OFSC Calls For Snowmobile Safety On Every Trail Ride

Recreational Trail Riders Encouraged To Make Smart Choices, Ride With Care & Control

International Snowmobile Safety Week, January 15 to 23

Key Points:

  • Ride responsibly for your own safety and for the safety those who share the trails with you.
  • Trail safety message especially important for participants new to organized snowmobiling.
  • Recreational OFSC trails are statistically the safest place to ride a snowmobile.
  • No snowmobile fatalities reported to date this season on OFSC trails.

(Barrie, ON – January 13, 2022): The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) joins the North American snowmobile community and our Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) partners in celebrating the 2022 snowmobile season with International Snowmobile Safety Week, January 15 to 23. The OFSC is the non-profit, volunteer-driven association that oversees organized snowmobile trails in Ontario.

Safety Week is an excellent opportunity for the OFSC to deliver a season-long message to recreational trail riders: Ride responsibly for your own safety and for the safety those who share the trails with you.

“Safe trail riding is always a top priority for the OFSC,” said Ryan Eickmeier, CEO, “but it’s even more important for every snowmobiler to take our common sense message to heart this winter as we welcome so many new riders to our trails.”

Tens of thousands of Ontario snowmobilers choose to ride OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trails each winter and return home safely after every ride. These winter enthusiasts, who ride with an Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permit on their sleds, can collectively travel up to 150 million kilometres per season on 30,000 kilometres of OFSC trails. This is one of the world’s largest recreational trail systems, totaling almost twice as many kilometres as Ontario’s provincial highway network.

OFSC trails are statistically the safest place to ride a snowmobile. As of January 10th, no snowmobile fatalities reported this season have occurred on any OFSC trail. But snowmobilers must always remember that trail riding, like many other outdoor activities, has inherent risks. Not least is that this activity occurs in an unpredictable and uncontrollable natural environment, often far from home, so trail riders must always be prepared for the unexpected by making smart choices and operating their sleds with care and control.

Smart Choices

Smart choices start with always staying on available, designated OFSC trails. Wandering off any trail surface into unbroken snow, unfamiliar terrain or farmers’ fields can not only be risky for the rider, but may also compromise the safety of landowners or their property.

The OFSC Interactive Trail Guide (ITG) helps trail riders make the smart choice of staying on the trail. The ITG is the only authorized source of information for recreational snowmobiling on OFSC Prescribed Trails. Using the ITG or the Go Snowmobiling Ontario App, riders can confirm that trails are either GREEN (available) or YELLOW (limited availability) trails before every ride. Any trails shown in RED (unavailable) are not safe for any snowmobiler to ride at that time. The PRO version of the Go Snowmobiling App even includes a “Share My Location” function that can be used as a safety tracker in case of emergency.

Smart choices also start with good training. OFSC Driver Training is the snowmobile safety course authorized by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO). This online course is available for anyone aged 12 or older to teach new snowmobilers the skills and habits necessary to be safe and courteous trail riders. Since inception, Driver Training has graduated 250,000 students who qualified to obtain a Motorized Snow Vehicle Operator’s License issued by MTO.

Trail riders should always choose the right safety gear. This includes a properly fitted, fastened and approved snowmobile helmet, and brightly coloured, weather proof outerwear with reflective materials, purpose-made for snowmobiling. A protective TekVest is also a worthwhile addition to trail safety gear.

This winter, the OFSC encourages every trail rider to make one more smart choice. Everyone needs to respect the safety of the communities we visit, service providers we encounter, residents we interact with, and of other snowmobilers, by following health protocols established by the Province and public health units.

Best Practices

In addition to snowmobile safety fundamentals like avoiding alcohol/drug impairment and speeding, and to always “know before you go” on any ice, the OFSC Safety Week message reminds participants of best practices for recreational trail riding with care and control, including:

  • Ride within your abilities and comfort level.
  • Know your sled and its capabilities, keep it well-maintained.
  • Always ride with a companion(s).
  • Ride in single file on the trails.
  • Leave plenty of space between you and the sled ahead.
  • Ride your side of the trail.
  • Take responsibility for the rider behind you.
  • Be especially vigilant coming into corners or cresting hills.
  • Pass groomers and other riders cautiously.
  • Take extra caution on public streets and logging roads.
  • Slowdown at night or when visibility is poor, when non-motorized users are on the trail, or when passing through towns or residential areas.
  • Stay alert to the trail ahead and aware of your surroundings.
  • Stop on the trail at locations with clear sightlines in both directions.
  • Check area weather conditions before your ride.
  • Before leaving home, notify someone where you will be riding and when you expect to return.
  • Always carry an emergency kit, snacks, extra fuel, a tow rope and a communication device.

Riding on organized OFSC trails is a special privilege for Ontarians and the OFSC encourages all trail riders to embrace our Snowmobile Safety Week message all season. Please make smart choices and riding with care and control part of your group’s routine behaviour on every trail.

