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Snowmobiling 101

A Safe Experience is an Amazing Experience!

At Uinta Recreation your safety and a incredible experience are our top priority. In an effort to expedite your check out time and increase your knowledge and confidence in operating and performing basic snowmobile procedures we have created a series of instructional videos and information. When renting with us each person in the group is required to read this entire page and watch each video in it’s entirety. This should be done within 24 hours of arriving so the information is fresh.

Dealing with common avoidable issues

This video is an important one!  Most of the phone calls we get with problems is usually just a result of not having snowmobile experience or not fully understanding how the machine works.  This video will cover our most common scenarios and get you back running again.

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Getting a Snowmobile Unstuck

When you are out snowmobiling, “stuck happens”! By staying on trail you can avoid it, but for those who want to venture out into the powder, pay attention. Even if you have no plans on getting off trail, it is required to know how to get unstuck in the event you inadvertently get off trail and stuck.

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Changing a Belt

Every machine we rent has a spare belt in case a belt either fails on you or if you burn one. On our rentals customers usually inadvertently burn a belt long before they actually wear out and fail. To avoid burning a belt always remember to release the parking brake if you have set it. If you get stuck, the last thing you want to do is keep hammering on the throttle in an effort to get unstuck. If you do, the snowmobile will load the track up with snow and stop spinning and you will burn the belt. This is the #1 way we see belts burnt. If you can avoid these two scenario’s you will probably never have to spend 5 minutes changing out a belt. However, if you smell that ever familiar burnt rubber smell, you have successfully burnt a belt and will need to change it. If you do not change it, it will fail on you later in your ride and be extremely difficult to clean the cords and exploded belt out of the clutches. Remember that if you burn a belt and change it out to let us know when you return so we can stock the machine with a new one. Try to avoid it as belts are expensive ($100-$185) and you will be responsible to pay for a burnt belt.

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Safety and Good Decision Making

The single most important thing you can take with you snowmobiling is your brain. When it comes to snowmobiling, most accidents and damages we see can be avoided by simply making good decisions while on the mountain. It is incredibly important to always be thinking about what the consequences of your decisions are. Ask yourself, what are the consequences of me getting off trail, or heading down this canyon, or riding in this low visibility. Always remember that snow conditions and trail conditions may change as elevation, temperature, snow pack and weather change. This means the way your snowmobile reacts, corners and brakes will change with these conditions. Always keep your speed in check. Many of our snowmobiles are capable of very high speeds. Keep in mind that all trails are open to two way traffic, meaning that at any time there could be another rider coming around the corner towards you. Ride at a speed in which you have perfect control of your snowmobile AND can react in time if somebody is coming too fast around the corner towards you and in your lane. Always stay on the right side of the trail and if your group stops for a break do not stop on or close to a blind corner and always park snowmobiles single file rather than blocking the entire trail. Always remember that these are public trails you are riding on and that you can encounter another rider at any time. If you are unfamiliar with the area you are riding, you should never leave eye sight of the trail. There are plenty of meadows and open areas adjacent to the trail that you can ride without getting out of eye sight of the trail. The main purpose for this is if you get stuck, or have an accident, or have a breakdown (not common due to the fact that we buy new machines each year) then you are easy to find or flag down help. Even if you are only a few hundred yards from the trail, if you are not within eyesight nobody will see you and nobody can help or find you. Stay within eyesight of the trail. Most accidents we see do not happen at the beginning of the day. Most of them happen towards the end of the day. There are a couple of reasons for this. 1st, at the beginning of the day most people are still learning the machine and quite cautious. As the day progresses and they get more comfortable with the machine their confidence grows as does their speed. Usually for beginners their confidence level exceeds their skill level rather quickly, so keep it real, you’re not as good as you think you are (hahaha). 2nd, you are tired. You’ve been handling a 500 lb machine for the last 3-6 hours and dug it out a time or two. Sometimes “getting your moneys worth” will result in just that in the form of damages $$$. Know when to say when and call it a day when you are getting tired or exhausted.

Avalanche Terrain

In the Utah mountains in and around Heber City and Park City there is always a risk of avalanches. Although the snowmobile trail systems will take you up and into avalanche type terrain, you can avoid putting yourself in danger by following a few simple points. 1st, staying on the trail will almost entirely (there are a couple spots of trail that run underneath some avalanche prone slopes) eliminate being exposed to avalanche terrain. The trail systems will wind in and out of avalanche terrain but rarely cross under avalanche prone slopes. 2nd, stay off or out from under any slopes 30 degrees or steeper. Off trail riding is a ton of fun, but risking your life or the lives of your friends is simply not worth the risk. For this reason alone we ask that you do not “hill climb” on Uinta Recreation snowmobiles. Additionally if you do not have avalanche training, beacons, shovels and probes and know how to use them, then you have no business climbing avalanche prone hills (30 degrees and steeper). There is plenty of low angle terrain with natural and fun terrain features to ride without putting yourself or someone you love at risk. We cannot emphasize this enough, stay off and out from under slopes 30 degrees and steeper. To check the current avalanche forecast go here. Due to the fact that avalanche’s are never 100% predictable, it is still recommended by Uinta Recreation to stay off from avalanche prone slopes even when the forecast conditions are low to moderate.

