(WIVB) — As Western New York continues to get slammed with snow, many are using it as an opportunity to hit the trails and head out on the ice.
“We get out as much as we possibly can as soon as the trails are open,” said Hamburg Snowmobile Club President Jason Larson.
Larson said as more people pick up on this pastime, safety will always be the number one priority.
“It’s a sport you can get involved in, and we do hope families get involved, but it’s very important – we recommend you take a safety course,” Larson said. “Just like any other vehicle, there’s the law of the trail, law of the road.”
According to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, a Western New York man was killed during a snowmobile accident this weekend. Investigators say 37-year-old Jesse Baker hit a tree after he failed to navigate a turn during a curve in the trail.
“Trails can change from going out in the morning when they’re freshly groomed and nice and smooth, to coming back to the same trail in the evening where turns are icy and things are getting a little bit more bumpy,” Larson said.
Ice fishing is another outdoor activity people in Western New York enjoy around this time of year. But the US Coast Guard is warning people that the ice on Lake Erie is not safe.
“The ice thickness levels are far below the past seasonal averages have been, which makes for weak and unstable ice,” said Petty Officer Jessica Fontenette.
Fontenette said the Coast Guard always receives rescue calls this time of year.
“[Dangerous situations] can happen in an instant. One minute you’re fine, the next you’re floating on an iceberg. And we want to make sure people stay aware of that,” she said. “You always have to be cautious. We like to say no ice is safe ice.”