Wait for it... Wait for it...

They say the waiting is the hardest part. Here are the top 10 surefire signs that a new snowmobiling season is almost here.

The mindset of Ontario snowmobilers starts shifting after Labour Day Weekend. By Thanksgiving Weekend the transformation is irreversible. And by the Christmas holidays, there’s a burning itch that can only be scratched by hitting OFSC trails

Along the way, we look for ways to keep our sledding juices flowing, any signals that the wait won't be much longer. Here are the top 10 signs that a new Ontario snowmobiling season is fast approaching.

Attending a Snowmobile Show

Nothing revs a snowmobiler’s excitement like mixing with other riders. Or drooling over the latest gear and gizmos. Or talking sledding possibilities for the coming season. Or bragging about previous sledding exploits. You can do all this and more at the Toronto International Snowmobile Show October 20 to 22 or at Peterborough’s Sledarama Snowmobile Show & Swap Meet on November 19.

Reading A Snowmobile Magazine

Autumn has got to be the only time of year that snowmobilers wait impatiently at the mailbox. Who would have thought we’d ever rely on Canada Post to aid and abet our sled cravings? The mail that really matters are those precious fall issues of your favourite snowmobile magazines, like the combo package from the OFSC that includes issues of Supertrax and the Go Snowmobiling Ontario magazine.

Signing Up For Driver Training

Being the only one in your family actively pining for winter isn’t as much fun as sharing your anticipation. Kids can be excited allies in your countdown to snow, especially once they turn 12. That birthday qualifies a youngster to register for OFSC Driver Training. Like tens of thousands have done before, the successful completion of this classroom-style course results in a Motorized Snow-Vehicle Operator’s License (MSVOL) and allows them to drive a snowmobile themself. And that’s really a licence for major family fun on the snow.  

Social Media BUZZ

Fall is also the time when we reconfirm who our real friends are. That’s when social media channels buzz with the latest rumours, memories, speculations, and promises of all things snowmobiling. It’s where we get our fix and the stamina to hang on until the white stuff falls. If your social media hasn’t gone snowmobile crazy, you might want to consider finding some new friends at Facebook pages like Go Snowmobiling Ontario, What A Ride, or Intrepid Snowmobiler.

Visiting A Dealer Open House

Next to attending a snowmobile show, visiting a dealer showroom is the best antidote for our snowy yearnings. For brand-loyal sledders, a favourite dealer and like-minded customers provide sanctuary and affirmation. Seeing the new sleds and gear on display is like relishing one of your mom’s delicious home-cooked meals: nobody does it better. And besides, the deals typically offered at a dealer open house may be the next best thing to actually riding your sled. Find your dealer at: Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, Yamaha or click here for a list of all snowmobile dealers in Ontario.

Collecting Trail Maps

Dream all you want, but then start making those dreams come true with a trail map.  Autumn is map collection time and you can get yours at a snowmobile show, from your dealer, or from your local snowmobile club or tourism centre. If you're on the mailing list for the OFSC Go Snowmobiling Ontario Magazine, your 2018 Provincial Trail Guide will arrive in the mail before Christmas. Can’t wait? Go online and dream to your heart’s content with the 30,000 kilometres and 35 Snow Tours on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide.

Helping With Trail Prep

If you really want to whet your appetite for snowmobiling, you've got to get out on the trail. Even when there’s no snow yet, spending a day doing trail prep with your local club provides a visceral connection to what snowmobiling’s all about. You’ll be side by side with other volunteers who share your enthusiasm and love of sledding. Plus, you’ll have the personal satisfaction of having helped get the trails ready.

Watching The Weather

Although our rational minds tell us long-range weather forecasts aren’t always reliable, hope springs eternal. So snowmobilers start watching weather forecasts from late summer on, share them like they’re gospel, and ignore any that don’t match our expectations. Some of us even go as far as taking the forecast duties into our own hands. See our winter weather predictions for the 2017-2018 season here.

Communing With Your Sled

The closer it gets to winter, the more time snowmobilers spend with their sleds. From puttering to prepping, physical contact with our snow machines soothes the soul and eases our snow addiction. Practically speaking, giving your snowmobile a little pre-season TLC means you should be ready to hit the trails as soon as they are available to ride. So who cares if the neighbours think it’s crazy to sit on your sled making vroom noises?

Buying Your Permit

This is the ultimate sign that a new snowmobiling season is fast approaching. When Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permits go on sale, it’s an affirmation of our belief in winter. Buying a permit early is like we’re making stand for snow, and as the late Tom Petty sang, “I won’t back down.” 

Putting our money where our mouth also enables snowmobile clubs to pay for the 75-80% of trail-related expenses incurred during the fall months. And if that isn’t a surefire sign of our confidence in winter, I don’t know what is.

About Craig Nicholson—The Intrepid Snowmobiler

Popularly known as The Intrepid Snowmobiler, Craig Nicholson is an International Snowmobile Hall of Fame journalist who specializes in recreational snowmobiling activities. Craig has snowmobiled in every region of Canada and many states. His one-of-a-kind tour book, “Canada’s Best Snowmobiling – The Ultimate Ride Guide”, chronicles his adventures, as does his website and Facebook page.

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