Out with the old and in with the new. What's 2009 have in store for sledAddicts everywhere this winter?
There's certianly alot of tech to test, and a hoarde of new sleds as well as some exciting events to attend.
ALthough I won't be able to make it, one of the most anticipated events this year is the 2009 Sled Invasion happening Feb 13-15th 2009. Alberta's largest snowmobile club is kicking off it's 30th year celebrations with a narly Freestyle show and World Record jump attempt. Get your tickets soon to witness a the Sled Invasion. Learn more about The Whitecourt Trailblazers here or visit their website to comment and ask questions.
Another event you won't want to miss is the Pro Open snocross final of the 27th Grand Prix Ski-Doo de Valcourt scheduled to take place on February 22, 2009. Watch the competitive racers of the International Series of Champions (ISOC) circuit demonstrate their amazing abilities on their OEM race bred sleds.
2009 is a big year for 3 of the OEMs. With Yamaha's 4stroke footing strongly planted, and the other 3 still playing 2 stroke tunes while they strengthen their 4 stroke tech, there's a competitive selection of snowmobiles on the market right now forshadowing a new beginning.
Whats really been happening is the revolutionization of the snowmobile, With the new 2010 emissions regulations luming and talks of more stringent emission regulation shortly after, OEMs have been scrambling to fit into the GO Green development model... that means higher tech sleds, the pros and cons of which are a topic of its own.
Of course we're hardly into 2009 and theres already a few rumours floating around the forums hinting at 2010 snowmobile info. Although, it's still too early for any of the photo leaks and stories to dribble in from out near the OEM test areas. I'd speculate you'll see power Assisted steering coming soon from one Manufacturer, and possibly new supercharged 4 stroke model from another.
If you're really good at Googling you'll be surprised to see what people are digging up from Patent registration databases in terms of snowmobile designs, especially suspensions. Unfortunatley alot of this info has a limited life span in the public domain, since OEM's like to keep things under wraps until they can ramp up their promotionl blitz every February.
Personally I don't think there is nearly as much hoopla generated amongst the consumer base about the next big release from any one of the OEM's. I'd even go out on a limb to say that since Yamaha's break through in the 4 stroke Arena created a snowstorm of discussion about 4 stroke - vs- 2 stroke ... the dust has definitely settled in the past 2 years. This could be translated into a more satisfied consumer base from the loyalists...or maybe its a sign a withering of sales. I'd place my bets on the former. Even with new sled sales falling, there has been a huge increase in the used snowmobile market and in my opinion snowmobiling has never been so popular.
Promoting Groomed Trails:
There's also been a big push by the OEM lobby ISMA to (International Snowmobile Manufacturing Association) introduce new clients to snowmobiling. This is an attempt to lure in a new breed of snowmobile enthusiast, 44 years old with an annual household income of $72000, to populate the expanding snowmobile trail and volunteer networks across the country. This campaign is needed to support rising revenue and sales forcasts as well as the implementation of new technology in snowmobile design. There's no mistaking that the touring class of snowmobiles can be depicted by comfy large feature laden snowmobiles with every bell and whistle needed to make the experience "UBER". These new sleds are a far cry from the 70's Cats, Bombardiers and Polarises and the countless and now forgoten OEMS like Brute, John Deer, Kawasaki and Massey Furgeson to name a few.
And then there's all the hype about recession and economic turmoil in 2009 added to the turbulent price of oil and fuel .... which is a tender subject for any hardcore snowmobiler. We have yet to bear the brunt of that nastiness.
One thing is for certain, I haven't been doing nearly enough riding this season, with only a few hours of seat time so far, due mostly to the late arrival of snow. That's all about to change as the powder abundantly accumulates here on the West Coast of Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada.
When I think of 2009 I remember a quote from Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...." right now I', leaning to the positive with the prospects of boondocking in my immediate future.
Be cherry and keep those tracks spinning, and have a wonderful and prosporous New Year in 2009.