The first time I went snowmobiling, I wore a nice thick layer of thermal underwear under some cotton sweat pants and a hoodie sweatshirt. It was pretty cold outside and I had heard that, while snowmobiling, the wind chill factor can make things even frostier. I had also purchased what I thought was the perfect snowmobile suit. It was one piece suit that zipped up the front and was about an inch thick with insulation. I didn't have any special snow boots so I just wore my hiking boots with some extra thick socks. All set right? Well, not everything worked out for me as I had planned.
When we hit the trail, I was sure warm. In fact, I wore the one piece suit along for the ride to the trail so by the time I got out of the truck, I was beginning to sweat a little. We hadn't snowmobiled long before I found myself stuck in a deep snowbank. I didn't think it was a big deal until I started trying to dig the 500+ lb. machine out. After some time and with a lot of help from my friend I found myself unstuck and sitting on my snowmobile with a cloud of steam rising from my head. I was now hot, sweaty, and exhausted. Also, snow had gotten packed all down into my boots so my feet were now wet. Without drawing this experience out too long, I did have a blast snowmobiling. But, in the end, my rear was soaked, my feet were frozen, and all of that warm thermal underwear I had put on was completely wet with sweat making my entire body chilled to the bone.
So, here are some tips to avoid these pitfalls. First, wear layers that are easy to remove. Many snowmobile pants have full zippers down the legs so that you can remove them easily. Second, do not wear anything cotton. Wear polypropylene underwear or some other synthetic quick drying underwear so that after you're done sweating from digging your machine out, you dry out quickly. Third, your outer layer should be waterproof and breathable. If it isn't, you rear will be soggy and cold. Lastly, you will want to wear boots that have waterproof soles. You will also want to make sure they come up to at least mid calf so that you can pull your pants down over them. While you are sitting on a snowmobile, your pant legs will ride up exposing your calves to the cold.
A few other helpful tips include wearing a helmet with a face shield. If you don't have a face shield, you will want to wear a windstopper balaclava or something similar that will completely block the wind from your face. The cold combined with the wind from riding can really freeze your skin.