Snowmobiling as a Mainstream, Family Recreational Activity

snowmobileTraditional skiing and snowboarding destinations throughout North America have taken notice of the increasing popularity of snowmobiling, and are now offering combo ski/snowmobile packages to take advantage of the surge of enthusiasts who enjoy the sport as a family recreational activity. Colorado’s popular winter resorts of Vail, Aspen, and Steamboat Springs have been on the leading edge, noting that families are looking for more than just a ski-vacation. They’ve added trails, tours, and training to accommodate the surge of visitors who want to learn about the sport, or those who have already made it a regular part of their winter outdoor lifestyle.

Over three million people are involved in snowmobiling, and able to take advantage of thousands of miles of groomed and marked trails throughout North America. A Consumer Insight study gives us a look at who is regularly involved in the sport, reporting that 95% of snowmobilers consider it a family-friendly activity. The activity is also a big boost to the economy, since snowmobilers spend in excess of $30 billion annually on their sport, and that’s just in North America. 75% of these enthusiasts are married and have kids living at home with them. A whopping 52% of these folks trailer their snowmobile to where they want to ride, making them prime candidates for a resort’s attractive winter destination packages.

In the United States and Canada there are over 3000 snowmobile clubs, and virtually all are involved in trail maintenance, but these clubs also regularly participate in charity fund raising – during the 2012/2013 season, snowmobilers raised over $3 million dollars for a variety of charities. In addition to active clubs throughout the country, there are 25 state snowmobiling associations in the U.S. and 13 provincial and territorial organizations in Canada. These groups work year-round to build and maintain in excess of 225,000 miles of trails, more than the entire U.S. Interstate Highway system!

The popularity of snowmobiling is due in part to improved technology. Snowmobile manufacturers have made great advances in developing cleaner and quieter engine designs, lowering both noise and emissions. Longer snowmobiles allow two people to ride tandem, a boost for families that play together. The sport is easy to learn, and suitable for people of all ages because today’s machines are designed with a variety of convenience and comfort features that makes riding for hours possible. For the sporty snowmobiler, winter is definitely the season of fun.