A boon in snowmobile sales during the COVID era is making news across the country, as regional newspapers and TV stations stumble over each other to interview dealers in their area to get a “local angle” on the good news that is snowmobiling in 2020-21.
According to multiple reports, some which quote the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association’s Ed Klim, sales of new snowmobiles are up 20 percent compared to the same period one year earlier. That’s the biggest jump in year-over-year snowmobile sales in 25 years – and it could be even higher if there were more vehicles available to buy!
We’ve heard similar reports from dealers and manufacturer officials we’ve spoken with – sales have soared since last summer and particularly through the fall and early winter. And, it’s not just new sleds but also used snowmobiles that are in high demand.
The same trend can be seen in other powersports as well as boating, RVs and other leisure markets – as folks who previously spent time and money on youth sports, cruises, exotic travel and other interests have turned to fun outdoor activities that can be enjoyed closer to home.
Chasing The Local Angle
First, a story that went national on the Associated Press quoted Dave Jones at Maine’s Jackman Powersports as saying, “We’ve had some good years and some bad years, but we’ve never had anything quite like this one.” Dealers in Colorado and Montana also painted pretty pictures of the market.
That touched off a feeding frenzy of other media interviewing their local dealers. Channel 6 KHQ from Missoula, Montana, quoted Russell Motorsports GM Mike Schroeder as saying, “It’s just a way to get together with people where you’re outside, you’re safe, away, not having to wear your mask. It’s just a big community thing.”
In Minneapolis, KARE-11 spoke with local dealership Tri-K Polaris and also did a zoom interview with Klim from ISMA, where he said, “What we’re finding is people want to recreate close to home. They don’t want to get on an airplane and go south or they don’t want to fly to Europe or they don’t want to go on a cruise ship. So, they have a little extra money and snowmobiling has been their choice of recreation.”
Earlier in January, Albany, New York’s WRGB-6 quoted Mark O’Dell of the Alpin Haus in Amsterdam, New York, as saying, “Snowmobile sales have been absolutely insane this year. We sold out of models well before we had ever anticipated.” Wisconsin TV station KXOW quoted a local dealer who said used sleds are selling even faster than new sleds. The examples go on and on.
It wasn’t just TV stations and newspapers who jumped into the fray: In Chicago, radio news station WBBM ran its own story quoting local dealers – which was nice. But when the station put it up on its website, they accompanied their story on “new” snowmobile sales with a picture of a 1994, pogo-stick wearing Yamaha Vmax!
Do the math, that’s 27 years ago already – if they did a story on new car sales, we’re guessing they wouldn’t put up an image of a 1994 Dodge Intrepid or Ford Tempo, for cripes sake! Oh well – either way it’s fun to have our little sport be the subject of a good news story for a change.
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