Do you need a license to ride a snowmobile?

In Canada and the United States, there are fewer snowmobile licensing requirements than for other types of vehicles. Find out what you need to know before you hit some of the thousands of miles of trails throughout North America.


Licenses and certificates

Throughout Canada and the US, snowmobilers 16 and up usually only need a valid driver’s license to hit the snow. Children ages 8 to 15 can also enjoy snowmobiling, but must be accompanied by an adult. Other restrictions may apply, so check before you go.

There can also be requirements in certain areas on passing a snowmobile safety course and getting a certificate, which is as close to an actual snowmobile license as you get in North America.

Snowmobile safety training

Regardless of whether you're required to take a snowmobile safety class, Ski-Doo highly recommends it for everyone venturing out on the trails. These courses are approved by states and provinces to teach basic skills like hand signals and reading weather conditions. Not only do they make all riders safer, it also means more fun for everyone. If you’re not sure of the rules in your area, check with your local Ski-Doo dealer, snowmobile club, or state/provincial agency.

Trail permits

Some public lands charge out-of-state visitors a minimal fee for a trail permit. Check the rules and regulations for the spot you’re heading to so you don’t get left out of the fun.

Public and private land

Most snowmobiling regulations and permits in the US and Canada apply to public land, like national forests and state parks. They have miles and miles of groomed trails for everyone to enjoy. But if you have access to private land, you won’t need to follow most licensing or permitting regulations.

Avalanche awareness

There’s also more to learn about how to ride a snowmobile in areas with deep snow, like in our western regions. In these steeper terrains and higher elevations, snowmobile riders should complete avalanche safety training. It teaches you about the hazards of slides and avalanches, how to drive a snowmobile on this specific terrain, and which conditions demand extra awareness.

And it's your lucky day because Ski-Doo offers free avalanche education classes! Click here to watch our videos on avalanche safety and learn how to snowmobile like a champ.

Watch the Ski‑Doo safety video

Discover the Ski‑Doo free avalanche training

Frequently asked questions

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    What is the riding etiquette on trails?

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  • What is the learning key?

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  • How do you safely ride a Ski‑Doo with a passenger?

    How do you safely ride a Ski‑Doo with a passenger?

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