RIDE GUIDE businesses also may offer parking to those who patronize their establishments. Local maps will also feature businesses that welcome snowmobilers. Maps and Apps LOVE WINTER ON A SNOWMOBILE (ISMA, Photo by Wayne Davis) Both paper maps and electronic apps show trail routes. It is recommended that snowmobilers use both when riding, as they complement each other. Electronics can die quickly in cold temperatures. To get up-to-date trail maps, contact local chambers and tourism offices, service stations or local hospitality merchants. And while you are there, please donate to the clubs who make it all happen. Smartphone mapping apps are available for snowmobile trails, including the Polaris Snow Trails app. Trail Etiquette Minnesotans know that the secret to embracing winter is to participate in winter activities — and snowmobiling is a great way to get off the couch and explore stunning winter landscapes. It’s a unique and fun way to experience the beauty of winter, spend time with friends and family and explore little-known of the state. Snowmobiling has deep roots in Minnesota. Inventors in the northwest corner of the state Minnesotans used ingenuity and opportunity to develop over-the-snow machines. What started as a vehicle to perform chores quickly changed to the vibrant, exhilarating recreational sport we experience today. Two snowmobile manufacturers build their products in this state — Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls and Polaris in Roseau. 22,000 Miles of Trail There are 22,000 miles of dedicated snowmobile trails in Minnesota that connect all counties and borders. Partnerships between snowmobile clubs, counties and local government, private landowners and the Minnesota DNR allow this expansive and intricate network of trails to exist. The majority of Minnesota trails are on private property, and property owners give snowmobile clubs permission to build and maintain a trail on their land. Respect this generosity by staying on the marked trail. Trails are considered the safest way to snowmobile, as local snowmobile clubs sign, groom and maintain the majority of the trails. Minnesota trails are organized into three general categories: corridor trails that connect distant areas of the state; local trails that offer loops within a smaller area; and club trails that link food, lodging, services and some local highlights. Corridor trails are numbered and run east/west (even numbers) and north/ south (odd numbers). Most trails have a designated number and, locally, a name. The Minnesota DNR-printed maps use trail numbers, not names, so the popular C.J. Ramstad North Shore Trail is also Corridor Trail 60. Corridor trails cover vast amounts of terrain: Corridor Trail 37 stretches between Albert Lea and International Falls. Snowmobiles are also allowed to be operated in the ditches of state and county roads, at the base of the ditch or along the outside slope of the right-of-way. Be especially alert for traffic, driveways and other hazards found in ditches, such as drainage culverts. Parking locations and trail access points are typically noted on trail maps. Area Snowmobile trail rules mimic the rules of the road. Ride alertly with the anticipation of unknown hazards or icy trail conditions. For the best, and safest, experience remember: • Stay to the right side of the trail • Obey the signs and speed limits (max: 50 mph; slower on designated lakes) • Do not ride faster than you can handle • Keep proper distance between the sleds • Do not stop in blind locations nor in the middle of the trail • Give ample stopping distance and ease into a stop when possible • Never drink alcohol and drive a snowmobile — margins are tight when snowmobiling and impairment of any kind is a serious hazard to yourself and others. Save any alcohol consumption for the end of the snowmobiling day • Learn and use common snowmobile hand signals to indicate stopping, turns and to tell oncoming snowmobilers how many people to expect in their party. The Machines Like cars, snowmobiles come with varying engine sizes and features for a variety of uses. A reputable snowmobile dealer will help you find the right machine based on your desired experience. A dealer may let you test-drive machines on nearby trails or host demo days where potential buyers can try machines. A new snowmobile may be a significant investment, however there is an active used market both at dealerships or through private sales. A snowmobile is defined as a self-propelled vehicle originally manufactured and designed for travel on snow or ice steered by skis or runners. ATVs, off-highway motorcycles, off-road vehicles, a mini truck or a utility task vehicle are not snowmobiles, even if fitted with ski and track configurations. 6 Minnesota Snowmobiling Destinations