OFSC Provides By The Numbers Overview of Organized Snowmobiling

A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Economics of Delivering Snowmobile Trails

(Barrie, ON: February 25 , 2021) – As the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) enters its 54th year as the voice for the volunteer snowmobile clubs in this province, it’s informative to look at a few of our “Snowmobiling By The Numbers”. Hopefully, they help all of us better appreciate the big picture of organized snowmobiling in Ontario – and what a massive, complex and valuable undertaking this year-round enterprise really is. It’s also a sobering look at the economic benefits that are being lost to snowbelt communities as too many trails are closed due to snowmobilers wandering off marked trails.

Most of these Snowmobiling By The Numbers are from the 2018-2019 riding season, the most recent figures available. While the numbers vary slightly from year to year, and may be down this season due to current restrictions, a primary and very unpredictable variable is consistent: What kind of season we get from Old Man Winter?

This behind-the-scenes glimpse of the inner workings of our favourite winter pastime is drawn from OFSC operational data and various studies of organized snowmobiling in Ontario, as well as figures from both the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) and the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO).

Economic Impact of Snowmobiling: For starters, organized snowmobiling is a significant contributor to Ontario’s winter economy. According to our most recent Economic Impact Study in 2019, you helped generate $1.6 Billion in direct, indirect or induced economic activity as a result of riding snowmobile trails that year, which also resulted in a combined annual total of $216 Million paid in federal, provincial and municipal taxes.

Meanwhile, that year’s direct employment from your snowmobiling totaled an estimated 6,436 full‐time equivalent jobs in Ontario. Even considering the relatively poor snow some parts of Ontario had in 2018-19, these are impressive numbers, although in a prime snow year, our total economic impact could be as high as $3.3 billion. Here are the 2018-19 economic numbers for direct spending by snowmobilers by OFSC District:

Our provincial economic impact number includes about $17.5 million in revenue from your purchases of 2019 Ontario Snowmobile Trail Permits. It also reflects your average annual spending, ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 each, on personal riding products & gear, snowmobile travel and related services, as estimated by ISMA. So in total, we snowmobilers spent almost $843 Million on these expenses in Ontario during the 2018‐2019 snowmobile season. Interestingly, the average snowmobile household spent $10,723 on a new or used sled and $565 on sled insurance – how do you compare?

Considering that much of this economic activity happens in rural and northern Ontario during the traditionally more dormant winter months, it’s easy to see why snowmobile trails are so important to snowbelt regions. In fact, OFSC member clubs operate over 40% of all recreational trails in this province, and our system provides twice as many kilometres of snowmobile trails as there are kilometres of provincial highways. These are some of the reasons the OFSC is a previous recipient of “Ontario Trails of Distinction” recognition from the Government of Ontario.

Permits & Trail Operations: Altogether, you bought 2019 Trail Permits for about 105,000 sleds, which travelled an estimated 18 million kilometres on OFSC trails in 2019. Meanwhile, you also racked up almost 1.9 million page views on the OFSC Interactive Trail Guide that season while checking on trail availability.

From 2019 Snowmobile Trail Permit revenues, the OFSC invested about 77% into pre-season, trail related operations, including several million dollars on our fleet of groomers, with a market replacement cost of well over $80 Million. Both early season permit purchases and pre-season expenditures are an annual leap of faith by snowmobilers and OFSC clubs and volunteers, because these investments occur before anyone knows for certain what kind of a winter it will be.

After the snow started that year, the remaining 23% of permit revenues went to in-season grooming operations, which logged about 74,000 hours, using an estimated 1.2 million litres of fuel. In a prime snow year, these numbers would increase with more trails available in more areas for a longer season.

No figures were available centrally for in-season groomer maintenance and repairs from 2019, but given the number of grooming hours, that expense would also have been substantial.

We hope that this Snowmobiling By The Numbers overview gives you new perspective on the economics of delivering OFSC snowmobile trails every winter – and what could be lost as trails continue to close unnecessarily. Delivering trails relies on four key factors – permit revenues from snowmobilers; the dedication of about 6,000 club volunteers; the generosity of about 18,000 private landowners who we depend on for over 60% of OFSC trails; and consistent, year-round organization – locally, regionally and provincially.

 

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OFSC Provides Good News Update For Ontario Snowmobilers

2021 Season Includes Many Positive Indicators For Organized Snowmobiling

(Barrie, ON: February 18, 2021) – Overcoming many of this season’s uncertainties, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is making considerable progress on our promise to deliver the best possible trail riding experiences for snowmobilers this winter. Following extraordinary efforts, our districts, clubs and volunteers made over 22,000 kilometres of OFSC trails available for your local riding pleasure on the 2021 Family Day Long Weekend. This included many close to home, day ride opportunities throughout Southern Ontario.

In fact, local trail riding was allowed and available last weekend in about 89% of the 27 Ontario public health units (of 34 in the province) that have OFSC trails within their boundaries. Now the OFSC is pleased to report some additional riding opportunities. With the new re-opening framework easing into place, even more OFSC trails are becoming available again between Yellow or Green public health units. But note that in keeping with continuing provincial restrictions, any OFSC trail crossing the boundary of a Gray, Red or Orange public health unit will remain temporarily closed under the OFSC Flex Trails plan.

