Snowmobiling Technique Tip – Hand Positions

Home advanced riding Snowmobiling Technique Tip – Hand Positions

Establishing and maintaining the correct hand position as you learn to ride will increase your control, reduce fatigue and improve your overall safety. Let’s take a look at the hand positions you should be using when on your sled:

Brake Hand

Your brake hand should have one finger on the brake at all times. Period. From pull start to shut down. This enables you to utilize the brake whenever you need, either for safety or performance control. If you are not already doing this, it will feel foreign at first but you’ll soon get used to it. Then you will wonder how you ever got by without it.


In the environment that we ride in, a lot goes on under that hood. Throttle cables occasionally freeze taught while levers and pivots jam open with snow or ice. From a safety perspective, starting the machine with a finger on the brake allows you to retain control in unanticipated situations. While you are riding, if you get into a compromising scenario that causes you to squeeze your handle bars tighter then you normally would (that is, holding on for dear life), and you don’t already have a finger on the brake, you won’t be able to extend fingers to grab the brake. Try it.


As your abilities increase you will need to use the brake to maintain control of the sled in technical situations. For example, alternating between the throttle and brake can shorten the radius of your neutral position turns and gives you better side hill control. On aggressive side hills requiring tight maneuvering, the use of alternating brake allows you to retain high track speed without gaining forward momentum. Downhill tracking is all about brake control and while climbing, timely use of light drag on the brake can control nose climb without letting off of the throttle (thereby preventing downshift). In all these situations you will have to be used to riding with a finger on the brake before you will be able to master the applicable technique.

If you are hoping to progress from an intermediate to advanced rider, you will need to learn to ride with a finger on the brake at all times.


Throttle Hand

Your throttle hand position is going to be more personal, but here are some considerations:

The farther right you have your hand, the more extended you will have to hold your thumb which will increase hand and forearm fatigue.

I ride with the tip of the throttle lever more in my palm than on the tip of my thumb (like in the photo). This provides me with three benefits:

  • Less leveraged force on my thumb so reduced fatigue on my thumb, hand and forearm. I can also switch the position of my hand more.
  • If I fall or am driven forward, the force of my hand is directed onto the throttle block, not onto the throttle lever. This is going to be very important on landing if you intentionally or accidentally drop or jump.
  • Allows for better counter steer push control when side hilling on the right side of the machine.
Throttle Hand

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