Snowmobile License: Which States Require It? [Stay Legal!]


To obtain a snowmobile license, you have to take an online snowmobile safety course. After passing the course you get a Snowmobile Safety Certificate, which is often referred as a “snowmobile license.” Would you like to know whether or not you need a snowmobile license and where you can get one? Keep reading!

Do You Need a License to Drive a Snowmobile?

Yes, you need a license to legally drive a snowmobile in many states. Whether or not you need this license depends on your age and where you live, as the laws vary from one state to the next. In some states, you can legally operate snowmobiles if you have a valid driver’s license. Other states may require you to take the snowmobile safety course if you are below a certain age. Thus, to stay legal, you have to check the local laws!

But even if your state doesn’t require it, it’s always a good idea to take the course.

Snowmobiles are powered by powerful engines, and can go really fast, and the trails are becoming more and more crowded. Consequently, riding a snowmobile is not the safest winter activity!

To stay safe on your sled, it’s highly recommended that you take the safety course anyway, especially if you are a beginner. The course teaches you about the applicable laws as well as how to safely operate a snowmobile.

This not only can help keep you and others safe, but also teach you the basics of how to inspect and maintain a snowmobile. In the long run, it can save you time and money.

Moreover, you can also learn some survival skills, which may come in handy if your sled brakes down in the middle of nowhere!

What’s more, certain insurance companies may refuse to insure your snowmobile if you don’t carry a license. (While other insurers may offer discounts if you are licensed.)

As you can see there are many advantages of obtaining a snowmobile license. Let’s see how you can get one!

How to Get a Snowmobile License Online

Here is our step-by-step guide for getting a snowmobile license online:

  1. Visit a course website: Visit one of the official snowmobile safety education websites. Snowmobile-Ed and SNOWMOBILEcourse.com are great places to start! Both of them offer snowmobile safety courses for the US and Canada as well.
  2. Select your state or province: Choose your state or province and check its requirements. They are described on the introduction page, so you won’t need to sign up to read them.
  3. Take the course online: Even you are not required to take the course, you can’t go wrong if you pass it. As you can see, obtaining a snowmobile license has a number of benefits You can take this course on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you pass the exam, be prepared to pay about $25-$35, which is a one-time fee to get your license.
  4. Print the certificate: The snowmobile safety certificate (which is virtually the “snowmobile license”) is proof that you passed the course and can drive a snowmobile legally. After successfully completing the online course, you can immediately print the certificate out. If you lose it don’t worry, as you can print a new copy anytime. It’s also wise to send it in an email to yourself. (The certificate is available in PDF as well.)
  5. Keep the license on you: If you are required to have a snowmobile license you have to carry it with you every time you ride. Moreover, in some states, aside from the safety certification you have to keep your driver’s license on you as well. Beware that not carrying the license can result in a fine!

It’s also good to know that Snowmobile Safety Certificate doesn’t expire. Thus, even if this document is referred to as a snowmobile license, it doesn’t need to be periodically renewed!

As we’ve discussed, each state has its own requirements for who has to obtain a snowmobile license. For your convenience, we’ve compiled the requirements of the most popular “snowmobiling states” as follows:

Which Sate Requires a Snowmobile License?

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Alaska?

At present, you don’t need a license to drive a snowmobile in Alaska. Also, keep in mind that you have to wear a helmet and register your sled to legally ride it in this state!

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Colorado?

Just like Alaska, Colorado doesn’t require a snowmobile safety education course. This means you can legally ride a snowmobile in Colorado without obtaining a license! However, if you are between 10 and 16 years old, you must operate the snowmobile under the supervision of another person who has successfully passed the snowmobile safety course.

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Idaho?

You don’t need to obtain a license to legally operate a snowmobile in Idaho. However, the Idaho State Department of State Parks & Recreation recommends that you take the state-approved snowmobile safety course. It helps to ensure your safety and the safety of other riders on the trails!

Do you need to take a snowmobile safety course in Illinois?

If you are 12 to 15 years old and want to legally ride a snowmobile in Illinois, you need to successfully complete a snowmobile safety course. If you are under the age of 12, you can ride without carrying the certificate, but you must be accompanied by another person who is at least 18 years old. Keep in mind that the person supervising you must be sitting on the same snowmobile as you!

You can learn more about the Illinois snowmobile regulations and take the course here!

Do you need to take a snowmobile safety course in Indiana?

Surprisingly, you don’t need to take a snowmobile safety course in Indiana to legally operate a sled. However, there is a state-approved safety course that is recommended for every rider for safety reasons. You can take this course at any age. What’s more, you are also allowed to take the course even if you aren’t a resident of Indiana!

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Iowa?

If you are between 12 and 17 years old, you have to obtain a license to legally drive a snowmobile in Iowa. This only applies to public lands, of course.

