Explore America's Campgrounds
With more than 3,000 snowmobile clubs in the U.S. and Canada, it's no wonder snowmobiling has grown into one of the most popular winter sports. Before starting your snowmobile, first carry out a pre-ride inspection; consult your owner's manual if you need a refresher.
Start It Up
Once you've completed your pre-ride inspection, make sure the snowmobile is pointed in a safe direction and that you're in position to take control if the throttle sticks -- for example, sitting on or standing next to the machine with one hand on the left handlebar as you use the other to start the machine. Check the throttle to make sure it isn't frozen, and engage the parking brake. Put the key in the ignition and turn it to the "On" position. Confirm that the engine stop switch -- the "kill switch" -- is in the "Up" or "On" position, and put the choke in the "On" position too. On some models, you may need to pump the throttle a couple of times, particularly if this is the first start-up on a frigid day. On an electric snowmobile, turn the key to the "Start" position and listen to the engine purr. Release the choke once the engine is running smoothly. For a manual machine, pull out the recoil starter cord until you feel resistance, and then pull it firmly, as you would with a lawn mower. Continue the process until you get the engine to start; release the choke once it idles properly.
Joe Steel is a Northwest-based editor, writer and novelist, former news editor of an outdoor weekly. He also was an editor at a Seattle-based political weekly and editor of a monthly business magazine. He has been published in the "Seattle Times," the "Washington Post" and the "Foreign Service Journal," among other publications.