Economic impact of snowmobiling in Western Canada pegged at $576 million

The sport of snowmobiling adds a lot of money to the economy.

Group of four snowmobilers standing by snowmobiles in winter.
Snowmobilers add a lot of money to the local economy. Photo courtesy ISMA

I was sifting through some data on the economic impact of snowmobiling recently and came across some interesting statistics. The gist of the report was from Econometric Research which conducted an economic impact study of snowmobiling in Alberta. It was published in 2010.

The report showed that the economic impact of snowmobiling in Alberta is $336.5 million dollars annually. According to the study, snowmobiling is responsible for many economic benefits including jobs for thousands of Albertans and millions of dollars in tax revenue paid by snowmobilers to the Alberta government. All three levels of government in Alberta realize $142 million dollars in taxation revenues annually from snowmobiling. Wages and salary in Alberta are augmented by a total of $213.9 million dollars annually by snowmobiling expenditures. Alberta is also the number one sales leader of snowmobiles in Western Canada. According to another tech site the average price of a new snowmobile last year was $11,429.

So beyond Alberta what is the total economic impact of snowmobile sales and activity in western Canada?

NEW SLED SALES IN 2014 – CANADA WEST

  • Alberta – 7,743 x $11,429 = $88.5 million
  • Saskatchewan – 4,387 x $11,429 = $50.1 million
  • British Columbia 3,410 x $11,429 = $38.9 million
  • Manitoba – 2,398 x $11,429 = $27.4 million
  • Nunavut – 883 x $11,429 = $10.1 million
  • Northwest Territories – 391 x $11,429 = $4.5 million
  • Yukon – 287 x $11,429 = $3.3 million

Total: 19,499 x $11,429 = $222.9 million in sales

Beyond the direct sales impact, the average snowmobiler spent $4,000 on snowmobile related recreation (gas, oil, repairs, accessories, accommodations etc).  If we apply that metric to only the new sleds purchased last year that adds in another $78 million into the equation. This brings the economic value of snowmobiling in western Canada to $301 million in 2014.

According to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) there are some 137,339 snowmobiles registered in Western Canada.

REGISTERED SNOWMOBILES IN WESTERN CANADA BY PROVINCE

  • BC 45,000
  • AB 36,000
  • MB 32,000
  • SA 17,964
  • NT 5,000
  • YT 1,088
  • NU 287

Total 137,339

For argument's sake, let's say 50% of the registered sleds (68,700) saw their owners spend the average $4,000 on snowmobile related activities last season. That would quickly add up to another $274.8 million in economic impact spread across western Canada as a direct result of snowmobilers enjoying their favourite sport.

So that all adds up to a pretty big number – $575.8 million of economic impact from snowmobiling. No matter how you look at it, over half a billion dollars worth of economic impact is no small change in anyone's ledger.
 

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