WATCH: Group Rides Snowmobiles on a River for Miles

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Per Breiehagen/Getty Images)

In interesting outdoor news, a few snowmobilers in Sweden took their rides up the river last year, showcasing the bizarre use of their snowmobiles in a wild GoPro video. Seems like it would be easier to just use a jetski. Or wait until the river freezes over. But this group of snowmobilers took their winter activities to the next level by using their snowmobiles on a fluid surface. Talk about a couple of daredevils.

The video point of view switches between the first-person GoPro and a drone view of the group cruising down the river. At one point, one of the snowmobilers even pops a wheelie in the water. Pops a ski? One-skis it? How do you say “pop a wheelie” in snowmobile?

The group cruises under multiple bridges, traveling down the tranquil city river and kicking up quite a racket. At the end of the ride, the snowmobilers simply drive right up onto the bank of the river. There’s a clip at the end of the video that features a group of guys pulling a snowmobile with a rope up a dirt path. Someone must have gotten stuck or fallen off at one point, and I don’t envy the job of fishing that thing out of the water.

Riding a Snowmobile On Water: AKA Watercross

In an effort to understand this video and the motives behind it, I looked up if you could or should ride a snowmobile on water. What Google gave me turns out to be a legitimate recreation called watercross. The trick is going fast enough not to sink.

Riding a snowmobile on water also has other names. It’s referred to as skipping, snowmobile skipping, water skimming, snowmobile watercross, and snowmobile skimming. It’s definitely possible, as the video shows, but there are things you need to know before you just drive your sled out on the water.

A snowmobile can’t endlessly operate on the water like a jetski, and it doesn’t maneuver as easily as it does on snow. You need to be going fast enough to keep the nose of your sled above the water. Otherwise, you’ll sink and have to fish your sled out of the lake or river you sunk it in.

A good portion of the snowmobile is waterproof, like the plastic parts and overall outer body of the sled. But, like all machinery, the engine is sensitive. If it becomes submerged, it will need to be completely dried out and refueled before it will start again. Or, worst case scenario, it’ll break and need costly repairs.

The main component to snowmobiling on water is speed. If you slow down or stop, you’ll sink. Keeping the nose up is another component to riding on water, which is similar to how riding in deep snow works. Overall, for riding on water, you need to work up to the appropriate speed before your sled touches the water. Then keep your hand on the throttle to keep that speed up.