OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Officials urge snowmobile safety after recent accidents

Jan 9, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jan 16, 2023, 3:50 pm

Six rescuers, each on a snowmobile, are pictured...

Iron County Search and Rescue are pictured after a recent rescue of an injured snowmobiler. (Iron County Search and Rescue)

(Iron County Search and Rescue)

SALT LAKE CITY — Fresh powder has Utahns wanting to hit the backcountry for some fun, but experts are saying that staying safe is key.

Since the start of 2023, there have been several reports of snowmobile crashes in our mountains and even the death of rally car driver Ken Block.

Kam Kohler with Wasatch County Search and Rescue said recent accident numbers aren’t exactly unusual. Lots of snow brings lots of Utahns ready for backcountry fun

But, Kohler said,  you never know when an accident will happen. So it’s best to be prepared. 

“Get the right gear, the right training, the right riding buddy, so that you’re hedging your bet when you go back,” Kohler said, adding, “We want people to go have a good time and then get back home to their families.”

Kohler said people think that they are just going up for the afternoon for a couple of hours, so they aren’t readily prepared for disaster.

Those going into the backcountry should tell people where they’re going, have an avalanche kit and wear a tether that turns off the snowmobile. 

Kohler also advised being ready to stay longer than you planned, with a fire starter, food and water on hand.

Related: What you need to know about avalanche safety in Utah

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Officials urge snowmobile safety after recent accidents