Snowmobile Club comes to Brookings

Karmen Sperr, Reporter

A new snowmobiling club formed late last semester on campus just in time for the winter season.

The Snow Hares Snowmobiling Club is a group where snowmobile enthusiasts can find other riders, go on club-sponsored trips and learn where they can and cannot ride in the Brookings area. This club will provide opportunities for new riders to learn about snowmobile safety and equipment and give students who have never snowmobiled before a chance to try it. 

“I’ve always had a passion for snowmobiling,” club President Dane Wika, said. “The whole creation of this idea came from the local snowmobiling club here in Brookings.”

Wika, who is a Brookings native, has been a part of the Brookings snowmobiling club for a while but noticed that there weren’t many college-age members in the club. 

“The whole idea of the club was to get people in my age range to go out snowmobiling to continue the tradition and the sport of snowmobiling,” Wika said. 

Another key reason for the club is to inform snowmobilers of the rules and regulations for riding in the Brookings area. 

According to SDSU Police Department Patrol Sgt. Jonathon Anderson, “Per South Dakota state law (found in chapter 32-20A) and Brookings city ordinance (found in BCO Chapter 82, Article X), it is illegal to operate a snowmobile on campus or in the city of Brookings.”

But there is an exception to this rule if a snowmobile is stored in town. 

“Snowmobiles can travel from where they are stored in the shortest, most direct route on streets, alleys or right-of-ways,” Anderson said. “But they are not allowed to travel across private property without permission while leaving town. This includes not traveling across any areas of campus.”

According to the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks website, there are over 1,500 miles of snowmobile trails in South Dakota. There is an interactive map on the website as well that shows trail information, current conditions and live camera feeds. The interactive map and PDF maps became available on the website when the trails opened Dec. 15. 

The Snow Hares Snowmobiling Club plans to use many of these trails as members ride, along with potentially taking out-of-state trips. 

 “We want to ride locally because there’s trails around Brookings,” Wika said. “You can take the trail system from Brookings all the way up to Ely, Minnesota, which is just south of the Canadian border.”

More information:

  • To learn more about the Snow Hares Snowmobiling club, contact Dane Wika at [email protected] 
  • For more information about trails and snowmobiling in South Dakota, visit the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks website at https://gfp.sd.gov/snowmobiling/.