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Impacts of slow snowmobile season on local businesses

The start of the snow season this year got off to an aggressive start. However, the snowmobile season is a different story.

Posted: Dec 29, 2018 6:29 PM
Updated: Dec 29, 2018 9:08 PM

SALSBURY- The start of the snow season this year got off to an aggressive start. However, the snowmobile season is a different story.
Snowmobilers up in the Old Forge area have had much more trail time than those down here in Oneida and Herkimer counties.

This affects many local buisnesses, mainly snowmobile clubs that rely on snowmobilers for buisness.

"It has been, because there was a lot of rain and wet conditions earlier in the year. We are way behind on trial maintence because we usually have things to do to get ready for the season." said Frank Boepple the President of the Ridgerunners Snowmobile Club.

"We usually don’t ride before the first of the year, but some years we do and it makes a big difference, because on average we make around 5 to 6 thousand dollars through our clubhouse, memberships and registrations. And we're running around 15 percent behind normal."

The Ridgerunners Club is also responsible for grooming the trails in the area. One of the 3 groomers that they have costs around 160 thousand dollars. The other 3 being around the same price if not more.
To help with maintaining the groomers the state has given a total of 4.2 million dollars which is divided up between all the counties in New York.

"The money that comes back to us for maintaining the trail system was money paid by snowmobilers to register the snowmobile and join a club. A small portion of it goes to DMV fees all the rest goes to maintaining the trails." said Boepple

Oneida county received around 281,000 dollars and Herkimer County received 191,000 dollars.
In cases of a slow season, snowmobile clubs like Ridgerunners compensates in other ways.

"We have safeguarded our club house fundraisers. In the summer time we have a monstrous clam bake that has 350 come. We also have a 100-dollar party, we have a bunch of people come and we raise around 30 thousand dollars from that."

When asked if snowmobilers take a gamble each year with the weather...

"It is a gamble in a sort but it’s a sport that is so rewarding it’s like you are being free. The closest thing I can compare it to, it’s so much like motor cycle riding but it’s so much different. You see a lot of sports leave an impact on the environment, this leaves almost zero. When the snow is gone, you can hardly tell our trail was there, it’s an environmentally friendly sport."

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