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A snowmobiler was killed this week following an accident in the Sheffield Lake area. Regardless of the details of that particular tragedy, we are coming into a dangerous time of the year for all those who enjoy riding over the snow on their machines.

There have, thankfully, been few reports of accidents or injuries resulting from snowmobiling accidents so maybe the message is finally sinking in.

Usually, The Western Star is among the first to hear about riders going too fast on groomed trails or drinking and riding. We’ve gotten hardly a report so far this winter when there is plenty of snow to draw enthusiasts.

Spring, however, is the best time of the winter for snowmobiling — the weather warms, the snow is packed and the days are longer.

It’s also a time when ice cover on streams, ponds and lakes begins to break up.

That melting often takes place out of sight of anyone riding over the surface.

Warming water can eat out the ice cover from beneath and that can lead to riders and machines breaking though into the frigid water.

The answer is obvious but not always followed — either avoid bodies of water or check the thickness of the ice before crossing.

The first choice is the safest.

Snowmobiling has become one of the major winter activities in this province as thousands head out to enjoy all the great wilderness and snow we get — especially in this region.

It’s supposed to be fun so let’s keep it that way for everyone’s sake.

Geographic location: Sheffield Lake, Western Star

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