Very few winter activities are more exhilarating than snowmobiling. Cruising through deep snow surrounded by picturesque mountain backdrops can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the cold weather. Not only will you experience an intimate connection with nature, but you’ll be able to enjoy these scenic landscapes away from the crowds that typically exist at ski resorts.
While snowmobiling is certain to get your adrenaline flowing, it also comes with considerable risk. Snowmobiles can weigh over 600 pounds and travel at speeds approaching 90 miles per hour through variable and dangerous backcountry terrain. It should come as no surprise that snowmobiling injuries are a common occurrence. Each year, snowmobiling accidents result in roughly 200 deaths and 14,000 injuries.
These statistics aren’t meant to deter you from enjoying the outdoors on a snowmobile. Rather, they should emphasize the importance of taking the proper safety precautions when snowmobiling. This will help you minimize your risk of an accident and allow you to enjoy this great winter sport to the fullest.
Snowmobiling accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. Some of the most common include:
Fortunately, there are safety precautions you can take to minimize your risk of an accident and reduce the severity of injuries that occur in the event of a collision.
Snowmobiles are backcountry vehicles and as a result, you’re likely to encounter variable terrain and dangerous riding conditions. This is especially true when you ride off trail. In these situations, you’re more likely to encounter extremely deep snow or obstacles that can result in an accident. By staying on marked trails, you’re more likely to find it easier to maneuver the snowmobile safely, and there is less chance of encountering an obstacle that can lead to a crash.
It’s critical to always maintain a safe and controlled speed when riding a snowmobile. Snowmobiles don’t provide much protection to riders in the event of a crash and the faster you’re riding, the more forceful the impact is likely to be if you hit a tree or some other large object. In addition, riding at excessive speeds will make it more difficult to maneuver through variable and challenging terrain, increasing your risk of an accident.
Wearing protective gear when snowmobiling can help provide additional protection and lessen the severity of impact injuries caused by trauma during an accident. Always make sure to wear the following gear whenever you’re riding a snowmobile:
Proper seating posture can help reduce the risk of neck and back injuries when riding over rough and unpredictable terrain. To maintain a safe, stable riding position, ride with your feet on the running board and in the foot wells to maintain a low center of gravity. Riding in a kneeling position can also be effective when maneuvering through challenging terrain or riding up steep hills since it allows you to lean forward and shift your weight easily.
Proper conditioning is always an important step to help avoid injuries. Before taking out your snowmobile, make sure to implement a winter snow sport fitness regimen that will strengthen the muscles most commonly used while snowmobiling. This includes muscles in your arms, legs, shoulders and core.
Even when you take all the proper precautions, wear the right safety gear and get in shape before snowmobiling season, there’s always a chance that an accident can occur. The most skilled and experienced riders can still crash when riding through extremely deep snow and variable terrain. If you suffer an orthopedic injury while snowmobiling, Colorado Advanced Orthopedics is here to help.
Our clinic is located in Meeker, surrounded by extensive snowmobiling trails in the White River National Forest. As a result, our orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors are familiar with the most common snowmobiling injuries and regularly treat them.
At Colorado Advanced Orthopedics, you’ll receive treatment from a team of highly experienced, board-certified and Fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons who deliver care commensurate with facilities in major metropolitan areas. Our team has been raising the bar for healthcare along the Western Slope, ensuring people in our rural area have access to the best doctors and treatments available.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Colorado Advanced Orthopedics serves patients in Meeker and throughout the White River Valley.
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