With nearly 6,500 miles of snowmobile trails and a lot of “lake-effect” snow, Michigan is a “snowmobiling heaven”. Just to give you an idea, let me quote few numbers. The average annual snowfall for some northern Michigan cities is as follows: Alpena – 58 inches, Cadillac – 75, Gaylord – 109, Grayling – 105, and finally, Marquette (in Upper Peninsula) – 149 inches! So, as you can guess, snowmobiling is a popular winter activity in the state.
If you would like to try snowmobiling yourself, northern Michigan is the place to go. If you are new to the sport, or coming up for a winter vacation to Michigan, and would like to try snowmobiling for yourself, there are plenty of places where you can rent them. The rental is not cheap. It will run you about $200 for a day. If you decide to join the organized tour, it can cost you about $100 per hour. Additionally, unless you bring your own, you will need to rent a helmet. If you bring your own, check that it meets Michigan DNR requirements.
You can find a snowmobile rental places at different locations throughout Michigan here (Sorry, page no longer available).
There are few things to consider though…
The most important thing to remember is to bring some really warm clothing, like insulated pants, jackets, boots and gloves. When you riding, because of the air moving around you at relatively high speed, it is like being outside on a cold and very windy day. Even though, you are protected to some degree by the windshield, the wind chill will be a significant factor to consider.
Your snowmobile needs to have a trail permit. If you are going to rent, the rental machine most likely will have one, but just double check. If you are bringing your own machine, you can get one here.
The snowmobile must also be registered, either in Michigan, or your state or province.
It also would be a good idea to become familiar with Michigan’s snowmobiling rules and regulations.
You need to be aware, that there are special rules limiting snowmobile operating by minors in Michigan. For example, 12-year old cannot cross a bridge or street operating snowmobile. Additionally, minors under 17 must have a safety certificate to ride a snowmobile in the state.
A lot of additional information can be found on two state websites: Pure Michigan – Snowmobiling and Michigan DNR – Snowmobiling.
Have fun and keep warm while you are out there. Michigan winters tend to be cold lately.