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What are legal requirements to drive snowmobile?

Editor's note: The following is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's "Question of the Week."

Q: With a winter chill in the air, folks are getting ready to ride their snowmobiles. What are the educational requirements for the legal operation of a snowmobile?

A: Current statute requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1976 to take a safety-training course before operating a snowmobile on public lands or waters. Two types of youth courses are available for students 11-15 years of age. The first is the traditional eight-hour course, which meets two or more times for classroom-style training. The second is a CD-based course that can be completed at home. Both courses require a field day, which includes content review, a final exam and a hands-on riding performance test.

Those riders who are 16-years-old and older and need snowmobile safety training can study and complete the CD-based course; a hands-on performance test is not required.

Both of these introductory courses are designed for youth or riders with little or no experience. The courses show students the most common causes of snowmobile accidents in Minnesota, and how to avoid them. Trained volunteer instructors teach classes across the state.

Information regarding snowmobile safety certification classes can be found on the DNR's website at

--Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator