International Snowmobile Congress kicks off in Calgary

Prime Minister called a "friend of snowmobiling"

man standing at a podium
Sledders gathered to hear exciting speeches at the ISC. Keith Powell photo

As tradition dictates, the president of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) Ed Klim gave his annual state of the industry address at an early morning breakfast meeting on the International Snowmobile Congress's (ISC) first official day.

Klim hailed the fact that Canada now has a majority government and that newly elected Prime Minister Stephen Harper "is one of us"—in other words, Stephen Harper is a friend of snowmobiling in Canada.

He went on to point out that by-in-large 2010 was a good year for snowmobiling with sales up 5 per cent in the USA, up 8 per cent in Canada and up 10 per cent in Europe. This all added up to sales of 123,063 units in 2010. (USA 51,796; Canada 40,878 and Europe 30,389)

"This audience, made up of snowmobile club members, are the fifth manufacturer in my mind," said Ed Klim. "It is because of their dedication that snowmobilers like you build the trails and support the sport."

Canada has 602,902 registered snowmobilers and the USA has slightly over 1.5 million. Klim also went on to praise the four manufacturers—Ski-Doo, Polaris, Arctic Cat and Yamaha for doing a good job in managing their inventory and keeping the industry in good shape without a lot of unsold inventory around.

Though OEM parts, garments and accessories sales are also up some 7 per cent, Klim called out to the other non-OEM parts, garment and accessories companies to step up to the plate and support the industry more actively.

Klim touted the fact that the average age of snowmobilers has come down slightly to 43 years—good news for an industry that needs to attract more young participants.  Interestingly, he told the audience that 65 per cent of first time snowmobilers purchased a used snowmobile to get into the sport.

Delegates from all Canadian provinces and the snow belt states in the USA attend the annual Congress. The ISC, hosted by Alberta Snowmobile Association (ASA), continues Saturday in downtown Calgary.

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