EAST EDEN, N.Y. -- With the lack of snowfall last winter, the traditional groomed trails for local snowmobile clubs were largely silent with the bare ground. But the recent snow in Western New York has brought the sleds and their operators back out of their spring and summer hibernation.
It is much better news for snowmobile dealers like Appolson's Performance Center in Hamburg where the orders for parts and service are coming in. Business obviously dropped last year when the snow did not. Some people may now consider buying a new snowmobile which can cost $11,000 or more. The new machines have the latest technology along with heated grips and seats which allow riders to travel many miles on a frigid night.
It also better for businesses like Schunk's West Hill Grill which is located in East Eden along one of the heavily traveled trails. Bartender Michelle Kelly says business really fell off last winter when the trails were only open for a day or so. But they were very busy over the last two weeks and expect a busy weekend for this first weekend of January.
Local DMV offices have also seen an increase in registration for snowmobiles in recent weeks. Figures are not yet available for 2012 but Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs says there were 5,400 snowmobiles registered in Erie County in 2011. That registration can range from 47 dollars for members of snowmobile clubs to 102 dollars for non - club members. Much of that sum goes to help pay for trail grooming and maintenance.