Snowy Weekend Sees Slew Of Serious Snowmobile Accidents

Feb 19, 2019

Snowmobiling across a frozen New Hampshire lake. NHPR file photo.
Credit Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

Conservation officers were busy this weekend responding to several serious snowmobiling accidents across the state.

Wintry conditions attracted the snowmobilers to New Hampshire trails and frozen lakes, but Fish & Game Lt. Brad Morse says the conditions also masked some hazards.

"When we have variable trail conditions the way we do, it makes kind of a recipe for having an accident,” Morse says, speaking from a patrol Monday on Lake Winnipesaukee.

The lake was the scene of one serious accident Saturday. Officials say a man was snowmobiling when he hit a ridge of ice obscured by snow. He flew 75 feet off his snowmobile and was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

Morse says the ice ridge may have been hard to see under recent snowfall and sunlight. He says those conditions can obscure treacherous “ruts and bumps” even on groomed trails.

His advice: "Just use caution, and don't ride beyond your capabilities,” he says.

Another man was seriously injured near Keene this past weekend when he lost control of his snowmobile and it rolled onto him. Officials say he wasn't wearing a helmet, and that speed and alcohol may also have contributed.

In Gorham, a woman hit a tree and was hospitalized after going off the groomed part of a snowmobile trail.

And in Bethlehem, a man died Sunday from an unrelated medical emergency while snowmobiling with family.