You can learn more about Iowa snowmobile licenses here.

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Maine?

At present, you don’t need to obtain a snowmobile license in Maine to legally ride on public lands.

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Michigan?

Yes, you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Michigan if you are 12 to 16 years old. Get a Michigan-Approved snowmobile license here!

Do you need a snowmobile license in Minnesota?

If you were born after 12/31/1976, you need to obtain a snowmobile license in Minnesota. To get the license, you can take a state-approved snowmobile safety course here!

Do you need a snowmobile license in Montana?

In Montana, you can legally ride a snowmobile if you have a valid driver’s license. If not, and you want to ride a snowmobile on public lands in Montana, then you can take the Snowmobile Safety Course here. Additionally, if you are under the age of 16 and want to legally operate a sled, you must be supervised by an adult who carries a state-approved snowmobile license.

Do you need a snowmobile license in New Hampshire?

If you are at least 12 years old and don’t have a driver’s license, you need to get a snowmobile license in New Hampshire to legally ride a snowmobile on public lands.

Do you need a snowmobile license in New Mexico?

If you are under 18, you need a snowmobile license in New Mexico. You can take the state-approved safety course here!

Do you need a snowmobile license in NY?

Yes, you need a snowmobile license in NY if your age is between 10 and 17. If you want to get a NY snowmobile license, you just need to take the NY-approved snowmobile safety course. Besides successfully passing the course, operators 10-14 years old must be supervised by a person who is at least 18 years old. (within 500 feet!)

Do you need a snowmobile license in North Dakota?

Operators who are at least 10 years old and don’t a have valid driver’s license have to obtain a snowmobile license in North Dakota. If you are required to have a license, you can take the safety course to get one here.

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Oregon?

You don’t need a license in Oregon to legally operate a snowmobile on public lands. However, keeping safety in mind it’s recommended that you take another state’s safety course. This way you can pick up the basics of snowmobiling safely.

Do you need a snowmobile license in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, you need a license to legally operate a snowmobile on public lands if you are under the age of 16. In addition, to get this license you must be at least 10 years old!

Do you need a license to drive a snowmobile in Utah?

Snowmobile riders under the age of 16 must obtain a license in Utah to legally drive on public lands. It’s also good to know that there is no minimum age requirement to get this license.

Do you need a snowmobile license in Vermont?

When it comes to Vermont, you need a snowmobile license if you were born after 01/01/1983. In addition, you can only take this safety course if you are at least 12 years old.

Do you need to take a snowmobile safety course in Wisconsin?

Yes, you need to take a snowmobile safety course in Wisconsin if you were born after 01/01/1985. Taking this course allows you to legally operate snowmobiles on public lands in this state. Keep in mind that if you want to take this course, you must be at least 16 years old and you will also need a WI DRN Customer Number. (You can get this number at the official DNR website or at the DNR service center.)

How Long Does the Snowmobile Safety Course Take?

As a rule of thumb, it takes only a few hours to finish a snowmobile safety course. According to Snowmobile-Ed, it takes a little bit of time over several days to take their safety course. If you want to complete it faster, you can complete it in one sitting. Since you can save your progress, you can log in and out of the course at any time.

How Much Does a Snowmobile License Cost?

A snowmobile license costs around $25-$35 depending on the state. The good news is that you will only be charged if you pass the exam, while you have unlimited free retries. Don’t forget that this is a one-time fee, as a snowmobile license doesn’t expire!

How Old do You Have to be to Take a Snowmobile Safety Course?

How old you have to be to take a snowmobile safety course differs from one state to the next. In many states, you need to be at least 10-12 years old to take this course, while in many other states there’s no minimum age requirement.

Conclusion

If you want to get a snowmobile license, you need to take an online safety course. If you successfully pass the exam, you get a “Snowmobile Safety Education Certificate,” which is often referred to as a snowmobile license. Whether you need a snowmobile license or not is always dependent on your state and your age.

Surprisingly, some states haven’t any requirements at all while others may require you to obtain a license if you want to legally ride on public lands. That’s why it is highly recommended that you check local laws before you hit the snow!

What’s more, even if your state doesn’t require you to take a safety course, you can get many benefits if you take it. It will teach you how to operate a snowmobile safely and legally!

In addition, if you want to know how a snowmobile works, don’t miss this detailed post on the topic.

As a final word, if you are a beginner, you can make a good start by renting a snowmobile!

DISCLAIMER: Every effort has been made to provide the most accurate and current information. Nevertheless, errors in the information of this article may occur. Therefore, always check the local laws before operating a snowmobile!

References:

https://www.snowmobile-ed.com/

https://www.snowmobilecourse.com/

http://www.snowmobilers.org/snowmobiling-laws-and-rules.aspx

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