In March of 2018, Lumby, B.C., resident Travis Squair was tragically killed in a snowmobile accident.
“Unfortunately, it was just a freak accident,” Squair’s friend Craig Moore told Global News at the time.
“It’s a sport that we all love doing, and we know the risks that happen out there,” Moore said.
Now, a report from Statistics Canada finds that, on average, 73 Canadians die in snowmobile accidents every year.
The report highlighted excessive speed, night riding and alcohol and drug use as the biggest risk factors in snowmobiling deaths.
Nine in 10 snowmobile deaths recorded from 2013 to 2019 involved men, with most deaths occurring between the ages of 20 and 64, the study found.
While the report went on to say that 20 per cent of snowmobile fatalities involve multiple vehicles, the majority involve a single snowmobile.
And in half of those deaths, the snowmobiler collided with a stationary object.
“Recently I did have an incident,” avid Kelowna snowmobiler Wayne Dudych revealed to Global News.
As a lifelong sledder, Dudych has first-hand experience colliding with an immoveable object on a snowmobile.
“I hit a stationary object, an actual bridge abutment,” Dudych admitted.
The Kelowna Snowmobile Club member credits his motocross armour for saving him from serious injuries.
“It did prevent me from possibly being in wheelchair,” Dudych said.
That’s why Dudych maintains that there are ways to mitigate risk when riding.
Whether it’s an avalanche backpack or carrying proper survival gear, Dudych says he preaches safety first when sledding so he can continue to enjoy the sport he loves.
“I know people, not close friends, that have died snowmobiling. You just got to do the assessment on the risk and use the right tools,” Dudych sai