Snowmobilers have enjoyed recent snowfall

MANCHESTER — Recent snow was excellent news for the state’s thousands of snowmobiling enthusiasts.

Jim Willey of Manchester is spokesman for the Iowa State Snowmobile Association. “We have had some challenging years the last few years,” Willey says. “It’s one of the largest outdoor activities worldwide, but in Iowa, we’re very dependent on getting the right weather. It drives about $30 billion of economic activity in North America, and a big segment of that happens in Iowa when we have snow, and it’s disappointing when we don’t.”

There are about 60 snowmobiling clubs across Iowa which groom more than 8,800 miles of trails statewide. “The trail program is the largest recreational trail system in Iowa,” Willey says. “It’s all completely funded by the registration and trail passes that Iowa snowmobilers buy for their machines. It’s totally a self-funded program. There’s no tax dollars that go into it whatsoever and it’s all paid for by the people that use it.”

There have been multiple advances in technology in recent years, improving the helmets and communications, the snowsuits, boots and gloves, and the snowmobiles themselves. “The type of equipment that’s available today makes it very comfortable to be out in even sub-zero weather riding your snowmobile,” Willey says. “The equipment that snowmobiles have today make them safer and more stable and more enjoyable for everybody to ride.”

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