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Vermont Snowmobiling Regulations - There are heavy fines if you are caught without the proper credentials!


Rules for Snowmobiling in Vermont


For almost 40 years Vermont has been home to a remarkable trail system that now totals over 5000 miles--
Vermont makes it easy to go snowmobiling, setting the standard for well-marked trails, readable maps, easy access to fuel stops, food and accommodations. Convenient trailheads mean that snowmobilers can hook up to trails anywhere in the State, and they'll find the best-groomed trails hte snow permits.

The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST), together with more than 150 community-based local clubs, maintains Vermont's trail network. Over 120 groomers work to assure smooth riding. The local clubs hold friendly events every weekend during the entire winter ranging from pancake breakfasts, chicken barbecues and spaghetti dinners to charity rides, radar runs and snocross races.


To ride this vast Vermont Statewide Snowmobile Trails System, snowmobilers must comply with all the following:
Be legally registered in Vermont or any other state or province. VAST recognizes all valid state and provincial registrations, so if a sled is legally registered in your home state or province, there is no need to re-register in Vermont. The cost of registering a snowmobile in vermont is $15 for residents, $22 for non-residents. There is a $2 fee to transfer a registration if a machine has been sold or traded in. The registration is valid for one year from September 1 to August 31.

Properly display a VAST TMA (Trail Maintenance Assessment/Trail Pass) decal. This provides permission to operate a snowmobile on private land in Vermont. TMA decals may be purchased only from a local snowmobile club's membership chairperson, a local business that has been contracted to sell TMAs for the club, or on-line at club Web sites. The set cost of a resident TMA, per sled, for the 2006-2007 season is $65, but with club dues, it can average $70 to $85. The set fee for a non-resident TMA, per sled, is $95, but with club dues, it can average $100 to $110.

In addition, the following regulations must be observed to operate a snowmobile in Vermont:
Anyone born after July 1, 1983, and who is 12 years of age or older, must complete a six-hour Snowmobile Safety course recognized by vermont. VAST recommends that all snowmobilers attend a safety course. More information about this can be found on-line at vAST Web site: www.vtvast.org in the Education Section


Effective September 1, 2003, all individuals operating a snowmobile in vermont on the Vermont Statewide Snowmobile Trails System must have a liability insurance policy or bond, in the amounts of at least $25,000 for one person, and $50,000 for two or more people killed or injured, and $10,000 for damages to property in any one accident. In lieu thereof, evidence of self-insurance in the amount of $115,000 must be filed with the Commissioner. Riders must carry proof of insurance and show it upon demand

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Riders must operate their snowmobiles at a speed that is reasonable and prudent, taking into consideration current conditions, trail traffic and other hazards present on the trail.

Riders must wear a DOT-approved helmet at all times while operating a snowmobile.

Windshields are mandatory or the operator must wear eye glasses, goggles or a protective face shield.
The maximum speed limit on State Lands is 35 miles per hour. The use of radar on snowmobile trails is becoming a standard practice.

Snowmobiles are also subject to posted speed limits on public roads open to snowmobile traffic.
Vermont has a tough "snowmobiling while intoxicated" (SWI) law. This law covers both drugs and alcohol. Anyone charged with SWI while operating on a public right-of-way will be charged with DWI, and the same penalty will be applied as if the rider had been operating a motor vehicle.

A frozen lake is considered a public highway.

If involved in an accident resulting in personal injury, death or property damage in excess of $500, it is a rider's duty to stop and report it to local authorities. The operator must give his or her name, address, registration number and the name of the owner of the snowmobile to the party whose person or property has been injured or damaged. The rider must also file an accident report with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles within 72 hours.

Snowmobiles must be equipped with a headlight; a red rear light; a windshield free from jagged or sharp edges; a fully functional brake in good condition; efficient muffler and other equipment devices required to meet the noise level specifications of not more than 73 decibels on the A scale at 50 feet in a normal operating environment. It is against Vermont law to sell a replacement exhaust system that exceeds the manufacturer's original equipment specifications. Violation of this law will result in a $300 fine for the snowmobile operator and a $300 fine for the eprson selling the illegal exhaust system. No by-pass of a muffler system is allowed.
Colored lens covers on headlights are illegal.

More information about laws governing snowmobile travel in vermont may be found on-line at www.leg.stae.vt.us.

Information from www.vtvast.org.