December 5, 2016

Snowmobiling Accident In Island Park

ambulanceA Minnesota man was killed in a tragic snowmobile vs. van accident earlier this week south of Pond’s lodge.  According to witnesses, he failed to stop at the intersection where the trail he was riding crossed highway 20.  The collision occurred when the driver of the van was unable to stop and the snowmobile was struck broadside, killing the driver of the snowmobile instantly.

While there are those who criticize the markings on the trails (particularly the placement of stop signs, etc.) the fact is that many people ride those trails like they have completely lost their minds.  It’s not uncommon on any of the local trails to have riders on high-powered snowmobiles doing nearly 100 miles per hour blow past you like you are standing still.

Please understand I’m not suggesting that the man from Minnesota was speeding or making any other kind of judgment about him or his riding (only the investigating officer can make those determinations.)  We feel nothing but a deep sadness over this accident and have no desire to judge the snowmobiler or anyone else.

It is fair to suggest, however, that if you want to remain safe while riding in Island Park (or anywhere for that matter) it might be prudent to slow down and drive defensively.  That’s especially true in areas with which you are not familiar.

All of us here at extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the snowmobiler from Minnesota who so tragically lost his life in our back yard.  We love it here, as this good man did, and we want everyone who comes here to recreate to be safe and have an enjoyable time.  Hopefully this accident will be the impetus to creating a safer environment (through better signage, etc.) and will encourage everyone to recognize the inherent dangers in snowmobiling and take appropriate precautions when riding.



  1. JTE says:

    You know, the fact that this article even had to be written is sad, but right on the mark… My sympathies with the family and friends of this young man who lost his life, and the person who inadvertently hit the sledder. However, I don’t think all the signage in the world would make any difference. We have sledders who blow through our parking lot, like they are on the open prairie. A pregnant woman who was crossing by foot on on the Henry Forks bridge was almost physically forced into the water as she leaned out of the way when a sledder forced their self across. I have seen a 10 year old young man, dump himself in the river, because he was flying over the bridge…in the same breath, a couple of days later a grown man caught his ski on one of the rails at the bridge who again was making speed! He had the audacity to come into our office and complain about the rail on the bridge being in the way…all I could say to him at that point is, ” I saw what happened, and it was not the bridges fault.” I just believe the secret to a happy ride is a safe ride…ride smart… be polite…RIDE DEFENSIVELY. If you come to a public road where you know there is a possibility of traffic: STOP and LOOK BOTH WAYS, before crossing.

  2. Snowmobile says:

    This post helped to shed new light on the subject. Just subscribed to your feed. Was searching for “snowmobile” when I found “Snowmobiling Accident In Island Park”. I’ll make sure I visit this site once a day.

  3. steve klund says:

    I was with this man from minnesota and “yes” proper signs would of saved his life. There were no signs or warnings saying that there was a road crossing ahead or stop ahead. Either one of these signs would have saved his life, guaranteed.

  4. JTE says:

    Mr. Klund,

    Please accept my sincere apologies. I was straightforward in my assumption, only because of what I have witnessed, as near death experiences time and time again. I cannot even imagine the grief that your party experienced. Island Park, is all about providing the very best experiences, for everyone, and I was not privy to the fact of NO SIGNAGE for your friend. I have just seen so many people pay absolutely no heed to the signs that we have elsewhere, and it is frightening for all.

  5. MCIP says:

    I too have witnessed near fatalities… almost everyday I might add. Most snowmobilers have no fear. I was almost hit as I pulled into Robin’s Roost the other day. The snowmobiler took no heed of me and kept going without even a side glance. I realize these people are here on vacation and just want to have fun but realize this, people still reside in the area. Please be courteous to people that call this place HOME. Follow speed limit signage. Look both ways. Be responsible. Don’t think you are immortal…

  6. Jennifer Morris says:

    It is unbelievable to me that people make assumptions about a snowmobile accident without knowing all of the facts! I understand that many snowmobile accidents are caused by speeding or reckless driving. But that simply was not the case with the accident of Jimmy Albertson. My husband witnessed his friends’ death on that trail. He was not speeding or driving recklessly. There were 12 guys in this group who had just proceeded through this intersection and NONE of them saw any warning signs of “intersection ahead” or “stop sign ahead”. The stop sign was covered by a tree. My husband was had such a bad feeling about that intersection he was actually going back to warn Jimmy about the highway when he saw the accident happen. It was absolutely a blind intersection from the trail side. Yes, we need to drive defensively, but we also pay to use a safe and well marked trail system! We will do all we can to make sure this never happens to another rider at that intersection!

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