Why you should renew your snowmobile registration ASAP

Snowmobile Registration

Receiving my snowmobile registration renewal form in the mail gets me pumped! It signals the countdown to winter and spells the beginning of summer’s demise. 🙂

Usually I receive the renewal form in August, but it arrived in mid-July this time around. Writing that check to Department of Motor Vehicles is my first financial commitment to the upcoming winter, something I’m happy to do shortly after I receive the form.

But many people will hold off renewing their snowmobile registration until the snow starts to fly. I’ve even heard of people waiting until January to renew.

The average snowmobile rider might not realize that holding off registration renewal significantly delays disbursement of much needed Trail Fund money to the volunteer snowmobile clubs and municipalities that maintain and groom the trails for our enjoyment.

What is the Trail Fund?

The Trail Fund supports trail development, maintenance and other services for the more than 10,000 miles of public snowmobile trails in New York State. The registration fee is $100 per snowmobile. But joining an approved snowmobile club will make you eligible for a reduced registration fee of $45 per snowmobile. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) retains $10 of each registration fee, and the remainder is dedicated to the Trail Fund and is distributed by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through reimbursements for trail services.

Snowmobile clubs provide vouchers to members that show member name and the names of any others eligible to register at the reduced rate. The New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA) produces the approved voucher and maintains a membership database. DMV’s snowmobile registration application requires that registrants provide a valid voucher and certify they are club members to qualify for the reduced fee.

Where do I get a voucher?

You need to join a NYSSA snowmobile club to obtain the voucher. The preferred method of joining a snowmobile club is through NYSSA’s MEMBERSHIP SITE.

If you have trouble obtaining the voucher through NYSSA’s membership site, send an email to nyssaoffice@nysnowmobiler.com for assistance.

Alternatively, you can join the snowmobile club directly and allow them to apply for the voucher on your behalf.

Why is it so important to join a snowmobile club and register my snowmobile early?

Simply put: Joining a snowmobile club and registering our snowmobiles before November 1st is the best and quickest way to get money into the hands of the snowmobile clubs.

NYSSA Trail Coordinator Jim Rolf explained to me how the snowmobile clubs get their money from memberships and registration fees:

1. When you join a snowmobile club, all but $5 of the club’s membership dues go directly back to the club. Most snowmobile clubs charge $30 for an individual membership with $5 being allocated to the member’s NYSSA dues and $25 going to the club.

It is vitally important for the clubs to have money by fall. Waiting until winter to join will put the snowmobile clubs into a financial bind.

2. Money from the Trail Fund is reimbursed to the snowmobile clubs in two stages:

  • 70 percent of the money on hand in the Trail Fund by November, plus an additional amount based on the historic average of registrations, is reimbursed to the snowmobile clubs and other trail maintenance entities (TMEs) such as towns and county federations in February.
    This means snowmobile clubs and TMEs operate through December and January before receiving any reimbursement from the Trail Fund! 
  • The remaining 30 percent of the Trail Fund is reimbursed to clubs and TMEs by August or September. Clubs have until May to document their eligibility for the remaining reimbursement.

Registering your snowmobile before November 1st results in a higher reimbursement rate per trail mile. Conversely, waiting to register your snowmobile until January could mean that your registration fee sits in the New York State General Fund for a year, making it a tempting target for a government “budget sweep.”

Other things to know:

It’s a good idea to join the snowmobile clubs whose trails you ride regularly. When you join multiple clubs, you only pay the $5 NYSSA due for the first club you join.

If you didn’t receive a registration renewal in the mail, you can renew on line:

If all else fails, contact your local DMV office.

Remember to join a club BEFORE renewing your snowmobile registration. 😉

Calls to Action!

  • Join a snowmobile club and renew your snowmobile registration…TODAY!
  • Pass this post along to your snowmobiling friends.
  • Enjoy today because it’s another day closer to winter. 🙂

Ultimately, it is in our best interest to join a snowmobile club and register our snowmobiles as early as possible. Snowmobiling is a 12 month sport in regards to what goes into making New York State’s 10,000+ mile snowmobile trail system click.

This is what our money is used for:

Comments and feedback are always welcomed. I want to hear that you have joined a club and registered your snowmobile.

For the ilsnow nation,


Comments welcomed!


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