As the snow piles up so are snowmobile sales, as many Americans are feeling cooped up indoors and looking for ways to get outside of the house. Even in the most frigid of environments, people are turning to snowmobiling as an activity that changes up the scene of pandemic-induced cabin fever.
The industry is seeing the biggest boom in more than two decades, with sales of snowmobiles up 19% from last year, with vehicle sales up 15% in North America so far this year, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations told FOX Business.
“We have people getting back into it that haven’t done this in 20 years buying snowmobiles just because they’re able to get out and do it again,” owner of Twin Lakes Marine Todd Renn told FOX Business. “And also because they’re looking for something to do.”
Twin Lakes Marine, a marine and powersports dealership based in Wisconsin, is also seeing a wave of new customers and first-time buyers. The retailer makes up part of the $35 billion snowmobile industry in the U.S. that is reaping the yields from vacations being cancelled and people reallocating money and time in new pastimes like boating, hiking, bicycling and snowmobiling.
In fact, the surging demand for the outdoors is providing a boost to the overall outdoor recreation industry overall. The recreation industry continues to grow and outperform economic growth in the United States during the pandemic, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s latest economic output.
“You’re not just riding sleds like this one,” FOX Business’s Grady Trimble told Varney & Co. “You’ve got to have all the gear that goes with it from the helmet to the jacket to the pants and the boots, so sales from those items are up as well.”
For the 1.2 million registered snowmobiles in the United States, snowmobiling also allows travel flexibility and mobility, as long as there is snow and trails. Unlike skiing, where pandemic-related limits on capacity and other restrictions, snowmobiling offers more freedom and escape.
The snow-transporting vehicles have even served as a means to get families out of the house and visit local restaurants and shops, helping lift small businesses struggling to stay afloat.
“Something else you have to remember is that as these snowmobilers are riding, they ride for hours at a time and as they do that, they’re passing through small towns all over the state of Wisconsin and supporting restaurants and other mom and pop shops,” Trimble said. in those “So it’s not just good for those who sell snowmobiles and apparel, it’s good for every town is the state that the trails pass through.”
Grady Trimble contributed to this story.