This sport is a Canadian invention, having been jump-started by Bombardier's invention of the Ski-Doo snowmobile. It became a major recreational sport in the mid-sixties, and has become a great family winter sport. Today's snowmobiles are quieter, more stable, and more reliable than the early snowmobiles, and some models are downright luxurious, with foot and snack warmers aboard.
To drive a snowmobile, remember that you throttle (accelerate) with your right hand and brake with your left. You straddle the seat cushions, and rest your feet on the running boards, letting your legs absorb the bounces on the bumps. Today's snowmobiles can go as fast as 100 km/h, though you do not want to go at speeds beyond 50 km/h if you wish to see the natural terrain around you.
For safety, when snowmobiling, stick to marked/tracked trails, carry emergency food & fuel, and if in the backcountry, carry emergency transceivers.
To go snowmobiling you need a snowmobile, and a truck or trailer to carry it. You do not need a licence to drive a snowmobile, but the vehicle must be registered with the provincial Motor Vehicle Branch. Snowmobiles can cost from $4000 to $15000, with trailers starting at $400. Fortunately in good snowmobiling areas, you can rent them by the hour or by the day. You should also wear warm winter clothing, like a one or two-piece snowmobile (or ski) suit, goggles and helmet.
Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia ("SANS") can be contacted at (902) 425-5450 ext. 324
for information about local snowmobiling associations.
The Funded Interconnected Recreation Snowmobile Trail (FIRST) system stretches 3,000 kilometers linking twenty-one local snowmobile clubs across Nova Scotia. This was the result of considerable financial resources and thousands of volunteers. Nearly, one million dollars have been raised through permits over the last six years, which has paid for trail development, operation, and grooming. However, local clubs also rely heavily on fundraising and donated products and services.
Buy Where You Ride
The "Buy Where You Ride" philosophy is promoted by the SANS and its member clubs so that snowmobilers purchase their trail permit (and financially support) the club that maintains the trails they ride the most often. Snowmobilers who purchase more than one permit could also consider dividing their purchases among clubs of different areas/regions depending on where they ride.