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Snowmobile 101: Basics For Everyone

Snowmobiles are understandably RedLine’s most used vehicle during the winter, and for good reason. Idaho has amazing snowmobiling areas throughout the state that allow people of all ages and skill levels to get out on the trails and explore. Every year, we get more and more people coming in to take advantage of all the winter in Idaho has to offer, and we’re always excited to introduce snowmobiling to all newcomers. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a small list of the basics of snowmobiling. Of course, we always recommend that our members and renters do their research before going out for their own safety and convenience. We also have out team of semi bona fide experts at our office, so if there are ever any questions, be sure to call in.


Basic Safety Tips:

  • Know Where You’re Riding: There are so many resources (as stated in our Avalanche Safety blog post) to make sure you are completely prepared for all conditions and situations while you’re out riding. Make sure to check the weather advisories, avalanche warnings, and other conditional reports before you go out.
  • Routine Machine Maintenance: Taking good care of your machine is a huge factor in making sure your adventure will be seamless. Routine maintenance will alert you to any problems your machine has and also keep you well acquainted with the ins and outs of your snowmobile.
  • Protective Gear: Wearing all the protective gear is crucial for your safety doing any kind of physical activity. But in the snow, it’s also important to make sure your gear keeps you warm. Good quality base layers and over layers that are breathable, helmets, gloves, bibs, and jackets will ensure your adventure in the snow is safe, fun, and warm.


Other Things to Consider

  • Extra clothes
  • Food
  • Emergency supplies
  • Alternate communication
  • Maps


Snowmobile Terms You Should Know

  • Throttle: Squeezing the throttle lever feeds more fuel to the engine which in turn powers the driveshaft and rubber track moving you forward (or backwards on machines equipped with reverse)
  • Hood/ Cowl: Protects and covers the engine and other mechanical components
  • Engine: Snowmobile engines are generally two stroke except for newer models that use four stroke engines
  • Hull/tub: AKA a belly pan, it is meant to aid in floatation in deep snow and also to protect the undercarriage from rocks, ice, and other hard debris
  • Ski Tip Handle: handy for pulling, moving, and lifting the vehicle
  • Skis: Including wear bars and carbides, the skis glide along the surface of the snow and steer the vehicle through the snow. Most ski blades have stabilizers that run along the bottom of the blade to decrease side-to-side motion
  • Ski Spindle: Connects the ski to both the suspension and the steering systems
  • Shock Absorber: Using either springs, hydraulics, or both, shocks will help give you a comfortable and smooth ride over bumpy terrain
  • Track: Made from reinforced rubber, the track is wrapped around the rear suspension system of the snowmobile and is driven by the engine
  • Rear Suspension: Suspends the track as it digs into the snow which helps maintain contact between the snowmobile and the snow. Also supports the rear of the snowmobile by absorbing bumps allowing for a smooth ride
  • Instrument Panel: Gives you information about your snowmobile such as speed. Also includes warning lights and the tachometer. The tachometer indicates the rotation speed of the driveshaft in RPM’s