OFSC Delivers Important New Year’s Message For Snowmobilers

Until Shutdown Ends, Stay Close to Home & Only Ride Local When Trails Are Available

(Barrie, ON: December 31, 2020) – In support of the existing provincial shutdown and to limit non-essential travel, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) urges snowmobilers to avoid travelling outside their local public health region, and only ride local trails when availability shows as Yellow or Green on the Interactive Trail Guide (ITG).

The OFSC highly recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their public health region. To discourage travelling by snowmobile beyond public health region boundaries, the OFSC has made trails between health units temporarily unavailable (showing Red on the ITG) until further notice.  Trails to Quebec, Manitoba and the United States remain closed.

As noted in a previous release, the OFSC was pleased to see that the Government of Ontario stated “trails servicing snowmobiles will be allowed to be open following all public health guidelines” during the shutdown. It should also be noted that most snowmobile trails in Ontario are unavailable (Red) at this time.

Meanwhile, the OFSC asks all snowmobilers to be considerate of others to ensure the best season possible. Snowmobilers are urgently reminded to only ride local OFSC prescribed trails when available, to avoid damaging the property of generous landowners.

While taking advantage of available local riding opportunities, the OFSC recommends that snowmobilers follow OFSC Ride Smart 2021 protocols to stay safe.

Snowmobilers are reminded to check their local public health guidelines prior to every ride, and to refer to the ITG and Go Snowmobiling App regularly to plan appropriate local rides, and to reconfirm routes and available services.


The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is a volunteer led, not for profit association that provides the voice for organized snowmobiling in Ontario. OFSC snowmobile trails managed by 200 community based, member clubs generate up to $3.3 billion in economic activity in the province each year.

For questions or to schedule a media interview with the OFSC, please contact us at [email protected] or by phone at 705-739-7669

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Snowmobile Trails & Grooming Operations Allowed During Provincial Shutdown

OFSC To Implement Local Flex Trail Riding Options

(Barrie, ON:  December 21, 2020) – Earlier today the Government of Ontario, on the advice of the Chief
Medical Officer of Health, advised all Ontarians to stay home as much as possible with trips outside the home limited to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work
from home.

“The number of daily cases continue to rise putting our hospitals and long-term care homes at risk,” said Premier Ford. “We need to stop the spread of this deadly virus. That’s why, on the advice of Dr. Williams and other health experts, we are taking the difficult but necessary decision to shutdown the province and ask people to stay home. Nothing is more important right now than the health and safety of all Ontarians.”  (Government of Ontario News Release, December 21, 2020)

Given that physical activity is an important part of staying healthy, today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario stated that “trails servicing snowmobiles will be allowed to remain open.” This means that OFSC trails can open in accordance with all public health guidelines.

Being allowed to remain open allows the OFSC to proceed with trail and grooming operations, however snowmobilers are strongly encouraged to stay home and if they do ride, they need to be mindful of several other important factors related to the pandemic.

  1. Today’s announcement reinforced “that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.” This means that during the shutdown, and when trails are in the Orange, Red or Grey Zones, trail riding will be local in keeping with public health restrictions. To facilitate this, the OFSC will implement Flex Trail options for local riding as and where appropriate. Check the Interactive Trail Guide before riding. Flex Trail options include trails within a public health region being available only for local residents.
  2. As the announcement also said: “Many businesses throughout the province will be faced with restrictions throughout the shutdown, including restaurants and bars, which will once again be limited to only take-out and delivery operations.” This means that snowmobilers may not have normal access to food services along the trails and should plan accordingly, although hotels and motels are permitted to operate.
  3. It is likely that all unattended buildings and washrooms (including outhouses and warm up shelters) on the trails will be closed with no access to riders. This is because public health measures demand that such structures “are subject to rigorous cleaning and sanitization protocols” which simply cannot be achieved frequently enough by volunteers, and thereby increase the risk of exposure and will likely close.
  4. OFSC trails connecting to another province (Quebec, Manitoba) or state (Michigan, Minnesota) will remain closed until further notice.
  5. The OFSC strongly encourages all snowmobilers follow current public health measures and practice our Ride Smart 2021 common sense approach to trail riding, including: Plan Ahead. Be Aware. Mask Up. Clean Often. Spread Out.

Even under these conditions, none of us can let our guard down. Only by continuing to demonstrate our willingness to be responsible riders and volunteers, and to cooperate with public health measures, can we protect each other and communities across Ontario.

The OFSC will continue to monitor the situation and communicate changes and status updates to permit holders regularly through our website, Interactive Trail Guide, Facebook page, weekly newsletter and Go Snowmobiling App alerts.


The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is a volunteer led, not for profit association that provides the voice for organized snowmobiling in Ontario. OFSC snowmobile trails managed by 200 community based, member clubs generate up to $3.3 billion in economic activity in the province each year.

For questions or to schedule a media interview with the OFSC, please contact us at [email protected] or by phone at 705-739-7669

Sign up today to view more OFSC news and releases

OFSC Trail Riding Provides Physical & Mental Health Benefits for Snowmobilers

Physical Activity of Snowmobiling Contributes To Rider Well Being This Winter

(Barrie, ON: December 17, 2020) – For more than 50 years, The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) has delivered 30,000 kilometres of snowmobile trails for the enjoyment of Ontarians while also providing numerous economic, social and health benefits. While the economic impact of snowmobiling is well-documented in several studies and now reaches up to $3.3 billion annually in our province, only recently have the social and health benefits of snowmobiling been professionally quantified.

