Snowmobiles ‘a must’ for locals in Czech mountains


With snow in mountainous areas and resorts in the Czech Republic averaging 140 centimetres, it’s no surprise locals have been hitting the trails on their snowmobiles in recent days and weeks. The number of skidoos on Czech trails has only continued to grow in recent years and with increased traffic have come greater concerns and greater risk – one reason why officials from the country’s Road Transport Services Centre conducted checks in the area of Špindlerův Mlýn last week.

Snowmobiles: life at Czech ski resorts, chalets and mountainous areas would be unthinkable without them, used by everyone from dedicated sportsmen and women to mountain rescue crews. According to estimates, some 6,000 skidoos have been registered but Czech TV reported recently the figure might be twice that: from older, heavier models still making the rounds on the trail, to newer, more efficient machines.

The last notable accident happened two years ago – but increased use means operators, like anyone else behind the wheel, have to exercise greater caution.

Last week officials conducted routine checks to makes sure snowmobiles in use in the area of Trutnov were in good technical condition. Dalibor Dušek, an official at the local Road Transport Services Centre, explains some of the problems uncovered:

“Periodically we’ll find that motorists have busted light bulbs but sometimes we uncover too much ‘play’ in the steering mechanism.”

Generally, owners are careful with their machines to be able to rely properly on them as a fast and effective means of getting from A to B: on heavy snow, simply nothing else will do. Jan Špindler is the owner of a Bombardier Alpine 2 skidoo that he bought more than two decades years ago: back then, it cost him half a million crowns, so he must have been happy now it passed testing without a hitch. Afterwards, he said this:

“The first to have this snowmachine around here was the Mountain Rescue. This was the second model in the area, and the first privately-owned. It’s a real workhorse: it has two tractor treads and leaves a path 90 centimetres wide.”

Many locals and owners will confirm that snowmobiles in places like Špindlerův Mlýn are more than just transport: many newer, lighter models are used largely for recreational purposes.