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Snowmobile safety courses designed to keep people riding, says instructor

MORRISONVILLE - Robert Robare has been teaching snowmobile safety courses offered by the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation for more than 30 years and what he wants most of all is for people to be safe when heading out for a leisurely ride on the trails.

"Before you ride, there's a lot of things you need to know," said Robare. "That's what we talk about with the course. It's a safety program where we talk about everything from A to Z."

The state-certified course goes over the history of snowmobiling and how it's changed over the years, said Robare. The background on the sport, he added, gives context to how people are able to enjoy riding today, and underscores how safety measures and laws have been put in place to keep people out of harm's way.

"We talk about how snowmobiling started out with an old Model T with skis on it, then we talk about what are the laws - what you can and can't do, where you can ride and where you can't ride and so forth," explained Robare. "There's some that take even the adults by surprise."

One of the main ways to stay safe on your snowmobile, said Robare, is knowing your machine before you even get on it.

"We talk about knowing how to maintain your snowmobile and about preparing it for the season," he said. "We talk about properly starting your snowmobile and all the things you need to do before you even ride."

That includes even preparing oneself for harsh riding conditions like below-freezing temperatures and harsh winter winds.

"We talk about how to dress properly in layers and in something that's waterproof," said Robare. "We also talk about planning, like telling someone where you're going and when you're going to return."

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