Snowmobile Industry Bits & Pieces

Published in the September 2013 Issue
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Every year, we tally and total the number of snowmobile sales for the western United States and Canada and then present an exclusive report in one of the early-season issues of SnoWest Magazine.

We plan on doing that again this season but when we pore over all the information available besides the number of units sold, we are usually forced to leave a lot of that infor­mation out due to space limitations.

Not this year. We’ve gleaned information from vari­ous sources to present all sorts of bits and pieces about the snowmobile industry over the past several months. Thanks goes out to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association for some of the information.

• Worldwide snowmobile sales jumped from 129,087 for MY12 to 144,601 for MY13, an increase of 12 percent.

• Here’s what you call ironic. Snowmobile registrations in the United States actually increased from 2012 to 2013 by 25,413 or 1.8 percent, while in Canada the number of snowmobile registrations dropped in 2013 compared to 2012 (2,571 or .43 percent). The irony is that new sled sales in the U.S. dropped in 2013 while in Canada they were up.

• Of the major snowmobiling areas in the world, the U.S. still has the highest number of registered snowmobiles (1.39 million), followed by Europe and Russia (more than 700,000) and Canada (590,677).

• In 2013, Minnesota had the most registered snowmo­biles with 251,986, followed by Wisconsin with 224,716. Of the western states, Alaska leads the way in snowmobile registrations with 52,400, followed by Montana with 46,606 and then Idaho with 38,324.

• In Canada, Quebec had the most registered sleds for 2013 with 176,564. In western Canada, British Columbia is out front with 40,200 registered snowmobiles, followed by Alberta with 35,000 and then Saskatchewan with 23,307.

• Here is a partial list of what other recreational pursuits snowmobilers engage in:

— Boating - 54 percent

— Camping - 48 percent

— ATV riding - 39 percent

— Motorcycle riding - 28 percent

— Hiking - 23 percent

— Golfing - 22 percent

— PWC riding - 12 percent

— Skiing - 11 percent

• The National Park Service did a comparability analy­sis of winter transportation in Yellowstone National Park. Among its findings are:

One mode of transportation is not conclusively cleaner, quieter or less harmful to wildlife than the other.

One mode of transportation is not conclusively more harmful to health and safety of visitors and employees than the other.

At the levels prescribed, neither form of oversnow trans­portation will result in a level of adverse impacts on park resources.

• Additionally, a study was con­ducted showing the “observed respons­es” of wildlife to oversnow vehicles in Yellowstone National Park. This chart shows the results (see chart bottom opposite page).

• This next bit of informa­tion comes from a website titled SnowBrains ( We did an Internet search to try and find the biggest snowfall totals for the 2012-13 winter season. We found the SnowBrains website to have the best overall information on our search, albeit, the website strictly uses snow totals from ski resorts, so take that for what it’s worth. We tend to be a bit skeptical when it comes to reported snowfall totals from ski areas. Having said that, we’re willing to cut some slack since they did all the compiling work and we’re just gleaning from it.

So, according to SnowBrains, the top 10 biggest snowfall totals for 2012-13 (as of April 23, 2013) were:

1. Mt. Baker, WA - 720 inches

2. Alyeska, AK - 718 inches

3. Mt. Washington, BC - 685 inches

4. Timberline, OR - 544 inches

5. Stevens Pass, WA - 541 inches

6. Mt. Seymour, BC - 503 inches

7. Revelstoke, BC - 452 inches

8. Snoqualmie/Alpental - 466 inches

9. Whitewater, BC - 451 inches

10. Alta, UT - 448 inches

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