Occasionally as I visit with
snowmobilers around the country I hear someone say that the sport of
snowmobiling is in decline. The sport isn’t reaching the next generation and as
the current “baby boomers” age, there will be no one left to take their place.
hear the younger snowmobilers are good at going fast and jumping … but they
don’t know how to actually “ride” a snowmobile in technical terrain.
What is the
future of snowmobiling?
Let me assure
you that the future is in good hands. For those who think the “next” generation
doesn’t know how to ride, apparently you aren’t paying much attention to the
winter, on one of our weekend rides with my close group of hard-core riding
buddies, we had a 16-year-old that was tagging along with his older brother.
The best way for me to describe this teen was as though I was looking in a
mirror and I could see myself back 40 year ago, when at that age I was in my
early stages of a snowmobile addiction that has lasted a lifetime.
wasn’t as polished on reading terrain and picking lines. But what he lacked in
experience he made up in energy and enthusiasm. There wasn’t a moment during
the entire day he wasn’t out on the throttle and tracking up snow. The only
time he was off the throttle was when he would bury his snowmobile in the deep
mountain powder. And then even before help could reach him, he in the snow,
tugging his skis and rolling his sled over and out of the hole.
getting worn out just watching.
non-stop riding … and non-stop talking about riding for the next two weeks. And
he wasn’t alone.
seeing young kids, many out riding with their dads, and getting addicted to the
sport we love. Sure there are a lot of other distractions in life for these
kids—video games, internet, etc. But once we get them on a sled, once they
grasp the concept of carving through the snow and climbing steep hills, you can
see in their eyes that these kids have found one of the pleasures in life that
they can enjoy for decades.
had some tough years in our industry. Sales have declined and the price of play
has greatly increased. But both these factors can be attributed to the weather
As long as
we have snow, and as long as we continue to take our kids out to experience
winter, our sport has a bright future to look forward to. After all … I just
looked back 40 years in the mirror. Not only did I see my past, I saw a