According to a recent University of Guelph (UofG) study conducted for the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO), “snowmobiling is a good form of physical activity.” The UofG Human Performance & Research Laboratory study concludes that snowmobiling is a “moderate intensity physical activity”, with a “typical ride using a similar amount of energy to downhill skiing or snow shoveling.”

It also notes that Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend a person participate in 150 minutes per week of such moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity to maximize health benefits and to prevent a variety of health risks. So, given that the study indicates that the average snowmobile ride on groomed trails is 6 about hours, a single snowmobile trip is likely to accumulate more, and a weekend of trail riding much more, than this weekly physical activity recommendation.

Equally important, the UofG study confirms that snowmobiling can also be good for mental health. Getting outdoors, being in natural light, seeing nature, and sharing these experiences with others have recognized mental health benefits. All are aspects of our lives often neglected during the winter, and certainly throughout 2020 have become even more significant amid increasing mental health concerns as people strive to cope with the prolonged pandemic crisis.

Together, the UofG study confirms that physical and mental factors position snowmobiling as “an excellent winter activity for people of all ages as part of a healthy lifestyle.”

The UofG health findings certainly support the real-life experiences of hundreds of thousands of active Ontario snowmobilers over many years. The study also reinforces survey results from the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) where snowmobilers identified their top reasons to go snowmobiling as related to their overall well-being, including getting outdoors to have fun while enjoying unique scenery and places, and then going home tired and ready for a good night’s sleep.

“Undoubtedly, these health considerations are partly responsible for the surging increase in snowmobile and trail permit sales as many new and former participants are choosing to go snowmobiling this season to stay active,” said OFSC CEO Landon French. “Snowmobilers have always felt that getting out on the trails is a sure cure for the wintertime blues.”

Recognition of the physical and mental health benefits of snowmobiling is very timely for 2020. Throughout the pandemic, health experts have continually encouraged Ontarians to stay as physically active as possible while following all public health measures.

Going snowmobiling is a good way to maintain fitness and well being, especially since riding a sled on the trails is essentially a physically distanced activity. So, to further enhance rider and community health before, during and after any ride, the OFSC has developed Ride Smart 2021, which provides snowmobilers with necessary precautions in line with current provincial public health protocols. Meanwhile, for the safety of new and returning participants, the OFSC is also offering free, online Safe Rider training materials with valuable tips and advice.

The OFSC reminds snowmobilers to check with your public health region prior to every ride, and also to check the Interactive Trail Guide and Go Snowmobiling Ontario App regularly and frequently to plan appropriate local and regional rides, and to reconfirm your route and services before starting each morning.


The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is a volunteer led, not for profit association that provides the voice for organized snowmobiling in Ontario. OFSC snowmobile trails managed by 200 community based, member clubs generate up to $3.3 billion in economic activity in the province each year.

For questions or to schedule a media interview with the OFSC, please contact us at [email protected] or by phone at 705-739-7669

Sign up today to view more OFSC news and releases

OFSC Stakeholder Outreach Initiatives Keep Snowmobilers Well Informed

Broad Provincial Consultation With Stakeholders Guides OFSC Planning For This Season

(Barrie, ON: December 10, 2020) – Recently, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) celebrated receiving the Rob Fleming Partnership Award from the Transportation Safety Division of the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO).

In its letter of congratulations, MTO stated that: “The OFSC has demonstrated a keen focus on ensuring a strong partnership through mutual co-operation, shared intellectual leadership and resources. The federation has exhibited an outstanding commitment as a partner to provide exceptional snowmobile trails and rider experiences throughout the province while ensuring rider safety.”

This notable recognition is a good example of the OFSC’s inclusive approach to communication with stakeholders and partners, and none are more important than snowmobilers themselves. To keep you informed and up to date about the coming season, we have issued 17 media releases and 16 newsletters since August. See all OFSC media releases here.

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Together We Can Do This: OFSC Requests Cooperation From Snowmobilers

Do Your Part By Staying Off Red Trails, Following Ride Smart 2021 Recommendations
& Being A Safe Rider

(Barrie, ON: December 3, 2020) – Hold your horses. Curb your enthusiasm. Cool your jets. Don’t jump the gun. However you want to say it to snowmobilers excited about the first significant snowfall, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) cautions that riding any OFSC trails at this time is premature, illegal and unsafe until a trail(s) show as Yellow (Limited Availability) or Green (Available) on the Interactive Trail Guide (ITG). Furthermore, premature use of any OFSC trail actually makes it considerably more difficult for a club to get that trail base set and ready for the upcoming season, so everyone has to wait longer. Worse, it is also trespassing that frequently results in a permanent trail closure.

As snowmobilers know, the OFSC, our districts, clubs and volunteers are working hard to deliver the best possible trail riding experiences this winter, but we need your cooperation and patience throughout the season to succeed. With many factors indicating increased participation in trail riding this winter, your assistance not only means staying off Red (Unavailable) trails at any time, but also includes following our Ride Smart 2021 pandemic response plan for healthy snowmobiling to prevent virus spread that could threaten everyone’s riding season.

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