Damage can and does happen.

While most accidents are avoidable by making good decisions, sometimes the unexpected still happens and nobody ever plans on damaging equipment. Damage agreements are required on ALL motorized equipment. If you plan on getting off trail, your risk of damaging a machine sky rockets. The Damage Agreement is not insurance and does not cover personal injury or other peoples equipment. It is designed to limit your risk and your out of pocket cost of damages to the equipment you are renting. Our snowmobiles are valued at $8000 -$14,000 each and by purchasing the Damage Agreement you are reducing your risk and your responsibility of damages to the deductibles listed below. Damage agreements are required on ALL snowmobiles. Damage Agreements are purchased per snowmobile, per day and are priced as follows.

600 cc snowmobiles $25 / day $2500 deductible / limit

850 cc snowmobiles $25 / day $3000 deductible / limit


When renting we will send all snowmobiles out with a full tank of fuel. You will be required to return them full. Or, if we deliver them for you, we will top them off upon return and charge your card on file for the fuel. There are a lot of factors that determine how quickly you will run through your fuel. How fast you are going, riding 2 up, riding in deep powder, putting on a lot of miles and the size and type of snowmobile all make a difference in how much fuel you use. The Ski Doo 600 sports tend to burn fuel the quickest. Please be very conscious and aware of how much fuel you have (watch your fuel gauge). It is not often, but occasionally people run out of fuel. If you run a snowmobile out of fuel that is solely your responsibility and if we have to go out on the mountain and retrieve or refuel your machine you will be charged an $110 per hour charge to do so. When refueling your snowmobiles please fill it to the brim. Don’t just fill it till it clicks off automatically. On all Ski Doo snowmobiles after filling to the brim, go to the back bumper and compress the rear suspension with all of your body weight. This will burp an air pocket in the fuel tank and you will get and additional gallon to gallon and a half of fuel in. Then fill back up to the brim. Upon return we will check all snowmobiles to ensure they have been filled entirely. snowmobiles that have not will be charged a $25 service charge plus the cost of the additional fuel needed to top it off. Due to the high octane requirements we require all snowmobiles to be filled with only non ethanol fuel. Located next to us is the Silver Eagle gas station where you can fill the sleds with ONLY the 91 grade non ethanol (pump 9 or 10 only). Please bring the receipt in with you to verify. If you have any questions on our fuel policy, please ask.

Damage happens!

When it does, we want to reward you for your honesty. Here is how it works. If you experience something out on the mountain, (example: hit/bump a tree, hit something hard like a rock or stump under the snow, tip a machine over or get really stuck and possibly burnt a belt), even if you don’t think you damaged something and you take a proactive approach by telling us BEFORE we find out on your return inspection, we will take $50 off the cost of the repairs when repair costs exceed $300. This policy is under the discretion of Uinta Recreation Staff. Not valid on damaged belts or windshields. As my mom always said, “honesty is the best policy.”

If you are renting a Expedition 600 trail snowmobile, you should only ride on hard packed, or groomed snow surfaces.

These snowmobiles are not equipped with a track and skis to handle deep snow. They excel on the the trail and it will result in a lot of work digging the snowmobile out and getting unstuck if you get off trail. I cannot emphasize this enough (especially if you are new to snowmobiling) do not get off trail on these snowmobiles. You can ride with up to two people (a driver and a passenger) on these snowmobiles. Never put more than two people on a two person snowmobile and NEVER put a child in front of you (sitting between you and the handlebar) where they can grab the throttle or you could smash them in an accident. In order for children to ride they should be large enough to sit in the passenger seat and their feet should reach the footrests and they are able to firmly hold onto the hand grips. If they cannot meet this criteria, they shouldn’t be on the snowmobiles.

If you are renting a 600 sport or 600R etec snowmobile.

These snowmobiles are designed as a high performance off trail mountain snowmobile. They have high horsepower, are capable of very high speeds and can get you into trouble if you are not careful with how and where you ride them. Again, keep your speed in check, always stay within eyesight of the trail and by all means use common sense while riding these snowmobiles. Some of the Ski Doo Summit 600’s have a 2 up seat option where, for $30, we can add an additional seat for a passenger. Keep in mind that if you are riding 2 up on these snowmobiles that will greatly reduce your off trail riding ability.

If you are renting an 850 cc snowmobile, you must be an experienced rider.

That means that you should have ridden a snowmobile at least 10-12 times and most of the information on this page is a good review for you, not new information. This is not a recommendation, it’s a requirement. If you have only ridden a few times you will be happier and more comfortable on a 600 despite what your “experienced” friends tell you.