New Rules Await Snowmobilers in New England, New York


Christopher Velleca

A snowmobile is seen along the scenic trails in Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, in 2019.

Christopher Velleca, Business/Technology Editor and Digital Editor

Snowmobiling is a winter time hobby for many New Englanders. However, travel restrictions and quarantine requirements are bringing an unprecedented twist for this 2020-21 season. 

For many New Englanders, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine are the most traveled-to states for snowmobiling, with 254,801 people registered in 2020.

With Connecticut and Rhode Island having few to no trails, their residents are forced to travel out of state to snowmobile. In previous years this was no problem for riders; it took a couple-hours drive to a destination. With travel restrictions set in place for this season, though, riders must either quarantine for 10 days upon arrival back home or receive a negative COVID-19 test in order to travel to any New England state. Traveling to New York, visitors must quarantine for three days upon arrival and receive two negative COVID-19 tests. Those who fail to comply will be subject to a $10,000 fine.

Travel restrictions and takeout-only restaurants may be deterrents for many snowmobilers this season. A decrease in registrations and travel will correlate in a decrease from the previous years annual economic impact of $26 billion, according to Towns that host snowmobile trails generate a lot of business with the need for housing or consumables like food and gas for visitors. 

“Most restaurants benefit from this season because it is their busiest season of the year and more money comes through the door,” said senior Ryan Blanchard, who travels to Old Forge, New York for snowmobiling. 

Snowmobiling is an enjoyable hobby for many people, bringing family and friends together to create memorable experiences. The joys of snowmobiling are unique to everyone. 

“The rush of adrenaline and all the different views on the trail is what I enjoy,” said junior Jake Marques.

Travel restrictions and the decrease of options for food and activities may lead fewer riders to partake in the joy of this season. A low this year may be devastating for years to come for the small-town businesses that rely on a bustling snowmobiling season to stay afloat.