Snowmobiling in Ontario this winter is about much more than smooth trails. Besides providing you with the very best information about snowmobiling here and when the trails are open, Ontario goes way beyond the norm to provide riders with more added value benefits and great opportunities.

If you’re looking to rent a sled or stay at a resort with a snowmobile package including sleds, Ontario has many good operators and options available. And right from the very start, the province offers peace of mind by making it easier and more convenient to get your Ontario Full Season Snowmobile Trail Permit before you go snowmobiling. Now you can buy your permit in the comfort of your home or office by going online! With safeguards that meet Government of Ontario requirements to protect your security and confidentiality, purchasing your permit online before your ride takes the worry out of finding a retailer or arriving during business hours. So be sure to get your permit before your departure.

What’s more, when you buy your Ontario Full Season Snowmobile Trail Permit, you qualify for valuable OFSC member benefits…just be sure to complete and sign Section III of the online application. Doing so will get you bonus items that make your permit worth much more – like a free subscription for four issues of next season’s OFSC Go Snowmobiling Magazine plus Supertrax; $3,000 in free and automatic Accident, Death & Dismemberment coverage from AIL Canada; 10% discount at Mark’s Work Wearhouse; VIP discount at participating Westmount Hospitality properties and Delta Hotels; and $20 off SPOT unit hardware plus one year of free tracking worth $50! All of these savings make your permit purchase an even better value!

You can win great prizes in Ontario with the Take A Friend Snowmobiling Contest. Just by pledging to Take A Friend Snowmobiling, or as a non-snowmobiler, pledging to try snowmobiling this winter, you can enter to win a 6-person Softub; 1 of 6 CHOKO riding gear prize packages; 1 of 2 couples getaways at the Clarion Resort Pinewood Park, North Bay; or 1 of 24 signed, limited edition snowmobile prints by Robert Van Nood.

And don’t forget to enter the Choose Your Dream Ride Contest for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid ride of a lifetime for two in Ontario’s Muskoka and Rainbow Country regions (prize value; $5,000). The winner gets to choose the ride – by ATV, Motorcycle, Snowmobile or Boat – and Ontario tourism takes care of the rest, including round-trip air transportation, all meals and accommodations.

All this, and you haven’t even hit the trails yet…but that’s not all Ontario does to take special care of you! Thanks to the award-wining Go Snowmobiling Campaign, Ontario is a super friendly sledding destination. For total newbies aged 18 and over, Ontario offers the Give It A Try Tour, available free to anyone who has never snowmobiled but wants to try, and to former riders who are contemplating a return. Participants have the opportunity to get trained, gear up and go for a supervised trail ride on 2010 sleds provided by the four manufacturers — all at absolutely no cost! What a great way to introduce your significant other, family members or non-sledding friends to snowmobiling! Note: all participants must be pre-registered and have a valid driver’s license.

This season’s Give It A Try Tour dates and locations are: Jan. 28 – 31, Pinestone Resort, Haliburton; Feb. 4 – 7, Days Inn, Owen Sound; Feb. Alice and Fraser Recreation Centre, Pembroke; Feb. 18 – 21 & Feb. 25 – 28, Wasaga Sports Park, Wasaga Beach.

For enthusiasts, the Go Snowmobiling Campaign offers Ride Connection. Anyone planning to ride in Ontario can easily link up with other riders or discover new destinations at Ride Connection. At this free site, touring riders can also find locals to help guide them, ask about trails or learn more about what to expect on your visit. And if you’re looking to buy or sell a sled, Sleds2Buy.com is a good place to start!

When it comes to finding great trails, Ontario has got you covered. You can view OFSC trails online. You can check them out using one of 18 trail guides. You can get the latest information from the regularly updated Trail Status Reports. Or you can listen to any one of the many snowbelt radio stations that carry Skywords Trail Reports or The Intrepid Snowmobiler on Radio.

Help is also available if you are looking to get involved in a winter event as part of your Ontario snowmobiling getaway. Many OFSC clubs have events ranging from poker runs to Snowaramas and welcome your participation. Ontario also boasts many winter carnivals and festivals, and why not consider adding in a day of downhill skiing? Or if snocross races are more your style, a full winter schedule is on tap in Ontario!

Ontario’s 230 local snowmobile clubs operate the border-to-border network of groomed trails, so everywhere you ride in Ontario, you can always contact a club for assistance or information. Put it all together and snowmobiling in Ontario spells F-U-N – even before you leave home!

Craig Nicholson is the author of “Canada’s Best Snowmobiling — Your Ultimate Ride Guide”. His syndicated column “The Intrepid Snowmobiler” appears in newspapers throughout North America. He also hosts “The Intrepid Snowmobiler on Radio” and appears regularly on Snowmobiler Television. For more info, click IntrepidSnowmobiler.com.

Related Reading Planning Your Ontario Tour Go Ride Ontario – There’s No Place Like This! Ontario: Exploring the Kawarthas Ontario: Primo Sledding on the Northern Corridor Ontario: Mucho Snow in Grey Bruce

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