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Snowmobile sales are booming, but clubs see losses with no fundraising

Snowmobile clubs are struggling without fundraising events.
Snowmobile clubs are struggling without fundraising events.(Owen Kingsley)
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 4:36 PM EST
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HERMON, Maine (WABI) - Snowmobile sales are through the roof, it’s a safe way to get outside during the pandemic.

“We’ve been extremely fortunate. You know there’s very little bright spots in this COVID situation,” said Kerry Carsley Owner of Cove-Side Wheel and Ski in Newport.

But retailers warn folks that supply of snowmobiles right now is not meeting demand.

“It’s not too late but there’s such a limited supply, it may not be exactly what you want. But people are buying them just because it’s something. One of my industry suppliers said that their multi-passenger side by side sales were up 700%,” said Carsley.

Sales may be booming but clubs are seeing the negative side effects from COVID-19.

Their fundraising efforts have been pretty much eliminated.

“Well we missed our summer events totally. We missed our winter event already. And so it’s put quite a dent in our income. Generally you’d make a few thousand dollars in a summer and your winter event combined,” said Byron Ogden from the Penobscot Snowmobile Club.

Local snowmobile clubs use that money to maintain the trails riders use.

With more than 400 miles to manage, the Penobscot Snowmobile Club needs every cent.

“We’ve got an awful lot of trail work we had to do this year, bridges to build, a tremendous amount of blow downs,” said Ogden.

So they’re asking for help.

Membership is steady, but without the ability to fundraise, donations are critical.

“I’m pretty sure we’ll be okay, it won’t be great, but we’re keeping a positive attitude,” said Ogden.

“Join your club, go make a donation, do anything you can because if we don’t have these snowmobile clubs in a few years there won’t be any snowmobiling. You know? It will be real limited,” said Carsley.

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