PEI

Snowmobilers lament 'one of the absolute worst seasons' on P.E.I.

This winter's lack of snow, and abundance of rain, has put a damper on P.E.I.'s snowmobiling season.

Lack of snow has many riders heading off-Island to enjoy their hobby

Snowmoboile trails on P.E.I., like this one near Vernon River, haven't seen much snow this winter. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

This winter's lack of snow, and abundance of rain, has put a damper on P.E.I.'s snowmobiling season.

And for Dale Hickox, president of the PEI Snowmobile Association, that's putting it mildly.

"This has got to be one of the absolute worst seasons that's ever been recorded on P.E.I. as far as snow and snow conditions for snowmobiling is concerned," he said.

Hickox said snowmobilers get excited when they hear snow is on the way, but then are disappointed when it doesn't stick around.

"Between the rain and the mild weather it seems like it's been a real struggle to have snow that stays put that we can get out and enjoy ourselves."

Dale Hickox, president of the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association, says riders are having to travel to other provinces like New Brunswick to find enough snow. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The PEI Snowmobile Association includes more than 2,700 snowmobile families across the Island, and the lack of snow is not only hard on the riders, but also businesses that depend on them.

"Especially in the rural parts of P.E.I., it's such a huge bonus to have that snow on the ground and the snowmobilers going to serve all the service stations, the restaurants, stuff that snowmobilers will visit when they're able to move on the trail system across P.E.I.," Hickox explained.

Hickox says P.E.I. has a great trail system — when it can be used. (Stock photo)

Blair van Omme of Green Diamond Equipment in Stratford said the lack of snow has meant slower sales for the past couple years.

We always think that snow in December is good for everybody.— Blair van Omme

"We always think that snow in December is good for everybody," he said. "The customers get excited about the upcoming snowmobile season, they could be buying accessories for a family member for Christmas, so all in all, everybody's usually in much better humour, they're looking forward to a real good season."

Instead, that snowmobile business is going to place off-Island where the conditions are better, such as northern New Brunswick.

Blair van Omme of Green Diamond Equipment in Stratford says sales of snowmobiles and accessories have been slower the past couple of years because of a lack of snow. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Hickox hopes the weather will soon co-operate on P.E.I.

"We've got a great trail system, we've got great equipment to make trails for all our members, but unfortunately, when we don't get the snow we don't get those benefits," he said.

"I feel for our members because everybody's got the money spent, everybody's bought their permits, they want to go, and unfortunately, it's not happening this year. My hope is it's got to get better than this."

Corrections

  • This story previously identified the president of the P.E.I. Snowmobile Association as Gary Hickox. His name is Dale Hickox.
    Feb 09, 2018 9:53 AM AT

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