A groomer making flat snow for riders at Grafton State Park. Photo by Dave Kiely.
The following are some basic questions and answers to frequently asked questions about snowmobiling in New York. If you need additional information please contact your local club or NYSSA directly, we will try to help . Every snowmobiler should take the time to look over the “Snowmobile Guide” published by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Riding in NY | For Beginners | Rules & Safety | About NYSSA | General
Riding in NY
Q. I am coming from out of state, does my sled need to be registered?
A. Unless you are riding on one of the days where NYS waives the registration requirement for out of state snowmobiles, you must have a NY registration. If your sled is registered in your home state you can register your sled online at NY DMV.
If you are coming over from one of the Canadian Provinces you must visit a Motor Vehicle Office location.
Waiver of the registration requirement does not relieve the operator of the requirement for liability insurance.
Q. What do I need to ride a snowmobile in NYS?
A. Every Snowmobile operated off the owners property must be registered in New York and have liability coverage on the sled.
Q. Must I join a snowmobile club?
A. No, but joining a club is highly recommended and will provide you with a discount on your registration. The discount applies to any snowmobile that you own.
Q. How do I choose a club to join?
A. We recommend that you join the club(s) where you ride and / or live.
Q. How much insurance should I have on my sled?
A. NYS Law states the minimum insurance you must have. You must have liability insurance which provides coverage for any one person sustaining bodily injuries or death of at least $10,000 and for two or more persons involved in an accident for at least $20,000 and at least $5,000 for damage to the property of another. Proof of insurance must be carried with you. (Parks and Rec Law 25.13)
Q. Where can I ride?
A. Snowmobiling is only permitted on those lands where permission has been given to ride. There are over 10,000 miles of designated and registration supported trails in NYS. Refer to the maps on this web site for information to how to access those trails.
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Q. What should I wear?
A. NYS Law requires you to wear a DOT approved snowmobile helmet that is properly fitted. A snowmobile suit or jacket and pants is recommended, along with warm boots and gloves.
Q. Can I rent a snowmobile in NY?
A. Yes you can. There are several businesses around the state that rent snowmobiles. If you are riding for the first time it is strongly recommended that you consider a snowmobile tour where someone familiar with the local trails will guide you. We do provide a list on this website (link) of businesses that provide sleds for rent and equipment.
Q. Do I need to take a safety course before I operate a snowmobile?
A. NYSSA strongly recommends that you familiarize yourself with the sport before riding including completing safety training. Any person over eighteen may operate a snowmobile on lands where public snowmobiling is permitted without taking a snowmobile safety course. There are online courses available for adults.
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Rules & Safety
Q. Can my child operate a snowmobile in NYS?
A. A child between 10 and 14 may operate a snowmobile when they hold a snowmobile safety certificate and are accompanied by a person over eighteen years of age. A person over 14 and under 18 who holds a safety certificate may operate a snowmobile as an adult on any lands where snowmobiling is permitted. Parks and Rec Law 25.19
Q. May I operate a snowmobile at night?
A. There is no state prohibition on operating at night but there are speed restrictions near a residences. You must exercise increased caution when operating at night.
Q. What equipment must my snowmobile have?
A. State law requires specific equipment including a headlight (at all times), a tail and brake light, and a properly working muffler system. Parks and Rec Law 25.17
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Q. Who is NYSSA and what do they do?
A. NYSSA is the New York State Snowmobile Association. The Association advocates for all snowmobilers and snowmobile clubs in New York.
Q. How can I help snowmobiling in NY?
A. Join a club and volunteer to help maintain the trails you ride.
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Q. Where does my registration money go?
A. Most of your registration money goes to the State Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. Through the Office of Parks, that fund is used to support the 230 clubs in their trail maintenance activities such as grooming and building bridges.