Snowmobile clubs urge caution as trails may not be fully frozen

Snowmobile associations are urging Quebecers eager to hit the fresh snow to be cautious, as not all trails are ready.

Above-normal temperatures mean patches of slush could be under snow

Two snowmobilers in Quebec have died this winter riding off-trail. (Stock photo)

Snowmobile associations are urging Quebecers eager to hit the fresh snow to be cautious, as not all trails are ready.

Last December's balmy weather meant ice sheets under trails and lakes are not as thick as they usually are this time of year. That could be dangerous.

"Everything is not frozen, so there still is some water in the trails," said Lanie Chenier, general director of Quebec's snowmobile association.

Volunteers with snowmobile clubs have been hard at work, posting signs and grooming trails. But in Laval, only 20 kilometres are open, out of a network of 120 kilometres.

"And there's still so much water, that grooming machines can get stuck preparing a trail," said Daniel Perreault, president of the Laval snowmobile club.

Snowmobilers can get stuck too.

"Laval volunteers have already had to haul a skidoo out of an icy swamp," Perreault said.

Already this season, two people have died in snowmobiling accidents. Chenier said neither were on an open, maintained trail.

But even on trails, riders should slow down and remain alert.

About 60 per cent of trails in the province are open.

With cold overnight temperatures expected this week, organizers hope more trails will be able to open by this weekend.

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