Why U.S. Riders Are Heading North this Winter

Planning a Snowmobile Vacation in Ontario has Never Made More Sense Than it Does Right Now

intrepid snowmobiler

Imagine snowmobiling along a trail that’s so wide and smooth, it takes your breath away. Now picture yourself cruising for countless miles on such wide, seamless trails that just get better and better. Then envision a sledding experience that’s so out of this world your buds at home won’t believe it. If you’ve always wanted the ride of your dreams, now’s the time to do it…


No sledding bucket list can be complete without riding in Ontario, Canada. I’d even go so far as to say that any American snowmobiler who hasn’t tried snowmobiling in Ontario is missing the ride of a lifetime. I know, I know…every sledding destination hypes itself as the ultimate ride experience – and there are many good ones – but there are plenty of exceptional reasons why American snowmobilers keep coming back to Ontario for more. Let’s see if I can persuade you with a few of them!

Save 25%

First off, Ontario is a hell of a deal. The U.S. dollar is worth the most here it’s been for at least 10 years. For you, this means that every U.S. dollar spent in Ontario buys about 25% more than if it does at home. That’s like getting an across the board discount of 25% off on everything you purchase here, including gas, whose prices are forecast to remain stable during 2016. And yes, all your major credit cards are honoured here in Ontario, where we speak English just like you do. 

Easy Border Crossing


Secondly, getting back and forth across the international border is a breeze. You need a passport for adults and birth certificates for kids. You also need your driver’s license, plus registration and proof of insurance for your tow vehicle and the same for your trailer. Sled owners need registration and proof of insurance including third party liability coverage. It helps when entering Ontario if you have a specific destination in mind (maybe even an advance reservation) and know how long you intend to stay.

Click here for advice for the U.S. snowmobiler heading to Ontario

So now you’ve saved 25% and can get back and forth easily, so what can you expect from Ontario’s snowmobile trails? 

No Crowds


The first thing you’ll notice is way less traffic. Canada’s population is only about 10% that of the United States, so we’re a lot less crowded here, especially on our snowmobile trails. Stateside, the main trail riding destinations tend to be in northern states. Every American who wants to go snowmobiling heads there, so heavy traffic is no surprise with so many riders packed into a relatively small area.

Here in Ontario, we have a huge province with tonnes of snow and nowhere near as many people to ride it. So it’s rare to see congested trails here, and less traffic means our trails stay smooth longer and aren’t as difficult to restore to tabletop each day. Less traffic also means no long waits for fuel, food or service. 

Easy Navigation


The next thing you’ll notice is that, with almost 20,000 miles of world class groomed trails, you’ll never have to ride the same one twice. In fact, you can return to Ontario many times and always try someplace new if you choose, because Ontario is 1.5 times larger than Texas. Our premier snowmobile trails are well maintained, marked and mapped so you don’t need to worry about getting lost. They’re also routed from community to community, so there’s always a welcoming destination ahead.

In addition to plentiful trail signage and staking, we also offer you a variety of tools to ensure trouble-free navigation. Ontario has paper trail maps (1 provincial and 16 regional), an online Interactive Trail Guide with frequently update status reports, plus downloadable GPS TrakMaps and an iSnowmobile Mobile App for viewing trails on your smart phone as you ride. You can also get more helpful planning info at Go Ride Ontario and check out Ontario touring suggestions on my own Intrepid Snowmobiler site.

Special Snow Tours

Ride the Snow Tours
When you come to Ontario, you can either explore your way through some part of our well established trail system or choose to ride one or more of our 25 worry-free Snow Tours. These self-guided rides are mostly loops clearly identified on the Provincial Trail Guide, participating regional maps and the website of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC).

The snow tours are turnkey, pre-packaged rides of varying distances, each signed with its own name and routed past easily accessible services, including fuel, restaurants and lodgings. There’s no easier way for first time visitors to discover Ontario.

Great Scenery

Polar Bear Riders L103 trail at Zeverly Rapids smaller

Snowmobiling Ontario is all about fabulous scenery and diversity. With so much empty land and so few people, our trails wind through old growth forests, beautiful river valleys, rolling farm country, picturesque lake lands, wilderness backwoods and the rugged Canadian Shield. There’s always something special to see and new adventures to be had. But no matter where you ride, you’ll always find snowmobile-friendly communities, English-speaking services and hospitable people to welcome you, because after all, this is the Great White North and we know how to do winter!

Polar Bear Riders SC grooming Top A south of Cochrane smaller

Save 55% on Trail Permits

Yes, you will need a trail permit to ride in Ontario. But we’ve even made that easy. First, you can buy one online before you leave home. Second, you can save 55% (30% by buying early + 25% more with U.S. dollar discount) off your permit purchase if you buy online on or before November 1. That’s about $135 (US) - $180 (CDN). Compare that to a Quebec permit at $380! Or you can buy a daily permit for just $18.75 (US) - $25 (CDN) with a two-day minimum, compared to Quebec at $60/day. What’s more, anytime after December 1, you can upgrade from a daily to a Seasonal Permit and get its price reduced by what you’ve already paid for your dailies.

Handy Border Crossings

If I haven’t got your mouth watering to try Ontario by now, here’s another important consideration if you live in a state that’s close to Ontario. You can be on the snow here fast. Your major highways connect directly to Ontario highways at the various border crossings (from Minnesota – Baudette, International Falls, Grand Portage; from Michigan – Sault Ste Marie, Detroit, Port Huron; New York – Buffalo, Niagara Falls,Lewiston, 1000 Islands, Ogdensburg, Massena)– and you can hit our snowmobile trails only an hour or so after crossing into Ontario. Less highway traffic to get here; less distance to travel; less snowmobile traffic when you arrive – what’s not to like, eh?


So whether you’re a casual snowmobiler looking for a special memory or a been-there-done-that rider looking to one-up buds, look no farther than Ontario, Canada. We’ve made it more accessible, affordable and easy for you to come visit us, so give Ontario a try this winter – and win your bragging rights to the best snowmobiling ever! 

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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