The Awesome Side of Snowmobiling

How many times have you been hesitant to bring up the fact that you are a snowmobiler when socializing with a new group of people? Saying nothing for fear of backlash and judgement directed your way?  Our sport is often misunderstood and the scapegoat of many an agenda.  Well, let’s turn that frown upside down and celebrate some of the positive aspects of our sport. 

Snowmobiling isn’t just the good old boys club.  Snowmobiling is a family activity, with an unprecedented amount of women joining the sport over the past decade.  Hard core women riders and racers have inspired a huge surge in female involvement and the industry has taken note.  Manufacturers and gear companies recognize this important demographic and realize that promoting women in the sport is a sound plan of action.  Women are more independent than ever before owning, maintaining and transporting themselves and their machines to destinations including riding clinics and events. In a household what mom says goes.  If Mom says it’s time to ride, get your gear and get ready!  It’s time to go make lasting memories. 


Snowmobiling is good for you!  Preliminary findings from a study conducted by the University of Guelph confirm what many already know. Snowmobiling is hard work that builds and tones muscles, especially core muscles.  Snowmobiling makes you feel good mentally and emotionally too!

In the study, Metabolic equivalent (MET) were measured based upon aerobic demands.  Resting would be the starting point at zero and activities are rated from there.  Riding a groomed trail has a MET of almost four, while mountain riding scored an impressive seven.  Moderate intensity activities range between 3-6 METs.. yes.. you read that right.  Mountain riding is a whopping seven, so take that!  Those of you who figure snowmobilers are fat and lazy schmucks who just sit on a machine all day you’ve just been schooled.  Further scientific evidence indicates that snowmobiling provides a mental-emotional pick me up of exercise, combined with getting above that mid-winter fog to absorb vitamin D which would explain the smiles on many a snowmobiler’s face.  

Read more here


The sound of a snowmobile in the backcountry isn’t as sinister as some may think  (not including the DIY aftermarket exhaust systems that are designed to make tympanic membranes bleed).  Snowmobile sound levels have been decreased by 94% with an active campaign ongoing to encourage respectful exhaust sound output. While some relish every opportunity to point the finger at motorized recreation,  research indicates that animals will habituate to the sound of an engine, thus reducing the effects of a startle, defensive response.   The silent descent or approach from a human either on foot ski or board is perceived as a predator or potential threat which initiates an elevated stress response in the animals.  We can take a more in depth look here 


Sledders care about wildlife. Snowmobile clubs and organizations have developed a sound protocol to minimize stress on wildlife riders may encounter when enjoying the backcountry.  Be it a moose, caribou or elk on the trail, riders are encouraged to stop and allow the animal sufficient time to move on peacefully or they can turn around and take another route to avoid the animals altogether.  Our crew usually takes this opportunity to stop and have a bite to eat, let our belts cool off and tap er cool, to give the animals time to move on. It’s easy to take note of fresh tracks on the trail, so riders be aware and respectful of all of the wild animals in the area when out poppin pillows. Read more here


Snowmobiling is a zero impact sport on terrain and habitat.  We do not erode soil.  We do not spread invasive plants.  We do not permanently alter habitat.  When the snow melts, so do our tracks.   Read more in the link below. 

OBJECT                                        LBS/SQUARE INCH OF PRESSURE

4X4 Vehicle                                       30

Horse                                                  8

Human Hiking                                  5

ATV/ORV                                            1.5

Snowmobile                                      0.5


Snowmobiling contributes billions of dollars to the economy.  This is a fact, in excess of 26 billion dollars in the USA alone.  In British Columbia,  snowmobiling provides a huge boost to many rural towns especially those who are reliant upon tourism for their economic stability.

Preliminary estimates indicate that snowmobiling brings in at least 400 million dollars to the province.  While this number is impressive, the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation recognizes that this number is low, prompting an economic impact study effort to clearly depict the economic boost snowmobiling lends to the province of British Columbia. 

Snowmobilers give back. Many non profit organizations, and conservation efforts are funded by the efforts of organized snowmobiling.  The Easter Seals campaign is one organization that has received a generous donation yearly from clubs who host Snoarama events in Canada. 

Since 1978 British Columbia snowmobilers have raised over 3.8 million dollars to support the Easter Seals Campaign.  Polaris Snowmobiles supports Pink Ribbon Riders not for profit organization, in their efforts to provide financial assistance to those living with breast cancer.  You’ll find your local snowmobile club active and engaged in your town’s happenings, eager to reach out and lend a helping hand. 


Snowmobilers and Skiers do get along.  There isn’t the tension and animosity that existed a decade ago.  Through the years, a mutual respect has been established, with many skiers embracing snowmobiles for backcountry access. Several Snowmobile clubs groom multi-use trail systems lending backcountry access to a variety of users from skiers and snowshoers, to hikers and bikers.  Our local Creston BC club continues to fund and maintain trails and cabins in the Kootenay Pass, with an open door policy for all users.  We all can and do get along.

Snowmobile tourism directly supports local economic viability. Winter isn’t a time to shut down shop, for snowmobilers are known for their spending at restaurants, local stores, and hotels.  We Stay, Play, and Pay, unlike some other winter recreation opportunities that isolate tourists to a remote location such as a lodge or resort where meals and lodging are included.  Great for the tour operators who stock up at Costco in bulk for their food and beverage needs, but not so great for the local economy as many business owners in towns such as Blue River and McBride have experienced . 

Next time you see an out of town plate with sleds on the deck, perhaps give them a little wave. For every dollar spent, it circulates 10x throughout your town.  



Cycle Works West Ladies Clinic brings many eager riders from across Canada and the United States to the town of Valemount British Columbia each season.

2 thoughts on “The Awesome Side of Snowmobiling

  1. i totally agree snowmobile is great family sport my son, myself and my dad we all ride together .When we ride we ride with friends and spend money each time.Every time we do a mountain trip normally we have 10 rider each person spends appox $400 that’s $4000 spent in one weekend and usually Mcbride .Myself and two of my friends we been riding together for 46 yrs that works out to 138 yrs of experience and we still learning and appreciate sledding


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