Last winter was warm, right? You all felt it too. 

Indeed, much of the Northern Hemisphere experienced a warmer-than-average winter coupled with a dryer-than-normal precipitation pattern. The result was a fairly mild winter with some places seeing far less snow than ever recorded. That led to broadly shortened ski and snowmobile seasons for everyone.

And one side-effect to that reality, one that's becoming increasingly common as global temperatures continue to warm, is that the snowmobile industry saw some pretty dramatic declines in sales. 

Not great, folks, both for snowmobiling and the planet. 

According to Snowgoer, snowmobile sales fell last year on the heels of growth years thanks to pandemic spending habits on outdoor gear and machines. "After a winter of record warmth and low precipitation across the vast majority of snow-starved North America last season, virtually all observers expected new snowmobile sales to trend downward," the outlet reported, adding, "Really, the only question was how far south they would slide." 

And from the numbers, they slid pretty heavily. The site states that total snowmobile sales fell almost 10% in 2023, for a total of just 112,650 units—these numbers are from the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association.

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Furthermore, where you'd think there'd be stronger demand, i.e. in the new models that dropped this spring, both from Polaris and Ski-Doo, there just hasn't been. And dealerships are reporting that stock is piling up, so much so that many manufacturers are rumored to cut production through the year. 

For the United States, the hardest hit from this lackluster winter was the midwest and northeast. Winter just never seemed to come for those spots, as rain was spotty, warm weather abounded, and little-to-no big snows ever occurred. The west saw good accumulation, as I experienced, but it took forever to start and was punctuated by warm weather throughout the season.

A stark contrast to the monumental snowfall a year prior. It's also likely our new reality. 

Listen, I don't think I can make you believe in climate change, but it's real and happening before our eyes. And it's affecting countless variables in our everyday lives. From hunting, to hiking, to snowmobiling, everything is touched upon.

A recent study in the scientific journal Nature, and one completed by Dartmouth College, states that humans have caused significant declines in snowpacks going back to the 1980s. "Documenting the rate, magnitude and causes of snow loss is essential to benchmark the pace of climate change and to manage the differential water security risks of snowpack declines. So far, however, observational uncertainties in snow mass have made the detection and attribution of human-forced snow losses elusive, undermining societal preparedness," states the preamble of the study, but adds, "Here we show that human-caused warming has caused declines in Northern Hemisphere-scale March snowpack over the 1981–2020 period."

So the woes of snowmobiling are likely to continue. That is unless we start doing something about global temperatures. Here's hoping we do, because I don't want to stop riding

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