Cambridge Drift Dusters

Safety & Training

The sense of freedom you get while riding a snowmobile over Minnesota's snow-covered lands and frozen lakes can be exhilarating.  Yet with that freedom comes responsibility.  Snowmobile riding can be a risky sport.  Before you ride, learn how to properly use all the mechanical controls and safety devices on your vehicle; read your owners manual; and most importantly, take a safety course before riding.

Minnesota DNR Snowmobile Safety Course
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Snowmobile Safety Certification is required for anyone born after December 31, 1976. 

Adult snowmobile safety certification is for snowmobile operators age 16 and over.  The adult course is designed to show the student the most common causes for snowmobile accidents in Minnesota, and how to avoid becoming an accident statistic.

As a DNR certified snowmobile safety training facility, we offer certification training during the snowmobiling season.
The Drift Dusters certified trainers currently use the DNR's on-line snowmobile safety training course.  In this course, the student completes the course on and then attends a one day class room review and riding performance course(3-4 hours) at our club house.

Please Note:  You will not be allowed to participate in the classroom review and performance test unless you have first completed the on-line safety training course.

Visit the for further details in the DNR Youth and Adult Training requirements.

Our training class is generally held in January.  Check our club calendar or call 763-300-3885 for class dates.

Trail Sign Recognition
Snowmobile operators should be familiar with the meaning of the following trail signs.

Regulatory Signs
Instructs rider to perform a specific action.  
Red & white or black & white
Caution Signs
Advise rider to proceed with caution at a reduced speed, or advise the snowmobiler of a specific trail conditon.
Yellow with black letters (and black or red symbols).
Chevron Signs
Provides additional guidance to the rider in a sharp turn.
Yellow with black symbol.
Hazard Markers
Identifies a fixed object at the side of the trail.  Used anytime the fixed object, such as bridge railings, narrows the normal width of the trail.  The stripes slope down towards the trail.
Yellow & black.
Trail Marker (Blazer)
Informs riders that they are on a designated snowmobile trail.
Trail Marker (Directional)
Informs riders that the trail ahead makes significant changes in direction.
Yellow with black border & arrow.
Barrier Markers
Indicate gated path or that road is closed to snowmobiling.
Red & white.

Minnesota State Snowmobile Registration & Fees
Snowmobiles operated or transported in Minnesota must be registered with the DNR.  If you snowmobile is not registered, you may not operate, transport, or permit it to be operated.  You must be at least 18 years old to register a snowmobile.

The State of Minnesota requires only a current registration on snowmobiles.  At this time, you do not need a certificate of title for your snowmobile.  Register your snowmobile in person at any deputy registrar of motor vehicles (where you register your car) or at the DNR License Bureau located at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN.  When you register your snowmobile you will need the make, model, year, serial number, engine size, and sales receipt that shows the proof of sales tax payment.  Sales between private parties do not require payment of sales tax.  A person may not sell a snowmobile without furnishing the buyer with a bill of sale.  Transfers and registration renewals are the responsibility of the owner. 

New in 2013: two options for snowmobile registration!
A snowmobile may now be registered for trail use or non-trail use. 

1.  The trail use registration fee is $78.50 for 3 years and includes unlimited use of Minnesota's 22,000 miles of state and grant-in-aid trails. 

2.  The non-trail use registration is $48.50 for 3 years and is not transferable.  A snowmobile that is registered for non-trail use may NOT be operated on a state or grant-in-aid trail including a grant-in-aid trail in a road right-of-way.  A non-trail use registration requires a new registration number to be affixed to the snowmobile.  A state trail sticker is not valid for use on a non-trail use registered snowmobile.  I an individual wants to use a non-trail use registered snowmobile on a state or grant-in-aid trail, the snowmobile will need to be re-registered for trail use and a new registration number will be assigned.  A non-trail use registration decal will be yellow in color.

For a current list of MN Department of Natural Resources Snowmobile Registration Fees, click

Minnesota Snowmobile State Trail Sticker
Effective July 1, 2012, the snowmobile state trail sticker and snowmobile registration decals have been combined into one decal.  The price of the three-year state trail sticker has been included in the price of snowmobile registration.  Snowmobiles that are being newly registered or up for renewal will now be issued the new combined registration/state trail sticker decal.

Snowmobile owners whose registration expires on June 30, 2014 are still required to display a separated state trail sticker to operate on state and grant-in-aid trails.

A snowmobile that is not registered in the state of MN may not be operated on a state or grant-in-aid snowmobile trail unless a snowmobile state trail sticker is affixed to the snowmobile.  A snowmobile state trail sticker costs $36.00 and is valid from November 1 through June 30.

Anyone operating a snowmobile in violation of the state trail sticker law will be required to purchase an annual penalty trail sticker for $71.00 in addition to any ticket or fine.
Riding on Lakes/Rivers
Minnesota snowmobilers may find themselves venturing out onto frozen lakes, rivers and waterways.  Please use these guidelines and ride safe.

Railroad Safety
Railroads generally own the land that extends about 50 feet on each side straight out from the center of the track.  In some places, the right-of-way (ROW) is wider or narrower than 100 feet, but it's generally 100 feet.  The ROW is unsafe for snowmobiling or any other kind of traffic.  What's more, as private property, it's illegal to trespass on it.

Here are some statistics:

~ When a train crushes a snowmobile, it is equivalent to the force of a car crushing a pop can.

~ A typical train weighs the same as 4,000 autos combined.

~ Trains can take up to a mile and a half to stop.  By the time a train crew sees a snowmobile stuck on the track ahead, it may already be too late to stop.
Safety Tips

Some common sense tips for a safe ride...

~ Check your snowmobile and equipment before venturing out.

~ Always wear a helmet and eye protection, and dress for the weather. 

~ Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.  Never ride alone, use the buddy-system.

~ Obey the speed limit on trails (the maximum speed limit on MN trails is 50MPH).  Let weather, lighting, and trail conditions determine a safe speed.  Reduce your speed when riding at night.

~ Ride straight - no alcohol or drugs! 

~ Maintain adequate spacing between machines to avoid collision.

~ Stay on groomed area of trails.  Stay off the roadway, shoulder, and inside slope of state and county roads.
~ Be sure any youth operating your snowmobile have a safety certificate.

~ Come to a complete stop and look both ways before crossing a public roadway whether there is a stop sign or not; cross public roadways at a 90 degree angle.