©Tourisme Charlevoix, Robert Chiasson
Everything You Need to Know About Planning Your Snowmobile Trip
Now that you’ve made the decision to visit Québec this winter, get ready for the ride of your life! Québec does winter like no one else and there are over 33,000 kms (20,500 miles) of gorgeous groomed trails running past some of the best winter scenery on earth, all of it waiting for you to discover.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, iMotoneige onto your smartphone, there are a few things you need to know to maximize your trip. Here’s a checklist of things you should be aware of:
1. Make sure you’ve received your FCMQ trail permit either in advance by mail (you can order it securely online) or before leaving your staging area by snowmobile (the inn or hotel where you’ve left your motor vehicle, trailer etc.). Be sure to carry both the sticker and your proof of purchase of the permit with you at all times. The sticker should be permanently mounted on the hood or windshield of your snowmobile.
2. Always carry your snowmobile’s provincial or state registration certificate with you and have an up-to-date license sticker clearly displayed on your snowmobile.
3. Have your driver’s license accessible at all times. You may be asked to display it at road crossings or when traveling to restaurants, gas stations or accommodations on road right-of-ways.
4. Make sure you can prove you have $500,000 minimum liability insurance coverage.
5. If you’re driving a rental snowmobile, always carry a copy of the rental contract with you on your trip.
6. If you are a rider 16 or 17 years of age, you’ll need to carry a “Competence and Knowledge Certificate” with you at all times. This document certifies the rider has completed a snowmobile driver-training course. However, it is not necessary if the rider has a valid state or provincial drivers license.
Here are a few more ideas to make your trip easier and more memorable:
a) Before leaving home, download iMotoneige to plan your daily itinerary.
b) Use the app or online map (snowmobileinquebec.com/trails) to find the addresses and phone numbers of the places you intend to stay at or visit. It’s wise to print a written copy of that information and carry it with you on your trip in case of battery failure or a lost phone.
c) Before you leave home, determine the distance you’ll be traveling each day of your trip and estimate the mileage the thirstiest snowmobile in your group will deliver. This helps with locating gasoline and food services and ensures you won’t be “running on empty”.
d) Use the app or maps to look for tourist information on the regions you’re visiting and details on getting to the sights you’d like to visit there.
Québec has more than 38 secure hotels and overnight accommodations where you can leave your snowmobiles, trailers and trucks safely. These places will have security features like a locked garage, locked enclosure, free security chains for the use of guests, video surveillance systems or security guard services. Look for these places on iMotoneige or the online map.
When viewing your Québec map, determine where you’d like to begin and end your trip. Starting at the right point in the region most accessible to you means less time driving before you start snowmobiling.
Keep in mind, your trail permit allows you to snowmobile anywhere in Québec and you can easily visit several regions in one tour depending on the time you have available and the term of your trail pass.
Check these regions out on your map and plan the shortest route to get to your starting point:
* Centre-du-Québec – Chaudière-Appalaches
* Gaspésie – Bas-Saint-Laurent – Côte-Nord
* Charlevoix – Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean – Québec City
Taking a little extra time to pre-plan the details of your trip will ensure your group will enjoy Québec even more! Not only that, but it’s so much fun talking about the destinations you’ll be seeing over the next few days and then actually riding there!
You can check the snow condition and snowfall and grooming and trail conditions daily before and during your trip by clicking on the snowflake icon at snowmobileinquebec.com/trails