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Expert gives keys to snowmobile safety

It is snowmobiling season!

With severe weather on the way, some people may find themselves in a bad situation when out in the hills.

It is one of many adrenaline-rush snow activities but what would you do if you were stranded?

This week, there were six snowmobilers stranded in the backcountry in Fremont County.

Another family is grieving over the loss of their son after a snowmobile accident, earlier this week.

“I’ve heard of stories of people who have gotten stranded and they had to burn the snowmobile to stay warm to make it through the night,” Steve Dutcher said.

Dutcher is an accountant at Action Motor Sports, in Idaho Falls.

Besides obvious actions, like wearing a helmet and having food and water, Dutcher said good gear is the most important thing.

“It makes a big difference, if you’ve got waterproof gear, you’ve got the right gear, it’ll help pull moisture or wick moisture away. The elements can turn quickly and if you don’t have the right gear, it’s not far-fetched to think that you could get hypothermia.”

Having an avalanche backpack bag is great because some actually inflate if you ever find yourself under a ton of snow, he said.

Also, never go alone, because you do not know what you might run into.

“If you’re a parent and allowing your children to go snowmobiling, just because they’ve seen you snowmobiling doesn’t necessarily mean they know everything. I think, just doing a quick orientation can go a long way, and talk to your kids about emergencies,” Dutcher said.

Chase Mackearney is an avid snowmobiler. He said people have to be careful this time of year.

“When it gets warm again, it creates layers in the snow and they’re actually called cracks, and the snow can give away a lot easier when it’s like this, when it doesn’t snow for a while,” Mackearney said.

Dutcher recommends turning off your cellphone when you are snowmobiling, so that if you do get stranded in the snow, you will have enough battery life to call for help.

Another good thing to remember is even though you know the area you are riding in, it is still important to have a Plan B and always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

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