Snowmobiling might be fun, but it can be deadly. Last week near Revelstoke someone died after going out alone. This past weekend a Quesnel man is lucky to be alive after spending a night alone in the Yanks Peak area. He broke the cardinal rule, when he went out alone.
That’s why Penny Cartwright and the BC Snowmobile Federation are sending out a simple message for people exploring the outdoors on a snowmobile this winter.
“The best thing we can do is educate people, ride together as a group, stay together as a group.”
Penny Cartwright is the regional director for the snowmobile federation. Cartwright says the federation works to teach kids the principles of safety when they’re young so the right habits are formed early.
“If you’re riding the back country, things to be prepared on. Does everybody have their avalanche course. Does everybody have their avalanche gear and do they know how to use it. Do you have anything to contact home should something go wrong in the back country. She says it’s a great sport to do in a group, so long as you’re safe.”
The recent incidents of snowmobilers venturing out alone are giving the sport a bad reputation. Cartwright says its a great way to enjoy the season, if done right.
“Snowmobiling is awesome for family, for friends, for people that you adopt as family. For us my personal family we have two young boys that both have their own snow machines. We ride trails with them. We do up to 40 km in a round route. It’s just great because we’re not in front of a TV or anything we’re out enjoying mother nature and seeing what it has to offer us.”
This past weekend Search and Recuse Crews from around the region were called to Yanks Peak near Wells to find a lone snowmobiler. He was ill prepared and without a partner. SAR’s Dave Merritt says regardless of the activity, be prepared.
“Anybody heading out, whether it’s snow snowmobiling, skiing cross country, or snowshoeing. Let somebody know where you’re going, carry the 10 essentials, be prepared, never travel alone, and always check adventure smart and weather conditions before you’re going.”
Items to have include a spot messenger system, a two way communication device, and an avalanche beacon. And most important, Merritt says know how to use them.
“Get familiar with it. You can have all the best pieces of equipment out there. But if you don’t know how to use it or it hasn’t been turned on or charged properly it’s not going to do you any good.”
Above everything else, make sure you’re not going alone.