The Mounties say the bizarre misadventure started Monday around 2 p.m. when a snowmobiler was trying to cross the two-lane highway west of St. Jude's, N.L.
Police say the machine had a hard landing as it came down the side of a snowbank, the throttle jammed and the driver was thrown off.
RCMP Cpl. Dean Hyde says the Arctic Cat then sped off on its own, hitting speeds estimated at 50 to 60 kilometres per hour.
At one point, an officer in an unmarked cruiser tried to force the machine off the road, but the runaway sled got away.
Hyde says tracks left behind by the snowmobile show it crossed the highway three or four times before flipping over near Pasadena, N.L.
"It was going at a fair speed," Hyde said in an interview. "From where the driver fell off to where the snowmobile came to a rest was just over 12 kilometres. ... It's one-in-a-million, and it's a good story in the sense that no one got hurt and there was very minimal property damage. It's pretty amazing when you think about it."