The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Snowmobile safety class planned


September 26, 2019


Ironwood — A free snowmobile safety education/certification course is being offered Saturday Oct. 12 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Gogebic Community College in Ironwood.

In Michigan, snowmobile safety training is recommended for all riders, but is required for those ages 12 to 16. In Wisconsin, those born on or after Jan.1, 1985 and at least 12 years of age need to take the course, said Department of Natural Resources safety instructor Deborah Fergus. Once a certificate is obtained, it can be registered in the other state. Michigan and Wisconsin accept each other’s certifications.

“There are so many people buying snowmobiles and not all of them exactly know how to ride,” said Fergus. “We cover preparing for your ride, warming it (the machine) up, stopping and all other skills. We talk about using the buddy system, never riding alone, and making safety a habit.

“We talk about driver fatigue, the correct sized machine for the rider, drugs and alcohol, and everything that has to do with getting you back home alive,” she said. “Getting around without knowing the rules is pretty dangerous.

It really is amazing to think about how many hazards you can run into,” she said. “There’s lots of power under you. Respect the machine, other riders and the environment.”

Most of the trails are on private property and there are easements, said Fergus. If snowmobilers are going off the trail and ripping it up, then property owners will pull those easements and the trial shuts down, she said.

The biggest thing the DNR and police see is that newer people get into situations more than veteran riders, or they don’t know hand signals to alert groomers of how many machines are behind them. The more they ride, the more they learn, she said.

“Snowmobiling has been increasing in popularity over the past decade,” said Fergus. “As trails become more crowded, it’s more important than ever to operates the machines safely and responsibly. Accidents can happen anytime. It’s best to expect the unexpected,” Fergus said.

Pre-registration is required by Oct. 4. Materials have to be picked up at least one week in advance, Fergus said. Reading the manual and taking the chapter quizzes beforehand is essential and helps facilitate executing the class.

To pre-register, or for questions contact Fergus at and put Snowmobile Course in the subject line.


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