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 Lisa Stackhouse at: [email protected]

OFSC Provides Final Update For Snowmobile Trail System and Interactive Trail Guide

(Barrie, ON: March 25, 2021) – During this OFSC Landowner Appreciation Week, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is confirming that there are now no OFSC Prescribed trails available for snowmobiling anywhere in Ontario. All of our more than 30,000 kilometres of trails are showing RED on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide (ITG), meaning that the entire provincial trail system is now shut down for the season, thereby ending safe and legal snowmobile trail riding opportunities in every OFSC district until next winter. Meanwhile, we join the Ontario Provincial Police and other police services in warning snowmobilers to stay off any ice, which is disappearing rapidly now that Spring has officially arrived.

Out of respect for our landowners and to protect private property, crops and livestock from off-season trespass by other trail motorized users, the ITG will go offline effective March 26, 2021 until November 2021. Our Go Snowmobiling Apps will not show OFSC trails until December 1, 2021, while your subscription to PRO remains valid for 12 months from your date of upgrade purchase.

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OFSC Urges All Snowmobilers To Follow Public Health Protocols

Together We Can Do This!

(Barrie, ON: January 20, 2021) – On January 18th, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) received the news that, effective January 21st, 2021, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (NBPSDHU) is temporarily closing all OFSC trails within its region for the duration of the provincial Stay At Home Order. This district stretches from Parry Sound on the shores of Georgian Bay, east to Mattawa on the Ottawa River, and from Novar north almost to Marten River. It also includes many OFSC clubs and their volunteers in OFSC Districts 10, 11 & 7 who have worked very hard to prep their trails and, in some cases, had commenced grooming operations despite a late start to winter.

In a news release from January 18th, 2021, Dr. Jim Chirico, NBPSDHU Medical Officer of Health, stated that: “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19. The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously.”

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(ORILLIA, ON) – With Snowmobile Safety Week underway this week, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has released a ten-year data report on snowmobile fatalities, which officers hope will encourage snowmobilers to avoid the recurring behaviours that contributed to the majority of the incidents over the past decade.

During the past 10 snowmobile seasons (2009-2019), the OPP has investigated 175 snowmobile fatalities throughout the province. Among the findings in the report, excessive speed, loss of control, driving too fast for the conditions and ability impaired by alcohol were listed as the top contributing factors. In fact, alcohol was involved in almost half (45 per cent) of the deaths.

Another compelling fact is that almost half (45 per cent) of the snowmobilers who died were traveling on frozen lakes or rivers at the time of the incident. The circumstances that led to the deaths include intentionally driving onto open water (puddle jumping/water skipping), breaking through the ice and collisions with other snowmobiles and natural landmarks. (See complete data graphic below).

“Whether you are a beginner or seasoned snowmobiler, it is important to avoid all manner of risk while enjoying the thousands of kilometres of diverse, scenic snowmobile trails Ontario has to offer. Maintaining control of your snowmobile at all times and never making alcohol or drugs part of your ride will go a long way to keeping snowmobilers and their passengers safe this season.” — Vijay Thanigasalam, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation

“Our OFSC Interactive Trail Guide is an excellent tool for keeping snowmobilers well-informed about the status of trails throughout Ontario. The OFSC, in partnership with the OPP is counting on all snowmobilers to take full responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their passengers and fellow riders this season.” — Andrew WALASEK, Director, Stakeholder Relations, OFSC

The OPP is reminding operators that no ice is safe ice. All riders should ensure they use proper safety equipment in addition to wearing appropriate outerwear for the environmental conditions they may encounter. Snowmobile Safety Week runs from January 18 to 26, 2020.


Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs

Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations

OPP Contact: Sergeant Paul Potter, Coordinator, Specialized Patrol Phone: (705) 329-7660

OFSC Contact: Andrew Walasek Director, Stakeholder Relations, Phone: (705) 739-7669


(ORILLIA, ON) –. With mild temperatures forecast for many parts of the province into the holidays, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) are warning snowmobilers to stay off closed OFSC trails. The OPP is also urging riders to stay off frozen waterways as they too remain unsafe.

The OPP responded to its first snowmobile fatality of the season earlier this month after a man lost control of his snowmobile. The tragic death is the latest reminder that snowmobiling comes with an unpredictable environment and unique set of risks.

Excessive speed, driving too fast for the conditions losing control and alcohol are among the top contributing factors in OPP-investigated snowmobile fatalities every season.

Snowmobilers are reminded to regularly check the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide for real-time trail availability information over the holidays and throughout the season. OFSC prescribed trails are subject to laws governed under the Ontario Motorized Snow Vehicles Act and enforced by police throughout the province.

The OPP remains committed to saving lives on Ontario highways, waterways and trails.

The OFSC wants to remind snowmobilers to Go Safe when they Go Snowmobiling Ontario!



 Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs

 Snowmobile Safety in Ontario


OPP Contact:         Sgt. Paul Potter, Coordinator, Specialized Patrol

Phone:                       (705) 329-7660


OFSC Contact:      Andrew Walasek Director, Stakeholder Relations,

Phone:                      (705) 739-7669