Getting your snowmobile stuck in the snow is a given when you are out riding in the snow. Even highly experienced snowmobilers get stuck in snow and it is an accepted fact of snowmobiling.
I’m not a snowmobiling expert by any stretch and have gotten stuck on multiple occasions, but I was lucky enough to have others with me to help me get my snowmobile unstuck easily enough. Just last year, on my trip to Taylor Park, I was riding with more experienced friends of mine and I got myself stuck in soft snow on my side. They helped me out of the situation and gave me some tips on how to best unstuck a snowmobile.
My experience got me thinking, what if I had been riding alone and got stuck in the snow?
How to Unstuck Snowmobile if You’re Alone
It is easy enough to get your snowmobile unstuck when you have help with you, but when get stuck riding alone, it begins to feel like a herculean task. It becomes necessary to know how to get out of this stress-inducing situation while keeping calm and being analytical of the situation.
The slight problem with this is that the ways to get yourself unstuck are varied and depend on many different aspects. You have to take into consideration the level of snow you’re stuck in, the weight of your snowmobile, the angle of the slope, and the angle at which your machine has gotten stuck. If you are stuck and alone, there’s a great chance of going into panic mode and trying to dig in and force your way out of the pit, this may work for you if you are in luck, but you could also be creating a much bigger problem for yourself.
You need to be calm enough in such situations to be able to analyze the problem so you can do your best and with minimal effort get yourself out of the snow and ride again. I have listed the ways for some of the most likely situations that you could find yourself in and how you can get yourself unstuck.
When Stuck in Deep Snow
If you’re stuck in the deep snow, do not try and force your way out of it by putting pressure on the engines. You will find that you’re only going in deeper and that is one situation you want to avoid, especially when you are alone. This process is so much simpler if you have someone to help you out by giving a tug on the front sled, which was thankfully the case for me.
The easiest way to get out of this one if you are alone is to shake your snowmobile side to side and wiggle around to make space and get some of the weight off yourself and your snowmobile. When the pressure around you is sufficiently reduced, take your weight off the snowmobile and allowing the front to face upward and off the pit, start your machine. Use the motor’s momentum from behind to push off the ground.
When Stuck in Hillside
When you find yourself stuck hillside, the best way out is to redirect your sled. Trenching the sled in by gunning your machine in the direction you’re already stuck in will waste your time and energy and may even get you into bigger problems. Change the direction of your snowmobile to face across or downward. You can do this by pulling the sled from the side stuck in the snow and redirecting your route. With your directions right, you can easily push the snowmobile off the snow and onto its front and ride away.
When Stuck in Riding Up
If you find yourself stuck on your ride up, you might have not built up enough momentum. On my trip last winter, even my buddy got stuck mid-climb and I saw how he effortlessly got himself unstuck and with little effort. I have learned that when stuck uphill, the only way forward is up. Push the front of your sled so it is pointed towards the sky but don’t lose control and let it fall and roll backward. At approximately a 90-degree angle, tilt it slightly towards its side and start the engine to shake off the extra weight. Letting it lie sideways makes it easy for you to roll your snowmobile over on its front and ride back downhill.
There are too many variables to how you can get stuck in snow but knowing some of the basic ways you can get yourself unstuck and taking some precautions can be a saviour. It is always wise to have company in the snow, especially when snowmobiling but if you ever find yourself stuck and alone, not losing your cool is always the first step towards the right direction. Bringing extra safety tools like a shovel and tow strap when solo snowmobiling can come to great use.