediately shut down the engine and stop the vehicle. There is an emergency cord as well which should always be attached to your clothes.

The steering is similar to a bike. To make the snowmobile go to the right, turn the handlebar to the right. (Vice versa to go to the left). 


Besides the controls, you need to shift your weight towards the direction you want to go while driving. If you want to go left, lean your body to the left. This will assist in turning along with the handlebar. This especially helps in tight corners. 

How do I get better at snowmobiling?

Practice! Practice is essential to improve at snowmobiling. You can’t be a pro at your first time. This is why you should practice as much as you can.

During trail riding, remember to stay in control and learn how to use the brake with your left hand. Slow down when you go for turns and lean to the inside of the turn. This allows you to apply more throttle to accelerate when you get out of the turn. 

For backcountry riding, you need to understand how to carve from side to side while standing in a neutral body position. To do this, shift your weight to one side while you’re applying throttle.

When it comes to mountain riding, you should almost always be standing on the snowmobile and not sitting down. Next is perfecting how to put the sled on edge. It will enable you to stand on one foot on the board and one foot in the snow.

The sled will be balanced on the edge of the track and the uphill ski. Then you can use the brake and throttle to move. 

Riding in deep snow is the most difficult. Keeping your momentum will help you improve a lot. Start in a flat zone to level up your momentum and pick up speed accordingly. Maintain the momentum as you climb. When you start to drop, turn back downhill to prevent getting stuck.  

Riding in hard-packed snow is challenging as it is hard to stop. Try to avoid falling off the sled when you’re sliding download and try to maintain control all the time. 

How much snow do you need to snowmobile?

Not enough and too much snow is risky and can cause accidents as well as damage parts of your vehicle. Six inches of snow on the ground is considered optimal when snowmobiling.

However, there should be at least four inches of snow accumulation on the ground so that the riding trails are covered. 

Several factors affect the amount of snow you need. The type of vehicle is one of those factors. Heavy snowmobile models typically require at least six inches whereas lighter models can work with less than six inches.

The type of snow also plays a role. If the snow is powdery and soft, then you will require a large amount of snow. But when it comes to hard snow, you should be able to work with four to six inches of snow. 

How do you ride a snowmobile for beginners?

Before starting, buy proper gear, clothing, and take all necessary precautions. Then you should get familiar with the structure of the vehicle.

The first step is to warm up the engine by letting it run for a couple of minutes before you go for your ride. This is to prevent problems of a cold engine, similar to a car. 

The second step is to position yourself properly on the snowmobile. Rider position is crucial. Make sure your hands are gripping the handle and your feet should be placed on the sides of the rails. If you feel uncomfortable, you are probably not sitting in the right way.

After this, you should learn how to turn and handle. It will take some time. Shift your weight side-to-side when you turn while turning the handlebars. 

You also need to learn how to go up and down the heel so that you don’t fall off your snowmobile. When you’re going up, push your body weight forwards as you go uphill.

When you’re going down, shift your body weight backward and position your feet. Keep one foot on the side rail and another near the seat. 

How do you drive a snowmobile in deep snow?

Snowmobiling in deep snow is not for beginners. Only moderate and advanced riders should go for this type of terrain but should start light. Do not jump into 9-foot deep snow on your first time. Start small. 

The general rule is to keep proper gear, clothing, and equipment. Never sit down while snowmobiling in deep snow. Stay in a standing or kneeling position on your sled.

This is because snowmobiling in deep snow requires an active riding stance where the rider has to shift weight from one side to another. 

It is important to be cautious in deep snow as there could be obstacles hiding underneath the snow. Always look ahead and check for obstacles.

Skill and practice are required for snowmobiling in the deep snow because you could get stuck. It is normal to get stuck from time to time but make sure that you learn how to get back up. 

Why is snowmobiling so dangerous?

Snowmobiling is an harsh sport that is considered the most dangerous winter sport. The reason for this is because if safety measures are not taken, serious injuries can occur which may result in life loss.

The leading causes of accidents occurring are high speed, alcohol, and drug consumption. 

The main reason why it is dangerous is that you never know what’s hiding under the snow! Riders tend to snowmobile in harsh conditions and deep snow. Snowmobiles themselves are very high-powered vehicles that can be potentially dangerous. But following proper safety protocols can prevent all of this. 57% of snowmobile accidents are caused by alcohol and drug consumption. High speed is risky when it comes to all vehicle sports and this increases when you’re dealing with ice and snow. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Snowmobiles Reliable?

Are Snowmobile Skis Universal?

Are Snowmobiles 2 Stroke or 4 Stroke?

Can Snowmobiles on Grass, Pavement, Ice, Sand & Dirt?

Can You Ride a Snowmobile in The Summer?

Can Snowmobiles Go on The Water?