MAYFIELD, N.Y. (NEWS10) —The snow on the way may have you eager to head out on the snowmobile this weekend, but the wide range in the forecast these past few weeks has led to potentially dangerous conditions.

Fulton County is starting training at an early age. As the temperature drops, trails up north are gearing up. One local mom who lost her son found a way to now keep others safe.

“It’s all about safety, learning the basics, and starting riding,” said Shane Manns, Fulton County DEC Environmental Officer. 

Whether you’re a veteran rider or just starting out, conditions can change so old trails can hide new and deadly surprises.

“The inherent dangers of coming with snowmobiling is that they are big powerful machines. From experienced riders to inexperienced riders you got to start somewhere,” said Manns.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the New York State Office of Parks offering the NYS Snowmobile Safety Course. The minimum requirement for students to enroll must be 10 years of age at the time of the class. 

The two-day course will be held on Monday, January 24, 2022, and Wednesday, January 26, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. – 8 p.m., at the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department on North School Street.

Officials say students are required to attend both dates (all 8 hours) and pass a final exam to obtain a safety certificate. Instructor Cassie Crystal says it’s important to instill these skills at a young age.

“We teach them the importance of going slow, monitoring the weather conditions, following an order, and not going left staying right on the trails.”

She offers 5 suggestions for riders.

  1. Check the weather forecast—and dress accordingly
  2. Avoid excessive speeds
  3. Keep up with your snowmobile maintenance
  4. Stay off the ice
  5. Take a snowmobile safety course

Members of the Southern Adirondack Snowmobile Association say there are some obstacles on the trails this year. They have seen ice heaves on the Great Sacandaga Lake and as well as lack of snowfall.

“So, there are certain things that in some seasons are hidden that may not be so hidden this year. It’s important to keep the speed down and look out for what’s underneath you,” said Eric Waller, Board Member of Southern Adirondack Snowmobile Association.

Officials say speeding is one way that can cause an accident. Another tip is alcohol and snowmobiling, simply, do not mix.

“On any New York state trial, the speed limit is 55 mph unless otherwise posted,” said Manns.  

“No matter how trained you are, or how many years you have been doing it, that’s where most of the accidents happen. It could happen to anyone,” said Maria Ross, Creator of The David James Ross Foundation.

Ross took safety measures a step further after losing her son Henry in a snowmobile accident. She created a way for people to communicate out on the trails with an app called Send It – HDR III.

Henry loved the Adirondacks and was tragically killed in a snowmobile accident on Sacandaga Lake. In Henry’s honor and with the goal of helping others enjoy the Adirondacks safely. His family developed the Henry Ross Memorial Fund Safety Map.

“It does track your GPS location so if something does happen, we can use it to find you if you need help,” said Ross.