A snowmobile is a vehicle designed for winter travel over snow or ice requiring no trails or roads. The first snowmobiles were created in the early 1900s when even Model T Ford s were fitted with rear tractor treads and skis in front.
Since these humble origins, snowmobiling has grown into a nearly 30 billion dollar a year business in the United States and Canada. It is an extremely popular winter sport throughout New England with nearly 30,000 miles of snowmobile trails. While the vast majority of snowmobiling will be found in the three northern New England states, there are trails in all six New England States:
Snowmobile in Connecticut
There are over 70 miles of snowmobile trails in 11 of the parks run by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, the Nipmuck Trail Riders Snowmobile Club in Stafford / Union maintain a network of trails.
Connecticut Snowmobile Registration and Regulations
Snowmobiles must be registered to be operated on public land in Connecticut. Out of state snowmobiles registered in Vermont may also be operated in the State of Connecticut. In state, and out of state snowmobiles may be registered at a DMV full service or satellite office. Snowmobiles may be registered to a minor (16 or 17 years old) with parental consent and special financial responsibility insurance. Snowmobiles cannot be registered to anyone less than 16 years of age.
Connecticut Snowmobile Resources
- Nipmuck Trail Riders Snowmobile Club. Also see the Nipmuck Trail Riders Snowmobile Club Facebook page.
- Snowmobiling in Connecticut (CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection) – Lists the State Forests that allow snowmobiling.
- Snowmobiles (CT DMV)
Snowmobile in Maine
Maine is home to the 14,500 miles of the interconnected trail system (ITS), a system groomed and maintained by nearly 300 snowmobile clubs throughout the state. In addition to the ITS, there are 10,000 more miles of trails that interconnect and crisscross the ITS.
Maine Snowmobile Registration and Regulations
A license in not necessary to operate a snowmobile in Maine. However, to snowmobile in Maine your snowmobile must be registered. Resident and non-resident snowmobile registrations are available through the Division of Licensing and Registration, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W). This may be done at the IF&W office in Augusta, through a registration agent, or you may also register your snowmobile online.
Children under 10 may not operate a snowmobile unless accompanied by an adult. An individual under 14 years of age
may not operate a snowmobile across any public way maintained for travel. For a full list of the rules and regulations regarding operating snowmobiles in Maine see State of Maine ATV & Snowmobile Laws & Rules (PDF).
Maine Snowmobile Resources
- Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA)
- MSA Affiliated Snowmobile Clubs
- Map of the Interconnected Trail System
Snowmobile in Massachusetts
Over 60 of the Massachusetts State Forests and Parks maintained by the State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) allow snowmobiling.
Massachusetts Snowmobile Registration and Regulations
Snowmobiles operated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must be registered with the Massachusetts Environmental Police.
Individuals over the age of 14 may operate a snowmobile but must be over 16.5 to cross a public highway. Children 12 to 14 may operate a snowmobile under direct adult supervision. Children 10 to 12 may operate a snowmobile under direct adult supervision on their own property. Children 10 and under may not operate a snowmobile.
Massachusetts Snowmobile Resources
- Massachusetts Environmental Police Online Registration System
- Snowmobile Association of Massachusetts (SAM)
- Snowmobiling (MA Department of Conservation and Recreation)
Snowmobile in New Hampshire
New Hampshire has over 7,000 miles of snowmobile trails on private and public land. Partnerships between the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association, Bureau of Trails, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and private landowners are behind the creation of New Hampshire’s trail system, which is largely maintained by snowmobile club volunteers.
New Hampshire Snowmobile Registration and Regulations
To snowmobile in New Hampshire your snowmobile must be registered. Registration may be done in person at any of 200 registration agencies throughout the state and by mail through the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
To operate a snowmobile in New Hampshire:
- An operator 12 years of age and over must show proof of an approved safety education class or have a valid motor vehicle driver’s license.
- An operator under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a licensed adult who is 18 or older.
New Hampshire Snowmobile Resources
- New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA)
- NHSA Official Trail Map (PDF)
- Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRVs) in New Hampshire
Snowmobile in Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Parks and Recreations Division allows snowmobiling in five of their properties.
Rhode Island Snowmobile Registration and Regulations
Any snowmobile operated in Rhode Island must be registered in Rhode Island with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
No one under the age of 12 may operate a snowmobile on land under the jurisdiction of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Individuals between 12 and 16 may operate a snowmobile under direct adult supervision. That adult is liable for personal injury or property damage to others which may result. No one under 16 years of age may make a direct crossing of a state highway in a snowmobile. Anyone 16 to 18 may make such a crossing if they are in possession of a valid motor vehicle operator.s license.
Rhode Island Snowmobile Resources
- RULES AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO REGISTRATION AND CONTROL OF SNOWMOBILES AND RECREATIONAL VEHICLES (PDF – Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management)
Snowmobile in Vermont
There are over 5,000 miles of snowmobile trails in Vermont maintained by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST).
Vermont Snowmobile Registration and Regulations
All snowmobiles that are not registered in another state or province must be registered in Vermont. If your snowmobile is already registered in your home state or province, you do not need to re-register in Vermont, but you must join a local club and purchase a VAST Trail Maintenance Assessment (TMA). Liability insurance is require to operate a snowmobile in Vermont.
Individuals 13 to 15 may operate on the Statewide Snowmobile Trail System (SSTS) and may cross a public highway under direct adult supervision. Individuals 12 or older must take and pass an approved snowmobile safety course and must carry the safety certificate with them when snowmobiling. Individuals 12 years of age must operate under direct adult supervision. For individuals 8 to 11 years of age the safety course is not required but they must operate on the SSTS only under the direct supervision of an adult. Children under the age of 8 may not operate a snowmobile.
Vermont Snowmobile Resources
- Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST)
- Vermont Snowmobile Trail Map
- Vermont Snowmobile Clubs
- Vermont Snowmobile Registration