Starting on the third Saturday in January every year it is International Snowmobile Safety Week and given that snowmobiling is such a well-loved recreational sport here in Vermont, it is only fitting that as a snowmobilers paradise, we join the celebration and share some highlights for snowmobiling in Vermont.
To kick things off, here are some fun facts on snowmobiling according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association:
- In 2021, there were 59,234 snowmobiles sold in the U.S. alone
- There are approximately 1.3 million snowmobiles registered in the U.S. and 20,810 of them are in Vermont
- There are 6,000 miles of snowmobile trails in Vermont
- According to Johnson State College (now known as Northern Vermont University) in 2003, the economic significance of snowmobiles in Vermont was over $600 million annually
*More facts are available here.
The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) is a statewide non-profit that helps makeup over 125 local snowmobile clubs and is responsible for the trails throughout the state, with support from the local clubs. In Rutland County alone, nine active clubs are all made up completely by dedicated volunteers with a passion for snowmobiling.
Pending the snow conditions, trails open December 15 so our snowmobile enthusiasts are in their prime throughout the state right now. You will be sure to see some upset snowmobilers come December 15 if there isn’t enough snow to ride. Oftentimes, many riders will travel to other parts of the state that are blessed with more snow to take advantage of fresh trails if there isn’t enough snow in Rutland County or they are just looking to change up the scenery.
There are countless reasons to enjoy the sport of snowmobiling. Here are some of the top reasons our locals have fallen in love with the rush:
- Picturesque scenery – taking in the views of Vermont from a snowmobile is like no other whether you are in the woods surrounded by snow-covered trees or at the top of a mountain looking at our Green Mountains with a layer of glistening fresh snow.
- Fun for the Whole Family – families with kids of all ages can take advantage of our snowmobile trails! It isn’t uncommon to see parents tying a scarf around their little ones sitting in front of them as they drive along.
- Fresh air – snowmobiling is just another way to experience one of the many outdoor recreation activities in Vermont, even in the middle of the bitterly cold winter.
If you are visiting Vermont and want to give snowmobiling a little test, there are opportunities to try it out, but it is important to be sure you have everything you’ll need before you go. The Vermont Outdoor Guide Association shares great advice on snowmobile tours and services throughout the state, including right here in Rutland County.
Snowmobile safety is a top priority for our riders, so a snowmobile safety course is required for anyone born after July 1, 1983, which are provided by many local clubs throughout the state on an annual basis. Riders also ensure the respect of local landowners as anyone who snowmobiles is grateful for th
e use of their land.
In addition to the safety course, here is what you will need to get out on the trails:
- A registered and insured sled
- Club membership
- VAST TMA
- Warm clothes!
We know you will fall in love with the sport as soon as you give it a try and we hope to see you out on the trails this winter and many more winters to come.
Photos provided by Poultney Snowmobile Devils.