MAYFIELD, NY (NEWS10) – The snow on the road may make you eager to get out on the snowmobile this weekend, but the wide range in the weather forecast over the last few weeks has led to potentially dangerous conditions.
Fulton County begins training at an early age. As the temperature drops, the paths to the north are gearing up. A local mother who lost her son now found a way to protect others.
“It’s about safety, learning the basics and starting to ride,” said Shane Manns, Fulton County DEC Environmental Officer.
Whether you are a veteran rider or just starting out, conditions can change so old trails can hide new and deadly surprises.
“The inherent dangers of snowmobiling are that they are big powerful machines. From experienced riders to inexperienced riders, you have to start somewhere,” said Manns.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the New York State Office of Parks, which offers the NYS Snowmobile Safety Course. The minimum requirement for students to register must be 10 years of age at the time of teaching.
The two-day course will be held on Monday 24 January 2022 and Wednesday 26 January 2022 from 4pm to 8pm in the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department on North School Street.
Officials say students are required to attend both dates (all 8 hours) and pass a final exam to obtain a safety certificate. Instructor Cassie Crystal says it’s important to instill these skills at a young age.
“We teach them the importance of driving slowly, monitoring the weather conditions, following an order and not going left and staying straight on the paths.”
She gives 5 tips to riders.
1. Check the weather forecast – and then get dressed
2. Avoid excessive speeds
Follow up on the maintenance of your snowmobile
4. Stay away from the ice
5. Take a snowmobile safety course
Members of the Southern Adirondack Snowmobile Association say there are some obstacles on the trails this year. They have seen ishive on Great Sacandaga lake as well as lack of snowfall.
“So there are certain things that are hidden in some seasons that may not be so hidden this year. It’s important to keep up the pace and look for what’s under you,” said Eric Waller, board member of Southern Adirondack Snowmobile Association.
Officials say speeding is one way that can cause an accident. Another tip is alcohol and snowmobiling, simply do not mix.
“In any lawsuit in the state of New York, the speed limit is 55 mph unless otherwise stated,” Manns said.
“No matter how trained you are or how many years you have done it, this is where most accidents happen. It can happen to anyone, ”said Maria Ross, creator of the David James Ross Foundation.
Ross took safety measures a step further after losing his son Henry in a snowmobile accident. She created a way for people to communicate out on the trails with an app called Send It – HDR III.
Henry loved the Adirondacks and was tragically killed in a snowmobile accident on Lake Sacandaga. In Henry’s honor and with the goal of helping others enjoy the Adirondacks safely. His family developed the Henry Ross Memorial Fund Safety Map.
“It tracks your GPS position, so if anything happens, we can use it to find you if you need help,” Ross said.