Snowmobile shops hoping to bounce back after pair of rough winters

Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 18:30:19-05

For winter sport companies in Western New York, business took a bit of a hit the past two winters.

"Winter has been sparse the past couple of years," explained Michelle Armstrong, owner of Pioneer Motorsport on Olean Road in Chaffee.

Mild winters and green Decembers meant people just weren't able to snowmobile as often as they usually do. Pioneer sells motorsport equipment for every season, so it wasn't hurt too bad. But the team there definitely noticed a dip in business.

"Unfortunately snow has not been a given year after year," Kyle Armstrong, Michelle's son, said. "But they're ready to get moving again this year and it's been a very optimistic start."

A snowy December has brought more people into the shop this year compared to years past. Snowmobilers are getting their sleds tuned up, buying extra equipment and shopping for new apparel as the season quickly approaches.

In Erie County, trails open to the public on December 20.

The team at Pioneer is hopeful the cold weather and snow will stick around and provide a little extra boost to business.

"The long range forecast looks good for us," Michelle said. "I think people are watching that and knowing that it's time for them to get their machines service and it's time to get geared up with the right apparel."

And while shops like Pioneer help get customers ready for the start of the season, volunteers for local snowmobile clubs are working hard to get trails ready for riders.

"We're putting in trail markers so people know where to go down the trail," Rick Jackson, with Sardinia's Pioneer Snowsurfers, explained. "We have to do stop signs, stop aheads at all road crossings."

Jackson, like the folks at Pioneer Motorsport, also thinks this season will be much better than the forgettable seasons he's seen recently.

"Oh it's going to be real good this year, as of right now," he cautioned. "Usually when the trails open we always get a thaw or no snow. As of right now this year looks really good."