A few years ago a number of major universities in the western United States conducted a study to determine the key reasons people recreate and in particular why people go snowmobiling. The answers didn't surprise those of us that snowmobile. The top five reasons people snowmobile are:
To view the scenery
To be with friends
To get away for the usual demands of life
To do something with my family
To be close with nature
Intuitively, the snowmobile manufacturers agreed with the university studies, but we wanted to find out a little more about non-snowmobilers and snowmobilers alike. The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association commissioned a study to help us better understand the snowmobiling market. The study was conducted during the -2006 winter and it concluded non-snowmobiling recreation enthusiasts have a high level of interest in trying out snowmobiling. The research initiative had four objectives:
a. What is the profile of current snowmobile owners?
b. What are the key motivators that drive purchases?
c. What aspects of snowmobiling are valued by snowmobilers?
d. What are some of the key barriers preventing prospects from purchasing a snowmobile?
The research data was collected in two large focus groups. One held in New York and the other in Minnesota. There were also internet, telephone, and mailed surveys to residents of the US and Canada. The return rate was exceptionally high and what we discovered in our research work was very interesting.
Non-snowmobilers do not view snowmobiling negatively at all. There are a lot of people who don't snowmobile, but really want to try it.
Most non-snowmobilers have no idea where the snowmobile trails are. They don't know where the trail heads are, and they don't know very many snowmobilers. They would love to rent a snowmobile and they would welcome being asked to go snowmobiling by a club or snowmobile organization member. On a 10-point scale, non-snowmobilers across North America rated their desire to go snowmobiling as high as an 8 or 9.
Non-snowmobilers - like snowmobilers - long for a strong sense of social interaction with friends and family. We know snowmobiling is a social activity and we enjoy being with our family and friends on a beautiful snowy day. Snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers alike look forward to relaxation and stress relief that snowmobiling provides.
For a great number of us, snowmobiling provides the chance to feel like a kid again. For many of us, it's a family fun excursion which provides us an opportunity to pull the kids away from the distractions and friends that prevent better day to day connections between ourselves and our family.
Non-snowmobilers clearly identify with the social aspect of snowmobiling and quickly fall into the category titled "Here's to Good Friends." This group of individuals (including snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers alike) index very high in RV ownership and are active through the summer in camping clubs and other recreational vehicle related activities.
The biggest challenge we have in attracting new snowmobilers is showing them where and how to enjoy our chosen winter activity. They would welcome an invitation to go snowmobiling and be introduced to the Snowmobile Club and Snowmobile Association social network, the great trail system, and the play areas we all enjoy.
A majority of the adults living in the snowbelt of North America are potential snowmobilers. Their vacation spending habits are similar to ours and they look forward to trying something new and exciting.
Non-snowmobilers don't quite understand the excitement they see in our eyes when the snowstorm warnings are issued - but I believe a few hours on a snowmobile in great wintry conditions would make anybody understand why we cherish those soon to come winter snowstorms.
Our New Normal
4 weeks ago