Snowmobile Online Editor

State of the Snowmobiling Onion

Jan. 01, 1999 By Brad Canfield

This time of year causes many people to pause long enough to review where they have been and plan where they want to go. The President of the United States (I wonder whether or not anyone will be listening) and Governors of most states take the opportunity to make "State of the Union" speeches, and heads of many companies call an all-hands meeting to let everyone know the game plan for the upcoming year. Even psychics get their chance to predict what the New Year will bring. In keeping with the spirit of the New Year, I have decided to give my State of the Onion Speech as well.

Snowmobile Online
We here at Snowmobile Online have had a pretty good year. We have provided what we are told is one of the Best Sledding sights on the Net (sorry no statistics to support that just what readers have said), and we think the Sled Manufacturers and After-market folks are taking our work seriously. Our staff really enjoys providing this service to the Sledding Community, and we look forward this year to putting out even more information and providing more online services for Sledders. Unlike several other sites we plan to remain a free site and to continue along the editorial path we started. Fortunately, an e-zine does not rely as heavily on advertisers as do print magazines; this allows to honestly opinionate on products. Our experience to date tells us that most folks are happy with this as long as we back up our opinions with facts which is our policy.

The Snowmobile Industry
Over the past few years as Sledding has become more popular, the manufacturers have continually improved their products to the point that the quality and performance differences have been greatly diminished. The competition between manufacturers has resulted in improved handling and suspension, more comfort and safety features, true special application sleds (cross-country and mountain machines), better and more reliable engines, and a wider selection of models and options. Best of all, no one manufacturer can stay on top for long or dominate the industry without investing continually in development and new products. We benefit from all of this as evidenced from Polaris' revamped line of this year and Ski Doo's recent introduction of their new Mountain Sled to match Polaris' 700RMK and AC's Powder Special 700. This atmosphere keeps all of looking forward to next year's lineups.

The Snow
What can you say about that? Last year was dismal at best for many folks with El Nino hanging around. There is never enough snow or it is in the wrong place. Or, you can't get time off when it is around. The season never starts soon enough, and once it does start it ends too soon. The best conditions always occur during the week, and, if you trailer to snow, it will pile up at home while you are gone.

The Environment
This topic covers much. The vast majority of Sledders care as much about the lands and forests through which they ride as anyone I know, and they take care of these resources so that they have places to enjoy in the future. Unfortunately, we have a few amongst us who make great poster children for those who would like to keep all of us sitting in our garages. Snowmobile Online plans to continue advocating responsible use of all public lands and to do all we can to counter extreme green attacks on our sport. We encourage everyone to join us. Another part of our environment is the social aspect of the sport. Helping those who don't share our enthusiasm for snowmobiles understand sledding and being courteous to owners and other users of the lands we ride across is not only common sense it can open and keep open the lands we desire to use. Just look at the image of Harley riders and the effort they make to maintain good relations with the communities around them.

The Summary
Overall, the Sledding Onion looks pretty good. More innovations from the manufacturers will provide better machines for us, snow will continue fall and will continue to need someone to put tracks across it, Snowmobile Online will continue to provide good information on products, riding places and technical how-to's, and by combining our efforts we can keep our riding areas open and available to enjoy for years to come. Happy New Year, and may you find much snow this year. Thanks for reading our e-zine, and please keep coming back.

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