Tips for Buying a Snowmobile for your Kids
Snowmobiling can be a fun activity for everyone in the family. That’s why most of the major snowmobile manufacturers today sell youth snowmobiles in Canada that are made especially for kids. Great youth sled models are available from Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Yamaha that will suit almost any budget. These vehicles are similar to regular-size machines but are smaller and made for kids that are at least 8 years of age. Regular full-size snowmobiles are not recommended for kids under 16 years of age. They are too powerful, heavy, unwieldy, and are designed with adult riders in mind.
Choosing the right size
Choosing the right sled for your little one can be a challenge. If they are too big for their new snowmobile, they will overload the machine, and if they are too small, there’s no advantage of a youth machine over one that’s full-sized.
A young rider who is too small cannot handle the horsepower or weight of an adult machine. They cannot properly reach all of the controls, and will have difficulty maneuvering the snowmobile. Without the proper footing, children can’t shift their weight while riding. They can’t maintain their balance, or shift their weight to properly balance the machine.
Sleds for kids are simpler designs than their adult cousins. They have basic air-cooled 4-stroke one-cylinder engines with low horsepower and are simple for young riders to operate. This simpler design gives them an excellent introduction to the sport of snowmobiling. It also helps to insure their safety until they grow big enough to take on the responsibility of a full-sized machine.
Accidents can easily happen when a small child rides along with an adult as a passenger on a snowmobile. Drivers need to take extra caution because they can be more easily distracted. Even on a machine designed for more than one rider, there’s more risk because passengers often ride higher, making the machine more unbalanced.
Aside from their smaller size, youth snowmobiles also have several additional safety features. Parents can control how fast the machine can go so that the child doesn’t end up losing control and suffering an injury. Parents also have the ability to limit the speed of the snowmobile. And, youth machines feature a tether strap that kills the engine should the child fall off.
The engines designed for youth snowmobiles run for a long time on just a couple of quarts of regular gasoline. They are also easier to start and maneuver by younger riders.
Before allowing your child to begin riding their very own youth snowmobile, make sure they take a snowmobile safety course. Some provinces may require your child to have a snowmobile certificate. A snowmobile safety course will instruct your child on how to ride safely and responsibly, and teach them the basic rules of snowboarding.
The first ride
Before your young new rider takes off on their first snowmobiling adventure, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Be sure to check the weather and trail conditions. If the trail is frozen over, the wind chill is too low, or a blizzard is in the forecast, you should definitely plan your ride for another day.
Checking the weather forecast can also help you decide on the appropriate clothes and protective gear to wear. Make sure you and your new snowmobiler wear suitable snowmobile suits consisting of a jacket and insulated bibs. Dress in layers and choose polyester blends instead of cotton since when cotton gets wet, it will freeze.
Both of you should have goggles or a face shield if you don’t have a full-face helmet, waterproof gloves, heavy socks, winter hat, boots, and a facemask. Make sure your helmets are DOT approved so they will protect your head in a fall and, of course, the child’s helmet should fit properly.
Take someone else along
Besides the two of you, consider riding with at least one other snowmobiler. They will be able to help either of you if a machine breaks down or is in an accident. It’s also a good idea to tell a family member or friend about your plans and the route you plan to be taking in case you get stranded. Remember that cell phones don’t work well or at all in many remote areas.
Inspect both of your snowmobiles before you head off on the trail. And don’t forget emergency, repair, and first-aid kits so you’ll be as prepared as possible. Don’t overload either of your snowmobiles. Don’t exceed the manufacturer’s maximum weight limits and never drink and drive!
Snowmobiles are nearly as dangerous as a car. Just like driving a car, an impaired driver can lead to delayed responses and the probability of an accident. Don’t pull people or anything else behind your vehicle. Snowmobiles are not designed to pull sleds, skiers, or saucers and can become unsafe and unwieldy to handle because of the imbalance.
Stay alert at all times when riding. Avoid frozen rivers since ice can easily crack and give way under a snowmobile. Look out for obstacles in your path like fallen trees, rocks, barbed wire fences, ditches, open water or snow banks. Be aware of other snowmobilers, skiers, hikers or animals that may unexpectedly appear and cause you to have an accident.
Before taking off, allow both snowmobiles to run for at least a minute or two to warm up. Listen to the engines and be sure they’re operating properly. You don’t want to be several miles out into the wilderness and have your machine die because of an improper fuel mixture or water in the tank.
Don’t speed, avoid frozen rivers, and stay on the marked trail at all times. Marked trails are much safer, especially for a novice rider. They are considerably less likely to have pose unexpected hazards during your ride. Going off the trail can easily result in accidents because you’ll be treading on unfamiliar terrain. Unless you’ve received permission from the landowner, stay away from private property. Also, be aware that many trails can be closed to the public but not properly marked.
Westshore Marine & Leisure
We hope these safety tips about buying the best sled for your child and how to prepare for their first ride will lead to a fun and safe riding experience for you both. Our team at Westshore Marine & Leisure is one of the largest power sports dealers in Manitoba and the Prairies. We would love you to come in for a test ride. We’ll be glad to show you a great snow sled from our huge selection of new and used snowmobiles, ATVs, dirt bikes, motorcycles, and generators. Come in and give our welcoming team a visit whenever it’s convenient for you and your new snowmobile rider.
Our family-owned and operated business is located in Manitoba on the north side of Winnipeg. We pride ourselves on giving you the best and most enjoyable customer experience possible. From sales to service, we look forward to providing you soon. Send us a message and see why Westshore Marine is the fastest growing Powersport dealer in Manitoba!