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Shiny Side Up: How Do We Grow Our Sport?

Some OEMs are betting on snow bikes!
Burandt's Backcountry Adventure Mark Boncher Polaris Timbersled
Photo by Mike Duffy
Trespassing, loud pipes, and bad decisions rob us of trails and ride areas. Now, there is serious discussion about what impact the new snow bikes are going to have.

Industry folks, clubs and associations all work together to keep our trails open, and snowmobilers do a pretty good job of keeping our ranks in check. We all love to tell each other, “You’re doing it wrong!” Plus, it simply isn’t cool to do things that might get areas shut down. Self-regulation is key to sleds AND snow bikes.

Further, OEMs think it’s smart to welcome a new kind of snow sport into the sledder family in order to grow our ranks. I feel motorsports folks should stick together, strength in numbers! These new variants might spur some industry growth, or it could go horribly wrong, but the OEMs don’t think so. Let me make another quick observation: last winter, I went snowmobile-skiing on Vail Pass in Colorado, and there were more than a hundred snowmobiles at the trailhead. I was shocked, as every sled had at least one person aboard, or being towed, with skis or a snowboard. Imagine if more skiers put their money into sleds instead of ski resorts … there’s huge potential there! Skiing is expensive, and sleds can access the backcountry better. Could more areas open up because of this? I am probably too optimistic.

Back to the snow bikes. One reader told us he would stop subscribing if we mentioned one more word about snow bikes. I hope that doesn’t happen, but the fact is OEMs are spending money on these machines, and sales have doubled in less than two years and continue to grow. We can’t bury our heads and ignore that. They won’t EVER replace snowmobiles, but new blood and more money for businesses that rely on snowmobilers is good, right?   

Rest assured, AmSnow will still bring you news, info, photos and commentary on everything … snowmobiling!

Mark Boncher, Editor
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