Snowmobile Cultural Trends
The two prominent snowmobile cultural trends as identified in this research include the lack of avalanche education among the snowmobile enthusiasts and the growth of rental culture in snowmobiling.
CULTURAL AND SUBCULTURAL TRENDS IN THE SNOWMOBILE SPACE
1. LACK OF AVALANCHE EDUCATION AMONG SNOWMOBILE ENTHUSIASTS
- In Wyoming, United States, avalanches have reportedly killed 32 snowmobilers till date, constituting the highest number of fatalities in the area, ahead of backcountry skiers (formerly the largest group of victims with 26 deaths).
- According to WyoFile, this increase is because skilled riders on modern, light, and high-powered snowmobiles with long tracks and deep-snow paddles are venturing in higher numbers into more dangerous terrain.
- WyoFile also noted that those entering these terrains often do so without potentially life-saving avalanche training, and very few of these riders have adequate education and understanding of avalanche dynamics.
- This phenomenon was noted in other snowmobiling parts of the world as well. In the North Rockies Snowmobiling zones of Canada, only 21.5% of respondent groups surveyed were found to be carrying all avalanche essentials.
- Apart from Wyoming, other areas of the United States also reported snowmobile avalanche fatalities during the 2018-19 winter season. However, Wyoming and Utah topped the charts with three deaths followed by one each in Montana and Idaho.
- Hanke started Soul Rides in an attempt to spread knowledge of safe backcountry use among snowmobilers and has acknowledged the lack of avalanche education within the snowmobile cultures of Japan, Norway, and Sweden.
WHY IT IS CONSIDERED A TREND
- This topic is considered a trend because of the lack of education and adoption of proper safety measures was found to be on the rise in recent years.
- Will Mook launched the Mountain Riding Lab in Jackson Hole to instruct snowmobilers on avalanche awareness and rescue, and has noted that despite snowmobile taking the lead in avalanche fatalities, “the education hasn’t caught up to it yet.”
- The phenomenon of not carrying safety equipment, which stems from the lack of education also saw a dip. This insight is obtained from the fact that during the winter of 2017-18, 18% of the victims did not have transceivers. In 2018-19 that figure increased to a whopping 63%.
2. GROWTH OF RENTAL CULTURE IN SNOWMOBILING
- According to the report published by ISMA, or International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, in 2018 the GoSnowmobiling site received more than 2.4 million visits, showing the great interest in snowmobiling.
- Out of these visits, 40% were new snowmobilers or individuals who do not own a snowmobile.
- However, this 40% of visitors expressed a great deal of interest in owning a snowmobile and going snowmobiling.
- Furthermore, 20% of the visitors to the site visited the rental outlet pages of the website. However, many of the individuals did not own a snowmobile but were interested in renting one during their winter vacation.
- This high level of interest in renting was observed as an indicator of the anticipated growth in the snowmobile rental market.
WHY IT IS CONSIDERED A TREND
- This growth has been considered a trend because there was a continual decrease in the number of new snowmobile sales. The number of recorded sleds sold was almost 128,000 in 2016.
- Also, the numbers decreased further in 2017 to 118,657 sales.
- However, on the other side of this decrease, the enthusiasm relating to snowmobiling seemed to stay remarkably constant.
- Also, ISMA found snowmobile-related tourism to be increasing in North America and beyond.
- The growth in snowmobile tourism, combined with the continuous decrease in new snowmobile sales over the years, confirms the growing space of the renting culture as a trend.
To find out the trends as asked for in the request, we began by looking into market research reports as published by sources such as MarketResearch.com, MarketsandMarkets, Mordor Intelligence, GM Insights and those reported in sites such as PR Newswire, GlobeNewsWire, Business Wire, and PRWeb, among others. Although, there were reports which mentioned trends on sites such as Fact.MR and MarketWatch, among others, we could not access the info, as it was behind a paywall.
We then looked into reports, whitepapers, publications, and articles published by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), and those published in sites such as GoSnowmobiling.com and other regional associations such as the New Hampshire Snowmobiling Association (NHSA).
From the reports and data-based analyses obtained from these sites, we gathered much information which indicated trends in terms of recent change. However, since these reports often did not describe these phenomena as trends, in particular, we corroborated the information obtained from these sites with other reports obtained from sites such as sporting sites which analyzed snowmobiling as a sport with changing traits such as Powersports Business. We looked into academic sites that analyzed it from the perspective of sporting culture such as those found in Academia, ResearchGate, and SemanticScholar, among others. We also looked into the regional newspaper reports covering snowmobiling for regions known for snowmobiling such as WyoFile. With the information obtained from all these sources, we built the trends, while excluding information already mentioned in the strategy document.
While the trend related to the lack of avalanche education was found to be recent, that relating to the increase in renting culture is also recent as the 2018 report expected it to grow in the future.