Acquiring and Operating Snowmobiles

Acquiring and Operating Snowmobiles

By Samantha Breza

There are no places to rent a snowmobile at in Newaygo County at this time. Snowmobilers have to own a snowmobile already or purchase one at David Allen Racing Motorsports on Maple Island Road. Winter clothes and goggles can be purchased at Dunham Sports on Main Street in Fremont. Snowmobiles need to be registered with the Secretary of State and have a trail permit if they are used on public property. There are also laws and regulations that snowmobilers must follow (such as not riding a snowmobiling while intoxicated) if they don’t want to become a danger to themselves and others. A list of rules and regulations for snowmobiling in Michigan can be found on the DNR’s website at,4570,7-153-10365_14824-32293–,00.html. The Newaygo Country Snowmobile Association, otherwise known as the NC Snow Chasers holds yearly snowmobile safety classes on December 9th.

A $48.00 yearly trail permit is needed to operate a snowmobile in Michigan. Each trail permit lasts from October 1st to September 30th. Trail permits allow snowmobilers to ride state-designated trails, public roads, and public lands (when authorized). State-designated trails open on December 1st and close up on March 31. Trail permits aren’t necessary if operated on private land, used on public frozen lakes for ice fishing transportation, or “exclusively operated in a special event of limited duration which is conducted according to a prearranged schedule under a permit from the governmental unit having proper jurisdiction.”-DNR Michigan Snowmobile Regulations

There is a trail permit sticker each snowmobiler must have on their snowmobile’s front end either right below or above the headlight. Trail registers aren’t acquired for historic snowmobiles, but they are required for other snowmobilers regardless of Michigan residency.

Every snowmobiler has to register their snowmobile with the Secretary of State if they want to use their vehicle in Michigan, or any other state or province for that matter. The only exception is if the would-be snowmobiler only attends to use their snowmobile on private property. Registration last for three years and costs $30.00. The registration number is printed on a decal, which needs to be displayed on each side of the forward half of the cowl above the snowmobile’s footwell.

Snowmobiles that are twenty-six years old or older and owned solely as a collector’s item can be registered as a historic snowmobile. Registration for a historic snowmobile costs $50.00 and only needs to be done once. Registrations for historic snowmobiles can’t be transferred to a different owner with said snowmobiles. Unlike other snowmobiles, activities for historic snowmobiles are extremely limited, which means historic snowmobile owners don’t need to purchase a trail permit.

It’s important to dress warmly whenever you go snowmobiling. Snowmobile suits are usually jackets worn over a pair of insulated bibs or pants. Don’t wear anything made of cotton because it’s incredibly absorbent. The result is cold soggy clothes until they can be safely removed, provided they don’t freeze first. Snowmobilers who ride on ice (which is dangerous) may want to have special snowmobile suits that have a built-in floatation device. Snowmobilers also need helmets to protect their heads, goggles, sunglasses, or visors with colored lenses to prevent snow blindness. Facemasks, gloves, socks, and boots are also needed.

References: (Information about how to stay warm while snowmobiling.),4570,7-153-10365_14824-396494–,00.html (Information about snowmobiling riding in general and has hyperlinks that lead to pages that have more detailed information about snowmobiling.),4570,7-153-10365_14824-32293–,00.html (Michigan Snowmobile Regulations),4570,7-153-10365_14824_52327-32299–,00.html (Information about snowmobile trail permits and where to acquire them.) (Information about past and future safety classes.)


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About The Author

Samantha Breza

Samantha Breza is a life-long native of Newaygo County. She recently graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A. She enjoys reading, writing, and taking long walks.