You can get your snowmobile unstuck if you follow one of these well-proven methods:
- Turn the sled facing downhill if you are on a slope.
- Remove as much snow as possible in front of the sled.
- Build an “exit ramp” by packing the snow down in front of the sled.
- Try to ride forward out of the hole while “rocking” the sled side-to-side. (If your sled has a reverse, try to first back it up a little.)
- If this doesn’t work, tramp down the snow on the side of the track and lift it onto this packed surface.
- Your buddies can also help you pull your sled out by hand or with another sled.
- If all the above fails, pack the snow on the downhill side and roll the sled over on top of the snow.
If you want to know more about each of these steps, keep reading!
How do You Get a Snowmobile Unstuck?
If your sled hasn’t sunk down too deep, there’s a chance you can ride out of the hole.
First, tramp down the snow in front of the sled. If you ride with others (which is recommended) ask your buddies to grab the ski loops and help you pull the sled out.
At the same time, shift your weight backward, apply some throttle while rocking the sled side-to- side. Make sure that your buddies stand clear out of the path of the sled!
If your sled features a reverse, try to first back the sled up a little. In most cases, if you can back up the sled, you will be able to go forward as well!
With a little luck, you can easily get your snowmobile unstuck this way.
Another trick is to use a pull strap, or a special bungie rope known as Snow Bungie. Attach the rope to another sled and try to pull your sled out of the hole.
On one hand, you can only use this method if you have a clear area for the towing sled. If there are a lot of trees nearby or the terrain is too rough, you will likely need to use a different method.
Moreover, there is always a risk of burning the belt of the towing sled.
Keep in mind that pulling the skis by hand or towing the sled out only works well on flat surfaces, or if the sled is pointing downhill.
If your sled is facing uphill, you have to try and turn it around so that it faces downhill. Be prepared that this is not an easy task, especially in deep and wet snow.
If you can’t ride your sled out of the hole, then it’s time to take the shovel out.
In many cases, you can save a lot of headaches and effort with a little shoveling. This is because yanking and pulling the sled often won’t lead to results.
Sometimes all you really need is a few minutes of shoveling. On the other hand, if the snow is deep and wet, you should be prepared for a lot of muscle work. To avoid heavy sweating, best practice is to remove your helmet. If the weather isn’t too chilly you can also consider slightly layering down.
You can dig your snowmobile out with a small foldable or telescoping snow shovel. For backcountry riders, it’s a must-have accessory!
Start digging the front of the sled out of the snow. If you can see the track from the front it’s a clue that you’ve removed enough snow from the front.
Also, tramp the snow down in front of the sled and make an “exit ramp” from this hard-packed snow.
Another way to make this ramp is to ask one of your buddies to ride back and forth in front of your sled. It’s a great way to make a long hard-packed ramp! (Just make sure he doesn’t stack into to snow!)
You can also tip the sled on its side and throw snow under it. This method also helps get the sled out of the hole in many cases!
Finally, you may want to remove the snow under the running boards as well.
Another trick is to remove a little snow under the front half of the skis. This way, they will look like they’re standing on small little ramps. Once you apply some throttle the skis will start to go down on these mini ramps, giving the sled a little boost.
Another way to get a snowmobile unstuck is by packing down the snow on one side of the track. Once it’s done, try to move the track onto this packed surface.
You won’t have to lift the track high if you thoroughly stomp the snow down.
It’s also important that you not try to lift the sled high if you are alone, as it may end in a heart attack or other injuries! Best practice is to ask your riding buddies for help.
Also, keep in mind that it’s impossible to lift the entire sled out of the hole by hand, not even with help!
If there’s no way you can ride out, your other option is rolling the sled downhill. Let’s see how to do that!
If everything else fails, your only chance of releasing the sled is to roll it over onto a new path. This trick can usually be used if your sled is stuck on a slope that is not too steep. Be prepared that it will require some muscle work of you again!
