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Early snow drives pre-season sled sales

What a winter we’ve had thus far in late 2013, yet winter hasn’t even officially begun. Waves of significant early-season snowfall have blanketed much of the northern tier of U.S. states and Canada, with the abundant snowfall leading some areas to open their snowmobile trails early and some dealerships reporting a run on snowmobile sales.

While there have been several promising starts to the season in recent memory, few have been met with such strong preseason snowmobile sales and excitement in the industry.

News reports from the Associated Press and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis both highlighted dealerships with strong snowmobile sales through the middle of December.

According to Travel Wisconsin, the snowmobile trails in at least five counties in northern Wisconsin are already open for riders, with more opening soon. Many trails in Minnesota’s north central and North Shore regions are open. Michigan also has several trails already open, aided by strong lake effect snowfall in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. New York, which has also received significant lake effect snowfall for this time of year, will open most of its snowmobile trail system this week.

States in the mountain west, particularly Colorado, Utah, western Wyoming and Idaho have also seen significant snow, with many locations reporting a base exceeding 24 inches in depth.

In a conversation with Powersports Business, Tom Stifter of Star West Motorsports in Delano — a town 45 minutes southwest of Minneapolis — reported strong “reactive snowmobile sales” immediately following a prolonged period of cold and snowy conditions.

“In the last 10 days it’s been unbelievable,” Stifter said. “Especially in the last week, sled sales have been excellent.”

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