To date, the 2021 season is highlighted by numerous positive indicators for organized snowmobiling, including these signs of increased interest and participation (no final numbers yet available):

• Trail Permit sales up over last season.
• New sled sales surge by about 20%.
• Highest demand for used sleds in years.
• Record number of students signing up for online OFSC Driver Training courses.
• 100% increase in OFSC Go Snowmobiling App downloads.
• Big jump in visits to OFSC Interactive Trail Guide.

Old Man Winter has also contributed to our growing positivity. With fresh snow falling across many OFSC districts this week, our grooming fleet will be out to restore trails again for the coming weekend – and, with an encouraging 14-day forecast for traditional snowbelt regions, we are optimistic about more weeks of enjoyable OFSC trail riding this winter.

We wish to express our appreciation to the tens of thousands of permit holders who have enabled our efforts this season by purchasing a permit early so we could invest in getting trails ready to ride. Your faith in and support of the OFSC also assisted us to implement successful strategies such as Trails To Ride 2021 and Ride Smart 2021 that have helped keep riding snowmobile trails as an approved recreational activity and provided many local riding options, notwithstanding other provincial restrictions.

The OFSC will continue to monitor the situation and share updates about snowmobile trails as they become available to ensure snowmobilers are informed. Please check the OFSC website, Facebook Page and newsletter regularly for these updates.

 


 

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is a volunteer led, not for profit association that provides the voice for organized snowmobiling in Ontario. OFSC snowmobile trails managed by 200 community based, member clubs generate up to $3.3 billion in economic activity in the province each year.

For questions or to schedule a media interview with the OFSC, please contact  [email protected]

To view more OFSC news and releases: https://mailchi.mp/8620a2cef4df/industry-newsletter-sign-up/

OFSC Provides Snowmobilers With An Organizational Overview

Who Is The OFSC and Where Did It Come From?

(Barrie, ON: February 4, 2021) – When Bombardier started selling snowmobiles in 1959, there were no organized snowmobile trails, so recreational riders just rode wherever they could. They quickly realized that random riding was not only risky and inconvenient, but it was also creating a considerable backlash from local residents and property owners that was giving this new activity a bad name.

First Snowmobile Clubs: By 1967, recreational riders looking for easier and more acceptable places to ride had formed clubs in many communities. Existing separately and independently from each other, these first snowmobile clubs had two primary purposes. First, to organize and maintain safe and legal local trails for their members to ride, and second, to serve as social hubs for local snowmobilers to connect and ride with friends and family.

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OFSC Adds Public Health Unit Boundaries To Interactive Trail Guide

Boundary Lines Assist Snowmobilers To Ride Locally Within Their Public Health Region

(Barrie, ON: January 27, 2021) – With winter finally upon us and thousands of kilometres of trails now showing either Green or Yellow on the Interactive Trail Guide (ITG) for local riding, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) has created a new tool to assist snowmobilers.

As of today, we have temporarily added public health region boundaries (blue lines) to the ITG on our website, which are visible in both Trail Network and Trail Status views. They will also show on the Go Snowmobiling Ontario Apps after your next regular data update. The blue boundary lines will help you to stay within your own public health region while riding available OFSC trails and enable you to plan your local rides more easily while complying with public health measures.

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OFSC Urges All Snowmobilers To Follow Public Health Protocols

Together We Can Do This!

(Barrie, ON: January 20, 2021) – On January 18th, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) received the news that, effective January 21st, 2021, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit (NBPSDHU) is temporarily closing all OFSC trails within its region for the duration of the provincial Stay At Home Order. This district stretches from Parry Sound on the shores of Georgian Bay, east to Mattawa on the Ottawa River, and from Novar north almost to Marten River. It also includes many OFSC clubs and their volunteers in OFSC Districts 10, 11 & 7 who have worked very hard to prep their trails and, in some cases, had commenced grooming operations despite a late start to winter.

In a news release from January 18th, 2021, Dr. Jim Chirico, NBPSDHU Medical Officer of Health, stated that: “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19. The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously.”

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OFSC Stakeholder Outreach Initiatives Keep Snowmobilers Well Informed

Broad Provincial Consultation With Stakeholders Guides OFSC Planning For This Season

(Barrie, ON: December 10, 2020) – Recently, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) celebrated receiving the Rob Fleming Partnership Award from the Transportation Safety Division of the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO).

In its letter of congratulations, MTO stated that: “The OFSC has demonstrated a keen focus on ensuring a strong partnership through mutual co-operation, shared intellectual leadership and resources. The federation has exhibited an outstanding commitment as a partner to provide exceptional snowmobile trails and rider experiences throughout the province while ensuring rider safety.”

This notable recognition is a good example of the OFSC’s inclusive approach to communication with stakeholders and partners, and none are more important than snowmobilers themselves. To keep you informed and up to date about the coming season, we have issued 17 media releases and 16 newsletters since August. See all OFSC media releases here.

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