During the 2008 International Snowmobile Congress in Boise, ID, last June, several discussions were brought up about the growing popularity of snowmobiling in Russia.
According to those in the know about such things, there are about 70 snowmobile clubs in Russia now, which are organized around snowmobile dealerships, unlike here in the United States and Canada, where clubs are organized by volunteers and run independent of dealerships or government agencies. Also, the Russians have developed two groomed trails – not much by North American standards, but it is a start.
As we reported in the September, 2008, issue of SnoWest, Russia was a bright spot in worldwide snowmobile sales for the 2008 selling season. Europe (mostly consisting of Finland and Sweden and some of Norway and Poland) and Russia account for 20.54 percent of worldwide sales in snowmobiles in 2008 with Russia making up about 30 percent of the European/Russia market.
Some Russians are flush with money from the burgeoning energy market and they are using that disposable income to purchase snowmobiles, so there is interest from the major snowmobile manufacturers in the market potential of that country.
One of the reasons the Russians were brought up at the ISC was that a group of organized snowmobilers from that country wants to join the ISC. Presently the ISC has members from the United States, Canada and Sweden. The general consensus of the governing board of ISC was to see how well-organized snowmobiling develops in Russia and monitor its progress before making any hard decisions. Apparently a Russian snowmobile contingent is planning on attending the ISC annual meeting in Prince Edward Island, Canada, next summer.
Information on the present ISC members includes:
American Council of Snowmobile Associations www.snowmobilers.org
Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations www.ccso-ccom.ca