The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has told snowmobilers to be extra cautious of the impacts of climate change when out on trails as the sport’s season comes to a wrap. 

In an interview with The Canadian Press, OPP’s motorized snow vehicle co-ordinator Paul Beaton cited 13 deaths this year as a result of snowmobile accidents. 

“Maybe that does represent an increase because we’re having the same number of deaths over a shorter period of time,” said Beaton. 

“We do have a very narrow season and we’re seeing it reduce year after year…This may tie into global warming.”

Beaton said that snowmobilers need to pay attention to changing weather patterns and ice thickness. 

“We’re not getting the good snowpack and the consistent cold weather riders need to have solid trails, frozen waterways. The next thing you know, all that ice that may have been safe to travel on changes drastically,” said Beaton. 

“It’s not able to support the weight of you or your snowmobile so people have gone through the water and have perished.”

Last year, 13 people died from snowmobiling.

Statistics show that 46% of fatal snowmobile crashes took place in Ontario’s northeast. 

“People being aware of how the weather can impact riding safely is incredibly important,” said Beaton. 

Earlier this month organizers of the internationally renowned Newfoundland and Labrador snowmobiling event Cain’s Quest cancelled their event citing climate change.