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Vermont snowmobile industry enjoying COVID revival

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 5:14 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The region’s snowmobile industry is booming despite travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

There have been many silver linings to the COVID-19 pandemic and that includes Vermont’s snowmobile industry, which is enjoying a winter wonderland across the state. “The business has been awesome,” said Mike Lynds with Snowmobile Vermont, which offers tours in four locations around the state.

A large group of riders Wednesday fired up their sleds to head out into the woods in Plymouth. “I’m really surprised as busy as we are. It seems like everyone wants to do activities outside. The numbers have been awesome,” Lynds said.

Despite the pandemic, the region continues to attract riders from all over New England and beyond. Some are here for a quick day trip. Others, make a vacation out of it. “You know, it is gas to get up here, it’s the lift tickets, it’s going out to dinner, it’s all of that -- getting the food for everybody in the hotel room. It’s quite a bit of money for sure,” said Marc Curna of New Jersey, who says he quarantined back home before making the trip.

According to VAST, the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, the total annual economic impact of the sport is roughly $550,000. VAST currently has about 22,000 members, which has remained steady this year.

Bill Boyle is one of them and owns a second home in Ludlow. “People ask me why I do this, and when I am out in the middle of the woods, I go, this is why we do it,” Boyle said.

Other businesses that rely on the trail riders, including Robbins Powersports in Windsor, say they can’t keep up with the demand. “I have talked to a lot of people from other industries as well and outdoor everything is jamming, whether it’s bikes, boats, hiking, kayaking. Snowmobiles and four-wheelers are top on the list for a lot of people too,” said the store’s Andrew Robbins.

Those in the industry say as long as Mother Nature continues to cooperate, the season will keep rolling full steam ahead.

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