First, stomp the snow on the downhill side of the sled then carefully roll it over on top of the snow. Make sure that there are no objects like stumps or rocks under the snow!
However, you should avoid using this method on a hill that is too steep. This is because on a steep slope there is a risk that your sled will roll over on top of you or uncontrolled down the hill.
Another concern on steep hillsides is that your actions can trigger an avalanche. This means that if your snowmobile is stuck on a steep slope, it may be unsafe for your buddies to come and help you.
Therefore, you must be prepared to get your snowmobile unstuck by yourself in these situations!
How do You Get a Snowmobile Unstuck by Yourself?
To get a snowmobile unstuck by yourself, try to clear as much snow around and under the sled as possible. As the next step, make a hard-packed exit ramp in front of the sled by stomping on the snow. Try to back up the sled a little bit then ride forward out of the hole while rocking the sled side-to-side. The most important rule is not to try to lift your snowmobile out of the hole by yourself.
If all of these methods fail, you can try to carefully roll the sled over if you are not on a steep hillside.
What Should You do if You Get Your Snowmobile Stuck and There is Another Rider Present?
If there is another rider present, he can help you get your sled unstuck in many ways, such as:
- Pulling the ski on your sled by hand (make sure he doesn’t stand in front of the sled!)
- Pulling your sled out with a rope
- He can also help dig
- He can help lift the track to a stomped surface or roll your sled over (unless you are on a steep slope)
How do You Get a Snowmobile Unstuck from Slush?
You can get a snowmobile unstuck from slush by following these simple steps:
- Stop the engine.
- Clear the frozen slush from the skis.
- Remove the slush from under and around the track with a shovel.
- Pack down a significant amount of snow in front of and below the skis.
- Fire up the engine.
- Sit on the saddle and carefully ride forward.
- If you fail, try pulling the sled out with a rope.
Best practice is to ask others for help if possible. Your buddies can help by pulling the sled with a rope while you try getting out of the jam.
Here is a video on how to get a snowmobile unstuck from slush:
How to Avoid Getting Stuck on a Snowmobile
Many people say that the best way to get a snowmobile unstuck is if you don’t get stuck at all! Let’s see the best practices on how to avoid getting stuck on a sled:
- Choose the right snowmobile for off-trail riding.
- Make sure you have the right-sized track.
- If you are a beginner, you may want to stay on the trails.
- Learn the basics of riding in powder.
- Always keep your momentum and only stop on hard-packed snow.
It’s also wise to keep some specific equipment on your sled for these situations. Even if they cannot prevent these situations, they usually come in handy when your snowmobile sinks in snow. The recommended gear is as follows:
- Shovel (the bare minimum on any mountain sled!)
- Small axe/foldable saw
- Heavy-duty ropes/strap with tensioners/Snow Bungie
- Avalanche safety gear
- Dry clothes (spare gloves, mask, cap)
- Food and drink
Conclusion – How Do You Get a Snowmobile Unstuck?
Many people say that getting a snowmobile unstuck is just another skill that every mountain rider has to learn. And as with every new skill, this also requires some practice to master it.
Don’t worry, because you will have many opportunities to practice, as a sinking of the sled into the snow cannot be avoided. If you ride in the backcountry, be prepared for your sled getting stuck sooner or later.
If this occurs, there are many ways to get it unstuck. Are you wondering which method is best?
Unfortunately, there is no clear winner here are as each case is different!
Many riders prefer to dig the sled out a little, make a small ramp from hard-packed snow and ride out of the hole.
This works well as long as you are not above 10,000 feet and the snow is light and fluffy!
This is because in such high elevations it’s not recommended that you burn your energy by shoveling wet snow. It can exhaust you faster than you think!
That’s why many mountain sledders prefer to roll their sleds downhill. You can do this even if you are alone without too much effort. But keep in mind, that this method can’t be used if the slope is too steep!
If you ride in a group, your buddies can help you release your sunk snowmobile in many ways.
That’s why it is recommended that you never ride alone in the mountains!