County snowmobile ride set for Saturday|
|With the best riding conditions in years, snowmobilers across the northwoods are gearing up for the county-wide trail ride on Saturday.|
This is International Snowmobile Safety Week, and state Snowmobile Administrator Warden Gary Eddy is urging riders to mark it in two ways: Ride with a safety mindset and take a friend snowmobiling.
"As we have another snowstorm moving through Wisconsin, wardens anticipate snowmobilers will be anxious to get back out on the many fun trails this state is known for," Eddy says. "In order to keep snowmobiling the fun and enjoyable experience it is for families and friends, it's important to remember to operate safely at all times."
Saturday’s trail ride, hosted by the Langlade County Snowmobile Council, will begin at 11 a.m. at the Lily Sno-Birds Clubhouse and everyone is invited to participate.
Food and refreshments will be served.
The ride will serve as a perfect cap to International Snowmobile Safety Week, started in 1995 by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association and supported by the Department of Natural Resources conservation wardens.
"Now is a great opportunity to pledge to yourself, family and riding companions that you will take steps to be a safer rider," Eddy said. "And if you know of someone who has never experienced snowmobiling, consider introducing that person to the fun on the trails."
Easy-to-remember safety tips include slowing your speed.
"It's easier to see Wisconsin's great scenery that way," Eddy said. "We have 25,000 miles of groomed trails thanks to volunteers and others who support this sport. These trails are found statewide."
Another tip is to hold off on any adult alcoholic beverages until the snowmobile is parked for good that day. Put on the helmet is another solid safety measure, along with taking a snowmobile safety course.
Speed, alcohol and night-operation are the three main factors behind the seven fatalities of the first weeks of the 2013-14 snowmobile season. Preliminary information shows three of the seven fatalities involved alcohol, six involved speed and three occurred at night.
"As with every winter, there are temperature changes and storms - and these affect snowmobile conditions," Eddy said. "It's always a good idea to check your county's trail status. Travel Wisconsin maintains an online map detailing the status of county snowmobile trails.”
Wisconsin law also requires snowmobile riders who are at least age 12 and born after Jan 1, 1985, to complete a snowmobile safety course. That means people who are 29 years old as of Jan. 1, 2014 are required to complete a snowmobile safety course prior to operating. This law has been in effect since 1999. Riders age 16 and older may take a Wisconsin internet snowmobile safety course.
"Snowmobiling safety classes can be a family event or something you can do with your friends," Eddy said. "Parents are encouraged to take the course with their children to reinforce what has been taught and to make it a fun family experience."
Snowmobilers enjoy fresh powder in Langlade County.
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