Winter WI snowmobile registrations down close to 40 percent - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Winter WI snowmobile registrations down close to 40 percent

WOOD COUNTY (WAOW)--A mild winter doesn't only mean there are fewer snowmobiles on trails. It's clear state snowmobile registrations are down close to 40 percent.

When snowmobile trails don't open all season, like in Wood County, it's not only local businesses that suffer. The state takes a hit as well.

In the winter months last year, more than 50,000 snowmobile registrations were bought or renewed in Wisconsin. But now, those numbers are down considerably. This winter, only about 30,000 have been sold. 

And that difference works out to about $1 million in lost sales. The lack of snow impacts local economies as well.

"When trails aren't open here locally, those that are riding around on the local trails, in order to be able to go out and get any kind of ride in, would travel," Marshfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Scott Larson said.

Because of the low levels of snow, that money is going elsewhere.

"That would be money lost to specifically Wood County due to the impact of not having trails open," Larson said.

Donahue Super Sports in Wisconsin Rapids says it had close to record snowmobile sales before winter started. But that also dropped off when the snow didn't show up.

"If you go month by month, our December, our January, our February were terrible. Almost nonexistent as far as machines go," owner of Donahue Super Sports, Bobby Donahue said.

That's not the only thing that suffered because of a lack of snow.

"Parts, accessories, service work, all that was terrible too," Donahue added.

But employees at Donahue Super Sports are already looking ahead.

"We hope for snow," Donahue said. "We don't ask for a lot here, we just hope for snow. And a reasonable amount of snow. The last three winters have been good. People can ride locally and that's what we hope for," he continued.

The sports store company says it's already seen snowmobile sales for next year.

Wood County officials say the snowmobile season isn't technically over yet. But they say with warmer temperatures ahead, it doesn't look likely that trails will open.

Online Reporter: Cassandra Vinch

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