Listen too long to some people, both in and out of our industry, and you'd think snowmobiling was nearly dead . or at least living on life support. Except for the East, some parts of Canada and a handful of spots in the West, snow was as scarce as a Greenie at a Liars Anonymous meeting. That resulted in a drop in snowmobile sales (duh) and meant most of us really had to work at finding some powder this past season. But we managed to make it through last winter.
To borrow (and modify) a phrase from Mark Twain, "The report of the death of snowmobiling is an exaggeration."
I look at the current state of our industry as we're facing a broken leg, not being on life support.
Because of that view, some of you might think I'm naive. Maybe it's just that I prefer to be optimistic and not so negative.
Oh, I'm well aware of the efforts to jerk our sport off of the perceived state of life support so that we will disappear from the planet. But rather than stand idly by in the waiting room (there are plenty of those in our sport willing to stand by, waiting to see what will happen, without any real intent of helping), I'll be right there ready to take on those pulling out the tubes, trying to suck the life out of our good sport.
I say to anyone out there who wants a piece of our sport: bring it on.
What causes me to be optimistic? First off, while I guess it's possible, chances are pretty slim that it's not ever going to snow again. Even with the crummy snow conditions in much of the West last season, there were some hot spots where snow piled up deep. Colorado is a good example. So is McCall. And far eastern Oregon got some great snow this past season. We here at SnoWest had some spectacular rides last season.
The second reason I'm so gung ho is because of the sleds we have to ride these days. There's nary a bad one in the bunch. For whatever kind of riding you like to do, whether it be point-and-shoot hillclimbing, boondocking, trail riding, or deep powder busting, there's a sled for you. Sleds are lighter, more powerful and better able to take us to places we never thought possible before. Sled sales are sagging a bit, even in the West, but it's not because the Big Four aren't cranking out some fine hardware . it has to do directly with snowfall. Look at the eastern U.S. Snowfall last season was piled high and sled sales were strong. If the Midwest were to have two decent
winters, I'm willing to bet sleds would be flying out of dealerships.
Some of the most trick snowmobiles ever made are on tap for 2004, and if we can believe the rumors, watch out for 2005. Now is a good time to buy a sled. The manufacturers are definitely motivated to move the inventory and that almost always means a good deal for us, the
And if you just can't be happy with a stock sled, there are some great aftermarket products that make the snowmobiling experience even sweeter.
Reason 3. Because of the hard work of a few dedicated volunteers within our industry, the almost overwhelming tide of negative rhetoric about snowmobiling (and snowmobilers) is being turned back. Two or three years ago, you might have been a little nervous to admit you were a snowmobiler because a mob might rise up against you. But now that we're getting out the truth about snowmobiling, we're once again considered to be a part of normal society-not the outcasts some people tried to make us out to be.
There are lots of other reasons I'm sure the sky is not falling on snowmobiling, but those three are enough to keep me going.
Yea, you could call this a "feel good" article.
You'd be right, because I feel good about snowmobiling.