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You’ve probably heard that if you don’t learn from past mistakes you’re doomed to repeat them in the future. Or something thought provoking like that.

Here’s the beef, we need to be extra mindful this winter about our social responsibility to refrain from drinking (or any other kind of impairment) and riding.

Here’s Why This Is Worth Mentioning

I believe we have not seen what is about to occur on our trails in more than 30 years. We are about to witness the invasion of snowmobiledom by an outrageous number of returning and new riders. Why do I believe this? Look at the number of new sleds sold in MY 2020.

Dealers sold new and non-current sleds literally to the bare walls. Used sleds commanded the most ridiculous money I have personally ever seen. Essentially many buyers paid new retail prices for one, two and three-year-old sleds. True.

While sales and resultant orders for 2021 product have been strong, delivery has not. In other words, dealers are again sold to the bare walls while supply chain woes have seriously delayed delivery of new 2021’s. I personally know 150 unit branded dealers who, as of the beginning of November, have less than 10 sleds – some less than 5 sleds – in stock.

What’s My Point?

There’s going to be a larger number of inexperienced riders on the trail this winter than we’ve seen in decades. For the mountain market its even more serious. Inexperienced riders looking to bust some pow and highmark slopes will be out in record numbers – some without any avalanche awareness training whatsoever. This is a serious issue as the snow begins to fall, the groomers roll out in trail riding markets and the mountains accumulate feet of powder.

“So What. I Know What I’m Doing!”

That is precisely my point. Those of our fraternity who know the consequences of impaired operation are needed this season to set the bar high. Those of us who ride state and provincial trail systems all winter know what speed and intoxication looks like when things go sideways.

Those who ride in the western vertical market know what a dangerous slope looks like, know how to use a beacon and a probe and know when it’s just too dangerous to ride certain terrain. For those of you who are experienced, think about sharing with others your knowledge and experiences for the benefit of the sport.


As I said earlier this is a time like no other. The popularity of snowmobiling has exploded in a way we haven’t seen since the late 90’s to the early 00’s when new sled sales flew past 250,000 units annually.

It’s really a great time for our sport. That being said, we need to ensure everyone gets the message about responsible behavior and responsible riding.

For trail riders, don’t drink and ride, don’t hold it wide open and don’t cut corners wide. For mountain riders take an avalanche training course, wear a beacon at all times and carry a probe. if you don’t know it’s safe, don’t go.

Mark Lester
Mark Lester
Mark Lester is Co-Publisher of SUPERTRAX Magazine and a regular Host on SNOWTRAX TV, which can be seen on Sportsman Channel across America and in Canada on OLN, Sportsman Channel Canada, Wild TV and REV TV and globally on our YouTube channel.
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