Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories
√ First weekend in March to be dedicated to free snowmobile weekend
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that, from March 3 to 5 this year, and annually thereafter, the first consecutive Saturday and Sunday in March will be free for all out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers. During this promotional weekend, the requirement to register in New York is waived for properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts wishing to explore New York's 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails.
"With the support of local governments and snowmobile clubs, we are so glad to welcome out-of-state snowmobilers each year to New York state trails," Hochul said. "By offering this free snowmobiling weekend at the same time each year, our hope is to spur friendships, get annual trips on calendars, and boost promotion of upstate tourism. Our expansive snowmobile network gives visitors and tourists an incredible opportunity to explore our state."
Out-of-state and Canadian participants in the free snowmobiling event must operate a snowmobile that is registered in their home state/province, and must carry any applicable insurance as required. Outside of this promotion, out-of-state and Canadian snowmobilers are required to register their snowmobiles with New York state before hitting the state's trails – from the Hudson Valley to the North Country to Western New York.
This year's free snowmobiling weekend, March 3-5, “reinforces the importance of tourism to state and local economies, and New York's commitment to the industry in the wake of the pandemic,” a press release stated. “New York state has made an ongoing commitment to snowmobile trail maintenance, and our local grants program is funded by snowmobile registration fees collected by the state Department of Motor Vehicles and deposited into the snowmobile trail development and maintenance fund. County and municipal governments distribute the grants to about 230 snowmobile clubs across the state, which in turn groom and maintain the trails. The trail grants support 10,500 miles of designated trails across the state for snowmobilers to safely enjoy.
Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, "There is no limit to what New Yorkers can experience across our state, and now we're revved up to welcome even more outdoor winter enthusiasts to the Empire State. I'm grateful to the snowmobile clubs and local governments who help with the upkeep of trails and make sure they are safe and well-groomed for residents and visitors alike."
Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "New York has thousands of miles of snowmobiling trails that offer visitors a great way to explore the state's winter landscapes. With unique outdoor experiences, distinctive lodging and delicious food and beverage offerings to complement any getaway, our free snowmobiling weekend is a perfect opportunity to plan a trip to come be a part of the frosty fun that awaits throughout New York state."
Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "DMV is happy to be able to make it as easy as possible for people to enjoy the tremendous trail system New York has set up for snowmobiling. If a taste of riding the trails gets people excited enough to take this up on a regular basis, we are ready, willing and able to get your sled registered and ready to go. Of course, it goes without saying that sledders should ride safely and responsibly and not when they may be impaired."
New York State Snowmobile Association Executive Director Jennifer Senf said, "We appreciate Gov. Hochul declaring and promoting March 3-5 a free snowmobiling weekend in New York for out-of-state residents. The weekend is a wonderful opportunity for out-of-state visitors to come and explore the over 10,000 miles of trails in New York state."
Hochul’s team said, “Trail conditions vary depending on snowfall amounts and other factors. State Parks cautions snowmobilers, fishermen, skiers and snowshoers to put safety first and to proceed with extreme caution before venturing on ice- or snow-covered bodies of water. The unusually warm weather conditions forecasted over the next week and associated runoff could undermine existing ice. Ice thickness can vary on every body of water; even within the same body of water. Given the warmer temperatures we've had this winter, lakes and ponds that appear to be frozen over may be deceiving. Be aware of potential hazards under ice- or snow-covered bodies of water. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions locally and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Venturing out on ice that is not thick enough can lead to tragedy, and we want to ensure that recreationalists have an enjoyable time while also taking the proper precautions to stay safe. State-funded snowmobile trails never cross frozen bodies of water.
“Check the websites of area snowmobile clubs for information on trail conditions, including the status of grooming. Individuals operating a snowmobile should be familiar with safe riding practices and all applicable laws, rules and regulations.”
The New York State Snowmobile Association website provides information about snowmobiling and snowmobile clubs. Maps of the state snowmobile trail network are available on New York State Parks' website here.
A guide from “I LOVE NY” to snowmobile trips available in the state can be found here.
The DMV reminds New York riders that snowmobile registrations must be renewed annually. DMV allows snowmobilers to renew registrations online on the DMV website, by mail or in person at a DMV office. Snowmobile registration costs $100, but is decreased to $45 if the snowmobiler is a member of a local snowmobile club.
Non-New Yorkers who wish to use a snowmobile in New York state before or after this promotional weekend can use the NYS registration for out-of-state snowmobile service to get a 15-day registration and operate their snowmobile here immediately. DMV will send a permanent registration in the mail.
For information on snowmobiling, visit parks.ny.gov. Visit the DEC website here for more information on snowmobiling on state lands.