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Fewer snowmobile fatalities this season due to warm winter

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Upstate New York has seen a decrease in snowmobile crashes and fatalities this season, thanks in part to an unusually warm winter.

The season, which runs from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, saw 13 fatal crashes and 34 non-fatal crashes as of March 16. This is a significant drop of around 60 percent from the previous season, which saw 113 crashes, including 19 fatalities, according to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Dan Keefe, spokesperson for the Parks office, said that while the numbers are not final, there are likely two factors at play. First, the state increased its police presence in Lewis County, which had the most number of fatal snowmobile crashes statewide, resulting in four fatalities this year compared to nine last year. Second, the warm weather this season meant less snow, which led to less snowmobile traffic and fewer crashes overall.

Alan Sofen, vice president of Saratoga Snowmobile Association, agreed that the warm winter was the likely factor in the drop in crashes, as January and February saw little to no snow to ride on in many places. Sofen noted that the association had only opened the 70 miles of trails it maintains in Saratoga County for four days this season prior to a hefty snowfall on March 14. It took two days after the storm to pack down snow and clear trails of branches. However, he was still hoping the coming rain and warm temperatures didn’t wipe out any last chance to ride for the rest of the season.

Categories: New York StateNews