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Things to Remember While on the Trail

The 1.2 million-acre Black Hills National Forest offers unlimited-trail riding in addition to the 350 miles of trails groomed by the South Dakota Snowmobile Program. Forty miles of the system are made available through a cooperative agreement with the Wyoming Division of State Parks and Historic Sites

 

Things to Remember:

Operating Under the Influence: In South Dakota, snowmobiles are classified as motor vehicles. Therefore the operator of a snowmobile who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or otherwise, may be prosecuted under the same provisions of the state's DUI laws. The legal limit in the State of South Dakota is 0.08 percent.

Plowed Roads: No person may operate a snowmobile on a roadway that has been plowed or where snow removal has taken place. Except to cross the road only after stopping and yielding to any oncoming traffic, or, when operating in a road ditch is not possible, to the extreme right-hand side of the road until such time as the operator can against use a road ditch or an unplowed area.

Speeding and Reckless Operation: No person may operate a snowmobile at a speed that is greater that is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, or in a reckless way so as to endanger the person or property of another.

Wildlife: No person may, while operating a snowmobile, chase, harass, kill or attempt to kill any game animal or game bird. When encountering elk, deer or other wildlife, please stay on your snowmobile and keep moving. Limited contact reduces the impact on wild animals during the critical winter season when food supplies are at the lowest and animals are the most vulnerable to stress.

Accidents: The operator of a snowmobile involved in an accident on public lands, frozen public waters or any private lands leased for public snowmobile use which results in damage to a snowmobile or another property in excess of $1,000 or results in death or injury requiring medical attention to any person must immediately report the accident to a law enforcement officer. If the snowmobile operator is physically incapable of filing a report, then someone acting for him/her must file. Failure to report such an accident is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Trail Conditions:

 

Trail conditions are available online at gfp.sd.gov/snowmobiling and via the mobile app: SDGFP Outdoors. Trail conditions are also posted to Twitter accounts dedicated to both the Black Hills (@SDsnowBHills) and East River Trails (@SDsnowEast).

All Above Information was published in the 2019-2020 South Dakota Snowmobile Map, by the State of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

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Snowmobiling Safety Tips to Ensure a Good Trip

Snowmobiling Safety Tips to Ensure a Good Trip

The snow has started to fall which can only mean one thing: snowmobiling season is upon us. Snowmobiling can be a wonderful time to spend with family and friends creating memories deep in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but there are a few safety items to keep in mind when taking to the trails. Take a look at these few snowmobiling safety tips to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe snowmobiling trip with your family and friends.

Don’t drink and ride. Alcohol will greatly impair your ability to operate a snowmobile, so it is important to not have any alcohol prior to taking to the trail or while on the trail.

Slow down. The Black Hills are a beautiful place to go snowmobiling, so take your time and enjoy the scenery. Trails can be unpredictable at times so it is important to slow down and allow for space and time to react to changing conditions.

Avoid traveling across bodies of water. The weather in South Dakota can be unpredictable, so while a body of water looks like it may be frozen solid, chances are it could have been melting and won’t hold the weight of you and your snowmobile. Find a way to go around.

Stay on marked trails. The Black Hills terrain is unpredictable and changes drastically in some areas. Trails are marked specifically to ensure that you have a good time, get to see the best scenery, and are as safe as possible, so trust them and stay on them. Watch out for tree stumps, fences, and other barriers that may be covered in snow.

Never travel alone. There is power in numbers. If something happens, it is important to have someone with you to help in case you get injured. If you have to travel alone, tell someone your destination, planned route, and your timeline for return, as well as a phone number to call in case you are out of cell range.

Dress appropriately. It is important to be prepared for all weather conditions in the Black Hills, as the weather can change within an afternoon. Always wear a DOT approved helmet and facemask. Wear layers of clothes to help keep you dry and warm, such as snowmobile suits, bibs, jackets, boots, and waterproof gloves to help cut the wind.

Follow guidelines set forth by Mad Mountain. It is important to follow the guidelines set in place by Mad Mountain representatives. If they say not to go over a certain speed, don’t go over that speed, etc.

Keep your headlights on. Your headlights aren’t always to help you see, but to help others see you. Especially when there are a lot of people on the trail, it’s important for people to see you coming to avoid a crash, especially around turns.

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Proper Gear to Wear While Riding to Stay Warm

There is nothing quite like hitting the trail for the first time, opening that throttle on the snowmobile, and taking off into the Black Hills for a good afternoon of snowmobile riding. It can, however, be a dangerous trip if you are not dressed properly. Having the proper gear for your snowmobile trip can make the difference between having a great time and ending up with frostbite. To ensure that you have a great time, here is a guide of the proper gear you should have when you rent your snowmobile for an afternoon on the trails.

Socks

Wool socks are the best and will keep your feet the warmest. Smartwool socks are the best and will keep your feet dry and warm. You can purchase snowmobile socks at any sporting goods store, but wool socks are useful for not only snowmobiling but for other activities as well, such as hiking, sledding, or skiing. Wool socks will help to keep your feet warm, but also prevent them from perspiring too much inside your boot. It is a good idea to carry an extra pair of socks with you, just in case you get your wet or you feel your feet getting cold.

Boots

Having proper boots to wear will help to keep your feet dry from snow or rain and keep them warm during your ride. The key to having good boots is to make sure they are waterproof. If you do not have waterproof boots, your feet will be wet within minutes and you will be miserable the rest of the afternoon. Proper snowmobiling boots have rubber, waterproof bottoms and have a good lug sole for traction, which is important when out in the hills during winter. It is also important that your boots are slightly higher topped than normal boots to help repel snow. Make sure your boots are comfortable and you can easily move in them and they are not too tight, as that could cut off circulation and make your feet cold.

Gloves

It is crucial that you have proper gloves to keep your hands warm to help control the snowmobile controls. Gloves should repel water and wind in order to keep your hands warm. Inserting an extra wool or fleece liner inside the gloves will help to keep your hands warmer during cold temperatures. Mittens are the warmest option, however, make sure that whatever you choose you are able to control the snowmobile controllers.

Headgear

Having the proper headgear is crucial for a good time on the trails. A helmet is a must and having extra eye protection or a face mask is also not a bad idea. A face mask will help to keep your face warm under your helmet and cut the wind while riding. A full face helmet is recommended as it completely protects your head from not only something happening if you crash, but also helps to keep your head as warm as possible. Goggles are also an added bonus, depending on the type of helmet you have, as it will help keep the snow out of your eyes while riding, giving you better visibility.

Shirts & Pants

Layers, layers, layers is the key when riding. The more layers you add at the beginning, the better. You can always take layers off if you get too hot, but you cannot add layers on if you get too cold out on the trail. Make sure you wear a coat and snow pants while riding, especially if they are wool or polyester. Stay away from cotton in any of your layers. South Dakota winters can be unpredictable and brutally cold, but if you dress appropriately, you could have the time of your life on the trails.

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