MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Twelve-year-old Bryson Palmquist is dead after a weekend snowmobile crash.
It happened in a field next to the Nicollet Public School Saturday. Palmquist, from New Ulm, was pronounced dead at the scene.
This tragedy comes a week after another snowmobile crash killed a man in Crow Wing County.
Snowmobile trails across the state officially opened on Dec. 1, but many trails, including the ones in Prior Lake, are not ready for riders yet because there is still not enough snow. But volunteers from the Prior Lake Snowmobile Association have been prepping the trails in their area since November to make sure that riders stay safe.
Sunday night, WCCO saw them putting in markers so snowmobiles know where the trails are. They say going off trail can be dangerous.
“It’s not marked, it’s not signed, it’s not groomed, and you don’t know what’s under the snow,” said Prior Lake Snowmobile Association member Chuck Hommes.
They’re anxious to ride these trails.
“Haven’t been out yet, but yes, anxiously waiting,” Hommes said.
“We’re a little early right now, and the ground isn’t frozen. There’s a lot of standing water,” said Prior Lake Snowmobile Association Trail Coordinator Terry Hutchinson.
But they need frozen ground and at least 12 inches of snow cover to safely do that, which is what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommends.
“They’re icy, they’re slippery when it gets cold this week, they’ll be slippery,” Hutchinson said.
Last weekend, the association trained 38 new junior riders about safety
“You have to go through safety training, you have to do an online safety course, then you do a driving test,” Hutchinson said.
The association is passing on not only their love for the sport, but their love of doing it safely.
Their members say speeding, off-trail riding and riding before trails are ready are the biggest hazards they see.
Another reminder: Most lakes are not safe to ride on yet, either. The DNR recommends 5 to 7 inches of new, clear ice for snowmobiles.