(WFRV) – Just before International Snowmobile Safety Week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is urging snowmobile riders to be safe while on the ice.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging snowmobilers to use safety when traveling on ice. Current warming trends are thinning ice across the state and making some areas ‘extremely unsafe’ according to the DNR.

Officials with the DNR provided the following ice safety reminders:

  • Contact local sport shops to ask about ice conditions locally on the lake or river you want to cross
  • Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a life jacket or float coat should you fall through the ice and to help retain body heat
  • Do not travel in unfamiliar areas
  • Slow down when traveling at night
  • Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have currents that can thin the ice
  • Watch for pressure ridges or ice buckling. These can be dangerous due to thin ice and open water

The DNR says there were 16 fatal snowmobile crashes in 2022. Starting on January 14, it is International Snowmobile Safety Week, and the DNR wants riders to be extra careful when riding on the ice.

With these unusually mild temps and International Snowmobile Safety Week coming up Jan. 14-22, we urge snowmobilers to be extra careful when driving on ice. Remember that no ice is ever completely safe, and that even areas that seem thick and covered with snow may be hiding patches of black ice that could break apart under the weight of the machine and riders.

 Lt. Jake Holsclaw, DNR Off-highway Vehicle Administrator

More information can be found on the DNR’s website.