Those sounds you hear coming from the snowmobile factories around the world probably sound more like sighs of relief than outright cheering.
It's not that there isn't anything to cheer about in the snowmobile industry this year. It's just that nerves have been rubbed a little raw over the past several years by a downward spiral in sled sales. And that means when a good year does finally roll around, it's more a relief than anything.
Considering snowmobile sales have been down for nine consecutive years in the United States, down eight out of the last nine years worldwide and down six out of the past nine years in Canada, the numbers this year are definitely cause for celebration.
Not only is there finally some good news about sales, the snow was really something to crow about last winter. It was phenomenal.
Snowmobile sales are partially reflected by those good snow conditions as the white stuff came early and stayed late. But the up tick in sled sales also reflected a more positive mood among buyers.
The percentage increase of snowmobile sales in the western United States-up 6.58 percent-closely mirrored that of the United States, which was up 6.95 percent. Wyoming led the way in the West with a 36 percent increase in sled sales, followed by Montana with a 35 percent increase.
Snowmobile sales-at least percentage-wise-were even brighter in western Canada, which showed an uptick of 20.1 percent, compared to 8.51 percent Canada-wide.
Worldwide, snowmobile sales showed a 10.38 percent increase with 123,063 units sold.
Another key indicator that the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, which reports the snowmobile sales figures to the public, uses to gauge the industry, is snowmobile registrations. For 2011 in the United States, sled registrations were up 50,080-3.3 percent-to 1,550,158. Canada also saw an increase, up 20,768 to a total of 602,902 or 3.5 percent.
However, as everyone knows, one year does not make a trend. Can the industry sustain this curve up in snowmobile sales? Time will tell.
Here are the latest snowmobile sales figures for model year 2011 in the exclusive SnoWest Magazine annual snowmobile sales report.