SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Although heavy snowfall has made its way to Tug Hill and Western New York, snowmobile trails are still closed at this time, according to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Snowmobile Bureau.

Generally, grooming does not begin until Big Game hunting season closes and snowmobilers should be aware of this when driving their sleds before the start of the season.

As a reminder, riders should always wear a helmet and avoid riding on ice.

The Snowmobile Bureau says that all frozen areas regardless of rivers or lakes are dangerous. Ice thickness and the way ice forms are not always even across bodies of water and when a lake is covered by snow, it may seem ridable, but it’s not.

New York State has 10,500 miles of land designated for snowmobile trails and people come from near and far to explore it. Knowing and following all the safety regulations is essential for a safe and joyous ride.

If you are unsure of the regulations, the best way to learn is by taking a snowmobile safety course, which is required for youth between ages 10 and 18. Click here to register.

Whenever heading out for a ride, it is important to check trail conditions and snowmobile clubs. Riders can join a club to receive a discounted registration fee, and help to support snowmobiling in New York State.

The Snowmobile Bureau asks riders to follow these safety recommendations this season:

  • Check your snowmobile; make sure it is in good, working order and carry emergency supplies.
  • Always wear a helmet and make sure you wear the proper snowmobile gear including bibs, jackets, boots and gloves.
  • Always ride with a buddy, or at least with one other person.
  • Ride responsibly. Ride within your ability, ride to the right and drive at a safe speed at all times. Respect landowners, obey posted signs and stay on the marked trail.
  • Frozen bodies of water are not designated trails; if you plan to ride on ice, proceed with caution and be aware of potential hazards under the snow. It is recommended that you wear a snowmobile suit with flotation built in and carry a set of ice picks as a precaution.
  • Never drink alcohol or use drugs and ride.