Snowmobiling is a huge economic driver of Revelstoke’s economy, according to a recent study released by the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club.
The study, undertaken by chartered accountancy firm MNP, found during 2018, snowmobiling contributed $31.2 million to the local economy with the industry supporting almost 600 jobs.
“It’s huge,” said Teena Rumak, general manager of Revelstoke Snowmobile Club.
The study was done as part of a larger one, which found the sport generated roughly $300 million, yearly across B.C.
Rumak said the club wanted to have numbers to show the impact of snowmobiling on Revelstoke’s economy.
“It’s important to know your value,” she said.
Of the 815 snowmobilers who participated in the study, 47 per cent were from Alberta.
Approximately 61 per cent of respondents reported having an income of $100,000 or more per year. The study said typically, snowmobilers spend on average $258 per day during their visit to Revelstoke, at places such as hotels and restaurants.
Rumak said while the economic impacts of snowmobiling are huge, it isn’t as visible as a large ski resort.
“Most people just see the sleds and trailers. It’s quietly here,” said Rumak.
In 2018, the study found there were more than 35,000 snowmobiling trips taken in Revelstoke, which is roughly 14 per cent of total trips taken in B.C.
“Revelstoke is a snowmobiling mecca,” Rumak said.
The study also found the majority of snowmobilers in Revelstoke are 25 to 44 years old.
Due to COVID-19, the Revelstoke Snowmobile Club shuttered operations March 18, including halting grooming for over 50 km of trails on Boulder Mountain that lead into the alpine.
Most likely, considering this year’s high snowpack, Rumak said grooming would have continued until April 18. As a result, the club lost one-fifth of its season, which had a large economic impact on the organization.
“A lot of money was left on the table,” said Rukak. The club gets revenue from day passes, memberships and grants. It’s the largest snowmobiling club in B.C. with over 1,000 members.
Rumak said the club is concerned for next year, including if international borders remain closed and even if people will have the money to travel.
Destination B.C. stated in May, that job losses in the tourism sector could total 147,000 and revenue could plunge $19 billion with international visitation not starting until 2021.
Rumak indicated the club will conduct another economic impact study within three years. One limitation of the recent study, said Rumak, was it didn’t look at how much property is owned by snowmobilers in Revelstoke.
“And it’s a lot.”